Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Library

Before recently the library was an unopened room, covered in dust with the books piled high in unorganised columns. The four volunteers that were here before I arrived, under the guidance of Guy and Judi (the ‘geriatric’ gappies that were here for my first month, Guy is the ex-financial director of Mary Hare and Judi is his lovely wife and ex-CEO of the British Dyslexia Association) sorted out the library. They did an excellent job of cleaning, categorising the books, putting posters on the walls and making the library much more accessible.

They put into place a timetable so that every class has an allotted period of time to come and use the books and other resources available. It has been incredibly popular with the children who run to get there, the teachers trailing behind. At the moment there is always one of the volunteers in the library with them but ultimately we would like the teachers to remember to bring their class along, currently, with most of them we have to go and  remind them. Time in the library is a great opportunity to improve my sign language as the smaller children point at the pictures then show you the sign. Some of the older children enjoy practicing their speech by reading to you out loud, in both Swahili and English. I love being in there witnessing the children so keen to learn or just look at the books. When it first opened, apparently some of the children didn’t really know how to even handle a book, how to turn the pages without bending them or even which side was the front of the book.

Over the holidays, when there was no school, we would go in and the first thing the children would ask us was if we could open the library. I couldn’t believe it; you would never see children in England ASKING to go to the library! We also used the room as a base to do other activities including colouring and making puzzles, now the walls are covered in pictures the children have drawn or coloured. We have one puzzle, which has a few pieces missing but they will sit for ages trying to complete it, some of them didn’t even know what to do with the tiny pieces, they must not have seen a puzzle before. I love being in the library, I love watching one child sit and read a book for 20 minutes without looking up, I love hearing the children try to learn how to say new words and  I especially love how much they love being there!! Overall a lot of love!

Thank you all for the offer of Easter Eggs, I love the thought of Dad, Mum and Becky all hiding Easter eggs from each other. Alisa I’m glad you had such a lovely break and the weather stayed good for everyone, and thank you for your comment Marlene, I’m glad you and Sarah are enjoying reading it. A MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS to Dave and Mel who are engaged, I am over the moon and can’t wait to see you both. xxxx


  1. Rushed up to read your post after talking to you on the always have loved a library and this sounds right up your street, so wonderful that the children love the books when you say a puzzle I persume you mean a jigsaw....I wonder if we could post some over there are loads in the charity shops??? I'll look into it.

    Fabby post my darling

    Bye for now
    Mum xxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Doh.......I mean presume......

  3. Congratulations Mel and Dave!! Missing you char char bing, got lots to tel you when you get back, get plenty of pics from the library! I'l be made redundant by the time you get back so we can be wasters together! lovesxx Becky

  4. Lovely to hear how you are getting on my love. Sounds like you're keeping up the good work. It's great to hear how motivated the children are, I guess that must make it so worthwhile. I also could easily get hold of some jigsaw puzzles, please let me know if you want me to try sending some things over. Would love to help out.
    I'm not getting on well with this blog commenting thing... I've tried to leave messages so many time and only about 50% of the time it actually works! I don't know if it's me or this computer. Fingers crossed this one actually sends!
    There's not too much to tell here. Britain has been gripped in royal wedding fever which has been mad! We were lucky enough to have 2 long bank holiday weekends in a row (plus Tom and I managed to get leave for the 3 days in between) which has been totally fab! You will not believe this but the sun has literally not stopped shining! I might even have a tan that can rival yours! Ha ha! Tom and I spent our mini holiday travelling round seeing family and friends. We had a BBQ at Tim and Jess's which was lovely (you were missed lots obviously)! Anyway that's about all that there is to say. Cannot wait to see you for the hen party. Not long at all now.
    Lots and lots of love,
    Faye x

  5. Hi Faye, Charlies mum here....

    I have the same trouble trying to post as well but sometimes find it works on the 4th try!!!!
    so pleased it's not just me.

    I love to read your comments....
    Jan x

  6. Hi Charlie!!

    I went bananas for your monkey balcony story !!!
    Love reading your posts, they are very uplifting.
    I don't have much news of interest (a geek rarely does) unless you want to hear about formula 1 or football; so I will leave you with this:
    Faye and I recently went to a gig - before we went she read me the lineup:
    "Theres a band at 7, and then another at 8, and then the main act at 9...but then there's an act called 'Curfew' at 11...? I haven't heard of them"! It took me a second to work out whether she was joking... Following this, I bought us both a drink - Faye went for the mini bottle of wine. We took our seats, and Faye tried valliantly to open her bottle...until I pointed out that the barman had already done so... Please take her away when you return.

    Glad all is well, miss you lots.

    Much Love xx

  7. Hello Miss Charlie,
    It's so nice to read your blog and see what you are getting up to - you must absolutly love it there you and the other volunteers are doing a fantastic job and the school are lucky to have such caring people especially in this world with all the horrid things going on - it is uplifting to read how innocent children are taking the joys of simple pleasures like reading and puzzles - the youth club raised over £60 for the school and the cheque will be posted out to the donation department asap - I hope it helps to go a little way to bring more smiles to the faces of the children. I have puzzles and books that could be donated could we post them to the school? If so let me know details of address etc and I will see what the youth club here can do. We all miss you at Mary Hare but we are pleased you are there if that makes sense?!?!? Well take care and greetings from coles diner xx

  8. Hi Charlie, Lovely posts, I've been looking after Rod for a few days, and reading out the latest to him, which he really enjoys. He's at respite today, but tonight he wants to send you a message, so I'll be back later.

    At 7.30 this morning I dropped Harry off for his first day of "work experience", (part of his year 10 studies)....on Ocean Spirit, the biggest twin masted "Sail assisted" reef catamaran ....he'll be heading out to Michelmas Quay on it every day this week! Sure beats cleaning out a full winter's accumulated "dung" from John Shipp's calf shed with a wheelbarrow and pitchfork!

  9. Dear Charlie, I was so pleased to hear about your African adventures, as Martin has been reading them out to me.

    I find your time with the pupils and everything they do makes me feel a little sad, (in fact it brings a tear to my eyes as well)

    Your Dad-brother Kieth has kindly offered to come to Australia in September to look after me while Suzanne is away to spend the time with her Mother who is 90 in June, and Suzanne wants to spend the time with her because she does not know how long she has got.

    I have told your Mother and Keith about the problems I have and the help Martin has given me at mealtimes because I often need to be fed with a spoon, it makes me feel like a baby.

    The only thing missing is me drinking out of the bottle because you cannot get a bottle with rum in it, so Martin and I spend a lot of time reminiscing about the past interjected with lots of laughter.

    As you have found over the last few months in Africa, it does not matter wether you are young, middle aged, or old, a good laugh helps the mood and I think that compared with your pupils, I have not got too much to complain about.

    I cannot to wait to get your next newsletter and wonder how one signs to an African, because I thought that you would be signing in English, but I have since been told that signing is a unuiversal thing, so you have got a job in Cairns when you come home

    So, until the next episode I wait with baited breath, and hope you are still learning yourself.

    Lots of love
    Rod XXXX

  10. Laura & Erin9 May 2011 at 11:39

    Hi Charlie,

    I can't believe you've been out there all this time! Love reading your blogs - so interesting; makes me feel like I'm there! Sounds you've had an amazing adventure, bet you won't want to come back?! We'll have to have a good catch up when you get home.

    Lots of love x x

  11. P.S not sure why it came up as Laura &amp!! :-)

  12. Hi Charlotte it's Dad again,did a post to you took too long and lost the lot when the net kept crashing,must get faster or post less,I might send this just to be on the safe side.Mum's arrived so stand by,more in a moment.

  13. Hello mushy, hope your going to be able to get this. Ive applied to scotland so just waiting for the reply. Matt dad has given me a job for the GCSEs as the scribe so thatl be good. hope your having fun, missing you loads and ul be surprised how long my hair will have got when you get home. Matt says hello. lots of love!!

  14. HI Charlotte Dad again Beccy pushed in just as I was starting,great to read about the library,so pleased things are going well,not much longer now,hope the camera problems are sorted.Good post from Rod,I must start e mailing him with all the news.Beccy's on my salmon licence,what about you?I'll phone and enquire tomorrow.Mums arrived again so we'll send this before it dissapears.Missing you ,take care love from Dadxxxxxxx.

  15. Easter egg still safe.Dadxxxxx.

  16. It's so lovely to hear all about what you've been up to lately Charlie. I bet you felt right at home in the library after all those hours you used to spend in there at Reading ;-) How is the weather over there - stil making good use of 'Fantastic'? It's been pretty sunny here - met up with Frankie and Mel in Hyde Park last weekend - got a glimpse of the rock - very exciting!! When do you get back? Everyone misses you lots! Love Ruth xxxxx