School of the Sea

When home is a sailboat, the 115 Hp dingy becomes the kid’s school bus, and today, anchored in a bay just outside Maumere Indonesia, at Sea World Resort,  our classroom is five star. I land on shore, backpack heavy with lesson plans, swimmers, stationary, a radio, textbooks, and a laptop, and walk barefoot towards the restaurant. I dump the supplies on a white tablecloth, no longer at risk of curry stains, but leaky ink and a wayward scissor strikes. Sand between my toes, a waiter at my hip, and the ocean in front, I teach an eight-year-old boy English, Math, Science, and how to stay on tasks when waves crash and Bob Marley blares from a fluoro boom box.

When the school bell chimes (a ting of silverware on glass), the dingy picks up my backpack and my student and I, having replaced the morning’s sport-time with seashell collecting, swim back to the boat. For a westerner on the Island of Flores,  living is as easy as signing your name. Waterlogged boats deliver groceries, jewelry, and beer and dinner is a buffet starting at 7. You may not know exactly what you’re eating, but being a resort, it’s a fair assumption that it won’t give you typhoid.


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