Since he was a boy, Daito had traveled to other states to find work. That seemed the only realistic option to earn a decent income and provide for his family. But in 2020, after years of traveling, he suddenly got stuck in his village, a place where it was nearly impossible to make a living.
The green fields and stretching trees of Daito’s village are deceitful. They imply abundance, growth and life—not the desert of opportunity that Daito and most of his neighbors feel. In this village, there are few opportunities to earn income, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made the economic situation worse. Many poor people, like Daito, don’t own their own land, so they can’t farm, and one of the only local industries is a brick factory that pays about $2.50 a day. When the pandemic mushroomed, the factory closed, removing even that poor source of income.
Disruption Leads to Desperation
Before the pandemic, because of their poverty and their village’s dearth of opportunity, Daito and many of the men in his community had traveled far distances to earn income, returning home occasionally to visit their families.
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