On Friday March 29th, the Cipanas YUM Village was very lucky to have a visiting author come and present his book to a group of children from the local community. The group of children to whom the author, Mike Brumby, read to was a group of 55 children from very disadvantaged families living in the area of Cipanas, West Java. Several of these children are orphaned, some living with only one parent or relative, and a few are still helping out with the family income by working at the local market after school. Needless to say, these children are not the kind of children who can afford books.
The 55 children are currently being sponsored by the United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA). UWCSEA helps keep them in school, pay for after school help with homework, vocational training (such as English and Computer classes), nutritional supplements for the whole family as well as parenting and nutrition talks for the children’s parents every 2 months.
Mike Brumby has been living in Indonesia for many years. Originally from England, his parents moved to Jakarta when he was small and Mike spent most of his childhood in Indonesia. The book he presented to the children, called “Alistair the Armadillo”, is Mike’s first book and talks about an armadillo who helps his friends understand the joy of being clean, eating healthier and doing exercise.
Mike’s presentation started with the children each getting an “Alistair the Armadillo” sticker and writing their names on a piece of paper which would then be used as raffle tickets for prizes at the end of the reading. The children listened attentively as Mike read his book which he had himself translated into Indonesian. For his first ever presentation in Indonesian, Mike could not have had a more empathic and forgiving audience. Some children even kindly helped him out with the pronounciation of several words.
After the Question and Answer session, Mike had prepared a game where he and his partner Ajeng had cut some fresh fruits, such as banana, orange, strawberry, dragonfruit and “salak”, and started the “Guess the fruit game” where a group of children were blindfolded, given a cut fruit and had to guess the fruit. Surprisingly, Mike says that in all the presentations he has made in various schools in Jakarta, this was the first group of children who got each fruit right!
The session ended with the raffle where Mike had prepared 2 “Alistair the Armadillo” t-shirts and 2 books to give away. The children were excited and those whose name was called out to receive a prize had huge smiles on their faces. When Mike was down to his last prize, he suddenly stopped, whispered to his partner Ajeng and declared to the children that since he had a stock of another 12 books in his car, he had decided to give those away too. The children all clapped their hands in excitement! After all 14 books had been given away, Mike signed each copy and the children clung to their book as if it were a treasure.
Mike might not realize this, but the books he gave out to the kids are probably the only book, or only one of the very few books, these children own. Thank you Mike for coming to read your book and making these children’s day!