Ibu Endawani Reaps What She’s Sown

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ibu Endawani reaps a profit that supports her family, from the chilis she’s sown. Photo by Gonggom.

Imagine growing up in a coastal community where the livelihood of your family, and that of your neighbours, is reliant upon fishing.

Now, imagine a massive tsunami wiping out not only your community, but all neighbouring communities along the coast. Your village is relocated inland to the jungle, up a hill. There are no basic resources or health care, no access to clean water, a lack of government support, and no means for livelihood generation.

You and your family are used to fishing, gathering coconuts and a few other basic crops. In your new village, there aren’t any of the coconut palms or other naturally growing foods that you were used to. You must grow your own food, but the practise of farming and agriculture is a foreign concept.

This has been the situation for Ibu Endawani and her family, who were among one of 14 communities displaced by the 2010 tsunami on the island of South Pagai, Mentawai. SurfAid was the first on the ground to provide immediate relief in the area. Seven years later, SurfAid is the only organisation that continues to work alongside these displaced communities to help establish access to clean water and sanitation, health care and improved nutrition.

Ibu Endawani and her little one harvest their chili crop to be sold at the local market. Photo by Gonggom.

As part of SurfAid’s programme to combat malnutrition, seeds are distributed for the planting of nutrition gardens. SurfAid staff helps teach people how to grow their own vegetables to increase food security and improve economic development. Last year, Ibu Endawani began planting chilis in her family’s garden. Her first harvest was so successful that she expanded her chili farm to another plot of land. Growing and selling the chilis is incredibly time and energy-consuming, but Ibu Endawani takes pride in being able to provide for her husband and four-year-old son in this way. She has been selling her chilis at the nearest market, which is over 48 kilometres (30 miles) away, to help provide for her family.

A bountiful harvest of chilis! Photo by Gonggom.

Ibu Endawani’s most recent harvest yielded 12 kilograms of chilis to be sold for USD $3 per kilogram at the Sikakap market. With the money earned, Ibu Endawani was able to buy 1 bag of rice, 1 kilogram sugar, 2 packs of coffee, and 1 loaf of bread; she also brought home USD $15 for saving or emergency needs.

Having the money to buy basic foodstuffs and save for emergency needs is a luxury many families in Bulasat village still do not have. Please support our efforts to increase food security and income generation for even more families in 2018.