Alas Sub-district is one of the biggest sub-districts in Sumbawa Regency, West Nusa Tenggara. After inaugurating two libraries in Sumbawa Besar, we found two schools potential for partnering with Rainbow Reading Gardens in establishing children libraries in Alas.
I usually need around two hours by motorbike to get to Alas. The breathtaking view along the trip never failed to amaze me. I was never bored nor exhausted during the trip. I often decided to do a round-trip in one day only to enjoy the journey and the view along the Trans Sumbawa roadway. I bet you can vision the enjoyment I feel along the trip. Even, as I was riding alone, I often talked to myself. Hahaha
Actually, if I had the intention to work more easily, I could have just opened two other libraries in Sumbawa Besar, closer to the other existing libraries. But I didn’t. Along this process, I learn to make choices and decisions. I chose to make such a tough decision eventually. For some times, I think that the Universe has directed me to this challenging decision.
My meeting with Bapak Yusuf, Principal of SDN 9 Alas is inseparable from unusual coincidence. Or, I would say it is the Universe’s synchronization. Ibu Rita, Principal of SDN Nijang, who has been very busy with me in about two months, is the one introducing me to him.
Have you ever felt meeting someone for the first time and with it follows debt that should be paid? A bit strange, I know. But that’s what I felt after meeting Bapak Yusuf for the first time. Soon after that first meeting, I followed up the plan by visiting and surveying schools in Alas. The findings were not disappointing. I was assured that the third library in Sumbawa will be in his school.
The meetings, discussion, debates, and even meals that went by eventually came to a decent end. Two schools have been chosen for the library development collaboration, SDN 9 and SDN 4 Alas. Apparently, during the process of library establishment in these two schools, not everything went smoothly. Challenges indeed emerged, but with good communication and often absurd strategies, we could overcome them.
The relationship we have built is not merely a professional relationship. We have been a family. Can you imagine? Everytime I came to Alas, I would have numerous options of places to stay for meals or even for staying overnight. They happily opened their houses for me.
In preparing for the two child-friendly libraries in two schools, we conducted workshop on library management and reading activity for the teachers. Their enthusiasm in creating friendly and fun environment also triggered mine; thus, I enthusiastically shared my experiences to them.
My prior discussion with Bapak Dede Gusman, Chief of Semesta Foundation, who provides the main support for the two libraries, has remained in my mind up until now. That is, the key to success of this child-friendly library’s program is on the hands of the teachers. Therefore, besides providing them with knowledge and information, we should be able to give them moral support to do their noble work.
We hope that Rainbow Reading Gardens, with its upcoming programs, may provide quality facilities and mentoring to teachers where the libraries are situated.
Also, the kids I met at schools attracted my attention. During the library establishment process, kids have been my friends and even best friends. Ahh.. everytime I arrive at the school, they greet me with their lovely smiles and stares. I really want to give them all hugs. Well, I give them a hug everytime we meet and say goodbye.
On a bright day on December 10, 2016, the two libraries are officially opened. Bapak Dede Gusman was present to inaugrate the two libraries. The 41st library is in SDN 9 Alas and the 42nd is in SDN 4 Alas. The two schools collaborated to prepare for the festive celebration. They also provided Sumbawa foods, such as sepat, singang, pelu, and many more.
The kids also took part in the celebration. Everyone is happy. I am assured that the Universe also celebrated the day, in which I am included. It was such a good day! Not only because everyone can laugh happily and be proud of their new libraries, but also because I have paid the debt. Yes, my debt has been repaid.
Sumbawa, December 2016