June 17, 2021
I returned to Winnipeg this week, the trip home being a little longer given my mandatory three-day hotel stay in Toronto.
Our daughter Sophie kindly brought me ice cream and her family waved from outside the hotel’s parking lot to my fourth floor window. It gave me a glimpse as to how such gestures of connection must have meant for personal care home residents over the past year.
Ghana is officially respecting all COVID-19 protocols although the reality on the ground is a little different with a range of compliance. Fortunately, in recent weeks, the active case numbers have remained low at around 1,200 with parts of the country now case-free. Their continued vaccine rollout is dependent on the arrival of more vaccines.
We distributed 60 library-in-a-bag gifts to deserving children living in seven coastal villages. They are among hundreds of children who attend informal library sessions where they sit on mats under trees to listen to their “library madams” read stories aloud. When I asked these children to name their favourite books, a sea of hands went up. Prior to these libraries, children knew only their classroom textbooks.
Our newest library in the coastal village of Kablevu, which opened in November, receives more than 200 children daily. Mabel, their librarian, told me that her job was “a dream come true.” Every day, she and co-worker Sylvanus clean the multiple-louvred windows, sweep the floors, dust the tables, neatly arrange the books, and water the recently planted tree seedlings. Two months ago, we installed a rainwater collection system to harvest water, a precious resource since the community has not received piped water for more than a year. A Ghanaian company generously donated their tank.
In Accra, the Mamprobi Gale Community Library will be 20 years on June 20th. Last week, there was a flurry of activity as everyone was busy creating artwork to adorn the walls, writing stories for illustrated anniversary books, and inviting past library users and personnel to be part of the celebration.
At the Korle Gonno Community Library, I enjoyed watching Sosu and the Bukari Boys, a play based on Lawrence Darmani’s short story and a required text for final year junior high school students. I was especially moved when I learned a father of one of the performers custom-made waitress uniforms for this show. Poetry and musical interludes with multiple instruments added to this event. The head teacher told the audience of students and teachers that he was “amazed” to witness such talent.
Korle Gonno’s theatre hall was a whirlwind of energy every day from mid-afternoon until the solar power went off, usually around 8:30 pm. Three library dance troupes are competing in Ghana’s TV Africa’s multi-week talent dance show. Their excitement is mounting.
We hosted a Zoom call at our library in Osu between a Canadian donor and our literacy students, which allowed our adult learners to experience firsthand the real-time use of this popular communication technology.
Winifred Obeng Kyeremeh is Osu Library Fund’s new library coordinator. Beyond the logistical details of understanding how nine libraries operate, she remains steadfast to our mission: Sharing the Joy of Reading. Osu Library Fund board members continue to provide essential support and guidance.
Before closing, I would like to say our carpenter, now about 86 years (he doesn’t know his exact birthdate), is still eager to take on new jobs. His furniture with attention to detail and quality remains unsurpassed. Like me, he feels he is part of our extended “library family.”
Thank you for your encouragement,