Location : Kampung Ayun, Padawan District, Kuching Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
The first time that we organized this project was in June 2014 before the Bengoh dam was impounded (http\://bombasticborneo.com/2015/07/setting-up-a-mini-library-at-a-bidayuh-village-in-sarawak/) . I remember how difficult it was for the villagers to help carry the shelf and the heavy boxes of books. The two hanging bamboo bridges proved quite a challenge for the volunteer group of 7 adults and 4 kids. The hike then took 3.5 hours.
The same group from West Malaysia was back again in October 2016 but with an increased number of volunteers of 4 adults and 2 kids. They have called themselves by the acronym ‘KAMI’, meaning ‘Kanak2 Bumi’. In contrast, the boat ride in 2016 from the Bengoh dam to the same village took only 15min.
Although the recent trip was to replace the old books with new ones, these guys came in with lots of fresh ideas to make the 3 day program more exciting for the village kids. The story telling was a lot more physical for both teller and listeners but all in good fun.
The craft making from paper and palm leave was remarkable. Making the kids sing in front of the class was probably the most effective way to overcome their village shyness. They were rewarded on the spot with beautiful handcrafted palm leave grasshoppers each.
Special mention must go to the 3 awesome facilitators Mr Low Chee Leong, Ms Au Ting Wei and Ms Lim Chuan Wen for putting up such an interesting program. Watching how the three technically melted away those kids’ shyness was inspiring indeed. You three worked like professionals. Let us hope the grandparents would take it from there to pass on the task of inculcating creative reading habits to their preschool grandchildren as the parents are mostly working in the city and back to the village only during weekends. Pepper cultivation has been the key factor mitigating urban migration. Such is the reality in the villages. Next…..Picnic at Gono Cascade.
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