A few years back i've traveled through Indonesia for a couple of month. One day I found out about that sulfur mine on Java, one of the many islands of the huge archipelago.
About a week later I entered the mine site at the Ijen volcano in East Java. It is one of the many active volcanos in Indonesia and probably one of the most dangerous and harmful workplaces in the entire world. Without any proper protective gear, the men are exposed to toxic clouds. Some are wearing old gas masks, while most of them cover up their faces with only a scarf. The liquid, red sulfur boils out of the rock and slowly turns yellow as it cools down. If solidified, the men use iron bars to break out chunks which they afterwards carry up the steep walls in wicker baskets weighing up to 80 kilo. No other job pays as good, Slamet, one of the man, legitimates the hard work. He's been working on the site for more than eight years, he tells me, making up to 10 Euro per day, which is indeed above the average annual income of around 2600 Euro. “You got to stay out of the clouds” he explains the safety rules, after we both recur out of a thick yellow pall, that made my eyes terribly burn and my lungs refuse to breathe. Of course he knows about the risk, he says, and his wife doesn’t like him going into the dangerous mountain. But he's got three kids at home and they have to eat.
Before he shoulders the heavy load he recaps “I need to do this work, to give a better life to my children”. Then he waves goodby and slowly makes his way up to the top of the poisonous crater.