Sunday, May 30, 2010

Summer 2009 (The beginning)

A little background about libraries in Ghana. This is an estimation. The town of Koforidua (where the school is located) has a few public schools perhaps 20 and about 5 private schools. To my knowledge the private schools have libraries but not the public schools. There is also one central library. The public library (with about 15 shelves half-filled with books) serve the whole region. I was determined to make the Nana Kwaku Boateng my alma mater the first public school to own a true library.

So...when I returned to Virginia I collected some books in my middle school (Amherst Middle). I gathered approximately 12 boxes of books and after a successful car wash (with the help of a parent of and 6 dedicated Algebra students) I was able to mail 2 boxes of books, very expensive by air. There were 10 boxes left here but too expensive to mail so I sent money for them to buy books in Ghana and a book shelf.

In the summer of 2009, I returned to Ghana with 6 boxes worth of books, total of 8, but without a book shelf, nor a structure for a library. I looked around and found a metail trailer they were using for storage. After 2 weeks of requests and petitions, we were granted permission to use it. With less than 4 weeks left, I hired carpenters, electrician, and a painter and they transformed the decrepit trailer into a library filled with a carpet, tables, chairs, 3 book shelves, electrical system with lights, 4 fans, 3 computers (bought with the help of another car wash), and a few good locks to secure it. They now had a complete library with 8 boxes of books (about 300 books), painted and decorated with educational posters.

Before I left, over a period of 2 weeks since construction finished, they had checked out and read 80 books. My next goal was to bring more books, buy more bookshelves and computers.
When I returned, I sent 5 more books in the fall, then 9 more followed in the spring. That's a total of 22 boxes.

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