The Alban Couto Library Program crosses the cable suspended bridge over the Mandovi tributary every Wednesday to take books, readers and the joy that comes from stories to the Mae de Deus Primary School.
This is a rather non descript school when viewed from the road, approached through a tiny lane that just about fits the width of a car but the spirit of the school is large and all welcoming.
Flavia our co-ordinator in this school, has been most gracious in her praise for how swiftly we were welcomed, time tables adjusted, access for space and seating of the team assigned and it all seemed perfect. Mae de Deus is our 4th LiS school under the Alban Couto Program in the area and my scepticism runs high as the honey moon period is not always a lengthy one.
I returned to the school after the team has been conducting the library program for 4 months now and I was so happily delighted to capture change and a continued interest in reading, books and stories. A very special thanks must be made to Flavia Ferrao Lobo, Margaret Viegas and Monica Fernandes, who have been spreading the joy and the process that comes with the Libraries in Schools program.
Students are excited to browse books, talk about books, listen to stories and respond to them orally and in writing and all this transformation happens because of a vision to see more children reading and support that comes from that vision with Dr. Maria Aurora Couto.
I met with the Principal and we look poised to have a small library room in the Primary section next academic year. We are working ( mentally) on the idea of providing some reading support program to children who are struggling with literacy and Mae de Deus may be where it will all transpire. I remain optimistic and also every grateful for a shared vision because I am confident that the answers will reveal themselves when we engage more deeply and honestly with spreading the joy and learning that comes from good books.