"The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim." The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 74.

There was a very heavy rain pouring last night. The temperature was extremely cold. The rest of the rain still could be felt in this Tebing Raya Village, a faraway village in Sintang District, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. It was a place where there was no lights, no electricity. A place where there was no skyscraper, no highway, and even school. The village is surrounded by the notorious Melawi river and extremely great, and beautiful tropical forest.

The sky was blackish and dark. It was four in the morning. The drizzle continued to pour although not as tight as last night. Almost all of the people chose to continue their sleep.  But, me, a seventeenth years old boy, chose otherwise. I chose to wake and start to build my dream. I jumped up and headed straight to the Melawi river. I am Ahmad, a twelfth-grade student at One Roof High School in Tretung Village, Sintang. My view only focused on my small pinnace. The watercraft tethered in front of my family’s lanting, a small wooden house on the riverside. The floor of my pinnace already filled with water. So, it was my duty to scoop it or the water would drain the pinnace. It just the only vehicle that my friends and I could use when we went to school.

It took one hour to scoop it. Then I took bath, did dawn prayer, breakfast, and saying goodbye to my parents. My next job then was to pick up my friends in the upper course of this river. They lived in the next-door village, in Mungguk Bantok Village, and in Klakau Jaya Village. The two villages that had the same condition with my village, no electricity, no proper road or street just a simple footpath. The villages were just connected with water transportation due to the unavailability of land transportation. Although the Tretung Village, the location of the school was in the lower course.

I started to withdraw the pinnace rope engine and the adventure through this river just started. For the first time, I picked up Umar in Mungguk Bantok. He already waited in his lanting. He jumped and entered to the pinnace eagerly. The next was Chandra in his lanting too, not far from Umar’s lanting. The pinnace then fully filled with all of my friends. It got overcrowded again and again.

The overlay of Melawi river which covered with the cliffs that full of the wilderness was a sight of our two hours journey to the school. The haze and the residual dew was hovering over the water. The river’s stream was extremely swift this morning.

“Ahmad. The stream is too swift. It is so dangerous. Please, be careful.” said Ani.
“Yes, Ani. It is not usual stream today. I hope Allah will still make us safe.” I replied.

Everybody in this pinnace looked tense. Each of them started to pray. We got tense. We forgot our talk, our chat, our laugh. I myself felt scared too. The stream was extremely swift and dangerous. The pinnace which was controlled by me could suddenly drown if something like a big rock hit this pinnace. It was heavy right now and I really watched out the steering tool. Suddenly, all of us shocked because of a loud sound.


“Oh My God!” Ani yelled.

Other friends became panic too. Our pinnace broke on the front side because of the hit. I tried to soothe them.

“We will be okay. Don’t worry guys.”
“Okay, what? We will drown immediately, Mad. Look at the floor.” said Umar fearfully.

Actually, we were not worried about drowning. All of us are great swimmers. But, something we worried about was the Tapah fish. Tapah fish is a predator fish that very malignant and dangerous. Not just Tapah fish, we also worried about the crocodile. And, it meant that if the pinnace broke, we could not go to school.

The situation became chaos. We were really sad. Our uniform became wet. Fortunately, someone coming.

“What happen? Why all of you looked panic? Is the pinnace get hitted?” a fisherman stood and asked us.
We were getting excited. God helped us through this uncle.
“Yes, it is. Please help us Uncle.” said Ani.
“How poor you are. Okay, come in. Let me escort all of you. To the school right?”
“Yes. Thank you very much, Uncle.”

All of us could not hide our smile. He soothed us. We started to move. Poor my pinnace. It was who knows how many times already that old pinnace become broke. It was a very dangerous adventure today. Luckily for us, today there was a kindhearted person passing by and helped us. I could not imagine what would happen next if there was no one.

That problem was one of our several problems that usually happen. The nature condition was the original thing that all of this problem happened. In the dry season, we would get the most severe problem like the death of the pinnace engine. The engine would easily death if the sand got into the engine. The solution was only to take apart of the engine and it took hours to clear the sand from the engine.

All of us willing to do all of this due to our dreams. I, myself, really wanted to make my parents smile. The poverty always would be my concern. I also wanted to bring lights to this dark village. I wanted to bring electricity and a good road to my beloved village. I wanted to bring to this village, knowledge. The village condition was so pathetic. Even my parents, they were still illiterate. It was my duty to make a change. I would not let the next generation felt the same condition as what we felt before. It was our duty to make the education better, so the society would get good development.

The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim. How could we search for knowledge when we illiterate? The first order from our God too was to read. Because the knowledge was the lights. It would make our life brighter and make us away from the dark.