Antonius Tamat, si pembelah batu di jalur Kembur-Lehong, Matim. (Foto: Sandy Hayon/ Vox NTT)
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Borong, Vox NTT- Wednesday, February 27, 2019 morning, the road to Lehong, the center of the Government of East Manggarai Regency, NTT Province, seemed crowded. This situation is different from usual.

Understandably, that day there was a community party activity after the inauguration of East Manggarai Regent Mr. Andreas Agas and Deputy Regent Mr. Stefanus Jaghur.

On the side of the road, an old man was standing. He saw several large stones while waiting for the wood he burned to become charcoal.

His head was covered with a yellow jersey. He doesn’t wear a hat. Not even having a hat.

Heat in the area seems to be ignored. He seemed willing to “burn his body” for the sake of scavenging fortune.

VoxNtt.com then tried to approach him for dialogue while offering cigarettes, but he refused.

Ten seconds later, VoxNtt.com tries to open a conversation. The man whose gray hair now responds softly. Unfortunately, at that time there was no shade to be able to tell stories.

Never mind, he and VoxNtt.com agreed to continue telling stories even under the sun.

This old man works as a stone splitter on the roadside in the area. His full name is Antonius Tamat. He is more than 70 years old. He himself has forgotten when he was born.

Working as a rock splitter is Anton’s choice. He worked since the regency was separated in 2007 from the main regency of Manggarai.

At that time, he saw a potential that could generate rupiah coffers. Large boulders on the roadside leading to Lehong are his mainstay.

Every day, with equipment such as stone bat, he tried to split the stones.

“There is no other work, sir, this is my job,” Anton said.

Antonius lives in Satar Peot Village, Borong Subdistrict. The distance is about 700 meters from his home and where he works.

Almost every day, he was alone in that place. Understandably, his beloved wife, had died two years ago. His children are in school and others are married.

Sometimes in his solitude, Anton admitted that he often did not realize he was shed tears. He remembered his wife Juliana Nusu who went too fast.

“If I remember her (his wife), I cried,” he said sadly.

Before the stones are broken into pieces, he must burn them for 12 hours. Sometimes from 7:00 a.m. at until 19:00 p.m.

However, said Anton, burning time depends on the condition of the stone. If the stone is not easily broken, he must burn it for one or two days.

“When it’s cold, I break the stone first, but if the stone doesn’t break, I have to burn again,” he said.

For sale 300,000 rupiah

The quality of Anton’s stone is undoubted. Many people come to buy and order it.

However, his efforts were only valued at Rp. 300,000 for a dump truck. In fact, for one dump truck, he had to work for a week.

“Just think a salary of Rp. 50,000 every day, sir,” he said with a withered expression.

Previously, Anton worked as a field farmer. His field is in the Rana Masak Village. One of the villages in Borong Subdistrict. About 5 kilometers (km) away from where he lives.

However, the results obtained from the garden were not satisfactory. Not enough to meet family needs and the cost of education for their children.

There are seven Anton’s children, two of them are still in school

“Sometimes the harvest fails, my other child is still in elementary school and the other one is junior high school,” he said.

For seven children, Anton always remembered his daughter who is migrating until now. Because she had left for a long time. Anton forgot when his daughter left her home village.

During his work, Anton never experienced pain. He said, sickness was God’s business. God determines it.

Anton admitted that he had received government assistance such as the family hope program (PKH-in Indonesia) and rice. However, that was not enough to fulfill his needs. He has to work extra to fulfill all of his children’s household needs and education.

When he could no longer work, Anton was only able to entrust hope to the East Manggarai Regency Government.

“Just wait for pity from the government, I want to be able to tell myself, “he said full of smiles.

He claimed, many officials had stopped by and told him. But only limited to asking.

Author: Sandy Hayon
Editor: Ardy Abba