The Jakarta Post
A 6.6-kilometer road being built by the Indonesian Military (TNI) in collaboration with the local administration in a remote area of Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), will give students and farmers better access to schools and markets.
Built under the TNI Manunggal Membangun Desa (military builds villages) community service program, the road connects the village of Lada in Watu Baur, Reo district, with Rura in West Reo district.
Until recently, students of Lada had to walk some 13 kilometers around a hill every morning to go to the Satu Atap Junior High School in Rura. They had to walk the same distance to get home in the afternoon.
They had to leave home at 5:30 a.m. to get to school at 7:30 a.m. They leave school at 1 p.m.
Parents who own a motorcycle would take the same route to bring their children to school.
“It has been going on for a long time. Yet, they are always upbeat. The students here understand the importance of education,” Watu Baur subdistrict head Albinus Ken Lambung told The Jakarta Post recently.
The situation was similar for farmers in the subdistrict selling their agricultural produce outside of their village.
“Until recently, they hired a man to carry their produce for Rp 15,000 (US$1) per sack or a motorbike taxi for Rp 30,000 per sack,” Manggarai Military District Commander Lt. Col. Inf. Rudy M Simangunsong told the Post.
Building a road through rocky terrain and over steep slopes could be very challenging for the people and local administration, he said.
“Military personnel assigned to Reo and West Reo often see students from Lada walking 13 km to get to school and then back every day,” Rudy said.
Manggarai Regent Deno Kamelus inaugurated the program on Feb. 26, and the construction work was scheduled to be completed within a month.
Three excavators belonging to the local public work agency were deployed to help make a way where there was none. At least 150 military personnel and dozens of residents are involved in the work.
Manggarai Deputy Regent Viktor Madur also welcomed the project, saying the road would ease the distribution of agricultural products from the region and cut short trips to school for the students.
“With the new road, it no longer takes hours to go from Reo to West Reo and vice versa,” Viktor said. (swa)