Hi everyone. My name is Rissa, I'm a 31 years old Indonesian woman who lives in Bali with my toddler daughter.
I thought I would never expose myself in this way. But, I have been left with such few to no options on how to get out of my debts. I think I owe you more stories about this.
At the end of 2018 (around December), I was diagnosed with a cyst and an ovarian tumor. I had to get surgery immediately before they got malignant. Simple moves and walks were painful at that time. But, I didn't have any savings for the surgery. My salary was only enough to cover my and my daughter's monthly needs (including the rent, electricity, etc). It was test after test after test (and after so many medical test bills), on January 16, 2019, I decided to take the surgery in Balimed Hospital. On January 19, 2019, I had major surgery to remove the cyst and tumor, but the tumor had spread faster than the doctor assumed, so they had to remove my womb, completely.
I spent one week at the hospital. On the 6th day, the nurse came into my room to hand over the bill. I was alone, and she asked whether it's okay if she handed me the bill. I said yes. After the nurse left the room, I couldn't help myself to check the bill. And I was left in shock. It was way more than my health insurance could cover. I stare at the paper bill for so long not knowing how to get the money. The world seemed to stop at that moment. My mind was trying to understand what's going on. The number was double the amount of what I've been informed before because the plan was only to remove the cyst and the tumor. It was also because the room that's covered by my health insurance was full so I had to upgrade the room.
My health insurance was only able to cover 5% of the bill. I don't come from a rich family, so borrowing from my family won't help to cover the huge amount of bills. But unless I have something at that time, I couldn't check out from the hospital. So I borrowed from the company I was working in, from friends, colleagues, basically everyone I could think of. I was able to pay for the bill and went home to my daughter.
And it just went down hill since then. Only two weeks post surgery, I got myself back to work (eventhough the recovery needs 2 months). So I could pay all my debts. Before I was able to pay those debts, the pandemic hit Indonesia in early 2020. I lost my job, and lost my way.
I was able to keep us afloat for about 5 months with more loans from my good friends. I landed a job in October 2020. But unfortunately, the salary rarely cover my bills. So I had to find a way to cover my bills, pay off my friends, and give my daughter a decent life at the same time. Only one source seemed to make sense - online loans. In 2019, the online loan apps were growing rapidly. It seemed like an oasis for people who have limited options like me. So I applied, and got the loan. But to be able to pay for one loan, I had to borrow from three different loans, to cover the three I have to find six others, and it just goes on. Until this very day. And I'm so very tired and feel like giving up. But seeing my daughter grow bigger and smarter always with a smile on her face, I'm not going to give up.
I'm trying to sort this out one by one, but finally looking at my number, it scares me a lot. I'm now determined to take control of it, but I still need your help.
A few months ago, I tried to open a home catering to help cover our daily needs. But with the partial lockdown here in Bali, it's harder than I expected it would be. Especially in between working and raising my daughter. I also have a few translation jobs every now and then, but it's still not enough for me to cover my debts. I will keep on doing what I'm doing now, and your help will keep me to stay afloat.
My very dear friend also helped me by buying me a new camera and enrolling me in an intensive photography and social media course to level up my skills, so I can have more income and finally be able to have a financially stable life. I've always loved photography, and not only this is a dream come true, but it also shows me that there are always going to be people who can help me, and want to help me.
I was so afraid to ask for help at first. But I think it's okay to ask for help. We're human beings after all. We're made of kindness we offer to others, we're made of all the smiles we help to create, we're made of gratitude quietly whispered by the people we help.
I'm beyond thankful that you give your time to read this. Any amount of help you can give will mean the world to me and my daughter, even if it's $1.
I hope everyone is healthy and safe in this uncertain situations. May your kindness find its way back to you. :)