Kuswandi: If I Stay at Home, How Can I eat?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people do not have the option to stay at home, including Kuswandi. He is a watch repairman. He chooses to leave the house to earn a living so that he can provide daily food needs.

Kuswandi repairs a customer's watch in West Tebet. (ACTNews/M. Ubaidillah)

ACTNews, SOUTH JAKARTA – The Covid-19 pandemic has deteriorated the economy of Kuswandi (46). He is a watch repairman who peddles his service from one house to another Many housing complexes are closed causing him to lose customers. Kuswandi has to travel further to get customers.

Kuswandi lives in Manggarai, Tebet, South Jakarta. Every day, he goes around the areas of Tebet, Pancoran, and Cawang. Due to restrictions on community activities in the area, Kuswandi had to travel further to the Setia Budi area to find new customers.

“I run this business through ups and downs. Sometimes, I don’t get many customers. If I still can't get a customer until dusk, I will go back home. I don't push myself. The next day I will go further to the Setia Budi area to get more customers,” said Kuswandi, Friday (7/23/2021).

Kuswandi's income is uncertain. If he got many customers, Kuswandi could earn IDR 200-300 thousand a day. If not, he only earned IDR 50 thousand. Sometimes, he does not get any income.

“I walk all day to peddle my service from 07.00 a.m till dusk. The income is uncertain. I earn from IDR 50 to 300 thousand depending on the customers. Alhamdulillah, I am grateful that I still get income. Sometimes, I go back home empty-handed,” said the man from Tasikmalaya.

Kuswandi has no other income. For his daily food needs, he only relies on income from watch repairs. "I eat simple food with tempeh and crackers. It's delicious for me. If I don't get money, I owe it to a shop near the rented house,” said this father of two children.

Kuswandi enjoys a ready-to-eat meal from Free Meal Operation program. (ACTNews/Ubaidillah)

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Kuswandi has no choice. He wants to stay at home following the government regulation, but it certainly will risk his livelihood. Hence, he peddles around Jakarta to offer his service.

“I want to stay at home. Who doesn't want to be with one's family? If I stay at home, how can I eat? If I don’t eat, I can die. I have no choice apart from taking the risk while still following the health protocols," concluded Kuswandi.

To ease the burden on impoverished communities affected by the pandemic, ACT has launched various food provision programs, including Free Meal Operations, Free Food Operations, Humanity Careline. For medical purposes, there are Covid-19 Medical Careline Services. []