Sarah Monich is a 2009 Staples grad, now a student at William & Mary. A volunteer with The World is Just a Book Away — an organization that brings books and education to children in developing countries — she recently participated in 10 library openings in Padang, Indonesia.
Sarah posted this report on WIJABA’s blog:
Each of the schools we opened libraries at welcomed us with so much excitement and energy. The children could barely contain themselves; the headmasters and teachers smiled and embraced us with vigor and sheer joy. I was so astounded by their extremely kind, grateful, exuberant welcomings.
Though I have been doing volunteer work here and in India, I was still shocked by the effort the schools put in to thank WIJABA, and how happy the children were to have us there. Being with the children, seeing their faces as they poured into the libraries and raced to take bright books off the shelves, I felt like I was in a dream that moved me and touched my heart, a dream that I will never forget.
I wish more people could experience what I did in Padang, and I hope that people take the time to reflect on how much a single book means to a student, how much a library means to a school, how much a smile means to a child. I am so touched and fortunate to have been a part of this.
Amidst the intoxicating chaos, a few moments stand clearly out in my mind. The first is the way the children shook my hand to show respect. Many of the children at every school, while shaking my hand, touch it gently to their foreheads. This gesture was so beautiful, so genuine, and I was so touched by their thankfulness and respect.