The Story of Maria Rosalina Agho Owa, the Teacher Who Travels Around with a Whiteboard

My name is Maria Rosalina Agho Owa, but people usually call me Ms. Rolin. I am a contract teacher in an elementary school in Nagekeo District, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting the world and eventually Indonesia, the government has begun implementing the School from Home (SFH) practice. Teachers are tasked to regularly visit students who have been grouped according to the zones they reside in.  

The clock indicates that it is 8 o’clock in the morning. Today I will visit the first learning location in the Pisa area using a motorcycle taxi or ojek. I bring my whiteboard as a learning medium. I am wearing a pair of rubber-soled sandals because I will have to walk quite far to reach the other learning spots.

In conducting the SFH activities, the teachers – including myself – always adhere to the health protocols. We all wear masks, keep safe distances from each other, and frequently wash our hands with soap.

Because today is Friday, we will learn to make arts and crafts using recycled materials. At school, I am entrusted to oversee the extra-curricular activities. And now, we are making lanterns!

Time passes by so quickly, and I now need to go to the next location. I pack up my equipment and whiteboard. I see Kanisius waving goodbye at me with a smile on his face. Initially, his parents would not allow him to join the SFH program. Thankfully, I managed to persuade them and Kanisius can now learn as he rightfully should.

The journey to the next learning location is by walking. One time, when I was walking to a learning location, my sandals got ripped, and my friend took a picture of that moment and posted it on Facebook. It’s so funny!

There are a lot of pride and emotions that I only feel after going through SFH. I see the passion and joy in those children whenever I come to visit and teach. I feel closer to them, and I understand each individual student’s needs better.   Because of this experience, I truly feel like a real teacher. It is my hope that I continue to be granted the strength to teach them for a long time. 

Written by: Cosmas Damianus Meze/ Ciptanti Putri | Illustration: Aida Rahma | Translated by: Siti Fatimah Ayuningdyah