This post is written by Simon, the captain of Skimpy Sailing boat. http://www.skimpysailing.com/read
The Rainbow Reading Gardens or Taman Bacaan Pelangi (www.tamanbacaanpelangi.com) is an amazing volunteer-run organization that establishes libraries in remote communities in Indonesia. I first came into contact with this group in July when I was asked to deliver some books on their behalf to the village of Rinca in the Komodo National Park, Indonesia. I came away from that first delivery humbled the power of the simple act of giving children access to books. I was so enthused that I commited Skimpy to deliver books to any of their libraries whenever it was possible!
I think the thing that affected me most was seeing how excited the children were when we arrived with the books. As a child I had always loved books and I saw the same glee in their eyes. Perhaps I’m being sentimental but I don’t see kids in the developed world getting as excited about books anymore. When compared to an ipad or Xbox or a chatroom perhaps they aren’t as stimulating. But I believe strongly in the magic of books, and I saw this when the children of Rinca climbed over each other to grab a new books. The books were a mixed collection and the content didn’t really seem to matter to the children, they were just thirsty to learn.
I have since returned with another Skimpy crew to Rinca village in September to deliver more books and was greeted with the same enthusiasm. I was also impressed with how well maintained the library was, the books that I had dropped off previously were clearly well used but they were well cared for. Fantastic.
We also had a similar experience delivering books to Messah village in the Komodo National Park and later this year will be taking books to libraries in the Alor Islands, the Banda Islands and Halmahera. My hope is that in the near future Skimpy crew will be able to collect donations to establish a new library somewhere in Indonesia!