Franklin is a loveable tortoise character who gets involved in various adventures and in the process gives young Indonesian children access to reading as an early learning experience. There are both a yellow and green series for different age groups, but my untrained eyes could not see a lot of difference beteween them.
Thanks to funding from the Rotary Club of Northbridge and the co-operation of the Ganesha Bookshop, we were able to buy the complete stock of the books available in Bali – a total of 167 books. These were made up into 8 bundles to deliver to schools on the remote islands of the eastern archipelago and the photo above shows a typical collection of books to be delivered to a school library (and most times there is no school library).
Thanks to Sea Trek Sailing Adventures we were able to load the books on the Ombak Putih before it left Bali for Maumere in Flores, where our voyage to Ambon in the Moluccas began. The Ombak Putih is a Bugis Pinisi. a classical Indonesian schooner, or in more nautical terms a gaff-rigged ketch fitted out for cruising with 12 luxury cabins. The image of our route shows some of the islands where we delivered books, such as Wetar, Romang, Damar, Banda, Run,Pisang and Hatta. Unfortunately we could not reach Nila after running into unseasonal high winds during the last two days of the yoyage.
One of the first schools to receive the books was on the island of Romang and here are photos of the formal presentation to the headmaster and staff in one of the classrooms. One of the delights of visiting Indonesian schools is that even in the poorest communities the parents take great pride in sending their children to school with big smiles and carefully pressed, clean school uniforms.
Congratulations to the headmaster and staff at this school because the children were highly discipined and after the presentation the pupils lined up in the school yard (in military fashion) for a lovely performance of songs on our behalf.
This same procedure occurred on many of the islands we visited and delivered books to the local schools. Banda Neira is one of the major towns in the region and actually has a town library filled with donated books. Here is a photo of some school children on Banda Island eagerly reading their new Franklin books after school hours.