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!
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.
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 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 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)