The first time I set foot on Silangit Airport, I felt the fresh cold wind blew on my face. I would have never guessed before that I would go there to raise reading interest of Tapanuli children. The word “Tapanuli” refers to different areas in the west coast of North Sumatera, which is derived from “Tapian Nauli” that means west bank. The areas are mountainous with many schools located far on top of the hills. It was in one of that schools, namely SD SDN 176331 Lumbansoit in Hutauruk Hasundutan village, that I had the opportunity to meet with ninety-nine very enthusiastic children.
To reach Tapanuli, I traveled by car for twelve hours from Medan together with three new friends from University of North Sumatra. Their names were Tuti, Desi and Hera. There is around 10 years difference between us, but seeing their youthful spirit made me feel younger. In Tapanuli, we played and had some drawing and storytelling activities with the children. Seeing how good their interactions were with the children made me a bit nervous but also pushed me to be more confident. We happily took some pictures in various conditions and area, which made me more enthusiastic. As you know, a low spirit would make you feel more tired and hence it was a pleasure to absorb enthusiasm from my surroundings. 😉
One of the pleasures working in Taman Baca Inovator (TBI) is meeting many people with different cultures. As we were in Tapanuli for the opening of TBI Robert Baden Powell library, I was welcomed with such a unique ceremony which included a traditional food called itak gurgur. Itak gurgur is a Bataknese traditional dish mainly used for some Batak ceremonies. Itak gurgur’s ingredients are identical to Lampet (a Bataknese snack made with rice and coconut) with similar sweet and savory taste. Itak refers to the traditionally milled rice while gurgur means “a high spirit.” Itak gurgur is served with the hope of increasing enthusiasm of the people who eat it.
My experience in Tapanuli taught me to keep my spirit up, to do something enthusiastically and never do thing halfheartedly. We need to focus and fight to reach what we want to achieve, and make the best of the situation. I will learn to sing through the rain, just as the children in the TBI Powell who loved to sing. They were always singing and praise the Lord no matter what the situation is. My sincere thanks to the children, Ibu Mardiana and Pak Dantes in Tapanuli who gave me a valuable lesson to keep going and singing in every situation. HORAS!