A bright April morning and together with my friend Bindu who is visiting Goa, we drive to Aldona. Aldona is a large village by Goa standards. I have come to understand that Aldona is also a village where its residents want to enrich it here and now. This kind of a sentiment brought Isa to Bookworm.
At Bookworm the mother house, we have known Isa for a while now. She came 3 years back with her little son to borrow books for him and like true bookworms we recognised each other. We knew Isa was a kindred soul and we have had the wonderful opportunity to experience her art and booktalk with children at workshops within BW.
Whilst talking recently we both felt that the need of enriching library work is to take it to primary schools in the villages, Aldona was an almost natural choice. St. Thomas Boys school is also school that is already in our SBT family. We have been supporting the middle school ( grades 5 – 7 ) with library books for 3 years now. But the Primary school was a new turf.
I met with Fr. Salvador who was most accepting of the idea and we scheduled a workshop for the teachers. This I have come to understand is crucial to the process. Unless we encourage teachers to understand and grow with us in our idea about a library, the use of books, the approach and practice we follow, the connections are tenuous at best.
Our workshop was both an interesting and a dismal affair. The teachers endured me for the most part because they had to. Some of them participated because the idea appealed or the logic of what I was trying to say made sense, others listened because they know they will be impacted by a new program in the school. This is not new experiences for us. We know that one has to keep at it and allow the work and the responses from the children to demonstrate the power of a library at the earliest grades.
I remain optimistic, that we will with the help and support of Isa and the school teachers, enrich and enliven literacy and exposure to literature of children in St. Thomas school.