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Nothing stops octogenarian from farming…in the city

Kodoh proudly showing off her mini garden nearby the apartment she lives in.

11th January, 2019


PENAMPANG: As most senior citizens in the city prefer to stay at home and occasionally indulging in some activities, an octogenarian from Kiulu spends most of her day tending to her small garden in the city.

Kodoh Bondi used to be an active farmer in her village, until her health took a turn.

She needed medical treatment in the city which Kiulu does not have, forcing her to move in with her two children in Penampang.

“It is hard in the city as I could not do what I love – farming, just like in my kampung,” said the 80-year-old.

After adjusting herself to city living, she spotted a small plot of land behind her children’s four-storey apartment, which gave her an idea – the next thing she knew, she decided to arm herself with farm tools and toil the plot.

“Farming has always been in me and I decided to have my own garden,” she enthused.

“I could not stand just being at home the whole day doing nothing, because back in the village, I would wake up just before the sun rises and walk to my farm or paddy field to tend my crops and would only get home before sunset.

“Being a farmer was how I raised my family, that is why I spend most of my days farming and I am used to this lifestyle,” she said, recalling her bygone days in Dusun language.

She explained that she started planting crops in the mid of last year near a drain by the parking lot, but her yield was poor due to unfertilised soil around the drain.

Then she took matters into her own hands and began planting crops on a small unattended land nearby. She never looked back as her vegetable farm began flourishing.

Long beans, pineapple, pumpkins, tapioca, ground nuts, scallion, ginger, okra or lady’s fingers, cucumber, chili, and turmeric are among those that are planted in her small garden.

The granny of 28 stated that her children always ask her to stay at home as they are worried that she would overwork or injure herself. However, she insists on moving around and tending her plot to ‘make herself healthy’.

“Tending the garden is my way of staying healthy besides also providing us fresh food which is good as I only use organic fertilisers and nothing that is chemically-laced,” says Kodoh, adding that she only uses rice water to water her plants.

She disclosed that the reason why she grows turmeric and ginger among others is so that she can produce her homemade remedy for her leg pain.

“I would grind up all the ingredients, mix it up, heat it and patch it up on my legs by using a piece of cloth,” she said proudly as she explained that the remedies have been used for generations to cure wounds or aching legs.

Kodoh will tend her garden twice daily in the morning and evening, despite having a heart issue.

“This (heart ailment) is not an excuse for me to stay in the house. I don’t feel good if I stay in,” she chuckled. Amazingly, although Kodoh lives on the fourth floor, she doesn’t feel tired taking the stairs daily.

Kodoh has been living in the city for three years with her husband, two children, and two grandchildren.

Her 81-year-old husband also resides in the city to get easier access to medical treatment.

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