Nuryati: ‘My Income is Not Enough to Buy Food’

"Yes, every day I eat only rice with salted fish, sometimes fried tempeh and cengek (bird’s eye chili)," said Nuryati, one of the scavengers in Jatiwaringin Landfill.

Jatiwaringin landfill
Nuryati (right), a scavenger who lives in Jatiwaringin Landfill eats meal packages from Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT)’s Free Meal Operation, Tuesday (8/31/2021). (ACTNews/Ichsan Ali)

ACTNews, TANGERANG REGENCY – With hearts full of hope that they can find something to sell, hundreds of scavengers work among the hills of garbage in Jatiwaringin Landfill in Tangerang Regency. They scavenge for bottles, sacks, plastic bags, and scrap metal to sell. Nuryati (45), one of the scavengers, has been collecting scraps in Jatiwaringin Landfill for two decades.

Thousands of flies and maggots that she has to deal with every day don’t bother her. Nuryati, a mother of four and grandmother of nine, is used to the pungent smell of garbage.

"Every day, I come home with a little money, around IDR 30 to 40 thousand. It’s quite uncertain, it isn’t much, but it’s better than sitting idly at home," said Nuryati to ACTNews, Tuesday (8/31/2021).

Nuryati revealed that the earnings from scavenging are so difficult to fulfill their daily needs, especially food. “To buy rice, to buy snacks for the children, to pay for tuition fees, it’s barely enough. I eat only rice with salted fish, sometimes with tempeh and bird’s eye chili,” she said with teary eyes.

That day, Nuryati was finally able to eat better food. Aksi Cepat Tanggap partnered with NET Mediatama to distribute 1,000 healthy and nutritious meal packages through the Free Meal Operation. She never expected that she would eat a very delicious meal. "Thank you, the food is tasty. The rice is white. The fish and the chicken are delicious," said Nuryati with a smile. []