To Embrace the Hefty as One

Muliati (37) lives in an orchard named Presak, Bonjeruk village, Jonggat, Central Lombok. The village Bonjeruk can be reached within 45 minutes by heading south with car or motorcycle from Mataram. Her tiny home surrounded by rice field spread and coconut plantation. Dragon trees and various vegetables filled the yard. We would have to pass by rice fields dike –about 250 meters away from roadway– to reach Muliati’s house, with aroma of rice field mud along our footsteps.

Although the house located side by side with cow stall, the surroundings look clean, even the cow stalls itself. “Ever since we use biodigester, we never have cow dung mound in the stall. We put it into the digester every morning. The stall becomes clean with no unpleasant smell,” Muliati stated. Her biodigester placed by the cow stall.

As an effort to optimize her biodigester, Muliati used its bioslurry to fertilize her rice field. Dried bio-slurry spread over the rice field when soil is treated or as rice done planted. “Bio-slurry has no smell and it is cold if we touch it. That marks its safety to be used as fertilizer,” Muliati explained. The knowledge attained from a visit by the staff who built her biodigester.

Muliati lives with her one year old child and her husband, Abdullah. Dollah –as how he usually called – works as a farm-laborer and tractor – machine used to plow fields – operator. When the season of plantation comes, he could rarely be home. He often sleeps at fields owners’ houses if the fields he has to plow located far from his home. Within this kind of situation, Muliati has to do all the tasks home on her own. “Nursing my child, making the meals, managing the plantation, getting grass for the cows,” explained the mother of her daily activities when her husband is away for work. “But since using biogas for cooking I have some spare time to clean the yard or taking care of my child or even any other task,” she explained further. In earlier times, she used firewood to cook.

Even though she has plenty of works to do, there is not a single whine out of her lips. “As a farm-laborer my husband has to work far away from home. I have to take his place on doing things around the house. I am used to it, not to depend on my husband,” said the energetic mother. As in a well-known proverb, to embrace the hefty as one, they cope with joy and sorrow together. (M. Ali Ikhsan)

23 July 2012