Monday, July 7, 2008


The subject of our weekly gathering today was Dreams. What do you dream of being when you grow up? We learned the English words for different careers, and then played an 'adapted' version of charades and acted the different jobs out for the others to guess. What is your dream?? I think it's important to encourage these children and children all over the world to believe that whatever they want to be is possible, despite circumstances of not having enough money to go to college or far from where they already are. Most children in our class today, surprisingly, didn't yet know what they wanted to be. When I was young I remember wanting to be a teacher, and then there was a while when I wanted to be a veterinarian, and then of course an actress... Is this a cultural difference, or was it just the time and the place that they couldn't think of ideas for the future? Or perhaps it's not necessary to think of the future yet, or indeed they don't know yet where they want to go or how they want the future to unfold... but there's always space for dreams..! Who doesn't want to dream? I hope that with time the kids will open up even more to expressing their own wishes and desires, and to believing that the ideas they have are possible.

Taring Padi as a collective also has dreams, one of which we hope will become a reality by mid-August. We plan to build a small playground and community space in front of the library and Taring Padi land, in hopes to draw more children into the library and provide a place for the community to come together. After a meeting today, we drew out a map of the Taring Padi grounds (the open space of which measures about 12 x 12 meters), and discussed what we would like to include in the development of this space. We came up with a list of several possibilities:

-A wooden swing set.
-A bamboo tree-house with a slide going down into a sandbox.
-A small fish pool.
-Several raised gardens throughout the space to grow herbs and vegetables.
-More fruit trees (especially mango, jackfruit and avocado).
-A badminton net and rackets.
-A garbage and recycling system along with a compost for organics. (This and the garden would teach local villagers how to be sustainable and conscious of the environment that they live in).
-A sign in front of Taring Padi to post events, workshops and activities.

We're still in the process of creating the final design, and contemplating where we might also place a parking area for up to 15 motorbikes for larger events. This is all in hopes to create a stronger sense of community, to offer the local villagers a place to come and gather, to learn about sustainable living and get involved in the library. We estimate the price to build everything will come out to about $2,000 USD, and we hope to pull it off by mid-August. One of the main visions of Taring Padi is about supporting the development of a close-knit, sustainable community that is self-sufficient without harming the environment or others, and encourages its children to explore and grow together, to keep learning and believing that with spirit they can be whatever they want to be.

If you're interested to donate to the creation of Taring Padi's playground and community space, please contact me and I will provide you with a Pay Pal account through which money can be transferred directly to Taring Padi. This account is currently in the making, and should be up and running soon! Any donations made will be promptly followed up with updates and specific information on how the money was used and the effect it had on the community. I've included a scanned image of one of the drawings of the tree house and playground in front of the library. More to come...! Thank you!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tajam and Bulan

You might refer to Tajam and Bulan as the library's resident children. Tajam and Bulan are the son and daughter of Ucup and Wanti. Ucup is one of the founding members of Taring Padi, and Wanti has also been active since the time that Taring Padi was first being developed. Their home, which they built after their former house was destroyed in the earthquake in Yogyakarta on May 27, 2006, is conveniently located right next to the Taring Padi land and library. Any day you come to the library, Tajam and Bulan will surely be there to greet you. To their delight, I 'interviewed' them to be the first profiles on this website, as I begin to introduce the children involved in the Taring Padi library.

Name: Bulan Fisabililah (Bulan means Moon)

Age: 9 years old

Date of birth: April 7, 1999 in Lumajang, East Java

Bulan is in third grade. Her favorite thing to do is read, and her favorite place to go is the library. Her favorite book is Donald Duck. Bulan likes reading books because of the stories. She loves having the library right next door to her home. She might be considered the "Manager" of the library; since its start she helped to organize the books and borrowing system, and she is often in charge of helping the other children to check out books. Bulan also likes to draw, and in the past won an award for her ceramic design, the money of which was used to fix the family television. Bulan goes to school six days a week, from 7am-12am, except for Fridays, which is from 7am-11am. Every Wednesday she has the job of cleaning at school, and on Fridays all the students work together to organize and clean (called kerja bhakti). Bulan likes spicy foods and chocolate, and she doesn't like things that are dirty. In the future, Bulan doesn't know exactly she wants to be yet. She says she will leave it to when it comes, wait and see..!

Name: Tajam Pariwangi Muhammad (Tajam means 'sharp')

Age: 4 1/2 years old

Date of Birth: July 26, 2003

Tajam will start kindergarden in July. He's excited to start school to have fun! Tajam is often seen rampaging through the library as he goes on another one of his imaginary adventures. Tajam likes to play and ride his bicycle. He also likes people to take pictures of him, and he loves taking baths. His favorite things to play with are robots, swords and power rangers. He hopes some day to become a power ranger himself. His favorite books, of course, are about power rangers. He also likes power, weapons, war, apple trees, and watching television. What Tajam doesn't like is keris, a traditional Indonesian weapon. His favorite food is fish, and like his sister, he doesn't like things that are dirty.