L like literacy; L like progress in life

A new day in Surabaya. Some of us couldn’t sleep last night, some woke up even before sunset. There was so much tension. What’s going to happen today? How will the children react to us? Which memories we will take home?

A traditional welcoming ceremony – so warm and welcoming. Photo by Barbara Mitchell.

At exactly 7am we started our trip to the rural area of East Java. After a one-hour drive the bus doors opened in front of the first primary school and more than 100 excited children, parents and teachers were already expecting us. A little boy, dressed in colourful traditional clothing, guided us to the centre of the schoolyard and started a big ceremony especially prepared for us. “The story of the library” was presented with traditional music, songs and games. They included us in their story. After the show we were warmly welcomed with hand-made traditional rice snacks.

Kids are highly motivated to read their books. Photo by Barbara Mitchell.

Once upon a time
The very enthusiastic librarian invited us to join their story-telling session, so we were able to convince ourselves how to arouse the joy of reading by engagement and passion—and it worked. The children love the colourful illustrated books.

Together, we read their favourite story, the different languages were no barrier. Finally the ice broke after we told them about our lives in Austria and showed some pictures from our friends and family. We were also glad about the possibility to speak to parents and teachers about the positive impact on their kids since the beginning of the partnership with Room to Read.

We also learned their motto: “L like Literacy”. This actually means introducing children to the world of literacy in nursery schools but to them it means much more. Literacy means progress in life. Just as we started to make some new friends we had to leave again. Next stop Kepatihan!

Ibsi showing pictures from his family. Photo by Barbara Mitchell.

New school, new impressions
After another impressive welcoming ceremony, we were amazed about how lovely and creative their new library was. A place for kids to relax, have fun and develop themselves. This very emotional day ended with a fun football match with Ibsi and Flo. 1:0 for the kids!

Fun football game with Ibsi and Florian. Photo by Barbara Mitchell.
    Sophie Strobl