After a lot of considerations, I decided to make time and visit the Rainbow Reading Gardens’ location at Rinca Village, Manggarai Barat district, NTT. Simon, our volunteer in Roe village, had kindly agreed to accompany me on the trip.
Using a simple, local fisherman boat, we reached the village in just one and a half hour. The wind was mild. Pak Baco, the library caretaker in Rinca Village, was there with us every second of the way. That was my fist time visiting Rinca. I was so excited about the possibility of meeting the komodo dragons!
Now, let me tell you a little story about me and the komodo dragons. When I was a child, I had a favourite TV show hosted by Kak Seto. In the show, Kak Seto was accompanied by Si Komo a.k.a Si Komodo – a komodo dragon character. Ever since I watched that show, I always believe that komodo dragon is a funny reptile. I enjoyed having so many imaginations about the komodo dragons.
On the other hand, seeing videos, listening to stories, and being near a real komodo dragon actually scares me a bit. Not only because I was terrified that the komodo dragons would greet me with its poisonous tongue, but also, I didn’t want to erase my good memories about the komodo dragons. I was affraid that I might lose my cheerful memories about them that had stuck in my subconscious mind for a long time.
When we arrived at the pier in Rinca Village, I was dumb founded. My vision about the village sank a bit. The wood was not in a good condition, the beach was not the cleanest I had ever seen, dan the houses had some funny odor to them. Simon, Pak Baco and I walked together to Pak Baco’s house, which was also used as the library.
I greeted the villagers. They responded with a friendly but rather sheepish smile. Maybe because my greeting was a bit too enthusiastic, like saying hi to an old friend. Hahah… It’s okay though. All is well.
We arrived at Pak Baco’s house. We sat and talked for a bit. I could not wait to meet the children that were already somewhere near there. While talking with Pak Baco’s family members, I heard the voice of the children.I knew that the children were enjoying the books at the library.
Pak Baco’s house is a traditional one. Most of the houses in Rinca are what we call “rumah panggung” — houses that are built on wooden poles. The library is located beneath Pak Baco’shouse.
I asked if I could go down and meet the children. Just like I imagined, the children were ready to continue with the next show. But the truth is, I had not prepare anything. No problem. We just went with the flow and made up something along the way.
I greeted the children and introduced myself. I asked their name one by one. As always, I invited the children to sing a song together. Suddenly, the library was fulled not only by the children, but also with the teenagers and parents.
After singing several songs, the children asked me for a “battle”of traditional poetry. As the children of the sea, I could really see how good their ability to interact was. They are full of bright ideas. They were so enthusiastic. Come to think of it, they clapped the hardest too!
After finishing the games, the children asked me to follow them to school. By chance, Pak Baco also wanted to meet the principal. So the three of us – along with the children – went together to the school. At the school,the girls were playing volleyball while the boys were playing football. I had a little chit chat with the principal, then joined the girls on their volleyball game. Simon was already playing football with the boys.
It was so good to be with them.There was something special about the children of Rinca Village. They were active, intelligent, and full of ideas. Despite the simple condition of their village, the children’s spirit remains high. They are indeed children of the sea with their fullest energy.
I truly hope that the children of Rinca Village find true happines in their life as a child. May they also find their true colour and shape of their heart through the Rainbow Reading Gardens, and may they be the blissful, clever, and lovely children.
Rinca Village, January 23rd 2015