In the month of June, Father's Day is the traditional holiday to acknowledge the special role of fathers in our lives and their love for their children. It is also an opportunity for ELI to honor Jacob and Kenneth (ELI program directors in Zambia and Malawi) and their hearts to serve God and seek His good plan for their own young children and the children of the communities they serve. Jacob, Kenneth, and Pastor Sanday of Susu Village have been praying and trusting for a long time that their Heavenly Father would provide a way for their children to have educational opportunities and a different future. Pastor Sanday is certain that there are future teachers, doctors, community leaders and pastors in his village. He knew God had a plan and his heart rejoiced as he watched the miracle of Susu Community Library being constructed and filled with great books and educational resources. Now he and other pastors have access to Bibles and Bible stories for children. It is Pastor Sanday's joy to invite the village children to hear him tell the story of God's great love for them.
In his report from Malawi, Jacob will tell you about a village father, a village elder and a village book monitor; three more fathers praying for God to bless all the children of their community. ELI is humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be part of God's plan. Thank you for serving with us.
It's the winter season here in Malawi, and most of the people in the villages we visit do not have cold weather jackets to cover themselves during this season. This makes them bask in the sun just to feel warm. We usually hide under the shade of a tree during summer. But this was not the case when we arrived for our scheduled activities. We laid down our mat on the open ground to make sure that everyone could enjoy the sun. We visited two villages on this day and spent half of the day in each village. It was a very successful trip seeing young and old people enjoying everything we brought: books, crayons, and a small chalkboard used for teaching. Everyone feels like it’s a new day, as if we haven’t been there before. We come with excitement, seeing the people enjoy their experiences when we go there for activities. The village monitors always call us to make sure we are going to arrive. Everyone expects us after the expiration of the borrowed books (every two weeks).
This was the first village we visited. Mr. Limiton Chatsika welcomed us; he is a very committed village monitor. This man is amazing; he has managed to organize additional library days during the week and he offers classes in basic math and reading. Through Mr. Limiton a lot of people have been introduced to Elizabeth’s Library International.
The most interesting thing is that many people know us, because we are offering knowledge through book reading to people of different ages. This gives parents courage to send their children to participate. Parents also come to observe what we do. Some people have been hearing of the program, but don't have time to meet us as they are engaged in other activities on library day. But today they found it necessary to come and join us, to appreciate what we are doing and take part in it as well. In the photo above, a father is spotted happily taking his child by the hand to attend our open classes being conducted by our hard-working teacher, Naomi. This has been the trend since we began the mobile library program. Parents encourage their children to participate whenever they see us. Another photo shows one of the elders who came to observe what we do. He had heard of Elizabeth’s Library mobile program for some time. He finally came to attend the open classes just to appreciate our work; he also gave us a word of encouragement. He promised us that he would make sure to spread the news, because he has witnessed the importance of the mobile library in this community.
Mr. Limiton also has expressed gratitude for bringing this program to his community. He told us he is receiving all support from the village leaders in terms of encouraging people to learn about the program in some village forums. Because of this exposure, it will not be difficult to expand to other corners of the village.
Brightly colored bottle tops and corncobs were used for counting, as you can see in the photos above. The children were excited to see that they can use ordinary materials found in the village for addition and subtraction. We used the bottle tops to teach them different colors and for counting.
The children were encouraged to use dried corncobs to draw a house that was marked on the floor. They were given long and short corncobs to see how they can use different lengths to build, and to encourage critical thinking skills. This helped with the individual assessment of their abilities. Surprisingly they managed well, as shown in the picture. This shows that they can grow in learning new skills if given the opportunity. The children also understood they can use things around their villages as tools for learning; this opened their eyes and brought much excitement.
Our second stop in the afternoon was Dima village, where we also had a wonderful day. We found the people were waiting for our arrival. This is because the villagers enjoy our visits, and it helps them to see how they are improving in skills and how they might continue to improve.
It was a very busy day for Naomi, who tried to teach the children about geometrical shapes. For example, she taught them what a triangle and square looks like. She told the children to use bottle tops to make a square on the mat, as shown on the chalkboard, which everyone managed to do. It was exciting to see the children comprehending the task. This is an encouragement to us, and it shows that they understand what we tell them. Naomi is an amazing teacher who has skills to teach small children. Four children were picked at random and told to form a square using their bodies on the mat. Surprisingly they did it as you can see in the picture.
We also read books for story time, and others were given books to read on their own. Through Elizabeth’s Mobile Library, children are now able to see the importance of school and reading books. We say thank you to Elizabeth’s Library international for all the support in terms of finance and materials for us to use so that the program is successful. It is much appreciated and you can know that you are changing the lives of many people here in Africa, specifically here in Malawi.
Blessings from Jacob
ELI supporters have often used FB birthday fundraisers to bless our friends in Africa, and we're delighted to share with you a few stories of specific needs that have been met.
Lana celebrated a milestone birthday two years ago, by asking friends and family to purchase a goat or two for Susu Village, Zambia. A goat barn was built and eighteen adorable kids started the new herd. The project surpassed expectations as those kids are having kids and producing nutritious milk for the village children.
Kathleen, as a professional children's librarian is passionate about providing children access to good books to read. She asked her FB friends to help purchase a heavy duty motorcycle, so the Susu Mobile Library program could reach more rural and remote villages. Today, this motorcycle travels to eighteen rural schools with a combined population of more than 9,000 students. Go Susu!
Tom had the opportunity to see firsthand how difficult it was for many adults to read the new books, because of poor vision. He learned that if reading glasses were available in the new Susu Library, more adults could take advantage of all the resources the library has to offer. Thank you Tom. Your gift is already blessing many.
Alicia's passion is for everyone to have access to a Bible. She was touched by the frequent requests from our program directors for more children and adult Bibles. Her fundraiser purchased children's Bibles, which were distributed through the mobile library programs in both Malawi and Zambia. A life changing gift.
ELI programs have many one time specific needs that you might consider funding through a FB birthday event, VBS or children's ministry projects. Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org for priority needs and cost.
ELI is very grateful for all gifts and asks that you prayerfully consider becoming a regular monthly supporter and partner with us to bring libraries, literacy and educational opportunities to our friends in African villages. Also, we are delighted to report that our special Drive Sweet Susu Produce to Market campaign only needs $7,600 to fund the purchase of a new truck for the Susu farmers. Your designated gift of any amount is appreciated.