A remoted island in the Komodo National Park, a village filled with fisherman and a hand full of trees spending a little piece of shadow. That sounds like a mysterious place out of a pirate movie but this is Papagarang, the island I have spent the last months of my voluntary service on.


My name is Henrik Hansen and I am volunteering for “World Horizon” and “Taman Bacaan Pelangi”. Being a volunteer, building up libraries and living with the local people has already giving me a lot of new perspectives and experiences which were sometimes delightful but other times touching.


Obviously I tell my German friends and family about it but since I also have friends and fellow volunteers in Indonesia and they got curious about my work. A couple volunteers from Bali decided to visit me on the island. I was already very excited but my host family was thrilled to host five foreigners and even have them sleep over on the island for one night.


On February 15, Marit, Elizabeth, Lukas and Leon arrived on Papagarang and the first thing all of them pointed out is how beautiful the island actually is. It made me truly happy to see the kids smiling and my friends smiling back at them. The first thing we did was challenging the local kids in a game of volleyball. As usually in Indonesia the kids were phenomenal but we had our moments as well. In the end Indonesia made the important points and has been just a tiny portion better than Germany.


My guest mother served freshly fished and perfectly grilled Tuna. It is a great benefit to live close to the sea, we agreed. Basically we did all the things you can do on Papagarang, visited the library, went for a swim, played volleyball and ate the best fish in Indonesia. Although the communication has been difficult sometimes, my host family is still rapturous and fascinated by the visit.


It has been almost a month but they are still taking about it and show me the pictures, all of them that they took. A great cultural exchange has happened on this day. I am very thankful for my friends taking this trip to visit me on the island but I am even more thankful for my guest family because they were great hostess and we should never forget that a day like this is something special but also abnormal for them.


By the way, Taman Bacaan Pelangi is currently working on short clips which upgrade our library profiles on the website. The clip about Papagarang includes my guest sister Hanny. Watching these movies you can take a look on our libraries without even traveling.


But for those of you who can afford the amount of time and money to visit one of our libraries, I highly recommend you to do it like Marit, Elizabeth, Lukas and Leon. You will have a great time with the locals and a day you will not forget.


Papagarang island, March 2016