Sunday, March 1, 2009


Today at Taring Padi we played badminton. For the past two weeks the Tuesday class has been quiet. Many of the children have been busy with other things. While they still come to the library to read books, the Tuesday class has been conflicting with other activities. Which, of course, is to be expected sometimes. The children have a variety of activities in Sembungan village. Several of them have recently been rehearsing for a gamelan performance. Most of them frequently have activities at the mosque. Others are busy babysitting their younger siblings while their parents are working. And some of them just want to take the day off to play.

At the library, however, there are still always things to do, and I take advantage of a quiet day to work with one or two children who do come to clean up the library, organize, and like today, catalogue new books arrived from America. After our hard work, we grab the badminton rackets to play a game of badminton in the yard in front of Taring Padi, and wait for the sun to go down.

Late afternoon is an excellent time of day in Sembungan village. By this time the heat has cooled down a bit and the sky is a deep red-orange. The neighbors are freshly bathed and outside, conversing and enjoying the last light part of the day. Many of the villagers stroll over to Taring Padi, the ibu's (women) holding their freshly powdered babies, an older woman with a new batch of betel nut leaf stuffed in her bottom lip as she sits on a swing and watches our rackets fly. The birdie of the badminton game swoops in the air as Bulan lets out her roaring laugh, two butterflies dancing around the birdie as it soars. A man strolls over in his sarong with his small child to return a book to the library, exchanging it for a new one, while another woman comes with a bag of jewelry and other trinkets to sell to her neighbors. It is peaceful in Sembungan village at this time of day, as we play badminton at Taring Padi until the birdie and butterflies are no longer visible, until the old woman with her betel nut leaf strolls home, and the sounds of the call to prayer (maghrib) echo into the night.