Mugiyem' Story:

Not much has changed from Mugiyem's daily life in this pandemic. Her routine remains the same, starting from farming to feeding the goat which she maintains from the “Mendo Manunggal” program, one of the local church programs to improve the congregation's economy with a rowdy goat system. She planted corn in a farm about 1 km away from her house. Mugiyem did not give up even though some time ago cassava and rice failed to be harvested and when planted with peanuts, the plants were completely destroyed and eaten by monkeys.

However, lately she felt painful in her kness and sometimes it is difficult to bend and forced her to stay at home so she cannot go to her farm. The treatment is not that easy, in addition to limited funds for treatment and transportation, she is also worried if she goes to the Community Health Center given the corona virus is currently spreading so she chooses to remain at home.

Mugiyem, who at the beginning of July had turned 76, lived with Suryani, her only child who has down syndrom. At the age of 30 years Suryani could not help Mugiyem in the farmland. Mostly she stays at home, watching videos, sweeping or washing her clothes. For Suryani, the cleanliness and neatness of the clothes she wears is the most important.

"Every day I pray to God that I will never be left alone. I am grateful for everything I have, including my aching knee, I am grateful," she said when YAKKUM Emergency Unit (YEU) team met her that afternoon. She remembered a few years ago, the roof of her house had collapsed. Luckily no one was hurt. Mugiyem was confused and thought about how she could fix the roof of this house while she did not have enough money. But sometime later, her neighbors and donors from the church who heard this incident came to help and repair the roof of her house and even renovated the cracked walls.

Mugiyem told us that at the end of last May there were volunteers who come to survey the church members who were affected by covid-19 and needed help. Mugiyem claimed not to have received assistance from anywhere at that time. In June-July, Mugiyem was visited twice by officers from the Post Office who delivered cash with amount Rp. 600,000. The cash transfer program is supported by YEU in collaboration with the local church. The program is intended for families who were affected by Covid-19, poor and at-risk such as families with female family heads, families with disabilities, older people and those who have chronic illnesses, as well as families with more than 4 dependents. The distribution of cash transfer was carried out by Post Office officials at sub-district who visited the beneficiary's houses directly. Mugiyem said she was happy that she did not have to come to the post office to collect money, especially since her activities were also mostly at home so that the post officer did not encounter any problem when delivering cash.

"I use the money for daily needs such as seasonings, clothes for my daughter. Before I get this assistance, yes…I tried whatever I could to meet daily needs, but with this assistance, it helped me. Moreover, my knee hurts, sometimes I can't even bend it. So, I also use it for knee injections," she said.

Mugiyem is one of 150 families who received cash-transfer assistance during this pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic indeed has impacted all members of society. However, the impact cannot be generalized because one and the other certainly have different experiences and face different things. Therefore, supports in order to respond to the impact of co-19 need to consider the different needs for each person. At the same time as an effort to support each other and believe that we all—to quote the word and hope of Mrs. Mugiyem—would never be left alone.


The story has been published in Human Impact Story, July 2020