Lauren and Laura
PS. Wife of the God's references: saw an advert for the "Chances Hotel" in Ho that Darko mentions, and some Ewe words from the book became familiar!
During their service a lot of PC volunteers do World Wide Schools, a pen pal letter exchange with students in their villages and schools in the United States. I thought this could be a great project to do with FAVL, connecting young students at the FAVL libraries with classes in the U.S.
I did some research and found a list of 50 different Franco-American schools in the States. Typed up a letter of introduction and what we were looking for. In short, said we were interested in creating relationships between the students at the FAVL libraries and the students at their schools. We'd start with a pen pal letter exchange. If the exchange is successful it could lead to other activities like Book-a-Thons of African literature, fundraisings, sponsorships, etc.
After sending a few letters, the very next day I got a response from a French primary school teacher at Austin International School, expressing interest. After a few more detailed email exchanges we decided to give it a try.
I talked to Hamidou, the Pobe librarian and he has already started the letter writing activity at the Pobe library, organizing interested students (around 10-13) and writing the letters. Jen is also working at the Bougounam library writing letters as well. We'll collect the letters at the next meeting on October 25th and send them out by the end of the month. The plan is to do this activity with all the FAVL libraries.
This is just a starting point, a simple pen pal exchange. But I think if this is successful it can really lead to bigger things, like fundraisings and sponsorships, better connections between FAVL and US schools. When I did this in Pobe both groups of children absolutely loved it. They had a new friend from the other side of the world and learned about a totally different way of life. (The class also very generously raised money for the Pobe library!) If for whatever reason the pen pal exchange doesn't lead to bigger things, the learning experience and new friendships the students will get out of it seems worth it to me.
August 28, 2010
Today started early as I promised my kids during the second week I would go to the forest with them on Saturday. Looking back these past two weeks went by faster than I can remember. It also means I have only one more camp to run, as the second camp finished yesterday. In the second camp, I decided to focus on doing sound workshops and completing the research component, as the basics in terms of the schedule and division of labour where already laid upon from the first two weeks. This camp I had 19 kids, 9 girls and 10 boys, although one of them wasn't there for most of the time. This student was unable to fully attend because the salary of one of the fathers got stolen. I have found that each household can contain as many as 50 people as the family extends as to how many wives the father has or sometimes many families come together to from a household. Interesting story from Bernard was that the father gathered the entire household and 'laid' a curse of sickness on the one who stole the money. The meaning of this curse is that the first person to get sick was the one who stole the money. When one child got sick, the father and everyone in that household looked down upon this boy, but the mother blamed Safia, one of the girls attending the camp. Then Safia and the boy had to come by and meet with the father every day to talk things over. I haven't gotten this part straight though and don't know how the problem is going to be resolved but I thought the whole witchery was interesting. I have heard many stories having to do with witches and spells, giving way to a country where 'free will' isn't the norm.