I estimate that we spoke with over 100 children and adults regarding the library, its resources, and the importance of reading. Most of the people we spoke with were residents of Tarabuco who were headed to the plaza to sell their hand-made textiles at the Sunday market, although we also spoke with a number of people from surrounding areas.
We handed out books designed for people of all ages and skill levels on a variety of topics--math, science, writing, hygiene, childbirth and childcare, solar cooking, the history of the potato, healthy relationships, and of course some pleasure reading.
Among the recipients of the books was one woman selling her wares who had thirteen children at home, a man who had walked five hours that morning to get to the market to sell his mantas, and many many children, some of whom were clearly child laborers, working on Sunday to sell goods and shine shoes.
Giving out books to people who clearly need food, water, soap, and medicine can seem counterintuitive at first. It seems that basic needs must be met before we can start worrying about knowing multiplication tables or being able to read about the animals that live in the rainforest. I like to believe, however, that all of these things are inter-related--that improved access to educational resources will result in an improved ability to seek out and obtain the other resources that we all need to live. In a world run largely by documents--laws, job applications, instruction manuals, etc.--illiteracy can be very disempowering. Indeed, it´s difficult to know one´s rights if they are only available in the written word. I believe, however, that Biblioworks and a number of other high-quality organizations are improving this situation.
Below you´ll find a few more pictures from our visit to Tarabuco.
|Dona Marina, the local librarian, sits with two girls from Tarabuco outside the library.|
|We used a parachute game to practice math with the local children.|
|Ryan smiles for the camera after talking with two boys about the library´s resources.|