26 October 2019
Malkangiri: Marianus Tete, headmaster of Gojiaguda Primary School in remote Khairput block of Malkangiri has an ordeal which he has to overcome for nearly eight months a year on a daily basis.
Tete has to cross Gojiaguda nullah, a perennial stream in chest-deep water to discharge his duties-teach students at the Gojiaguda Primary School. Neither there is a bridge over the hilly stream nor there a boat available to ferry him to the other side.
Thanks to the apathy of the powers that be a bridge the foundation of which was laid two years ago is yet to take-off from the ground.
Often he and the assistant teacher of the school Tapan Kumar Paikaray, like villagers and students from around five villages on the other side of the stream during the rainy season, when the stream swells to its brim cross it using inflated truck tubes or huge aluminium pots which serve as rafts.
"We face a lot of difficulty in reaching the school in the rainy season. We change our dresses and wear towels before entering into the stream and repeat the same to cross it over while returning after school is over," said Tete.
"Teachers face a lot of problems in reaching the school because of the stream. It's for two years foundation stone of a bridge was laid. Since then two years have elapsed but nothing has happened. The road too is bad. Our villagers too face a lot of trouble in commuting,” said a villager of Gojiaguda.
"I have joined Gojiaguda Primary School for the last two years. Ever since my joining about eight months in a year we reach the school by wading through chest-deep water in the stream. We use inflated motor tubes and big metal pots to cross the stream," said assistant teacher Paikray.
He a tribal, Tete comes to Gojiaguda, a village with a small population of Bondas, one of the 13 identified Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) in Odisha from Khairput, where his family resides since the school doesn't have staff quarters nor are houses available on rent in the village.
The school has more than 60 students on its rolls.
What is more appreciable than his dedication to teaching is that Tete has developed a beautiful garden around the school with flowering and vegetable plants, thus creating an atmosphere similar to gurukul in the olden days-a much cherished symbiotic relationship between the teacher and his pupils.
Vegetables grown in the school is used for preparing mid-day meals to be served to the students.
"We and students with the help of villagers grow flowers and vegetables in the school garden. Vegetables produced in the school garden is used for preparing mid-day meals for students," revealed Tete.