Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rachel's Library

Rachel’s Library

I love when I have the opportunity to visit other Peace Corps in other villages because seeing their successes inspires me to work harder to be like them.  As you may know there are many amazing volunteers around the world, but because of lack of technology accessibility, I am unable to learn more about them.  Therefore, I am stuck (in a good way) with my Peace Corps family in Samoa.  From seeing their interactions at work and in the village I am amazed at the compassion they all show with everyone.  I always come back to my village encouraged to do more and work harder. 

I had the opportunity to visit Rachel’s school last week.  As I ran after the bus that didn’t see me in the darkness of the early morning, I quickly put a smile on my face.  “Te alu i fea, Lili?”  I explained how I was going to visit Rachel.  “Oka se mamao!”  (Wow, that’s far!)  She’s worth it, I said. 

On the long bus ride I saw several family member s of different volunteers.  When we arrived close to Maka’s school, the bus started filling up with pineapples.  Every student going to the college seemed to have several.  (To be fair, there were a few students with niu, and other fruits.)  I texted Maka to find out what exactly was going on in his school compound, and learned that the Ministry of Education was visiting. 

About an hour later, I arrived at Rachel’s school where  I saw them watching the video of their English Day play they put on last term.  Afterwards Rachel, who just started her own postcard project, showed short travel videos about her first postcards (Japan, New Zealand and New York).  Rachel’s community in New York pooled together money to buy the projector, and it was great to see how it is being used there. 

After school, I walked with Rachel to her house.  Little did I know we were being followed.  Shortly after we arrived, we began to hear voices.  Kids had shown up to visit Rachel’s travelling library. 

The travelling library is a program that is put on by the US Embassy.  Our Ambassador and Charges De Affairs are always working hard to improve education in Samoa.  At the Nelson Memorial Library, the main library in Apia, they put together an American section which features a collection of work from many American authors.  There is also internet available there.  It is the only place in Samoa that offers free internet, and I am sure it will continue to do so as long as it is not abused.  They then put together a travelling library to go to the different schools.  There are several tubs of books.  One has reference materials, another with children’s books, and the last has smaller chapter books. 

Rachel was the first to get the travelling library, and so far is having great success with it.  Each day, children come to her house to check out new books, and it was great to see them in action how they pick their books.  Like kids in America, they base most of it on the cover picture.  Others spent the time flipping through to make sure it had words they could understand.  We spent about an hour with those children.

Seeing Rachel’s library made me jealous-If only I had my own house, I would be able to do such programs right where I live.  But since I live with a family, it is much harder, since I never want to impose on them.  I love living with a family, don’t get me wrong, but seeing the other volunteers, you see the perks on their living arrangements.  I still think I have it better than most of them, since I get Samoan cooking and language 24/7! 

Malo galue Rachel!  Keep up the great work!


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