Come high water or hell, old teacher walks 18km daily to reach school
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): A poor schoolteacher, who cannot afford to pay public transport fares, walks 18 kilometers daily to reach his school in a remote area of eastern Kunar province.
Saiful Maluk, resident of a far-flung village of Asadabad, has been serving as a schoolteacher in the Watapur district of the province, bordering Pakistan’s tribal region of Bajaur.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, the 65 years old said: “I have no transport fare. On a daily basis, I walk through Asadabad to Watapur district.”
When he becomes hungry on the way to school or back home, the teacher eats the bread he takes from home.
“The distance between Sarkano area and Watapur is 18 kilometers and I traverse it daily. I receive 6,000 afghanis (less than $100) in monthly salary to feed my family,” he explains.
Maluk has a 10 members his family to support. He has an 18 years old son but he does not let him quit his studies. His son Abdul Halim says: “I have tried many times to find a job, but my father wants me to complete my education.”
Maluk owns an old house of three rooms, which have no windowpanes and doors. Unconcerned at the approaching winter, he is stoically content with a life of privations. He hopes for being transferred to a school close to his house.
Kunar Education Director Abdul Qahar Akhundzada said the teacher himself had opted for being posted in Watapur. “Of his own volition, he is serving there.”
Maluk has a special interest in teaching and wants to stay in the prophetic profession until the end of his life. Apparently, he is undeterred by physical exertion and old age.
A student of the secondary school, Ehsanullah, said pupils were happy with the teacher’s professional conduct. He described Maluk as a hardworking teacher who came to school regularly.
Shamsur Rahman, the school principal, hailed the teacher as a committed professional. He felt sorry for Maluk’s financial vulnerability and his daily, tiresome trek.
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