Hundreds of female vendors at the Mama-mama Market in Jayapura, Papua, shouted hysterically when President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and First Lady Iriana entered the market at 6:15 p.m. local time on Wednesday. Responding to their enthusiasm, the President approached the female vendors who waited for his arrival at their kiosks, shaking their hands one by one. “Thank you Pak,” said a mama, a nickname for a Papuan woman, to Jokowi.
Jokowi later bought herbs and vegetables, such as red chilies, galangale and tomatoes, from a vendor. He paid her Rp 100,000 (US$7.26) although they only cost Rp 10,000.
“How much does it cost, mama? Where do you get these tomatoes?” he asked.
“It’s Rp 10,000 per pile. I harvested these tomatoes from my own estate,” said Mama Lin Pakage. Jokowi and his entourage spent about 20 minutes at the market.
Some of the female vendors wore traditional Papuan costumes they specially designed for Jokowi’s visit.
“Pak Jokowi, we are happy and feel proud to have such a nice market. We, the vendors at Mama-mama Market, hope that Bapak will be re-elected as our leader again. All mamas here in the market are supporting Bapak,” said MamaNoni Togotli.
Noni, who sells fruit at the market, said she earned around Rp 500,000 to Rp 600,000 per day.
“This market is still new. Few people come to shop here. But all mamas here believe that with Pak Jokowi’s visit, blessings will come to us. More people will hopefully come to shop here,” she added.