Library Project


At the end of my Peace Corps Service, over 300 books had been checked out and properly returned to the library.  The library costs of the project were less than 400usd for the school, plust the 500usd to ship the books, for a total of less than 900usd.  This is an incredible feat.  Thanks to everyone who helped.  There are thank you’s from my students coming soon, but I personally want to thank everyone who was involved and want to let everyone know that this a a greatly appreciated resource for the village of Ha Lejone.  Pictures can be seen in my picasa web album from the Botswana post!


Click here to learn more about the African Library Project in Lesotho.

Here is a link to our ALP web page.

Why A Library?

Maliba-Matŝo Secondary School is a small, rural school located in the Highlands of the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.  In contrast to the natural beauty of the landscape, Lesotho has a wealth of troubles, including but not limited to poor government, poor education, corruption, drug trafficking, food shortages, and the third highest HIV infection rate in the world, with estimates ranging between 25 and 30 percent of the population.  In spite of these troubles, the Basotho(people of Lesotho) are a people emphatically dedicated to peace, patiently awaiting a better lifestyle for themselves and for future generations.

Maliba-Matŝo has its own special set of circumstances that significantly disadvantage many of the students that are striving to learn here.  Finances and lack of outside support cause many problems.  In spite of this, the students retain a tremendous will to learn.  Many of the students travel great distances from their homes.  After fetching water, bathing, cleaning their homes and cooking food for their parents and siblings, some students must walk through up to two hours of mountainous terrain.  Somehow they still manage to make it on time.  They do their best to stay focused on their studies in spite of spending the whole day in a dark and unstimulating classroom.

My language and accent are a huge barrier to the teaching process, but together we are finding ways to overcome.  English is the second language of Lesotho, and the primary language used for education.  In the rural Highlands, however, less English is used, and a proper grasp of the language is more difficult to develop.  This leads to many students simply getting left behind, not understanding their teacher’s words.  This does not mean the students are not interested in learning the English language, just that they have few avenues to develop and practice their skills.

It is my belief that a Library would be a tremendous resource for these students, not just to develop their skills in the English language, but to help them to understand in some way the world  outside of Lesotho.  By planting a seed of understanding, these students can develop their goals and ambitions beyond what they previously thought possible.  Simply by broadening their horizons, these students can broaden their dreams.

Action Plan

Creating a library for the school will be no small undertaking.  The school operates on limited resources, but we have worked hard collecting the supplies needed to renovate a room and to create shelves for the books when they arrive.  We are hoping to collect over 1,000 books from the panhandle region of Florida.  In addition we are hoping to raise $500 U.S. Dollars to cover the shipping fees to send the books across the ocean to our small school in the small country of Lesotho.

The books and funds must be collected by December 2010.  From Pensacola the books will be shipped to New Orleans.  From there they will make the voyage to Africa, and the books will hopefully arrive at the school around March 2011.

Financial Contributions:

Financial contributions can be made in the form of a check mailed to:

Aggie Habitat
c/o Katie Porter
413 Montclair Ave
College Station, Texas 77840

Checks should be made out to “Ashlyn Kelbly”.  Any funds beyond the $500 goal received will be used to build homes in the Bryan/College Station area of Texas.  I will make an update to this page and on my blog as soon as we reach our goal.  Thanks!


Book Donations:

Book donations should be arranged with Kathryn Jewell, address:

Kathryn Jewell
1112 Laguna Ln.

Gulf Breeze Fl 32563


We are hoping to collect mostly middle-school level reading materials.   Educational books are of course welcome, but the more pictures in such books, the better!  Picture books are good to show the students the world outside of Lesotho.  Thanks!

If we work together, we should make this dream a reality for the students at  Maliba-Matŝo.  Please let me know by e-mail if you have any questions or concerns.  Otherwise, happy book collecting!

Khotso, Pula, Nala  (Peace, Rain, Prosperity)

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Mom October 20, 2010 at 9:52 am

Son, you need to correct the word God, with good in the ending. (religous books are not accepted , remember????LOL Whoops, spelling error… Hugs to you. I have about 70 books so far. Now that I had surgery, I can get my bottom back to work on this project. Kim is helping, and we are going to garage sales this weekend begging for books…

kathryn jewell November 4, 2010 at 10:31 am

We should have over 1000 books by next week. The community has been great and several pick ups are on schedule with me today. YAHOO for all those Aggies….

Walter November 10, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Just talked to Kathryn and will deliver 30 years of National Geographic mags tomorrow (1970-2000). All are in NG book cases (sleeves) and in very good condition. I am thrilled to find a good home for them with students who will make good use of them. Keep up the good work!

Walt K

Kathryn Jewell April 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Just to update. The books are on a ship ond on their way. I delivered the books with a friend to the Port of New Orleans before 2011 even began, but it is long process. The books are over the Ocean now somewhere , as I type these words. We ended up collecting 1500, the maxium allowed for Ryans library, and we also colected another 750 for another library there that needed more books. I had many helpers, the local Halmark store, the Gulf Breeze High School, my Son Noah, my best friend Kimberly Blair, Micheal Brayton, all the great students at Texas A and M, and all the wonderful people who donated books, time and money for the cause. Thank you to everyone. I will let you know when the books arrive. Yahoo!!!!!! Katie

Meredith April 11, 2011 at 11:53 am

Hi Katie & Ryan,

I have been anxiously waiting for a blog entry about the books arrival and see that they are still enroute. It will be an exciting few days when they make it to Ryan’s library.

Katie, you had mentioned that you were hoping to be in Lesotho to help Ryan set up the library, have you been already or is the trip upcoming?

Ryan,I hope all is well with you. You must be looking forward to Easter break, enjoy!

🙂 Meredith

Kathryn Jewell May 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I was not able to make it to Africa as I have a chronic kidney disease. I was in ICU in Feb 2011, and everyone (but me) felt it was to dangerous for me to make the trip in the event I should take ill again. I wanted to go, and bring Noah, my 12 year old, but …
The most recent update is that the books did make it to Lesotho, but have not made it to the school yet. Soon the library will be in full swing.
Also do not be concerned about my health as I have had this disease my entire life. I feel great, and am proud to say I am a fighter.
Thank you for helping us make this library happen Meredith.

Naomi May 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Hey Katie,

Was thinking about this and wondering if the library was in full swing. I am happy to say I donated a few books but wish I could of gotten more.
Glad to know you are better

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