Yeyet and Arifin’s Bitter Struggle for Their Family

Yeyet and Arifin have been struggling hard to support their family. In addition, the couple who live in Cirebon also have to support their paralyzed child.

yeyet and arifin
Yeyet feeds Elis, her third child who is paralyzed. (ACTNews/M. Ubaidillah)

ACTNews, CIREBON – It was sunny in Kasepuhan Village, Lemahwungkuk District, Cirebon City when ACTNews was there on Tuesday (10/12/2021) at 9 a.m. But Yeyet was happy for that day’s weather because she was able to dry her clothes that she had just washed. Her laundry was so much that she had to divide it into several batches.  

“I wash my laundry in batches so that it can fit in the bucket. I haven’t washed my laundry in a week, so it piled up,” said Yeyet.

She washed her clothes in front of her house that is located near Lemahwungkuk River. The sound of the splashing water was heard amid the noise of the vehicles and the chirping birds.

Yeyet’s eldest child was busy making a mixture of grated cassava and oncom while Elis, Yeyet’s third child who suffered from paralysis, was sitting quietly on a wheelchair. “We have to make the snacks outside because it’s too stuffy inside the house,” said Yeyet.

In her small house lives Yeyet and her husband Arifin, their four children, their grandchild, and a son-in-law. There is only a small living room in the house and a toilet. Cooking utensils were seen piled in front of the TV. When it rains, the roof often leaks, and the ceiling tiles collapse.

Though it was sunny that day, the house was dark inside. There’s only one window inside the house, and it is blocked by a cupboard. Inside the house, Arifin was seen frying the fried snacks they were about to sell.

Yeyet sells her fried foods. (ACTNews/M. Ubaidillah)

According to Arifin, his house has no papers, so it is difficult to get help from the government. He can only hope that he will somehow receive assistance to renovate his house.

“My family sleeps and bathes every day in this house. In the morning, I help make and fry the snacks while my wife takes care of my third child who is sick. In the afternoon, my wife sells the snacks while I take care of my child,” said Arifin to ACTNews while frying tofu.

This family’s only source of income is from selling fried snacks. If Yeyet is lucky and able to sell out all of the fried snacks, she can make a profit of IDR 200,000. When business is quiet, she struggles just to earn IDR 50,000.

“If I can’t sell all of my snacks, I give them away to pedicab drivers, parking attendants, scavengers, or beggars sitting on the side of the road. They will go stale the next day so it’s better to give them away than to throw them away,” said Yeyet.

In addition to selling snacks she makes herself, she also sells on consignments snacks made by others. She earns a profit of IDR 500 for each one. “Before I made my own snacks, the snacks that I take from others never sold out. The person who makes the snacks scolded me. ‘Never take snacks from me ever again!’ she said,” added Yeyet.

The front side of Yeyet's house. (ACTNews/M. Ubaidillah)

Once, the family was so penniless that Arifin resorted to theft, resulting in him going to prison twice.

“’I had no idea where to get money for food, for our child’s treatments. I am sorry that I did this,’” said Yeyet imitating her husband.

Now, they only want to do decent and halal jobs, from selling snacks, birds, being a motorcycle taxi driver, or a laundry worker.

Yeyet hopes that their livelihood can improve so that Yeyet and Arifin can treat their paralyzed child. Though Yeyet herself suffers from a disease in her neck, what’s important for her is her children’s well-being. []