On Monday we visited local village, Hamlet Kukusan.
Kukusan is a fairly typical Indonesian fishing village. Home to 70 families it is set on the foot of an island shaped like an anthill.
Fishing boats moor in the turquoise lagoon and children play on the jetty. Salted fish dries in the sun, and laundry hangs from ropes strung up between houses.
And on top of the hill, overlooking the ocean, is a small school.
50 students attend the elementary school on Kukusan, all of whom are taught by a single teacher who does her job for 300,000 Rp a month.
That's 30 dollars.
During my visit to the island Ibu Fitri showed me her home - a bamboo shack that is barely standing. The roof is not rainproof and the floor has so many holes in it that if you're not careful where you step you will fall right through it.
Her meals are provided in her contract, but all her other needs she must tend to herself. As you can imagine, this is not easy on 30 dollars a month.
(Seriously, THIRTY DOLLARS A MONTH)
She has no bed, no mattress. She has no crockery or cutlery. She has nothing.
She told me that more than 10 teachers had passed through the school in the past year, none of them staying because the conditions are so bad.
When I asked her what I could do to help her she said the children need notebooks and pencils. She said the children need books to read. She said the playing field for the children is very rocky and causes injuries and needed to be fixed. She told me that the school is being eaten by termites and needs to be refurbished.
What about a mattress? I asked her. Or a stove or a plate for you?
She covered her face with her hijab and her eyes glassed over and she grabbed my arm because I think she wanted to hug me and didn't know how.
* * *
I am at home. It is pouring with rain right now. Bucketing down. Monsoonal rain. The water is running in rivulets in front of my house, digging deep creases into the sand. The sea is angry and wild. The wind is howling and the thunder is making my walls shake.
It is almost unbearable knowing that she is across the sea - on an island far from home, away from her family, away from her daughter, to give these local children an education and provide for her own child - with nowhere dry to sleep.
I am opening up the #100BOOKS project donations page hoping to get support to provide safe and comfortable housing for teachers in remote villages. Without teachers there is no education for these kids. If you donate and want your donations to go towards sponsoring a teacher instead of buying books, please write a comment with your donation.
Please share with your friends. The smallest amount can make a very big difference to a local teacher.