Comfort Food Helps Indonesian Maid Recover

By webadmin on 01:09 pm Nov 18, 2010
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Kinanti Pinta Karana

Jakarta. Sumiati, the Indonesian domestic worker who endured horrific abuse allegedly at the hands of her employers in Saudi Arabia, is reportedly showing signs of improvement.

Didi Wahyudi, an official at the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah involved in providing protection for Indonesian citizens in Saudi Arabia, told the Jakarta Globe that Sumiati’s recovery was “impressive.”

“Sumiati is improving both physically and mentally. For example, her appetite is back. I visited her today and she asked for bakso and rice,” he said.

“It is a holiday in Saudi Arabia so Indonesian restaurants are closed, but we were so happy to see how much she has improved that we made some bakso for her at the consulate.”

Sumiati, he added, had stopped crying and was beginning to talk more.

“Her mental recovery is impressive. Indonesian comfort foods like rice, bakso and tofu have helped her to relax,” Didi said. He added that the hospital had eliminated bread from her diet, fearing it could trigger flashbacks to the abuse she suffered.

“After she was tortured, her employers would give her a piece of thin bread and water. That’s all she ate to survive, so whenever she sees bread it reminds her of the abuse,” he said.

Sumiati, 23, has been hospitalized in Medina since Nov. 8 after suffering horrific abuse. Her extensive injuries include cuts around her lips, believed to have been made with scissors, and internal injuries.

An outraged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered a minister to travel to Saudi Arabia to handle the case personally.

“I want a mission to leave for Saudi Arabia to ensure she gets the right treatment, the best medication,” the president said on Tuesday.

Linda Gumelar, the state minister for women’s empowerment, will lead the mission to Saudi Arabia but she is still waiting for a visa from the Saudi Embassy in Jakarta.

“According to the information I received today, the visas for Ibu Linda and her team have not been granted,” Didi said.

Meanwhile, Anis Hidayah, director of the NGO Migrant Care, said her group would hold a rally in front of the Saudi Embassy on Friday to protest human rights violations involving Sumiati and other migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.