I Am Beauty-full Just for Being Me – and a child named Blessing

Inspirational books that bring joy to young and old the world over

I Am Beauty-full Just for Being Me – and a child named Blessing

With the awareness of the reveal of the three children’s books published by Tanya Curtis and Desiree Delaloye in 2016, and feeling the relevance held within these books produced by SunLight Ink for the young folk of the world, I was a little saddened that my grandchildren seemed to be no longer of such an age that would be drawn to the colouring-in book or the simple stories themselves. Where would I find more children, I wondered, to share these simple but heart-full messages with?

Some weeks later, waiting at a set of traffic lights, I noticed on my left a rather worn looking pink painted combi van with the words ‘Books4PNGkids’ written along its side, and the inspiration was strong as I could visualise some of the gorgeous children of Papua New Guinea not only receiving these colourful books but having the opportunity to feel the loving energy falling from the pages and the inclusive messages held therein.

Setting up a meeting with the contact from the website address on this van it was made clear to me that here was indeed a woman who cared deeply about humanity including the children of PNG, as she had for some time been collecting second-hand books from the various schools along the east coast and personally seeing to their delivery to some remote villages. She was struck by the quality of these books and suggested we could provide enough copies to be shared with the 30 village schools that were on her itinerary to visit on the next trip.

Subsequently I was inspired to commence a small-scale fundraising to purchase sets of these three books, namely ‘I Am Beauty-full Just for Being Me’, ‘Whoops! Is My Favourite Word’ and ‘My No 1 Job’: this was supported generously and 30 sets of books were collated and forwarded to a nearby depot for sorting along with the gathered second-hand school books, then packed and shipped off to a few remote areas where access of sorts was available. News of the books’ arrival and photographic evidence of beaming faces with the books in hand finally arrived – a joy-full event.

As it so happened, one of our long-planned expeditions aboard a cruise ship commenced some weeks later in mid 2017 and included three ports of call along the coast of PNG, the first being a very small village area of Alatau. I carried a few books with me in my luggage and we managed to gain directions to a nearby village school via local ‘taxi’. There we met the headmistress and a class teacher and were invited to share one set of books with some wide-eyed and excited children who had been organised into three groups, sitting cross-legged on the floor of their classroom. They in turn read the pages out loud with enthusiasm reflecting the joy of reading from a ‘new’ book. These three books became part of their small library.

Venturing further around the village we met some local folk in traditional dress and approached two of the elders sitting under the shade of an enormous, several hundred-year-old tree, asking permission to share a couple of the books with the small children who were there with family members seated in the open on grass mats. The elders expressed great interest and told me of the Ginigoada Project that was in place to support adults who required a little extra care, and that perhaps there was a possibility these books could support adult literacy.

Tanya and Desiree were subsequently in receipt of a request from the Project Manager of the Ginigoada Foundation for 500 copies of each of the three books and a crowdfunding site was commenced.

Following on from our first port of call at Alatau, one of the local guides suggested we make a connection with their contact from the village of Kirrawinna. There we were then taken on a walking tour of the entire village, meeting the elders and family members in their homes and proudly being shown their well-established vegetable gardens, etc.

There was a sense of the importance for their young children to be attending the local village school and deep appreciation for the loving gifts of these books. It was in this village that we were introduced to Blessing, a small child with the largest brown eyes and the widest of smiles, dressed in a prickly grass skirt for the occasion of visitors to their village. She was overcome and could not believe she was being given such a gift, a new book – ‘I Am Beauty-full Just for Being Me’.

The constellated and unfolding journey continued.

The next port was Rabaul and upon disembarking two local folk offered to take us in their ‘taxi’ on a very long drive to a school at the foot of the volcano that had erupted some years previously. The children sang songs of welcome and the teachers were appreciative of the gifts of the three remaining books.

God showed us a way that more children could enjoy these books and my heart sang in appreciation for the very small part that this vehicle was able to play in the unfolding and constellated events that continue still, including a request from UNICEF Port Moresby in 2018/19 for a further 5,000 copies of these wonderful, reflective and simply inspirational books for the purpose of aiding adult literacy in the remotest of areas in that amazingly beautiful and diverse country.

I will never forget those elders, sitting under a tree and nodding wisely as they held these precious books: after all, any book can potentially support with literacy but what they were holding in their hands honours the person and supports them to connect to a place of stillness and preciousness inside that is not so easily found in today’s world, other than within.

The language of our preciousness is universal and touches children and adults alike, and thus the story of how these gems found a home in the most unexpected of places.

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  • By Roberta Himing

  • Photography: Dean Whitling, Brisbane based photographer and film maker of 13 years.

    Dean shoots photos and videos for corporate portraits, architecture, products, events, marketing material, advertising & website content. Dean's philosophy - create photos and videos that have magic about them.