Part Two: The Gift of Reading


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

 

C. S. Lewis said, “We read to know that we are not alone.”  Red Oak Elementary School students in Shakopee, Minnesota understand this need, and are graciously sharing their lives and their joy of reading with my tiny La Paloma Elementary School on Ometepe Island.


La Paloma Elementary school has three classrooms, six grades, and NO books to read for pleasure. With the generous help of the Red Oak elementary students, we are bridging the gaps in a culture that does not read by creating a library, purchasing books and library supplies, and providing training for teachers.

Elizabeth Hardwick said, “The greatest gift is a passion for reading.” It is clear in their smiles. The pleasure of reading knows no cultural boundaries.

Joy jars! What a wonderful idea. The students at Red Oak learned about the needs of other children around the world and collected money to spread the joy of reading for the children of Ometepe Island.

La Paloma Elementary School donated a small building for the library. We have so much work to do, but soon it will be a space where the children can snuggle up with a good book and experience the lasting pleasure that only comes from reading.

Volunteers from Puesta del Sol built the first tree house on Ometepe Island for the students in the La Paloma school. Now, with the help of the Red Oak elementary school students, they will have the first library available in a school on the island.
IMG_1886“Reading takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” ~Hazel Rochman

Words cannot express my love and appreciation for the awesomeness of the Red Oak Elementary school students, staff, and parents. Thank you for your gift of reading, opening windows to new worlds through books, and developing a new partnership with the La Paloma students.

Now, I have 21 more schools on the island to match with a sister school. Stay tuned for Part Three: How Can You Help?  Together, with your help, we can spread the joys of reading, open windows to the world, and give the gift of reading that knows no cultural boundaries.

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7 thoughts on “Part Two: The Gift of Reading

  1. Hola! I’m so excited to see your blog. I heard there was someone doing great library work at the school in La Paloma, and that they now have a sister school.

    I just got back from 2 weeks on Ometepe with the Library Delegation of Islas Hermanas (aka Bainbridge-Ometepe Sister Island Association aka B.O.S.I.A.). Every year we offer every school on Ometepe $200, ideally for books, but we are open to requests for other materials that support library development. Each school submits their request at the end of the school year (Nov/Dec). We review the requests in January, and deliver the requested books and materials in February at the beginning of the new school year.

    This year we secured a grant through the Paperseed Foundation to create a library at the primary/secondary school in San Jose del Sur. Perhaps you came to the ‘grand opening’ and teacher workshop on Thursday, February 27th? If so, I regret that I didn’t get a chance to meet you!

    I will be back on Ometepe to tie up a few loose ends on Friday, April 4th, and maybe Saturday as well. I would love to share ideas. Let me know if there is any chance we can meet up!

    Susan Bisnett

  2. Two years ago, one, illiterate young man, not only had no idea of his own language, due to the fact he had to work to support his grandparents from the age of 9, nor any clue about English. One day he heard some young tourists on the beach speaking
    English and made a vow that one day, he would too. How or when, but for sure, he trusted someone would come to help him. I am that “someone”. Now, He not only speaks English, but reads Philosophy and Poetry in his native language and is a delight to know. It has been my privilege to assist and encourage him. And Deb, well, the world is a better place because without you, they have no chance at all. Many blessings on your lovely head Amiga.

    • Theresa, thank you for this lovely comment. I’ve watched your once illiterate young man thrive with your TLC. One of these days, I’m going to write a post about him. I love this country. All it takes is a little help from our friends, right? Mi amiga, you are a marvel and inspiration to me. 🙂

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