Here's a little snippet of the email she sent out:
First things first, while I was running around the community telling everyone the good news that I had raised enough money to begin the purchasing and ordering of future library books, I found out that a local organization (Tin Tua-a local eastern Gourmatche organization) has a building for a library and a librarian but no books. (At the risk of running off on a tangent, I would just like to interrupt myself and proclaim that I am SO glad that I have the opportunity to give such a classic scenario of the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV). As you can see, I have been living in a small village-around 5,000-10,000 people for about a year and a half at this point. I had talked with several people throughout my community during the planning stages and not once had I heard about this so-called library that was quite literally right outside my backdoor. This is such a great example of some of the surprises and frustrations that the life of a PCV experiences. And as such, this experience is not uncommon among PCVs and represents some of the cultural disconnect that inevitably happens throughout any PCV's service. Brings a new meaning to that cliche in which every day is very much a new adventure). Regardless, the moment I found out about this non-functioning library, I was shocked and (yes, as any Volunteer is when this happens) slightly embarrassed. Needless to say, as revelatory as it was, this was a complete boon to the entire project. Now, not only do I have the library and books, which I had planned on, but I had a librarian!It's always nice to have fans spreading the word about FAVL and the work we do.
With the money, I have bought over 450 library books as well as a solar panel specifically designated for the library. And in addition to the financial aid of being able to afford books that everyone can use and enjoy, I was fortunate enough to know about Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL). FAVL is an NGO which organizes librarian trainings, reading camps, awareness campaigns, and numerous other library-related activities and projects. When the coordinator of Tin Tua approached me and asked for more information and assistance in order for the library to function well, I was able to set up a meeting with one of the coordinators/trainers of FAVL.
The meeting between the coordinators of FAVL and Tin Tua went really well as there was a great exchange of ideas and information. The librarian in Matiakouali will hopefully attend a FAVL librarian training session in order to learn more about how to successfully manage and operate a library. This training will take place in mid-September after I will have left the country. However, to emphasize the sustainability aspect of this project, FAVL will most likely schedule a visit to Matiakouali in order to follow-up on the training and the project in general. This is SO exciting due to FAVL's blossoming success over the past few years and the fact that both participating organizations have been around for more than 5 years and are run mostly by Burkinabe (locally) which I feel increases the sustainability of the project exponentially.