I finally made it up to visit the new and improved library at G.S.Kiruli, and boy was I amazed by what I saw! Not only was the library organized and user-friendly, it was huge! It really is amazing how proper storage can open up a space. When I walked into the library I couldn't believe that all of the books were there! It was so open and only about half of the shelves were full. Although, I quickly realized that, sure enough, the books were all accounted for. With proper shelving, there is now room for more than twice as many books as before- it's fantastic!
It was a Saturday morning when I visited, and I only stayed at the school for an hour or so. In that time I talked to a student that I have known well these past 2 years- Janvier. He is now in Senior 3 (the last class at this school) and he said that he loves the library. He is a serious student and his English has gotten quite good as his studies have progressed. Janvier told me that he thought the improvements made to the library were really helpful and that it is now easier for everyone to use.
The headmaster pulled me aside and asked me to be his photographer for a moment. There was a small group of students due to receive shoes and bags from the school, and the headmaster wanted some photo documentation. These primary (elementary) students come from extremely poor families and chronically have problems finding proper supplies for school (including shoes and clothes) so the school/ local government decided to step in and help them out. When I came to take photos it made them feel special, but they knew me so it wasn't something so strange. These are the kids I would talk to in the road every day. The kids I would playfully chase away from my classroom windows mid-lesson. I've included a photo here so you can see how happy these little munchkins were that morning.
I have great confidence in the future of the library. I think that Jimmy is taking great care of it and that the shelves will fill up (possibly with the help of the new volunteer- Taylor Harveycutter) and that students and teachers will benefit immensely. If you were to go into an average school that has not had the benefit of a volunteer (more specifically, a volunteer with willing colleagues and generous friends) you would likely find boxes of books sitting in the head office, still packed from the ministry. So the fact that now G.S.Kiruli has a nice, functioning library really is something! I'm so happy that I've been able to see this project reach the goals we set and I feel very lucky that I was able to help in the accomplishment. Jimmy and I had a fun time with the project, and even the headmaster enjoyed drawing up different designs and helping with measurements and other logistics. Taylor is hoping to find a way to get more books for the teachers and students, and those same students and teachers are learning that working together and combining various talents can breed great results!
I hope you enjoy the photos and the update, and please let me know if you have any questions!