Thursday morning, I left for Mbeliling Sub-district by motorcycle, while the other members of the team were on a 4 wheel-dreive car. I went earlier as I would like to make sure everything was in place so the inauguration ceremony of the 48th library at SDI Lengkong Kaca, Mbeliling Sub-district could go as planned. Parents were coming to the school to celebrate the inauguration of the library. They have also taken part in setting up this child-friendly library at SDI Lengkong Kaca in the past few months .
The shining sun was felt right on our head as this school is located on a valley. To reach the school, we have to cross a river. When the river overflows, children cannot go to school, seeing there is only one road access to the school. Teachers usually park their vehicles by the river and walk to the school, which takes around 20 minutes. After crossing the river, the challenge does not neceessarily end. There is usually a landslide on the footpath to the school because of the heavy rain. One week before the inauguration, the road access was blocked due to the heavy raining. The school and the community worked hard by building an emergency bridge so that the Rainbow Reading Gardens team can pass the road to the school. On the inauguration day, the bridge was set up and the team could get to the school safely. This collaboration in Lengkong Kaca has taught me that education is the responsibility borne by everyone and all can get involved in the advancement of education.
Rainbow Reading Gardens team was greeted by children forming lines, and we walked between those lines. The cheering from the children showed their excitement in welcoming child-friendly library which is filled with story books they have dreamed about. The elders, wearing Manggarai-style sarong and white shirt and udeng were ready with their rooster, beer, cigarette, and money as the offering in the welcoming rituals. One of the elders spoke in Manggarai language and they expressed their gratitudes as we were willing to come to SDI Lengkong Kaca. The welcoming ceremony was wrapped up by delivering all the welcoming offering to Rainbow Reading Gardens team.
The master of ceremony mentioned that after the welcoming ceremony is the time for children to sing “I Have A Dream”, a song by Westlife. There was a round of applause breaking the silence in the hall. “I Have A Dream” represented what their hearts say, that they have the rights to dream as high as kids do in big cities. Later on, the master of ceremony allowed the founder of Rainbow Reading Gardens, Nila Tanzil, to deliver speech. Ibu Nila shared that she loved books she was little. Tin-Tin series have become inspirations for her and made her dream big even in her early years, which is to go arond the world. She also shared that she has been to 34 countries and graduated from a university in the Netherlands for her master’s degree. She added that one day, she hoped, there will be children from Lengkong Kaca who take higher education and dream big as she did.
After being opened, parents were welcomed to see the library. They smiled from ear to ear, seeing hundreds of books displayed on the colorful shelves. Children were also welcomed to enter the library. Their bright eyes are signs that Rainbow Reading Gardens library is what they have longed for in SDI Lengkong Kaca.
Lengkong Kaca, 23 February 2017.