Closing the year of 2012, Taman Bacaan Pelangi [Rainbow Reading Gardens] decided to celebrate it by establishing its 25th library! This time was in… Banda Neira Island in Maluku!

Banda Neira Island is one of the nine islands of Banda. Back in the days, Banda Islands was known as the Spice Islands. It was the “most wanted” place in the world due to its richness of nutmeg, mace, and other spices.

kids of Banda Neira Island, Maluku

We were very happy to be able to set up a library on this historical island of Banda Neira. The island was still full of historical buildings, back from the colonial era. Even Taman Bacaan Pelangi [Rainbow Reading Gardens] here is located in one of those beautiful colonial houses!  We’re very lucky to get such a spacious room in a nice old colonial house in Banda Neira Island. Thanks to “Warna-Warni Kids”, our partner on this island! “Warna-Warni Kids” would be the one who manage our library’s daily operation here :). The volunteers would be holding activities, such as story-telling, every Friday and Sunday.

On a bright Saturday afternoon, December 30th, 2012, we officially established our library on the island. Over 60 kids came to the opening event, which started at 2pm. As an opening, some local people played traditional instrument called “gamelan”. It looked similar with the ones on Java Island, but the tones were different.

Kak Mita Alwi, the founder of “Warna-Warni Kids” gave her opening speech and introduced Kak Nila Tanzil, our founder. Kak Nila explained the “rules of games” of Taman Bacaan Pelangi [Rainbow Reading Gardens], such as: books can only be read at the location, can’t be borrowed. Kak Nila also showed how to flip through pages, so the book wouldn’t be easily torn. Last but not least, she wished the children of Banda Neira Island would enjoy reading the books provided at the Taman Bacaan Pelangi!

Taman Bacaan Pelangi di Banda Neira, Maluku
Kids were excited at the opening of Rainbow Reading Gardens in Banda Neira Island

Kids looked very happy and excited when they were shown the collection of books at the library, which made us happy, too! 🙂

Kids at Rainbow Reading Gardens in Banda Neira
Play dough
That day, the kids were divided into several groups and each volunteer lead 1 group. There were drawing group, story-telling group, play dough group, music group, and English group. So much fun!

Belajar Menggambar di Taman Bacaan Pelangi di Pulau Banda Neira, Maluku
Let’s draw!

More interestingly, after each group ended its session, the kids from those groups would rush to the bookshelf and pick a book to read! One volunteer from England said, “I have never seen kids got so enthusiastic seeing books. Even I found it difficult to get my kids to read a book! These kids, they automatically walked to the bookshelf after their drawing session has ended. Amazing!”

kids got excited with books at Taman Bacaan Pelangi in Banda Neira, Maluku
Kids rushing to the bookshelf at Taman Bacaan Pelangi 

One boy who read “Dinosaur” book pointed a picture of Dinosaur and asked his friend, “Kamu tau ini jenis dinosaurus apa?” (“Do you know what type of Dinosaur is this?”). His friend said, “Itu trenggiling!”(“That’s trenggiling!”). The conversation between these two boys ended up being an interesting conversation and without realizing it, the group had became bigger! Other boys joined the chat and in the end, 7 of them flipping through the pages of the Dinosaur book together! How fun!

reading at Taman Bacaan Pelangi [Rainbow Reading Gardens] in Banda Neira, Maluku
What type of dinosaur?
We thanked the “British Community Charity” for sponsoring this particular library. Also, thanks to “Warna-Warni Kids” for partnering with us in managing the library in Banda Neira Island and for all the hard work preparing for the opening day!

We would also like to thank everyone of you for the continuous support. Your support meant a lot to us and it kept our dream alive and strengthen our motivation.

Thanks to our volunteers who joined this trip together with Kak Nila Tanzil — Kak Eva Muchtar, Kak Farid Maruf and Kak Zack Petersen.

Volunteers of Taman Bacaan Pelangi & Warna-Warni Kids in Banda Neira Island, Maluku
Let’s all work together and greet the kids in Eastern Indonesia with quality children books!