From 3 to 45

IMG_20180223_011639_499It was everything Peace Corps wanted it to be. Sustained. Community-based. Empowering for women. A partnership in every sense of the word.

An aspiring artist in my village drew the butterfly logo. Students from my high school posed for photos of themselves reading our books. Darien Book Aid and The International Book Project sent us books. YPPI in Surabaya sent us books. The U.S. Consulate gave us books. The University of Malang and Education USA gave us educational materials. My Mom and Dad sent us books. Wilda’s family gave us space and helped set everything up. And Wilda still teaches them.

President Obama’s book to his daughters is on the shelf. Andrea Hirata’s Laskar Pelangi. My tattered and torn copy of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals. Anies Baswedan’s Indonesia Mengajar. Ted Kennedy’s True Compass.

When I walked in for the first time in three years, somehow I felt Thoreau in the room. (And rightfully so, since I always looked to his essays for guidance.)

The United States government should be proud. Indonesia should be proud.

Look at these kids: IMG_20180223_012020_006

It was absolutely thrilling making Kupu-kupu Buku Wilda. Like hitting a home run in Little League. When I left in 2014, we had three students. Now there’s 45. Just amazing.

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