Grand opening day finally arrived! Children from the village attended, as well as students from a nearby school, the village chairperson, and government officials. We learned that nothing happens in a village without the village chairperson’s blessing, and he was there to give his blessing. Dignitaries spoke to express their appreciation for our work and to encourage people to use the library. Students performed a song and dance, and after a ribbon-cutting, students and adults took turns to go through the library. The phrase we heard most often was, “We have never seen anything like this in all of eastern Uganda!”
Uganda – Day 5
Our final day before the grand opening was full of activity. We swept the floor before laying down vinyl flooring. We also cranked up the music so that the children could have a dance party! Many of the children were going to be in school the next day, so we gave them the opportunity to celebrate the library opening before the rest of the community. We also discovered a local food vendor who made delicious chapati and rolexes. Chapati is an Indian flatbread, and when rolled up with an egg omelette, it becomes a rolex!
We visited two of the students whose education we sponsor. And we took a walk along a river that borders Kenya, just down the road from the village. There was a point along the river where people had thrown a wooden pole across the river, allowing people to balance like on a tightrope to cross the river. At another point, people crossed with a raft, pulling themselves along with a rope that had been strung from one side to the other. Both crossings were illegal, but people use them regularly to bring items such as flour more cheaply into the country.
Uganda – Day 4
We finally finished organizing all the books after buying even more bookcases! The local carpenter must have been sad to see us finish our work. 🙂 One of the local volunteers helped process the last of the books that had gone astray. And we planned and purchased items in Tororo for the grand opening on Monday.
Our organization sponsors children’s education, and the parent of a student stopped by to express her gratitude for our efforts. While education in Uganda is supposed to be free, families are responsible for purchasing textbooks and uniforms as well as paying fees that help with operating expenses. Many families are forced to choose which of their children they can afford to send to school.
Uganda – Day 3
The library was starting to come together by the third day! More bookshelves, tables, and a desk were ordered, and the crew continued organizing picture books, children’s fiction, teen fiction, and adult books. Children dropped by and started browsing for books. Local villagers also began dropping by to check out the progress happening in the library.
Uganda – Day 2 of work
Work continued on the second day with the finishing of the children’s nonfiction and starting on the picture books. More bookshelves needed to be ordered to accommodate all the books. We also purchased bins to house the nonfiction books by topic. The volunteers were amazing and caught on to the work quickly.
At long last – Uganda
Our volunteers arrived in Uganda! After several years of planning online, we finally worked together in person. On Day 1 of work, we unpacked boxes of books and sorted through them so that we could finish processing them. Local volunteers helped us sort through the nonfiction books and label them accordingly.
We shipped over 40 boxes of books several months before we arrived. The books traveled by boat to Kenya and then by truck to Uganda. The children’s nonfiction books needed to be arranged by topic, making it easier for children to browse for materials. After sorting the books by topic, volunteers labeled the front of the books, making it easier for the librarian to put the books away.
December down time
The children of Uganda have been making good use of their down time this December. This group of children has been practicing reading with some books that our organization left in the village a couple of years ago.
And these boys have kept busy by making charcoal so that they can earn Christmas money.
Over 120 children in the village celebrated Christmas by attending the annual Christmas party sponsored in part by our organization and our partner, Centre for Children and Library Foundation. There was a drama, singing, music, and food.
Thank you for all of your support over this past year. We could not do our work without your help. Have a restful holiday season!
Guatemala shipment arrives
Our box of books arrived in Guatemala, along with our gifts from Africa for school director Jorge and his wife. The shipment included several tablets for the teachers, just in time for school to start again in January. If school continues to be virtual, the tablets will help teachers with online instruction. Our hope is to fulfill some work in Guatemala in the summer of 2021, if the pandemic situation improves.
Books donated from AV2 Books and Orca Publishers
Thank you to these two great publishers who have donated books for both Uganda and Guatemala!
AV2 Books donated dozens of new nonfiction books in both English and Spanish. The books include topics such as extinct animals, mammals, pets, primates, and castles around the world.
Orca Publishers donated dozens of slightly damaged books, both fiction and nonfiction, but most of the “damage” appeared to be missing book jackets. The books were carefully selected for our Ugandan libraries. Next steps include processing, cataloging, and boxing the books.
Thank you, AV2 Books and Orca Publishers!
Roof work is almost complete!
Thanks to a generous donation from Highpoint Fellowship of Cedar Park, roof work on the library in Uganda has restarted. This last phase of roof construction should be complete within the week. This work is helping some workers earn some badly needed income during this difficult economic crisis due to the pandemic.
We have begun receiving book donations! A book bin has been set up in the front lobby at Highpoint, but many others are choosing to purchase books through Amazon from our book wish list. We’re very excited to begin processing these books and boxing them up for shipment to Uganda.
Please donate, either books or funds, to help with the creation of this library. The next phase of construction will involve installing doors and windows. Thanks for your help!