The clatter of the belt against the roller sets a familiar motion for the workers. The resulting noise brings a grim countenance to the faces of the workers.
In an instant, those feeding their babies stopped, while the ones eating hastened up. Others engaged in other chores outside shelved them and the dusty engine room once again became lively.
A powered rice huller engine is an indication of a good day at Engine Hajia (literally, Hajia’s engine house). Saad Bala, the operator of the engine had tried to put it on the previous day but the huller refused to start, rendering scores idle for the day.
Engine Hajia is one of the over 50 rice hulling factories in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State.