Magelang- Ngatini, 33 years old, is still enthusiastic cleaning volcanic ash around Merapi observation post at Babadan, Magelang. It’s been four days that she can do activity after Merapi’s status was lowered into “alert”. However, the place that is often visited by tourists to see Merapi is still quiet.
There are only few people wanting to see the recent condition of Merapi. The peak is still covered in cloud. Therefore, they did not stay there for a long time and decided to go home before the heavy rain.
Generally, Ngatini can make money from visitors coming there by selling instant noodles, snacks and soft drinks that are available in her small stall. But now, Ngatini does not have any goods left at her stall that was built nine years ago. There are only two bottles of mineral water there.
It is not because the goods are sold out, but all goods were stolen by thieves. It happened when she and the Babadan post guards ran to save their life when Merapi erupted last October. Her stall was only four kilometers from the peak of Merapi.
Ngatini was tough facing all of this. The 3.3 meter bamboo-walled stall became her daily income source to feed her two children. At least, everyday she got 30,000 – 40,000 thousands rupiah from the people who bought the snacks. “When there are no buyers, I went to collect grass to feed the cow,” she said explaining that someone had asked her to care for the cow.
Ngatini also has a land planted with chili and cauliflower around Merapi slope. Now, her field can not be planted anymore. From the cauliflower, she can get additional 50,000 rupiah every week.
“I don’t have anything now, I must start from the bottom,” she said, cleaning the shovels.
Similar to Ngatini’s condition, Sabar, 40 years old, a man who used to be parking man at Babadan post admitted that he had just started his activity after a month staying at IDP camp. Before the eruption, he used to be a guide for mountain climbers. But now, he is with four friends only, becoming parking men. Like his name, sabar means patient, so he has to be patient waiting for Merapi to be back to normal in order he can do his job again. Time passes, Ngatini and Sabar should think how they can get money. They are subsidized with 5 kilograms each week by village officers at Babadan 1 hamlet.