Two sisters build hilltop hut to keep up with online lessons

By ILONA ANDREW

KENINGAU: Schools remain closed due to Covid-19 and students have to resort to online learning, but not many students are fortunate enough to even have proper internet connection to participate in the virtual lessons, especially those residing in rural areas.

In Kampung Bomboi here, there is no such thing as high-speed internet connection. The speed is as slow as the pace of a snail, according to two frustrated sisters from the village who wanted nothing more but to keep up with their studies.

Determined to not miss a thing from their online lessons, Rechellyna and Ryverra Rinus found a way to access to the lessons without having to put up with slow internet, that is by climbing to the edge of a hill where internet signal is strong.

The hill is located half a-kilometre away from their home where their uncle grows oil palm. There, they could participate their online classes without any internet connectivity interruption, as long as they remain at the same spot.

However, the approach was not always comfortable for them. They had to tolerate with either the hot sun glare or the pouring rain.

That was when the idea to build a makeshift hut popped in. Calling it the “Puru Online”, the sisters, with the help of their uncle, built the schoolhouse with saplings and logs over the course of two days.

They hung a sign outside of the hut that reads “Welcome to Puru Online”. Puru means “forest” in the Dusun language.

In a nine-minute video uploaded to YouTube three weeks ago, Rechellyna and Ryverra showed their makeshift schoolhouse while explaining what they can do around the hut.

The video is titled “Pelajar SMK Keningau – Cabaran Belajar Online Sepanjang PKP” (SMK Keningau Students – The Challenge of Online Study during the Movement Control Order).

“We have brought a cardboard egg tray to be burned (works as a mosquito repellent.

“There are benches here, and a hammock where you can sleep on whenever you feel tired or sleepy,” said one of the sisters in the video which has garnered more than 10,000 views to date.

She then proceeded to show a makeshift kitchen near the hut where the sisters can cook whenever they feel hungry.

“Online learning was hard at first but now I’m really happy because we can learn more comfortably,” she said.

At the comment sections, a lot of internet users expressed how proud and touched they were by the girls’ effort, putting their education on top of the list of priorities despite the hardship.

One of the comments read: “Keep up with the effort and don’t give up.”

“God bless, your hard work will not go to waste,” internet user Dulinah Sapiang wrote.

Another internet user, Chrisjoe Baiko wrote: “Teachers will be touched seeing students pulling this kind of effort.”

It was learned that the sisters have received a laptop, modem and a printer from good Samaritans who saw their video.

The contribution is meant to help both of the students from SMK Keningau during their e-learning sessions.