Gantulga Ankhaa, who is temporarily repairing bikes to earn an income, adjusts a bicycle rim in Erdenet city, Orkhon province, Mongolia. Since automobile traffic is suspended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, more people are riding bicycles to work. “Instead of sitting idly at home doing nothing just because the work is suspended,” Gantulga says, “it is important for a young person to keenly observe and be aware of what could be done given the circumstances of any given time, to be able to identify opportunities and to use them properly.”
Zury Barrera and Abril García scoop ice cream for customers at the Bro-Vix ice cream shop in Tecámac de Felipe Villanueva, Mexico. The shop was closed for three months last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and although only eight customers are allowed inside at a time, sales have recently increased.
Muthiah Kuganeswaran weaves a box made of palm leaves in the Kokkuvil area of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Kuganeswaran, who has been in business for more than 40 years, says there is a labor shortage for making palm boxes, which are used for agricultural and domestic purposes.
Jules Muhindo Nzondero removes the hair from a cowhide at a tannery in Kahandabale, a district of Kayna, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nzondero is learning how to tan, which is the process of treating animal hides to produce leather goods.
Batjargal Choijiljav carves a wooden horse at his home in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Batjargal, who has carved 14,400 wooden horses over his 25-year sculpting career, says a single mistake would be irreversible and make the sculpture worthless.
Ramalingam Manoharan welds a curved iron roof for a well in Manipay, a town in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Manoharan has worked with iron for the past four years, and he earns between 1,500 and 2,000 Sri Lankan rupees ($8 to $10) per day.
Sancha Maya Limbu cleans the walls of the Bhimsen temple amid reconstruction work at Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur, Nepal. The temple was destroyed in the April 2015 earthquake. Reconstruction began in 2019 but was temporarily halted in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Bilegtsaikhan Pagva makes a cutting board for cooking and kneading dough at his home workshop in Erdenet, a city in Mongolia’s Orkhon province. Bilegtsaikhan, who has stomach cancer, makes wooden kitchen tools as a healthier alternative to plastic. “No matter how serious one’s disease is, a person should not abandon his or her wishes and goals in life,” Bilegtsaikhan says with a smile. “One should work hard.”
Freddy Chikwaya and his nieces Rudo Chikwaya, 12, and Mary Chikwaya, 9, warm themselves by a fire as they sell beaded necklaces near Lake Mutirikwi in Masvingo, Zimbabwe. Tourists have been visiting the area less since the coronavirus lockdown began, but Freddy Chikwaya expects things to get better now that the country has started vaccinations.
Innocent Murawa paints the ceiling of a home in Harare, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s recent lockdown restricted many people’s ability to work. But individual contractors like Murawa have managed to find work painting and plastering homes.
Ursup Mohmad Savul Hameadh sells toys outside temples in Inuvil, Jaffna district, Sri Lanka. “There is no place in Sri Lanka where I have not set foot on,” he says. “I go wherever temple festivals take place.”
Edgardo Pacheco, left, and Jesús Vásquez weave a palapa, a common roof structure on the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. Typical palapas are crafted with wood and palm leaves, usually from a variety called royal palms.
Gerardo Alejo makes two doves appear during his magic act at a traffic light in Mexico City, Mexico. Alejo, who has been a magician for 10 years, started to perform here to raise extra money for his university education. After COVID-19 began, this work became his dominant source of income.
Ravichanthiran Nalayini makes household items with palm leaves at her home in Cheddikulam, a town in Sri Lanka’s Vavuniya district. Her palm leaf products include boxes, string-hopper trays, winnows, mats and sacrificial trays.
Ombeni Hamuli, 16, works during a carpentry apprenticeship program in Kyeshero, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Hamuli lost three fingers serving in an armed rebel group in North Kivu, and he’s learning carpentry to begin his journey back to civilian life.
Mariano Hernández Jiménez gathers the red fruit from his coffee plants in Aldama, a town in southern Mexico’s Chiapas state. This is the first time he has tried to harvest his coffee plants since armed attacks between the municipalities of Aldama and Chenalhó intensified in 2018.
Lawino Brenda, 12, helps her mother make papyrus mats in Kigo, a neighborhood in Uganda’s Makindye Ssabagabo municipality. She makes about 10 mats a day and sells them for 5,000 Ugandan shillings ($1.37) each.
Ismael “Cano” Pérez carves oak wood with a chisel and lathe at his workshop on the coast of Añasco, Puerto Rico. Pérez has been making wooden mortars, a skill he learned from his father, for local restaurants and individuals for 40 years. He says he feels the passing of the years; his hands no longer work like they did before. He plans to leave the space to his grandson who also does woodwork.
Man Bahadur Magar, 40, sits beside the Pritivi Highway and waits for customers to buy fish caught in the Trisuli River in Dhading, a district in Nepal’s Bagmati province. As vehicles pass, he waves to the passengers, hoping to catch their attention. He occasionally waters the fish to keep them fresh.
Juan Ponce puts away cheese and lunch meat at a deli stand in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “This is not my thing,” Ponce says, drying the sweat off his forehead. “I studied art up to my third year in the university in Venezuela before I emigrated. But it’s nice in Buenos Aires. It’s a very diverse, very open city.”
Oscar Espinoza tends to products at his antique shop, El Precio del Tiempo, one of the few antique stores in Tecámac, in the state of Mexico. “This sells really well in Coyoacán, San Ángel, La Roma (Mexico City), but it’s difficult here, especially right now,” Espinoza says. “People prefer to spend their money on food and health, not on things like this.”