“My name is Ma'ruf and I was born on Madura Island near Java. My parents were farmers, and I'm one of nine children.
“People know me as a simple man, diligent and self-disciplined. I was a buffalo shepherd and also played the bamboo flute while tending to them. I attended school for only four days in the first grade and then never returned. In those days, I walked two kilometers to attend classes and a man would follow me along the way. My parents couldn’t take me because they were busy with the farm and I was too scared to go back to school.
“My mother passed away when I was 12, and I wandered alone around Bali at 13, selling satay and hats in Legian Beach for two years. While I still miss my mother, during those days, I worked harder to distract myself. I worked for a friend who created and sold local crafts. Later, I met my wife and then we had two sons. Having children has made me responsible for their future and I want them to be educated and eventually graduate from university.
“After saving enough from a previous job, I joined my brother in renting a shop. We make our creations look different. Bali is a wonderful place with so many tourists coming everyday visiting this paradise island and many of them like our crafts. This has helped our shop grow faster and we’ve also expanded the variety of items we offer.
“Our workshop has seven people creating items. I manage this shop and the workers here, while my brother sells our crafts. We use bamboo, ate, wood and paint along with handheld tools like hammers, scissors, sand paper and a weaving loom to make our crafts.
“We hope Novica will help us to introduce our culture around the world.”