We are so happy to have found a sponsor for our angel massage therapist SUKERTI’s daughter by the name of Luh Putri Astiti Lestari.
Sukerti is one of five children at home, the fourth born with three elder brothers and one younger sister. As is customary, a woman moves in with her husbands family after marriage. Usually it is the custom of Bali to have the boy stay at the house of the parents, and the son’s wife, the daughter in law, moves in with the husband’s family after their wedding. However, Sukerti’s husband comes from a family of nine children!!! He has four brothers and four sisters. This meant hardship for Sukerti and her husband if they wanted to stay.
As Sukerti’s husband has four brothers, who also are married and, now were living with their wives and all of their offspring in the paternal compound, space became much too small for all the children, wives and grandchildren.
Taking maters into their meager hands, Sukerti and her husband both decided to move out of the family compound to make space for the others and to go live on their own. There were simply too many people living in the family compound now.
As is custom the inheritance flows in the line of the men, and is inherited from father to all the sons. Their wives leave their family home behind.
Normally this system works, as long as there is a boy born. The problem only starts, when there are only girls born, which is the reason why many Balinese families have more than two children. But they can still borrow a male descendant from a close by other relative. Also a nephew can be adopted later on in life who will then take care of the aunt and uncle who didn’t have a boy.
In Sukerti’s case, due to her husband having too many brothers who all were now living at the same family compound, Sukerti and her husband moved out on their own.
Luckily Sukerti’s husbands grandfather owned land, and so they were able to construct a simple hut from bamboo, and not have to pay off a loan. They have made a bamboo house consisting of one room, and an outdoor kitchen, just under the roof line. The bathroom is outside,consisting of a screen made by coconut leaves, and with water being carried in from a near by river, (about 300 meter) by Sukerti or her husband, in buckets. This means always cold water for washing up. They dug out a hole for the out door toilet.
Together they are happy to have a space on their own, as living within a family compound takes a toll on the emotions as conflicts have to be solved, often meaning silent. Being silent is the norm for handling emotions that come up. That is often overlooked in our western nostalgic view of life in the extended family.
As Sukerti now works it is the husband and not the grandmother, who takes care of their daughter. And as of this writing November 2014 Sukerti is pregnant with her second child.
Both of them live off his wife’s (Sukerti’s) salary. While they still lived with the family, Sukerti’s husband was able to work, but as space grew too sparse, and they moved out, and since Sukerti was working full time, the husband was needed at home to take care of their child, which usually would be done by the grandmother. But the grandmother is not yet 55, she also is still working. She is helping another person sell rice. She is making 2.50 USD / 2 Euro per day, working 9 hours from 5 o’clock in the morning till 2 pm in the afternoon.
It is clear that even when a family has one job, it is barely enough to make ends meet. This is the reason we try to find longterm sponsors who will stay with the family and help with the school funds, which start the time the child goes to the Kindergarten.
Thank you very much BROOK!!!! Here is our beautiful Sukerti posing as a model!