Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The Book Bus Holiday Reading Programme in South Luangwa, Zambia

The Book Bus team in South Luangwa are Raj and Monica from Zambia and Adrian and David from UK . They are on the road to schools and libraries in the area from 6th to 20th August and you can follow their adventures on this blog throughout the month.

Blog Post 1: Sharing your dinner with Elmer

There can't be many places in the world where the main threat to eating your dinner is a passing Elephant, South Luangwa is one of these places. Our base in South Luangwa is Croc Valley,  a camp placed on the river directly opposite the National Park. When you open your tent here in the morning you see Africa in wide screen. The savannah woodlands opposite the camp is primeval and at sunrise it emerges from the night as if the lights had been switched on, here live leopards, lions, giraffes, zebra and pretty much every other species for which Africa is famous. Nature provides this dramatic backdrop to a growing human population attracted to the area by opportunities in tourism and agriculture.

Every year the Book Bus runs a holiday programme to get children into books by promoting reading for pleasure. This year we are taking stories from around the world and localising the content to match the children's everyday lives, for example here we are surrounded by hippos with not a bear in sight!  This develops creativity and imagination in the children and improves their overall reading and writing skills. Week one of the project is underway and over 60 children are attending the programme every morning at our project base in Uyoba Community Library. Children from Pre School to Grade 6 are enjoying the books and activities that Book Bus George and his crew bring every day.

Arian is our storyteller par excellence and he kicked off the programme with a stirring rendition of "Have you seen Elephant?" followed by "The Lion Inside" and "How the Elephant got his trunk". Adrian was ably assisted by a menagerie of puppets and the children were soon squealing with delight. Part of our programme here is to share the techniques and methods we have developed with the library staff and local volunteers. This ensures that the programme continues after our departure.

So, where does Elmer come into all of this? Look carefully at the photo below for the tusks of the uninvited guest at our dinner table.