A singing melancholic voice mingled with a deafening sound of a hammer pounding on a rock drifts over the thick bushes on a small hill overlooking Soche Technical College in Blantyre.
Moving a little closer, an image of a man in a sweat-coated T-shirt emerges and the words in his song become clear. He sings about how prejudice and corruption have made the rich richer and the poor poorer on earth.
For 32-year-old Lucius Jason, hardships and frustrations have been a thorn in his flesh from the time he left his home village in TA Kachindamoto, Dedza in 2004 until he started digging out quarry stones with his friends in 2006.
When he came to town, he got a job as a houseboy, but he says he was getting peanuts every month despite working hard for 12 hours every day.
Nevertheless, he reveals that although his current occupation is tougher, it is more rewarding than his initial employment.
“With the booming construction industry in the country, quarry stones are on a high demand,” he explains.
“I can now make up to K45 000 per month; about five times more than I could be getting in my previous occupation,” said Jason.
With unemployment levels increasing in the country, quarry stone excavation is one of the informal industries most local youths are turning up to for survival.
Every year, over 200 000 young people enter the job market, but the formal sector does not manage to absorb them all.
But for Jason, excavating rocks and crushing them into minute stones is what puts food on the table for his family of two children.