The first time I visited SDI Beci was during the school selection process for child-friendly library establishment program. The Rainbow Reading Gardens team and I left early in the morning from Labuan Bajo on that day. Each of us was on our own ride. Riri went to Mbeliling, Ebi to South Lembor, and I went to Lembor. Our trip to each destination took about 1,5 hour to 2,5 hours.
The distance between Labuan Bajo and SDI Beci is +/- 80km, or 2,5 hour. SDI Beci is located by the Trans Flores way, yet the school was in no sight when we pass through the Trans Flores way. We need to walk through an elevated pathway of 50 degrees to reach the school. The road is slippery, and even my trekking sandals slipped for several times, yet the teachers of this school can walk on their wedges and/or shoes with 3-cm soles. W0w!! Also, some young teachers take their babies while walking down the way. Superb!
Once I arrived at the school, I was greeted by the Principal, Saverinus Akuila Ratu, and some teachers. After mentioning my intention of coming to the school, the principal excitedly took me to see the school library and said that this library is also functioned as the community library, so it is open for public.
The shelves, tables, chairs, and book collection were available in the library, yet the books were mostly text books and only a few story books, whose content is not appropriated with the children’s reading ability and comprehension.
After visiting SDI Beci for several times to hold a meeting with the community (including parents, school committee, and village administrators) for program orientation, including renovation, book and furniture distribution, until the most awaited day, the opening ceremony of library at SDI Beci.
The inauguration of the library at SDI Beci was carried out on February 27, 2017. Everyone was excited for what the library has become. This can come true for teachers are very cooperative. In addition to that, the principal of SDI Beci is very concerned about literacy. To establish the habit of reading among the community, he often visits students’ places for promoting school library, which is now a home for more than a thousand books.
He planned to allow the community to check out books at the school library, yet the book check-out system has to be well established, so that the school librarian as well as teachers can handle the check-out by the people outside the school.
While waiting for the establishment of the check-out system, he had a discussion with the ladies at Desa Golo Lajar and shared a story of a child who was still illiterate yet was fond of books. After being told the story for several times, this kid eventually knows the book word by word. After listening to the story, they were more enthusiastic to read books to their babies and infants, who have not learned to read, and therefore small literacy groups were formed in Desa Golo Lajar.
With bright smile and enthusiasm, Bp Saverinus shared this inspiring story to me while I was staying at his family’s house for 2 nights during the Library Period orientation for teachers of SDI Beci.
There are still more inspirational storied from the Land of Flores.
Therefore, we are very grateful for everyone participating in this collaboration to provide quality books for children in Flores.
Thank you, Pak Saverinus, thank you everyone. 🙂