Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bounty from l-bosta.

Thanks to Darien books for these much-needed donations!

I walked to lbosta (the post office) this morning and walked home with 24 pounds of cool stuff ~ some for my dar chebab, some for me.

First, a long-anticipated donation from Darien Book Aid, a small but mighty American nonprofit that distributes donated books from the States to Peace Corps and other volunteers around the world. I received about 15 pounds of books in English, collected to meet my specific requests for my students' needs. We have a lot of beginner story books, a great picture dictionary, some basic YA novels, a couple of craft guides and even an encyclopedia on CD-ROM (if only we can get the computer room up and running!).

I'm really impressed by how this organization matched books to our profile. Several of the stories are about shepherds, goatherds or desert life. All of the characters are modestly dressed. Just what we'd asked for!  

I hope you'll consider Darien Books when you make your next charitable donation. They do great work and put a lot of thought and effort into what they do.
Can't wait to add today's swag to our bookshelves!

Still, as you can see, we have a long way to go before we can call this room a library. And if you've read my previous posts here and here, you know what I think of our current collection. I'd love to give my kids more beginner English picture books, simple dictionaries, simple poetry, very basic YA biographies ~ essentially, lighweight, thin volumes, easy shippable.

This is where you, dear reader, potentially come in. With only two months left in my service, it's a little late for me to be suggesting this, but I'm gonna give it a shot anyway.

If any of my dear family and friends would like to do something to support the amazing kids of my village in their collective quest to learn English, pass their exams and conquer the world, here's an idea: Consider sending us a small box of gently used books!

They could be tomes your own kids have grown beyond, or a few inexpensive selections from The World's Greatest Used Bookstore (or some other awesome locally owned shop if you don't live near TWGUB). Shipping internationally can be a bit pricey (here are various USPS rates), but a few friends working together could share the pain and spread the love.

Some ideas and caveats, should this idea interest you:

  • Any simple English picture books would be most welcome, from toddler board books to beginner YA novels (but the simpler the better, for even my older students).

  •  My kids love science, nature and geography. I think they'd like poetry, too.

  • It'd be cool to have stories that display America's wonderful diversity (including our Muslim sisters and brothers).

  • Small picture dictionaries would be great (and Arabic-to-English dictionaries would be aMAZing!).

  • I would only ask that nothing be sent that shows people in immodest dress or proselytizes any religion.
If this idea appeals to you, let me know ASAP! It takes about 2 or 3 weeks for a Priority Mail package to reach me ... and my time here is running out. If you don't already have my contact information, drop me a line and I'll get it to you.

Please know that whether or not you're able to make a donation, the fact that you've read and commented on this blog over the past two years, showing your support for my work here and the amazing kids I get to hang with, has meant so much to me. LLah yrhem l-waladin! ~ God bless your parents, as we say here.

But wait! That's not all!

As if the fabulous box o'books weren't enough, I also got what is likely my last care package. (So strange to be already marking the "last" this, "one more" that ...)

Peanut butter! Saline solution! Black beans! And, best of all, more of the adorable kitchen towels my mom makes for me to share with my women friends here in the village.

My mom's amazing handiwork

The ladies always ooh and aah over her work. I sometimes think Mom would make a great Peace Corps volunteer ~ small business development, helping women artisans with color coordination, patterns and marketability.

Icing on today's cake: Not one, not two, but three young boys offered to help me carry my slightly unwieldly boxes home from the post office today.

What I'm reading today:

This makes me so very, very sad: American Muslims Ask, Will We Ever Belong?  

This one makes me think, too little, too late: Planned Quran-burning could endanger troops, Petraeus warns 


Anonymous said...

Your mother's handiwork just inspired me to embellish something. They are beautiful.

william said...

Measuring books by weight seemed odd at first, then I remembered moving.

How do I get some of those hand towels?

ScootStock said...

It's wonderful to see your library growing, Beckie. I'll scout our collection for appropriate books, but I'm afraid Audrey's YA reading tastes would scandalize the Dar Chebab - the Twilight Series (vampires, werewolves - though no sex, darnit), The Hunger Games (violence, political statement - though no sex, darnit), The Pretties series (body modification, social class statement - though not much sex, darnit). Still - I'm sure I can find a few gems.

Enjoy your last few days in Morocco. I know it will be bittersweet. Please let me know when you get back into Big Red Country. I can't wait to see you!