Mawardi’s story: Recovering from tragedy

تم النشر: 17 ديسمبر 2008 0:00 CET

Megan Rowling, British Red Cross in Indonesia This is the third in a series of nine profiles/case studies, looking at how Red Cross Red Crescent has helped people to rebuild their own lives after the tsunami in Indonesia.

When the Indonesian government slashed fuel subsidies in May, raising the price of petrol by a third, there were angry protests as families felt the pinch. But Mawardi, who runs a small petrol station in Panton village, in Aceh Jaya district, says he’s benefiting from the hike.

“Fuel is something people need every day,” he said. “Now the price is very good. It’s the number one business round here.”

Every day, the 62-year-old buys 80 litres of petrol which he then sells on in small amounts, mainly to motorcyclists, at a small profit. And if customers are hungry or thirsty, they can pop into the kiosk run by his wife Jaflinar next door.


The 2004 tsunami killed nearly a fifth of the district’s population of 99,000. Mawardi and Jaflinar were among those who lost a loved one.

“I had two sons. One was washed away, and we never found his body. He was 17 years old,” she says, blinking away tears. “I still feel so sad.”

Mawardi, whose lower leg had been amputated before the tsunami, survived by climbing a tree despite his prosthetic limb.


The couple have slowly rebuilt their lives. They moved into a house built by the British Red Cross, and Jaflinar restarted her kiosk with a cash grant. Their remaining son recently graduated from school.

Last August, Mawardi decided to put his new assets to good use by taking out a two-year loan backed by the land title the Red Cross helped secure for owners of the houses it built in the Teunom area.

With the money he borrowed from Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Mawardi bought a bechak pedi-cab and set up the petrol station, located on the main road running along the west coat of Sumatra from Banda Aceh to Medan.

While they would like access to more cash to expand their businesses further, they are wary of getting too far in debt. “If we take a bigger loan, I’d be afraid we wouldn’t be able to pay back the money. And if the bank took our house, I don’t know where we’d sleep,” says Jaflinar.