Food and Books: Ex-Journo Amron Muhzawawi Integrates a Unique Cafe and Colorful Library

Teenagers engage in a discussion in Kaliwot river-cafe's modest library, in Sambak village, Magelang, Central Java. | Photo: Kaliwot.

AMRON Muhzawawi kills two birds with one stone. He sets up "Kaliwot", a distinctive outdoor eatery (in a shallow river), and simultaneously establishes a library in the same area.

The 35-year-old man not only does business but also encourages patrons to read.

Located in hilly Sambak village, Magelang, Central Java (some 15 kilometers north west of world famous Borobudur monument), the cafe offers a variety of popular food and drink choices. 

Here, visitors can enjoy meals while dipping feet in the river during a lunchtime outing.

As founder and owner, Mr Amron ensures costumers, Kayuwot follows health procedure set by authority. It is to make sure that they remain safe from the Corona virus.

Also, no need to worry about the cleanness of the water stream. The eatery guarantees that the river stays unpolluted.

Just a word of advice, dress to dine in a river. A visitor can put her/his shoes by the river bank, right next to her/his table. Wear slippers if you are concerned about sharp-edged gravel. 

Born and raised in Sambak village, Amron wants to contribute more to the society. That's the reason why he also establishes a small library in the cafe area.

Founding a traditional library may not sound "trendy" in today's Internet age, but for Amron, it is cutting edge.

"Some people might consider print reading as old-fashioned. But if they take a look at developed countries, conventional libraries, in fact, still play an important role in people's daily life", the former journalist says.

Kaliwot river-cafe in Sambak village pictured from above. | Photo: Kaliwot.

BUSINESS-minded people, he continues, might consider it wrong hosting a customer who stays in the cafe for several hours, by just ordering cheap meals and drink.

He, however, doesn't mind that, as he respects every visitor. He and employees do their best to make everyone's stay pleasant.

"Reading a book allows you to borrow someone else's brain for awhile. Burrying your face in a book is way better than letting your face trapped in smartphone screen", he utters.

What he (and employees) are doing is far more than merely providing free books. The small library in Kaliwot also serves as a public space, where people meet for discussion and exchange ideas.

Perhaps it sounds ridiculous that Amron himself has never worried much about the survival of the books in the library. 

"No need to worry the books damaged or to smell of grilled fish and roasted chicken. We allot a certain portion from the eatery profis to buy (new books)", he explains.

The Kaliwot library has now a collection of almost 400 books of science, culture, religion and children's literature.[sahrudin]