Monday, May 21, 2012

Book shipment arrives in Uganda

May 15: THE Download
By Trudy Marshall
Students help unload the more than 900 boxes.
      Executive Director
Libraries of Love paid fees/taxes on May 14, in advance of our 40 ft. container arriving at the border on the 15th. However, the customs officials at the border decided to ‘uplift’ our fees, as they call it. It ended being double the first amount. It was pay, or have the truck held longer, for a fee. We paid.
Loading the truck for the trip to Mbale.
The morning of the download, a truck was to take me to Kusubi Primary, where the download would occur. I would travel later in this truck to Mbale to deliver boxes. My driver called that morning and was in a different town. I had to hastily try to find another truck. When I arrived the downloading of the 943 boxes (40,000 books) had begun. There aren’t words to describe this event. 
The boxes had to be divided between 27 receiving schools/people. Men were handing these 30-60 pounds boxes to 5th-7th grade students who were balancing the boxes on their head or shoulders, moving down some steps, walking a distance and putting the box in a room, which had signs designating receivers. There seemed to be hundreds of students running wild, and enjoying the event. For this mzungu – it was total chaos. My Board later had to remind this event has now taken place for eight years – and has always been successful. I just haven’t been there to witness the phenomenon.
We loaded the boxes for schools in Mukono, Jinja, and Mbale in the truck I had hired. Two drivers and I finally got on the road around 4 p.m.. What was to be a 4 hour trip, became a 7 hour ordeal. It poured rain, and we watched wild lightening shows. The truck had no defroster, and it was pitch black along the roads. To top the night off, there were two bad wrecks – so endlessly long traffic jams. But all’s well that ends well. The boxes / books, which took a year’s worth of endless hours of preparation, have been delivered! May God bless Libraries of Love volunteers and financial supporters for their faithfulness!
Mary Kevin's library moves to permanent room
Students who came to look at the 'new' library in Mary
Kevin's Primary in Kampala.
I have enjoyed arriving at schools where students are excited about borrowing books from their libraries at the beginning of the term. Friday, I spent the day at Mary Kevin’s Primary, where the librarian and I started from scratch and put a library together that had previously been housed in a container. The new headmaster had designated a regular room for the library. By late afternoon, it looked incredible.
Future events:
May 25 and 26: Fourteen Kampala area librarians will travel to Mbale, to join Mbale librarians for a meeting. Many thanks to Patrick Bakka, headmaster at King’s College (high school) who is supplying a school van for their travel.
*One of the Kampala librarians ask if he needed to bring his mattress to Mbale. Few librarians have ever stayed in a hotel, and many have not been outside their city, unless to a nearby village.
What a great time we will have! Love this group!
Students take books to their classroom at Namakwekwe Primary
in Mbale.

June 4 – 19: LOL’s 2012 team arrives and will restock 5 libraries, plus create two new ones. So many great memories of our teams over the past 8 years ... each one unique. Have to love volunteers willing to travel to the other side of the world. And, oh my, how the Ugandan children love them!
July 13 and 14: Mbale headmasters will travel to Kampala to join Kampala area headmasters for an LOL meeting.

I am excited that Mbale Rotary Club has offered their services, when needed, for the libraries!