I’ve been in my village nearly three weeks and I’m starting my first project – a library.

The previous volunteer obtained more than a dozen boxes of books from a university in New Hampshire via the African Library Project. At the time, the school didn’t have a room for the books so they sat in a storage closet in the half computer, half science lab. When I arrived, my school’s principal said they have a room and while she obtained the shelves I was to sort the books.

Although unpacking, organizing and plastering the school stamp on intro pages is a bit tedious, I am extremely thankful for work. My first week in the village was quiet and my strolls around the community for the sole purpose of greet people, or as I call them integration walks, were helpful I was thirsty for something purposeful. The start of the library is quenching.

I’ve sorted through hundreds of books, checking reading level so I know where to put them in once-completed library. Some have multiple stamps, likely passed through colleges and high schools, and some have sweet notes of loved resembled by the gift of a book.

I read a fare amount while growing up, not nearly as much as my brother Christopher, but enough to spark a love for the written word. Leisure reading died in college and I always seemed to prefer a copy of The New Yorker or the newspaper over a novel.

My time in the Peace Corps has changed that. Both in Niger and Lesotho, I read a quite deal more than I ever did back at home. Thanks to a dear friend (Ali, you are amazing), I brought a Kindle full of books for my second PC stint. I’ve knocked several of them off, including a friend’s memoir that he asked me to review.

The Basotho aren’t known for leisure reading and I am not sure I’ve ever seen someone engrossed in book since I got here. But, I have been asked for novels and I know they do read in class. I don’t know how successful this library will be, but I have hope that just one student will find wonder in all the bound pages. Maybe he or she will feel life’s lack of limits the way I do when I walk into a bookstore. Books allow us to escape and be someone else, they also allow us to hone our interests and find ourselves. I want just one of my students to understand that.

School starts next week and I am hoping students will come back to school to a new, wondrous library. I want them to discover a world they didn’t know existed before, as cliché as that sounds. With this library, I am sharing a piece of my world with my students.


2 thoughts on “Library

  1. Heather! I love this post!
    It makes me curious: I will do some research but are there any organizations where I could donate books to get sent to sites like yours? I would love to donate some of the older books from my grade school years that are collecting dust but the shipping costs make me nauseous.
    Miss you, lady! Keep up the great work!

    • Lucy, thanks for the sweet comments. Volunteers in Lesotho work with the African Library Project to get books. I know that they do drives and maybe you could contribute to one of them. I think it’s great that you want to donate some books. You are wonderful!

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