Jakarta. The morning before sunrise has always been a busy time for students and tea farmers at Tugu Utara village in Bogor, West Java.
Every morning, the Cikoneng Elementary School students would wait for a truck. They would go to school together with the local tea farmers. Sitting at the foot of Mount Kencana, the school and the tea plantation are only separated by a yard the size of a soccer field. The students have to hitchhike a truck to pass through the rocky, damaged road.
The rainy season has worsened the already poor road conditions. With roads becoming more slippery, many teachers and students are choosing to walk instead of riding their motorbikes so they would not fall. They have also been struggling with the road access issues since the school came into existence in 1994.
These difficulties, however, do not dampen the students’ enthusiasm to go to school. They are never at their wits' end. The students and their beloved non-permanent teachers will find a way through the small aisle inside the tea plantations as a shortcut.
About 140 children are studying at the Cikoneng Elementary School. Most of them are children of tea farmers from three hamlets in Tugu Utara village.