Hola readers! On April 12 the Grade 3 bloggers had the privilege of Skyping with Geneva again. When we saw Geneva’s beautiful face smiling at us with a great big grin it made our hearts warm up because we knew we would be hearing more about the library. We felt like we were right in Cusco with her! She was planning on telling us about how she finished up the snail mural, the bookshelf labels, and added more posters to the walls. We learned WAY more than that!
She introduced us to two of the Mosqoy students, Jose Louis and Adrian, because she was Skyping from the Mosqoy House. The Mosqoy House is where the Mosqoy students stay while they are going to University. The Mosqoy foundation has paid for this home because they are helping Peruvian students go to University. Once these students are finished they return to their communities to do great work there. There are about 20 students who live at Mosqoy House.
After she made the introductions she kind of got a little silent for a second or two. We think she was silent because she was trying to figure out the right words to tell us that the library wasn’t being used without making us sad. She began by saying: Sometimes when you help people you can forget about some of the important things that need to be included in the package. If someone has never had something before and you build it for them or give it to them you have to also teach them how to use it. We all imagined the library would be crowded with people, everyone would be signing out and renewing books, and that there would only be a few books left on the shelves. We thought it would look just like how we use our school library. We were very disappointed and sadden when we heard this news.
We asked her, “WHY?” She told us the people in Q’enqo are afraid to use the library because they are worried about losing or ruining the books. They are afraid of damaging the room too, because everyone put so much effort into making this project successful. It is such a beautiful, incredible, welcoming place and it is the opposite of their own homes. We think it is probably the nicest possession in all of Q’enqo because we saw photos of the school playground and it was surprising. The playground shocked us because the swings were old and so high up that we didn’t know how we could get up there to use them. The swings did not have a seat on them, it was a just a metal frame for the seat. There were big rocks all around the swings and the ground was all uneven. To use the teeter totter you would need a pillow because it was rusty and made out of bare metal. Geneva said she never saw any children playing here. Instead the children chose to play beside a river which made her feel worried.
The people in Q’enqo don’t feel like they own the library, and they don’t know how to use it. It is precious and scary at the same time! It was really hard for any of us to understand this because we use our library every day and using books are a part of our everyday lives. We have a school library, a public library, a home library and our friends’ library. We cannot imagine a world without books. In Q’enqo books are so special because they are rare, expensive, and new to them. The people in Q’enqo are so grateful and excited about the library but they are scared to use it.
Just when we were feeling kind of glum, Geneva gave us hope and told us about a solution. They had persevered and worked out the problem. On May 5 and 6 the Mosqoy students will come in and provide lessons and workshops for the professors (teachers) and the students so they can learn how to use the library. They will teach them how to handle the books, sign the books out, and how to track the books that are signed out. Geneva explained it is challenging for many of the people in Q’enqo because many of the adults are illiterate, they cannot read and write. Two weeks after the Mosqoy students do the training in the library they are going to go back and check to see how it is going. A couple of weeks later Q’ente will check in again to answer any questions and to make sure it is all working well. Geneva explained this is called capacity building. We all helped with the physical work and now we need to do the capacity building which is the work you do with the people. It is hopeful!
This was a big lesson for us, including for our teachers and Geneva. It made us feel and think:
- That we need to help them feel it is THEIR library and books
- Fortunate to live where we do
- There is more we can do to help
- They deserve it and so much more
- We still want to add to the collection of books
- We are still learning so much
- How could we help them to use the library?
- Have you ever had something so beautiful that you were afraid to use it?
- If they were curious and wanted to sign the books out while the library was being built, what changed?
- Have you ever lived in a developing country like Peru?
- Have you ever helped someone and not realized what else they needed in order to feel like it is truly theirs?
- Have you ever given something to someone and they didn’t know how to use it? What did you do to problem solve this?