It was a busy busy summer at our Reading Mentor project in Mangochi, Malawi.
We teamed up with UK charity School Aid and delivered more than 18,000 books and other educational resources to 10 local schools in the Lake Malawi area.
The books arrived in a huge container after travelling more than 5,000 miles by sea from the UK to the port of Beira, Mozambique and another 500 miles onward by road across the border to Malawi.
The 20 foot container was packed full of books and other educational resources kindly donated by UK schools and publishers as part of School Aid’s book partnering programme.
With only four hours to offload 18 pallets of 800+ boxes of books, the whole Book Bus team set to work accompanied by a huge, willing and enthusiastic team of local children from the nearby village.
We quickly set up a book carrying production line and managed to offload all the books within 3.5 hours.
Whilst the children were waiting for the next pallet to offload, they sat under trees and couldn’t resist a sneak preview of the books. For many of these children books are a rare site.
Joseph Makwakwa runs local community group CISER said:
“Lack of good quality engaging books presents us with a real challenge in Malawi. If a school has a library at all (and very few do) they are often full of outdated books with no relevance to the children. These books from School Aid will make a real difference. We have English text books, dictionaries, science books and reading books. Partnerships like School Aid and the Book Bus are fantastic as they work together to help communities access good quality relevant books. This really will help promote a reading culture. A big thanks goes out to everyone who has donated and helped.
The fact that almost every child from the local village turned out to help carry the books shows our real and genuine commitment. Zilkomo!” exclaimed Joseph.
Every child who helped carry the books received a pencil and exercise book to take to school in the new academic year. After the shipment was offloaded, our Book Bus librarian Rhoda got to work cooking the largest pot of Nsima (a local and very popular Maize dish) the world has ever seen to share a special meal with the children to say thanks.
Food for the belly, food for the brain - a lovely combination.