Aji bin Akhir, railroad gatekeeper | Globalization | DW | 31.05.2012
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Aji bin Akhir, railroad gatekeeper

"My work is important as it prevents accidents from occurring on the crossings."

I am a gatekeeper in Jakarta. There are thousands of gatekeepers in the Indonesian capital city. They guard around 700 unsecured railroad crossings. My work is important as it prevents accidents from occurring on the crossings.

The crossing which I control is called Petamburan. I use a wooden beam made from bamboo as a barrier. As there is no official train schedule, I have to rely on my eyes and ears at work. The trains give out a loud whistle when they approach.

Accidents occur regularly because car drivers and motorcyclists ignore the barrier or try to somehow pass through it – even when it is lowered. The accidents happen because the drivers are careless. Nevertheless, I am almost always the one who is blamed by the families of the accident victims. Once I was even questioned by the police because of it.

I have five children. I only went to elementary school and so I am lucky to have this job. I can earn between 30,000 and 50,000 rupiah ($3.80 - $6.30) a day. The money I earn comes from the car drivers and motorcyclists who pass through my railroad crossing. It's not a lot, but I earn more than some factory workers in Jakarta.

Author: Zaki Amrullah / hw

Editor: Anke Rasper

Editor: Anke Rasper