My Everyday Passion: Thomas's Story

People will recognize me easily. They say I am a very active and playful child. My name is Abner Thomas. My friends and people in the village calls me Thomas. I live with my grandparents due to the economic situation of my parent.

I am from a village in East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. The weather is pretty hot here and the sun rises earlier than any other area in this country.

The land where I live is called Island of Timor, part of Indonesia. It is divided between Timor Leste, on the eastern part, and Indonesia, on the western part. The Indonesian part, also known as West Timor, constitutes part of the province of East Nusa Tenggara. The island covers an area of 30,777 square kilometres (11,883 sqm)

Every day I wake up at 5a.m.

Thomas 1Water is not available here in my village. So, when it is the rainy season, every family will collect the rain water to be used for many purposes. One of them is for bathing. I like to make people happy so my future goal is to help build my village. I hope I can find ways to provide water for all people in my village.

My parents are farmers and so are my grandparents. Their average monthly income is just around USD 30.00. Therefore, I realize how hard they have worked to provide meals in the house. Before school, I usually have breakfast myself while my grandparents are working at the farm or preparing other things for the day.

This is my classroom. It is located not far from my grandparents’ house but it is far from my parents’ house. ChildFund and its local partner contributed to many programs and events in our school for a long time.

Thomas 2The changes in the teachers’ methods is starting to take place. I like to study here. My school does not have a sufficient number of teachers to properly teach all students in school. Sometimes, it slows down the teaching activity until the replacement teacher is available.

I like everything about school. I study there and play with friends, too. The excitement seems to stay all the time.

Working as farmers, my grandparents could not expect much income from one job only. They also raise some livestock animals at the back of the house as financial investment for any emergency need. Many times, it will be sold and the money will be used for the cost of traditional events. I help my grandparents to feed the livestock in the afternoon.

Our people are still practicing some traditions that are actually very expensive. Due to its prestige in the society and poor financial plan, the tradition turns to be a heavy burden for the poor families.

Thomas 3After feeding my grandparents’ livestock, in the afternoon I hang out with my best friend. Often times we roam the fields through our village’s small forest to go explore. My best friend is an expert in using a slingshot. He made his own. We usually target fruits and wild pigeons or wild chicken in the forest. I am afraid of snakes. So when we find snakes, I run, and I’ve become the fastest sprinter in the village.

If I don’t hang out with my friends, I stay home and do my hobby, which is cooking. Yes, I can cook rice and simple dishes to help my grandmother. I am good at cooking stir-fry vegetables, which my grandmother likes so much. I get the vegetables from our garden, and mix it with spices I can find in the kitchen. I am also good at cooking a traditional staple, which is a mix of beans, rice and corn. We eat them for dinner. After cooking, I help cleaning up the house and wash the dishes, so when my grandparents get home from working in the field, I can make them happy by seeing the house tidy and the food ready. I love my grandparents for taking care of me, and will do anything to help them have a happy life.

Often my grandparents work until late at night handling our crops, so I have to eat dinner alone. In times like this, I always wish that I could have my parents and siblings around me. They come to visit me sometimes but it is not as much as I hope. There are plenty of families in this area who have to live in separate place from their main family. I am not the only one. I will finish my dinner and then work on my home works from school. I go to sleep not too late at night, as soon as I finished studying, before it gets freezing.