Living abroad sure has its challenges. From learning new languages to adapting to different cultures, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from people who have successfully lived away from their hometowns. For Nuri Auger, a woman from Indonesia, living abroad means sharing Indonesian food with the people in her area and fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a farmer.
This Indonesian diaspora now lives in Baltimore, Maryland, the United States is actively introducing Indonesian culture through food to the residents there. As reported from Voice of America or VOA, she is sharing Indonesian cuisine with the community around Massachusetts by participating in markets. You can tell that despite the fact she has been living 16 years in the US, Nuri never forgets how to cook Indonesian staple food like sambal. Nuri is quite known in the Massachusetts area because of her cooking. Using only the freshest spices, Nuri prepares food like green beans with Padang curry and of course rendang. She also offers Jamu, an Indonesian spice drink known to have health benefits.
As the Pandemic continues, Nuri focuses on selling jarred sauces that she sold online all over the United States. Sold with the brand name O’ne Nuri, or Padang for Ibu Nuri, her sauces are known even to the diaspora on the other side of the country. Her sauces help to bring a piece of home away from home for the Indonesian diaspora in the United States.
Her efforts in sharing Indonesian culture through cuisines reaped benefits that she then gave to the Tree Magnolia or Yayasan Cempaka, a non-profit organization that she built with other Indonesian diasporas in Boston six years ago. The organization is built to help improve education for children and women in Labuan, West Java. During the interview with VOA, she stated that the sole purpose of what she does is because she loves Indonesia.
Nuri dreams of farming and her love of planting
Now, Nuri along with her husband, Mark Auger, who is working from home due to the pandemic, is taking on farming in Littleton, Massachusetts. They rented a land area of 39 hectares and planted them with apples, plums, and peaches. Mark noted that even before they had rented the land for farming, Nuri is very much a green person who loves to grow plants. In an interview with VOA, he stated that it doesn’t take much space to grow plants, that after Nuri lives with him in an apartment in Maryland their apartment soon becomes a jungle from the number of plants Nuri has.
“Farming was one of my dreams when I was still living in Indonesia” stated Nuri on her farm when interviewed by VOA. Her dream stems from her trips to Puncak, Bogor when she was growing up in Indonesia and looking at the freshly grown produce there.
Nuri noted that farming needs constant tending. Besides having to watch out for pests, in January when the weather in Massachusetts is cold and snowing, she has to prune her apple trees to not let them grow too thick. Another thing that she noted is the cost of vitamins or fertilizer that the plants need every year. As the harvesting season comes during the summer, Nuri has to give the trees its fertilizer to help with forming of fruits. With land as big as she has, the cost of chemicals she needs every year can go up to USD 40.000. But despite the high cost and constant tending, not to mention the effect it had on her once smooth hands, Nuri said that she is happy as long as she can play with soil and worms. Her gardening experience has also led her to appreciate the work of farmers. That they deserve our gratitude for growing the food we have on the table.
As the harvesting season came, the fruits are then supplied to various shops and supermarkets in Massachusetts. She also offers them along with Indonesian cuisines when she’s participating in markets. She even processed some of her apples and turns them into cider, then sell them, along with her homemade Jamu of ginger and turmeric.
Written by: Safaanah