Friday, July 16, 2010

Time for Bread

It's 5:30pm and time for the bread man to power his dough-laden motorbike down the narrow lane to the village of Warung Bambu in Karawang Timur, west Java.
In the cool of near dusk, the villagers congregate along the roadside and cheer as Pak Sarkim arrives. He toots a horn strapped to his handlebars.

"I've been selling bread for 28 years," Sarkim said. "I'm not afraid of my competition." He sells ten different types of bread-based good including doughnuts, sweet buns, and turnovers. "I like the peanut-flavoured ones best," Sarkim laughed, admitting he eats at least one a day.
Sarkim transports his baked goods in a wooden cabinet attached to the back of his motorbike. He made the cabinet himself. "I've only had the bike for a year. I used to deliver bread by becak." A becak is a three-wheeled bicycle with a bucket seat in front for passengers and the peddler immediately behind. "It's much faster now that I have a motorbike."

Sarkim starts each morning with 250 pieces baked by nephew Dodi. "If I sell out by the afternoon, I don't have to work in the evenings," he said, although sales are usually best between 5:00 and 6:00pm.
At the end of May the little lane leading to the village of Warung Bambu was made concrete - part of a village improvement programme by a department within the Ministry of Public Works.

"Oh, it's much easier to travel through the villages now we have real roads," said Sarkim. "My bike doesn't swerve on the rocks and needs less maintenance, and the path no longer floods." Local resident Caca Hidayat agrees: "The road used to be rock and dirt. When it rained we had to lift up our trousers and be careful where we trod."

Suddenly there was a small commotion. Ten-year old Dedi had found a lizard.
The surrounding area is considered to be one of the rice belts of west Java and the roads bear heavy wear from the transport of unhusked rice.

Behind the Scenes: Art Director sweeps the new 2.2m-width road with a witch's broom prior to the photo shoot. Photograph below by Melbourne.

1 comment:

  1. I love the picture with all the people crowded around 'Bread Man' - He looks extremely popular! I'd like to try one of the doughnuts.

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