Dreaming of a better life for herself and her family, Ni Ketut Jastini sells canang (religious offerings) at Sanglah market in Denpasar, to help with the family income. The 42-year-old mother of three shared her day with The Bali Times’ Arga Sagitarini I get up at six every morning, and like all housewives start cooking, cleaning and washing clothes, after my two sons leave for school. One is studying tourism; the other is still in high school. I also have a daughter but she’s married but still lives in Denpasar. Her and her husband have a baby, and she sells canang alongside me at Sanglah Market.

I’m finished all the housework by 11am. Then I relax and have something to eat, around 1pm. An hour later I set off for the market, which is about 10 minutes from home by motorbike. My husband takes me there, with the canang and equipment, during his break from the building-supply store where he works.

I started selling canang seven years ago. It’s the only thing I can really do to earn some money, and it’s been helpful to our family. Because of the money I earn, we can better afford to live and buy the things we want, as well as paying for the children’s education. We want them to have a better future than we’ve had.

I sell many kinds of offerings at the market. Before I started selling canang, I read a book about offerings in Denpasar. My husband and I are from Bangli Regency, where the traditions and offerings are different from Denpasar. That’s why I had to learn about the offerings here first.

My earnings are not constant, but I’m sure to make more when there are important ceremonies coming up, like Saraswati, Tumpek Landep, Galungan and Kuningan. During these times the prices go up and more people buy. It’s possible that I can earn Rp200,000 (US$22) in a day; on regular days, I make around Rp50,000. Usually canang cost Rp5,000 per 25, rising to Rp8,000 ahead of ceremonial days. Regardless of what I make, I thank the Gods for the money.

My husband buys all the materials required to make the canang, at Badung Market, and I make them with the different-colored flowers based on our belief in the direction of the Gods: red to the south; black or purple at north, as the symbol of Wisnu; white flowers are placed at the east; and yellow, west.

After he finishes work at 6pm, my husband comes to the market and helps me. We finish up for the day around 9pm, or later, around 11pm, if there’s a big ceremony. I pay Rp2,000 per day for my space at the market – they call it a half-day rate, as I arrive at 2pm.

When we get home, we sort through the canang that have not been sold and see if they are still in good-enough condition to the sold the next day. At midnight my husband goes to Badung Market to buy materials to make more canang – the basics of flowers and fruit. He gets back around 2am, and when everything is put away for the night, we go to sleep so we’ll have enough energy to face a new day.

We are hard workers because we have a dream of a good life.

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