Good News in August 2021
Libraries need lots of books to interest their patrons of all ages and backgrounds. The Susu Community Library holds Saturday morning story time for those of pre-school age while their younger siblings play with toys and puzzles. Farmers, pastors, teachers and high school students home from boarding school make their way to the library to do research; the Susu Mobile Library program has 7,000 books in circulation for those villages not close by but still longing for books to read!
It was a very exciting week for EL Malawi and EL Zambia as the book boxes sent last March finally arrived. Mr. Jacob and Mr. Kenneth were on site to receive the boxes and the next day their teams began unpacking and sorting through the treasure trove of materials. Both directors reported that the wonder and excitement were great as the new books, educational resources and even clothes were unpacked (thank you Shoreline Church Dress a Girl).
There's a lot of behind the scenes work that happens in the United States before the book boxes begin the 10,000 mile journey to our libraries in Malawi and Zambia. Only donated books in the best condition or those purchased through our Amazon Wish List are sent to our libraries in Africa.
Recently, ELI volunteers manned a book sponsorship table at a community yard sale. Shoppers were drawn to the attractive table overflowing with children's books. They were invited to select a book that they would like an African child to read, and donate $5 to help with shipping costs. A label noting this book was a gift from .... was placed inside the book. ELI staff happily added 41 books to the boxes that are leaving in a few days.
Also included in this shipment were three beautiful aprons created by a very talented US seamstress for the Susu Literacy Ladies. The hard working Susu women bake scones in their traditional ovens to sell locally, and then use their profits to pay a small stipend to their literacy teacher. Donna was so touched by this story, she wanted to bless these women with a special gift. Thank you Donna - the women were delighted.
Jacob, Kathrine and Noemi carefully plan the library day activities so the children can participate in basic instruction in language, reading and math. Kathrine and Noemi are both qualified teachers. However, educational resources for the 500 children attending the classes are limited, so they have ingeniously used what is at hand to create engaging lessons.
Noemi gathers children to sit around the perimeter of the tarps spread on the ground. Children sit feet pointing towards a "tree" at the center (a branch propped up in an old tin can). Noemi has written words on paper "leaves" and invites the children to place these "leaves" on the tree as they learn the word. The children are excited when they correctly learn the word in English.
Kathrine has children of different heights stand in front of the group to illustrate the concept of big and small. For children struggling to recognize shapes, Kathrine added local food coloring to corn flour, so children could spread the colorful powder on different paper shapes. Another memorable success for the children.
Bottle caps used to teach subtraction and addition, corn cobs for outlining shapes and new books to read. Library Day is life changing. Jacob writes of hearing parents talking with their children on library day, saying, "Go attend the activities, we don't want you to be like us who failed to go to school in our time."
A few weeks ago, Mr. Kenneth was invited to visit a new literacy class begun in the village of Chibwe (one of the 18 villages on the EL Zambia mobile library route). The children from Chibwe school are encouraged to bring books home to read to their families. Many of their parents are illiterate, but they too wanted to read the books for themselves. Personal finances are meager (there are not many job opportunities if you are illiterate), but each one contributed a small amount to pay a literacy teacher. The instructor wrote the lesson in the dirt and the students wrote their answers in the dirt, but they were determined to learn to read. The adults asked if EL Zambia could help them by purchasing a blackboard and chalk. Within a week, their prayers were answered. A blackboard, chalk, pencils and notebooks were presented to the class. After seeing such determination, the Chibwe literacy class will be funded for one year. This is the fourth adult literacy class in Zambia funded by ELI, and there are currently three more villages on the waiting list.
Mr. Kenneth also shared the story of Margaret, a 62 year old hard working farmer from Katondo village, who loves to study the Bible and share the Word of God with everyone she meets. Her personal Bible is old and falling apart, so she was delighted to learn that the Susu Library has several English and local language Bibles available. The demand for Bibles to read is so great that library copies can only be checked out for one week. No problem for Margaret. She faithfully walks the four miles to the library to return a Bible and hopefully check it out again. Margaret and other readers are praying for the library to have more English and Bembo language Bibles.
Drive Sweet Susu Produce to Market
A BIG thank you to all who contributed to the Drive Sweet Susu Produce to Market campaign. The new truck will soon begin the long journey from Japan to Susu Village. More details and pictures in future Good News!
ELI is grateful for all your prayers and financial support, and it is truly a joy to share the good news of what your investment is accomplishing. Please prayerfully consider becoming a regular monthly supporter or fund any of the projects found on our Be Involved page on our newly updated website. May you be abundantly blessed.