Grandma Patonah Struggles to Collect Junk while Living Alone

“Once, I couldn’t pay my rent, so I had to pay in installment or borrowing some money from my boss. Since I am financially deprived, sometimes, I only drink but don’t eat for two days because I don’t have money left,” said Grandma Patonah while holding back her tears.

Grandma Patonah
Grandma Patonah carries her 5 kilograms of collected junk consists of plastic bottles and cardboard boxes. (ACTNews/Ichsan Ali)

ACTNews, NORTH JAKARTA ACTNews team was surrounded by the passing carrier trucks in Tanjung Priok Harbor when they visited the house of Grandma Patonah (67) in Jalan Kalibaru Barat, Kalibaru Village, Cilincing District, North Jakarta, on Wednesday (9/29/2021).

Grandma Patonah lives by herself in a 4 x 5 meter rented house in a densely populated settlement. Her husband had passed away in 1995 and she has no child from her marriage.

“I moved to Jakarta with my husband in 1972. We don’t have a child. I also have rented this house for a long time. I pay the rent for IDR 500 thousand per month which is hard for me. However, since I also need a place to stay, I have no choice but to keep living in this house,” explained Grandma Patonah while petting her cat named Putri.

To meet her daily needs, she relies on her earning as a scavenger that collects plastic bottles and cardboard boxes despite her physical condition that is no longer fit. Her left hand is wrapped in cloth since it had been amputated due to a work accident from a long time ago when she worked at a plastic factory. Grandma Patonah also admits that oftentimes, she experiences severe waist pain due to carrying heavy goods of her collected junk. Despite that condition, her old body still continues working from day to night every day.