December 10, 2021
Once again I am writing from my desk in Winnipeg, nice and cosy from Winnipeg’s cold air.
I celebrated a number of events including the 10th anniversary of the Accra College of Education Community Library. Matilda Yeboah, its head librarian, organized a full program that included an eight-school reading competition, a health walk, a panel discussion titled The Importance of Libraries for National Development, and a birthday cake for the children!
Climate change hit home during my stay when huge waves came crashing down and wiped out hundreds of homes in fishing villages along the coast. Three of our librarians serving at our informal mini-libraries lost their homes. Ruth (pictured at right) was one of them. After relocating, Ruth is still returning to gather and read to children in front of her old home. She also wants to initiate a new library where she now lives – a couple of kilometres inland.
Part of my trip included doing research for a new illustrated book, one that will include approximately 700 English words depicting day-to-day Ghanaian life. Toby Newsome, a South African illustrator, sent me rough drawings by email that I was able to show around. To better reflect the entire country, I travelled north more than 800km by car. Foods definitely do vary depending on one’s location and most are season-dependent.
We held a book launch for Maa and Me, an OCLF mother tongue Dangme/English board book, with children at Kablevu’s library. After the brief ceremony we gave out copies to those featured in the book and frozen yogurt – all 300 pieces – to everyone. Sophia was delighted to receive her own copy.
Some of you might remember from a previous newsletter that I found a stuffed toy bunny on the beach. After multiple COVID-related delays, a carton of new stuffed bunnies from Brauns-Heitmann finally arrived. We had a ‘Bunny Party, and the children who wrote to Germany each received a toy. Children are always fascinated when I show them Bunny’s ears that still have a few grains of sand left from his arduous journey!
The highlight of the month was hosting a jazz party with all library workers to honour the late Joan Mariacher, a tremendous supporter of OCLF from Vancouver, who passed away last year. It was partially through Joan’s generosity that we were able to build a network of libraries in the Greater Accra region. Joan loved jazz, and although she never wanted any recognition for her donations, I thought this was a fitting tribute. Joana Felih, OCLF’s longest serving librarian, wrote,“ Due to the jazz performance most of us will be jazz lovers.”