Siti Fadillah and her husband are always together, caring for their children and earning a living. After taking the children to school, they went to Kutuh Buah Market to sell porridge and chicken soup. “It was never called a separate sale,” Siti recalls when I met her one afternoon in March 2022. “It’s always the same thing, selling both.”
However, one day in 2017 became the first time they separated. Because of the situation’s demands, Siti had to sell around Buana Raya while her husband was still in the same place. Two weeks later was the second time they had parted – their final and forever farewell.
That night, perhaps after watching a football match, Siti’s husband had an accident and had to be hospitalized. Eight days later, Siti’s husband died. Siti also has to take care of her three children alone while treating the bitterness of losing her husband. “It took me a long time to start selling,” said Siti, with a teary eye that looked elsewhere, “It took me a long time to restore it, Mas.”
It will take at least a year for Siti to be able to carry out her usual activities. While recovering, she even took the time to take her son to Malang to register at the boarding school. Thankfully, while recovering, Siti received support from her friends. Slowly but surely, Siti began to rise and return to the routine of selling while taking care of her children.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Siti and her family were also affected, from household economic matters to their children’s education. “Economics, I can’t say anything, Mas. Thank God there is only luck for the children. It’s there. Well, just to eat, have snacks, that’s okay to buy. But anything that is not really essential, for this time, we need to cut it,” said Siti.
Luckily, for the matter of school fees, Siti got relief. But about work, when I asked her, she said she had not sold for seven months. “In the past, my contract at the front had expired. So I went straight home. I looked for it but couldn’t find it. Thank God I just got it. God willing, I’ll selling again on Monday.” said Siti.
In addition to daily needs, a smooth economy is essential for Siti to support the development of her children’s interests and talents. For example, for his second child’s interest in soccer — the child who is now in the second grade of junior high school has been enrolled in the Football School (SSB) since the 5th grade of elementary school.
“God willing, there will be an international tournament this September, and his club will represent the U14 now. Yesterday was U13. My son is a goalkeeper.” Siti said with a smile, and her eyes sparkled.
According to Siti, when her child was still in elementary school, he often cried when the goal was conceded. Seeing this tendency, Siti racked her brain to improve her child’s mentality. Siti found a goalkeeping coach who she thought was good.
“There, he just started mentally being managed by his coach. It’s starting to appear now. Yesterday, thank God, at DCT International, he got the best goalkeeper. Thank God.” said Siti with a smile that was still expanding.
Siti hopes that she can continue to be healthy. “When I am healthy, I can earn money for the children.” As for her children, “Let their goals be achieved. Keep their worship, God willing.”
Siti then excused herself for a moment and left, then she was back with her smartphone in less than five minutes. “Here, look, sir.”
I saw a player dribbling the ball past one or two players in the opponent’s defense. They all looked young – perhaps in their early teens. He then kicked his foot and shot the ball into the corner of the goal. Now it’s just him and the goalkeeper.
Quickly, the goalkeeper jumped and brushed the ball away. The ball bounced away from the goal, while the goalkeeper immediately rose after landing on the ground. I don’t know what he said, but he seemed to be giving directions to his friends.
Pointing to the goalkeeper, Siti said proudly, “That’s my son, Mas. That’s my son.” I glanced at Siti; she stared at the screen with sparkling eyes and a happy smile. (Eka)
Siti Fadillah and her family are one of the beneficiaries of the Family Bucket — a bucket with basic needs that we distribute to single mothers with school children in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.