Rainbow Reading Garden, Flores Indonesia

Labuan Bajo, Melo, Roe, Dalong, Messah, Rinca, Kukusan, Datak, September 5-10th 2015

By Cecilia Rizal


Hello reader, let me introduce myself. I am one of many colorful books that stacked on the wooden table, if not on the floor of this alley. I left my previous owner a sweet little girl named Catharina who has grown into a kind hearted teenager. Bless her heart. Her parents thought it was time and I was placed into a box and started my own journey. So, here I was laying with many more books like me. My new owner stood over there, a good man who worked hard to earn his living.


One fine day, I was again placed into a box with many colorful books and the next thing I heard is the sound of the airplane engine. Where would I go to? I asked myself full with anticipation of my own little adventure.


The box was broken open, I saw the light came in along with many little faces and their gleaming eyes. Their tiny hands reached out and took me out into their embrace. Hello my new little friend, it’s such a pleasure to meet you. A boy had me in his hands and sat down on any nearest surface he could find and started browsing my pages. I could see curiosity is reflected through his eyes. His name is Elton, a 3-year-old boy who like to browse through Toy Stories book.


I found myself in this beautiful place on earth where the sky is as blue as the sea and the color of sunset are as magnificent as my pages. I was surrounded by little faces who were eager to meet me and get to know more about me. They were curious to know about my stories and they reminded me of my previous owner, sweet little Catharina, who lives in a different place and sees different color of sea.

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I was then placed neatly on a bright color bookshelf next to many others like me, each bounded with their own charm for each pair of curious eyes. I couldn’t wait to guide each of them to places they have never been before, to come see things their have never seen and to meet many different people.


I wanted them to start realize there are so many possibilities in life, many more than what they can imagine at the very moment, and that they can have access to those possibilities by following their curiosity. I wanted them to remember how colorful life is by flashing my own colorful pages, but off course they already knew that. Maybe it’s myself who needed to be reminded about the colors of rainbow?


I was again transported by boat across the turquoise blue sea to a remote island where I witnessed how enthusiastic the children were to listen to stories, have conversation, sing a song, and play games with kind hearted, hard working volunteers, both local and from abroad. I witnessed how contagious that enthusiasm was, like a transfer of positive energy from and to all people involved; teachers, village leaders, parents, volunteers and children alike. It is all made possible by flashing my colorful pages to the children.


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Oh, how I would like to share stories of how a little mermaid enchanted many children and stole their little hearts. A story that took them far away from this small island to a wonderful place under the sea filled with magical creatures.


Or sharing stories about the children who like to read about historical war and legends in the form of comic books, and how they giggled reading together with their buddy.


And, I would love to tell stories about how the children love to read an adventurous book titled “It is Found Out!”

I traveled to another remote Island where there’s no colorful bookshelf at the school yet, but the school has a breathtaking view. The children climbed barefoot to the school up the hill and flew paper airplanes that was smoothly blown by the sea wind. I couldn’t wait to share them stories about an ironed airplane with propellers that has flown me and volunteers all the way to their beautiful island.


I wanted to tell them know that this airplane can take them to places they have never been before, and that there are many more places like those. I wanted them to realize that someone actually invented the airplane by working together with many people, they created something amazing that can actually carry their bodies and belongings, not only their dreams!



I traveled far up to the other side of the mountain, drove long through broken roads, to a remote village’s school and witnessed how excited and welcoming the children were, smiling ear to ear, and that their enthusiasm and bruising energy was contagious.



The children could almost not wait for their turn to talk to volunteers and to show them how good they can read from my pages. I witnessed how the volunteer was a little overwhelmed by this enthusiasm, in the form of a blast of positive energy coming from the children, and how she hoped she could come with more people to share this positive energy with. And I witnessed how the children excitedly wanted to learn to sing the new song about friendship, and how at the end of the day they waved goodbye to the volunteers saying “I love you” in English!


As I was put back on the colorful bookshelf, let me tell you a story about this amazing lady whose enthusiasm and energy is contagious. She is a tireless teacher who has tidy colorful bookshelves at her shady blue roofed humble house. She opened her house everyday for children to come and read books.


She also invited children joining her activities like playing games and singing together at her front yard. Children showed up everyday! I witness how she and children were transmitting enthusiasm to and for each other, just like in a tennis table match, ping-ponged a ball of positive energy. Right from there, came along sparks of wonder that gave birth to every good thing that might follow. A miracle.


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But most of what I witnessed is realization of my own potential that I, a mere colorful book just one out of many others, am carrying this energy. Like a hidden treasure locked deep within my pages, it only needed to be broken open by curious eyes so that this energy can travel, surround, inspire, transmit, support, and make every possible great outcome for every single person involved. And that every single person plays important role in this journey to miracle, because each of them carry a potential that only this person can contribute in creating great things, in ping-ponging this good energy. For that reason, every single person counts.


I can’t wait to tell this story to Catharina, maybe she would like to come visit me at this beautiful place. I can’t wait to share this story to the world!