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Taung Bi library comes back to life

The story of how goodwill and collaboration of an enthusiastic team gave hopes to a small rural village through books and interaction

Follow the dirt road winding among mystic temples, lively fields and colorful puppets swinging gently from the branches of a tree. Hidden in the heart of Old Bagan sleeps the small village of Taung Bi. Less than 2500 inhabitants, more than 1500 kids and teenagers, 1 main school. Walking through the maze of narrow streets, you might happen to come across a small dark-red building: welcome to Taung Bi Library. Have a look inside if you’d like to. The small room is full with shelves; books are piled neatly on the walls, each one eager to share its stories.

Taung Bi library

TaungBi Library

At a first glance, the room might seem a little empty: today we filled it with joy. The project, started in 2015, went through a period of inactivity. Now, out of a sudden, a new, motivated team put their positive energies together to give life to the library again.

The rays of the sun seeping from the windows light up the peaceful faces of the kids of the village. Sat on the floor, their faces painted in perfumed thanaka, open their eyes wide out of surprise. The place is barely recognizable. Comfortable bright green mats cover the floor. There are a lot of news at the library today. Let the kids discover them first hand. Some sit cross-legged, absorbed in a world of painted words. Others let their eyes run along the walls, where colorful Disney cartoons are busy reading their own books. There are comics, themed books, language books. There are magazines, pictionaries and coloring books. Each one holding their secrets. Each one waiting to be leafed through by eager little hands.

Taung Bi library

Children having fun on the event day, with many books

Today the library come back to life. Among its walls, echo the laughter of the new generation. Some test the new games made with recycled materials. Some stare in awe to their new personalized bookmarks being created. Some dip their small fingers in watercolors, ready to create a new work of art. Volunteers from Taung Bi committee entertain with games, activities, song and dances. Excited guides from the area offered their time and their hard work to make this happen. Knowledgeable guides came from Mandalay, their arms filled with books.

Today hope sprouted up on this ground. There is a lush tree, stretching its watercolor branches on one corner of the room. Hotels, car suppliers, restaurants and a bunch of generous donors made it grow. It will grow further, displaying among its branches the names of all the donors contributing to maintain and keep alive this new shelter brimming with valuable knowledge. Dear Taung Bi Villagers, this is our small gift to the community. An enjoyable place where to grow, abundant with food for thoughts, colors and ideas.

Taung Bi library

Tree of generous donors

“When I was a child, books were not so easy to find. Journals were printed with three main colors only. We loved to read comics anyways. We bought one copy once per week and we shared among all kids of the village. There is a treasure for you among these walls. Your future hidden among those pages. Look for it with eager, with passion, with gratitude” with these words, essential member and organizer of the committee urges the kids to visit the library with regularity.

Local stakeholders, the schoolmaster and many villagers participated with enthusiasm to the opening ceremony held on Sunday 27th August 2017. With this first little success, the committee volunteers leave Bagan. Our minds populated by thousand smiley faces. Our ears filled with joyous voices singing along. This is nothing but the start of a long term challenge to make a place of hopes and happiness out of this library.

Taung Bi library

Children drawing watercolor painting

There are new bright paintings on the walls of Taung Bi library. Children drew fields, emerald trees, small houses and beautiful temples. Let’s give them the colors to paint their futures.

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