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'The Eucalyptus Woman'

Conducted on: 01-06-2017
Published on: 30-06-2017 
Written by: Ingrid Bremmers


“The money that I make will go to my children’s education. In that way I hope they can have a better education than I did.”

It started off the same as when we had the interview with Rio: walking to an interview with two men from the government in front of us and sweat dripping down our faces. But as soon as we started to get of the main road and climb up a tiny hill the atmosphere started to change. If felt like we were in a different part of town where there were less people. The silence was present. We slowly approached the door of 'the eucalyptus woman', a beautiful thirty-five-year old woman from Kaibobo. As soon as she saw us through the window she made her way to the door. She greeted us with a smile and let us all into  her house. A house that she shares with her husband and three children. A house painted so green that it made me think of the hills surrounding Kaibobo. The hills that she calls her home. A place where she lives six days of the week to work on her husbands' farm. Where one day a week she gathers eucalyptus leaves with her friends to immediately sell it to an eucalyptus farm in the village. Something that she has been doing since she was fourteen-years-old.

At that time she had to work because her living condition was not well and she had to help out her parents. The parents, who she gave a part of the money to. The other part went to the rest of her family and the rest went to herself to save up for later.
Now the situation is different. She likes her job because she can help her husband with the financial situation and in this way she can manage her own finance. Like said before, she does this six days a week so she can provide money for her family. During those six days, her children live with her family. Picture yourself in this situation. Providing income for your children just so that they can have a better education than she had (she finished junior high school). She hopes that with this education her children become teachers.  

That is what she has in mind when she carries 30kg of eucalyptus on her head during a thirty-minute walk back to the village. And to give you, the reader, a simple fact in the middle of this interview: a woman carries material on her head, men carry it on their shoulders. The money that they collect goes, besides to their families, to the church. The church, where she prays for her future to be the same as the situation she is in right now: independent and happy. Happy because “living with my husband and children is already enough.”

*She preferred to stay anonymous

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