Friday, June 30, 2006

Books are Rare

When my father first went to Africa, he taught in a secondary school. Once some students were writing sentences with vocabulary words, and one, assigned to illustrate the word "rare," wrote, "Books are rare." My dad thought the student didn't understand the meaning of the word, but it turned out that in that place at that time, books were rare. It was unusual to own even one.

There are many places in the world today where books are rare. And while perhaps this lack isn't in the same category with malnutrition and disease, it still makes me sad that people don't have books. In my life, books are essential.

Yesterday, we visited the International Book Project. For forty years, this wonderful organization has been giving books to countries where books are rare. In Tecwil, the percentage of the population who can use English books is small, but the students at our school will benefit from IBP's generosity. I was able to get lots of novels for my classroom library and I'm looking forward to sharing them with my kids.

My students aren't the most book-deprived you could find, but many of them don't have the richness of choice that I had as a child. I hope that they will be among those who will work to make books available in the other languages spoken in Tecwil, and that they will work against illiteracy in Tecwil or other places. Sure, there are other needs in this world, but knowledge flows through books. And people who are illiterate can't read a medicine bottle, or a lease, or God's word.

Books are rare! Please donate to the International Book Project - you can send them the books you're finished with or you can give them money. Follow the links on their website to find out how.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I heard a story on the radio a few weeks ago, about how book shipping costs have dramatically increased (more than tripling, sometime in 2007). I tracked it down on the IBP project site and confirmed what I was remembering. That stinks. All the more reason to provide financial support!