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Nov 15, 2017

Create a Library for 350 Kids in Rural Nicaragua

Indira Morales, AMNLAE Coordinator, choosing books
Indira Morales, AMNLAE Coordinator, choosing books

Everything about Biblioteca Paz y Vida was planned.  This little village library would occupy the second floor of a two-story multi-use building.  It would be stocked with hundreds of beautiful new children’s books, Nicaraguan textbooks, puzzles, games and art supplies.  The local children would come in daily to study, read and recreate.   After all, the library would be right next door or just down the street.  Teachers would also come to plan their lessons and to tutor children.  Mothers would run the library, knowing that their children were blessed with something they never had, access to books and educational materials.  Peace and Life Library would be just that, one of peace and life.

In addition to the village library, the small, two-street town of Paz y Vida was also vigilantly planned.  Several years ago it was merely vacant land located on the outskirts of Granada.  Then came Indira Morales, Projects Coordinator for the Association of Nicaraguan Women Luisa A. Espinoza (AMNLAE),  and her marvellous construction team.  Women and children that were once homeless now occupy four rows of tiny houses, complete with running water and electricity. 

These sixty-two homes make up the entire town…plus one unfinished multi-use building.   Due to underfunding, construction stopped.  And that, dear supporters, was not in the plans.  Thus, carefully stored in this still single-story structure is a plethora of brand-new books and educational materials, resources purchased in July by From Books to Brilliance volunteers.  Citizens eagerly await the completion of the ceiling, floor and painting before Biblioteca Paz y Vida can unlock their doors and welcome readers.

However, there is great news.  In a proposal to Nicaragua’s German Embassy, long-term partner Indira Morales told the story of this little village and its struggle for a library.  The funding was approved!  “We already have money to finish the construction of the ground floor, which means that soon the library will be functioning,” says Indira.  Years of hard work and persistance finally are coming to fruition.  In January Biblioteca Paz y Vida will open to all.  And planning can resume, this time for a future...a future unlike the past…one of opportunity, hope, peace and life.  

We thank you all!

Paz y Vida row houses...living with dignity
Paz y Vida row houses...living with dignity
Age and culturally appropriate books
Age and culturally appropriate books
Our library will open soon!
Our library will open soon!
Four librarians, ready to go to work!
Four librarians, ready to go to work!
Sep 26, 2017

Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala

World literature for Kajib' No'j
World literature for Kajib' No'j

     Visit Instituto Kajib’ No’j and undoubtedly a few smiling teens will offer you a guided tour of their school.  We recommend that you take it!  In the band room aspiring musicians practice their drums and wind instruments in preparation for the upcoming community parade.  Melodies of Mayan forefathers float down the hall, played on the school’s marimba.  In the garden across the street, students harvest organic fruits and vegetables.  The tour continues, boasting clever systems of irrigation, water filtration and composting. 

     Thank you, GlobalGiving supporters!  Soon a school library will be included in that tour.  In July From Books to Brilliance volunteers delivered the first cache of literature to Kajib’ No’j’s students.  These hard-working, industrious teens already embrace the wisdom of their families, teachers and fellow citizens.  Now, with access to the world’s great literature, students are acquiring wisdom from the past as well.  In the Popol Vuh they read the Mayan story of creation, told by their own legendary ancestors.   El Señor Presidente, by Guatemala’s Nobel Prize-winning Miguel Angel Asturias, describes life under a merciless dictator.  Their world expands further when reading Don Quijote de la Mancha, Alice in Wonderland and the Life of Pi, to name just a few.  According to principal Pedro Eligio Ajxup, “the books are motivating students to set and achieve goals and dreams for their lives.”  Kajib’ No’j’s school board and faculty sent a letter of thanks, listing a dozen ways in which the books increase student learning and critical thinking skills.

     The creation of Biblioteca Kajib’ No’j is just beginning and there is much to do, and From Books to Brilliance does not work alone.  We have strong partners, educators at the Austrian Guatemalan Institute (IAG) in Guatemala City.   In fact, IAG founded Kajib’ No’j over twenty years ago to provide education to Momostenango’s Mayan children.   Our partners are committed.  They will provide needed bookshelves and furniture, and prepare the space that will accommodate hundreds, hopefully thousands of books for all Kajib’ No’j’s students, ages five to sixteen.

     From Books to Brilliance remains committed as well.  Through the books and resources your generous support provides, these talented children are able to expand and pursue their educational goals.  Kajib’ No’j sends their heartfelt appreciation.  We'll keep you updated on all progress.

Discovery. Which one do we read first?
Discovery. Which one do we read first?
The Popol Vuh...a thumb's up from the faculty
The Popol Vuh...a thumb's up from the faculty
De nada...You are welcome!
De nada...You are welcome!
Aug 18, 2017

Create a Library for 350 Kids in Rural Nicaragua

Meet me at Biblioteca Paz y Vida!
Meet me at Biblioteca Paz y Vida!

July 28th was day one for Biblioteca Paz y Vida, and From Books to Brilliance (FBTB) had no shortage of help.  With books and materials purchased, and inventory completed, delivery day had come.  Our long-term Nicaraguan partner, Indira Morales, worked her magic.  Three enthusiastic young men appeared and carefully loaded our precious cargo onto a flat-bed truck.  Boxes and boxes of books, games, globes, bookshelves, storage bins, tables, chairs, and more arrived in Paz Vida unscathed.  Citizens also arrived, eager to put together a library, their library, in their own village.

Thank you, friends.  You play a vital role in a magnificent story in which Paz y Vida is the latest chapter.  A local women’s cooperative, Casa de la Mujer, has created a movement.  Nearly a thousand of Nicaragua’s poorest families now live in standard houses…houses with flooring, running water, and with a door that locks.  Adults are finally able to leave their house unattended to look for a job or to learn a trade.  No longer needed to search for wood and water every morning, their children go to school.  Indira, the cooperative's Project Manager, collaborates with organizations in Germany, France and Spain to fund this miracle. “FBTB's four village libraries have significantly changed their communities,” says Indira.  Now, when planning for the next housing project, the women and their global partners also plan for a library.  

And so it came to be for Paz y Vida.  Though the building is not quite finished, the floors need tile and the walls need paint, citizens young and old are already thrilled.  As one of the four library volunteers explained, "As children, none of us ever had access to a library.  Here our kids will be close to home.  They won't have to ride their bike for miles to do their homework or to read a book."  They thanked us profusely, and insisted that we thank all of you for this extraordinary gift.

Frank, Marvin & Indira choosing books & materials
Frank, Marvin & Indira choosing books & materials
Delivery to Biblioteca Paz y Vida
Delivery to Biblioteca Paz y Vida
Volunteer librarians & FBTB's Kim Covill
Volunteer librarians & FBTB's Kim Covill
Our truck drivers, so happy to help!
Our truck drivers, so happy to help!
Thanking you all, citizens of Paz y Vida
Thanking you all, citizens of Paz y Vida
 
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