Poverty in Kupang

A fantastic piece of writing about education in NTT.


Nick_SMAN3 entrance The main entrance to SMA Negeri 3 Kupang, one of the best public schools in the city.

It’s a common sight in Kupang—a thirteen or fourteen-year-old boy collecting fare money from uniformed school children as they pile out of his crowded bemo. The boy, like many others his age or even younger, works as a konjak, riding around on the bemo (minivans that serve as Kupang’s public transit system) that buzz around the city, hanging out the open side door, collecting fares from passengers, and trying to cram as many people into the vehicle as possible.

These konjak perform their duties with great enthusiasm. They shout at idle pedestrians as their bemo speeds past, jump out of the still-moving van to usher passengers inside when they call for a ride, and show hesitant customers where the few inches of free space are on the deluged benches inside the car…

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