“I woke up because I felt pain in my ears. The air inside the plane was pressurized. I opened my eyes and it was in the morning when the airplane was flying through the clouds above Papua. The beautiful islands can be overlooked and within a short time, the airplane landed in Dominique Edward Osok Airport, Sorong, West Papua,” said Shinta Dwi Kurnia, a teacher of SM3T (The Scholars Teaching in the outermost, underdeveloped and frontier regions) in Saonek, Raja Ampat, West Papua.
“I have never thought to be here. Therefore, I will dedicate myself for education here,” she said.
Shinta said that it is not easy to reach her place. She has to take speedboat from Waisai, Sorong. Numerous small islands with the blue sky background are on the sides along the way to Saonek island.
“Saonek island can be reached for 20 minutes by speedboat or longboat from Waisai,” she said. “It was once government center of Raja Ampat from 2003 to 2005,” she added. The island is located in 4000 m2 area with 538 inhabitants who are culturally heterogeneous and have various occupations.
Fourty percent of Saonek island people are fishermen. Saonek village is surrounded by land vegetation. In the south of the village, steep hills are laid accompanied by coconut plantation. West beaches of Saonek are covered by mangrove vegetation dominated by Rhizopora, Avicenia, Bruguira and Soneratia alba.
Shinta teaches in Junior Highschool 1 Raja Ampat. It has simple buildings with wooden fence and a green yard. A quite big bell hangs in the middle of the building.
“The school only has 43 students for three levels,” she said. “In spite of limited condition, they are eager to go to school.” She teaches Natural Science and Communication Information Technology. Most of them are shy students including Otniel Agustus Gilipin.
“He is shy even just to see the person he is talking to. He will run to the back of the class when I asked him to read,” Shinta said. She has to do something to raise his confidence.
Generally, all students in this school have unique characters. They are clever but their potentials are hindered by poverty or reluctance to pursue education. Sometimes, they would like to choose to play on the beach or climb the tree rather than go to class. They are good at using a knife to chop coconut or almond.
They also choose not to wear their uniforms neatly. During the lessons, they are active students who tend to choose quiz method and reward.
Day by day, Shinta knows their characteristics. Basically, they long for a loveable teacher. “They respect and love me,” she said. “I am thankful to stand by them until September 2015,” she closed. (dedy)