Monday, May 28, 2012

"People don't read books in Anapra" Estela explained on her recent visit. Books are simply unavailable, no libraries (even in the schools), no bookstores, no options. Though the front porches of Anapra look out over the Mexico - U.S. border onto the verdant lawns of the United States, many of the luxuries we take for granted are not readily available to their community. Paved streets, potable water, steady employment, safety, even education - none are guaranteed to our neighbors to the south - and neither are books.

Perhaps we can change that.

Over the past four years various contacts from the United States have been working to provide books in small bundles, on a variety of topics to those hungry for knowledge in Anapra. A first-time mom received "Qué Se Puede Esperar Cuando Se Está Esperando" ("What to Expect When You're Expecting") and soon all the neighborhood moms were passing around the book, health education being as limited as all the rest. A family whose baby was born with Down's Syndrome was told by the local doctors that there was nothing that could be done but to let the baby die - unhappy with this response contacts in the U.S. provided this mother with literature that enabled her to provide her baby with five comforting and beautiful months of life. And occassionally, when receiving a monthly dispensa of rice and beans, children are handed a spanish children's book which is always clutched with pride and ownership.

However, the vision is growing, taking root in the hearts of many in the U.S. and Anapra to provide more literature, a place for community, and HOPE. The next step in the good work being done in Anapra is taking shape, the shape of a library... and I couldn't be more excited!!! A location has been identified, supply costs are being assessed, and a plan is developing {see!}...

A recent article in the New York Times titled "A Book in Every Home, and Then Some" noted, "a massive, longitudinal study examining the educational attainment of 70,000 students from 27 countries found, surprisingly, that having lots of books in the home was as good a predictor of children’s educational attainment as parents’ education levels. In fact, access to books was more predictive than the father’s occupation or the family’s standard of living. The greatest impact of book access was seen among the least educated and poorest families."

And in order to coordinate the efforts that will surely require the compassionate and generous contributions of numerous partners in the U.S. to empower these impacts, the Pan de Libros (Bread of Books) collaboration group has been formed. Our goal: to promote education, community, and hope by providing books to families across the border.

As we develop this initiative you can follow our progress:

But for now, here's what's got my heart racing...
{email from Estela after sending some rough plans for her to review}
"I can imagine this library with all your ideas and its BEAUTIFUL!!!!
I am imagining it done. I will want to spend lots of time there..."

Me, too!!!

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