It's a labor of love. For weeks, a bunch of Filipino travel bloggers shared the school's (rather familiar) story in social media. In its more than 50 years of existence, it did not have a library.
Okay, it sorta did. But is that near empty room something you'd call a library? Yeah, I thought so.
The countless posts, tweets, shares caught tremendous attention. Sponsors/contributors poured in. We received so many books that we hired a truck to transport them from the drop off centers to a house where they were sorted. The project team also received donations in cash which we used to buy new pairs of slippers for the students.
Suffice it to say that the Book Sharing Project achieved great success. A success that wasn't just measured by the number of books given or the amount of money that we were able to spend, but by the high decibels of children's squeals and the angles of their smiles. While some of the ol' volunteers celebrated the project's anniversary five days ago by reposting photos, reminiscing about the many side trips we did, I had an entirely different flashback of my own. One that sent me back a day prior the actual event...
No one was in sight around the common area. We advised the owner/manager of our very early check out but it seemed she didn't care. I wouldn't be surprised if there was just some kind of miscommunication though cause she barely spoke English. Or make that, she barely spoke. She mostly communicated with the classic Russian grunt.
I left the room's key on our bed and at five we stepped out into the freezing autumnal air.
The walk from the Stolichny Hostel's building (Dom Na Naberezhnoy) to Borovitskaya Metro Station took half an hour, about triple Google Maps' estimate of eleven minutes. We climbed sets of stairs to a bridge, a gruesome task for the hubby who carried one twenty-kilo suitcase up then went down to take Luna because I simply cannot climb that many stairs with her in my arms and a fifteen-kilo backpack slinging on my shoulders.
We crossed the bridge to get to the other side of the river, and took turns lugging Luna. By the time we reached the station, my body was so sore that I wanted to sob but didn't have the opportunity to do so for my feeling of self-pity was quickly replaced by panic when we realized that there was no one manning the ticket counter. We were very eager to get on the trains before all the morning rushers do.
My memory of how we were able to find the mini buses to the airport from Domodedovskaya Metro Station is already a blur of smoke, but I do remember the Russian family following us all the way until there. The mini buses leave whenever full (if not full, every fifteen minutes). We managed to squeeze our suitcase at the rear luggage compartment, but the rest we dumped between our legs and my seatmate's legs — man, was she so annoyed! The ride took around half an hour and we arrived at Domodedovo International Airport just in time for check in.
Aboard the four hours and a half flight I finally had some shuteye.
I suddenly had a surge of energy when I thought of getting Luna involved in a historic event (I'd say in a way it was, for a lot of lives). Although she won't remember it when she's older, we are hoping that our participation will teach her later on to appreciate all the things she would own because not every child is as fortunate. I also really, really hope she treasures the value of reading.
The sacrifice we endured during those many hours of transit may be considered ridiculous by some, but you know, the hubby and I are a couple of ridiculous, impractical people. And with this kind of turnout: