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Dec 27, 2017

Found a Library for 250 Mayan Kids in Guatemala

Young students with plans to read great books!
Young students with plans to read great books!

Autumn in Guatemala brings many reasons to celebrate.  Mid-October marks the beginning of the dry season, the harvesting of coffee, and the end of the school year!  Teachers and students are now on vacation and Instituto Kajib’ No’j is closed.  Festivities continue with Christmas, followed by el Día de los Reyes.  On January 15 students return to their studies, having enjoyed a three-month break.

Nevertheless, Kajib’ No’j’s school library progresses as anticipated.  We thank our partners, Sigfried Ganster and Karin Sibora, who serve as volunteers for the "Amigos" program at the Austrian Guatemalan Institute (IAG), and now for our organization as well.  In November, due to your generous support, Karin and Sigfried purchased textbooks for grade levels one through six from Piedra Santa, a well-renowned Guatemalan publisher.   

These textbooks, specifically requested by the faculty and school board, will be available in the library for all to use.  Beginning this year teachers will align daily lessons to the goals and standards of Guatemala’s Ministry of Education using Guatemalan-approved resources.  This is a major step forward for faculty and students alike.

And just in time, the custom-made bookshelf arrived, compliments of our Amigos partners at IAG.  This cabinet, constructed of wood and glass by craftsmen in their own town of Momostenango, took the strength of five men to deliver.  We can rest assured that it will safely house these textbooks, as well as all of the world literature donated in July. 

Alicia Ambrocio, Kajib’ No’j’s school secretary, recently spoke to us by phone.  "The students are really enjoying the novels we received last summer.  They are books we didn’t know existed," she exclaimed.  Alicia asked that we wish you the best of holidays in this Christmas and Hanakkuh season.  ¡Gracias y Feliz Navidad!

Pages from Piedra Santa texts
Pages from Piedra Santa texts
Studying Guatemalan geography, Piedra Santa text
Studying Guatemalan geography, Piedra Santa text
Bookshelf, finished & delivered.  Gracias, Amigos!
Bookshelf, finished & delivered. Gracias, Amigos!
A Christmas & New Year greeting, from Kajib' No'j
A Christmas & New Year greeting, from Kajib' No'j

Attachments:
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!
 
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