Memory of the forge in Damaro (Guinea), May 2022

The question of climate resilience also arises in terms of resource extraction and the production of agricultural tools.

Amadou Siaki is a blacksmith in Damaro. His name, ‘Siaki’, literally means ‘jeweller’, which is what he is commonly called in the village. Otherwise, he is a blacksmith by birth, ‘numu’, which literally means ‘blacksmith’ in the broad sense. He who is born into this trade then practices it.

He says: “The ancestors built blast furnaces in which they burned stones and these stones were melted to make iron. If you want, I can still show you some blast furnaces in the mountains, although some of them are degraded.

As for the duration of the iron extraction, it cannot be determined, it is a question of luck. Every time stones were loaded, it was done on behalf of someone who was the customer. If he earns a lot of iron, this customer will wait a long time to get the object of his order because he is lucky. If the opposite is true, the customer is quickly released because he is unlucky (with the amount of iron produced). There is no fixed time limit for obtaining the iron. It’s better to be unlucky for someone who needs his good quickly!

Today I’m going to buy iron in Nzérékoré to take to Damaro. On rare occasions, he picks up degraded equipment in Damaro. When we had the Valley base here, and they left, I recovered the scrap iron that I buy from the local authorities to make my objects. I make a lot of things here in my forge: the plough for example, the wheel, the cutter, the axe, tools for roasting peanuts, and many things! Vehicles that break down into parts that a blacksmith can adapt, I do so to enable it to arrive in Nzérékoré. I make nuts and bolts to help them out.

I am Doumbouya and not Kanté. In this village, the advantage that the blacksmith has is linked to his usefulness in the design of ploughing tools. That is why people are interested in what we do. There are not many of us here, I am the only one in Damaro, but there are villages with blacksmiths, like Konyen.

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