Thursday, March 22, 2012


I love to read. In fact, I’m kind of obsessed with reading. While I’ve always know, as least theoretically, that a lot of people do not grow up with books in their homes, I’ve never really thought much about it. However, Mozambique is one of the places where very few people have books in their homes, or really any access to non-academic books. My host family in Namaacha had a bible and Xangana to Portuguese dictionary – which actually was probably a lot of books for most families. Part of the problem is how expensive book are, I went into a bookstore in Maputo where paperback classics translated into Portuguese were about twenty US dollars, which is a crazy amount of money to expect people here to pay for a book. Finding books in Portuguese is another part of the problem and this is combined with the struggle to find Portuguese books that are relevant to people in Africa.

A program called Books for Kids – Africa provided each volunteer in my group with 50 children’s books, all of which are in Portuguese and written for an African audience. The books are awesome and most are quite beautifully illustrated. Zach and I have divided our books between the preschool in our front yard and the youth center and this past week I started to go into the center to sit with the kids and read. It was awesome! Probably around 40 kids passed through over the 3-ish hours I was there, some stayed for 10 minutes, but some just camped out for an hour or two. I helped a couple of kids with their books, one girl was reading one of the very few English books that the center has (the content was a bit too much for her understanding, but it’s still good for her pronunciation). I’m going to try to be at the center a couple of times a week so that kids get a chance to use the books and hopefully really learn to enjoy reading – sounds corny, but I really cannot imagine growing up without access to books. Even if Sequim’s library felt small at times, it’s looking pretty ginormous from here.

Anyways, if you or anyone you know has any interest in sending kids books in English (they can be new, used or pretty much anything in between) to Mozambique, please let me know. I’m hoping to be able to expand the school’s library (which currently consists of only about 50 or so textbooks) as well the youth center’s. The English books are wonderful for the kids’ pronunciation and will hopefully really help with their pronunciation and comprehension, as we don’t have any English textbooks either in the library or the classroom.  

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