Last October, we brought you an interview with fabulous Austin librarian Trudy Marshall who started the whole Libraries of Love program to build libraries for kids in Uganda. I wanted to share with you a recent update from Trudy about this year's program.
Our Libraries of Love shipment has arrived at one of our schools in Mbale, Uganda. It was an interesting weekend trying to clear it through customs at the Kenyan/Ugandan border. Every year their requirements change. This year they stated that our customs fees would be $1,300, and if we didn't produce their latest new document requirement, they would hold the container at a charge of $100 a day. Also, since it was Saturday, the earliest clearing would be Monday.
That same day, I requested a Ugandan friend, Wilberforce Okumu, (whom most of your children have met - at our school), to travel to the border to see if we could settle the problem. Later in the day, I received an email saying the truck had been cleared and already arrived at our Mbale school, as it is only about an hour from the border. Not only did it clear on Saturday, it was done with no customs fees, the first time that has happened in our seven years of shipping. Cheers!
Young men unloading the truck. In the container were over 900 boxes, weighting between 30 - 60 pounds. We used forklifts and a shipping dock. They unloaded by hand and carried the boxes on their heads!
Included in the shipment:
- Reading textbooks for 15,000 students
- 24,000 library books to complete four new, large libraries
- sports balls (mostly soccer) for the new schools, and some of the previous ones.
- Paperback books so every student can choose a book to keep (approx. 5,000)
- 15 World Globes
- 15 World (wall) Maps
- 15 Maps of Africa (wall maps)
Your help over the past seven years has been an inspiration to the Libraries of Love team. Your endless kind words, inquiries about the status of the next libraries, funding through the Readathon, donation of books, and volunteer hours worked, make finding meaningful words to truly express our gratitude difficult. Just know that together we have made an enormous difference in thousands of children's lives. Over 25,00 children are now reading, with approximately 5,000 receiving new Laurel libraries this summer.
This year $7, 564 was raised through Readathon, and over 700 hours of reading took place - truly amazing! Again - 100% of your funding goes directly into the creation of Laurel Libraries. Simply - many, many thanks sent your way for your kindness and support.
A book is a handshake of friendship.