2009-09-11: Library

It was parent’s day today and we scheduled a meeting with
the Head Mistress, school principal, and teachers to discuss how we could
assist them during our service.  Before
our meeting we witnessed the daily morning assembly.  The year eight students are called ‘prefixes’
and they organize and monitor the younger students.  Each grade lines up outside their classroom
and measures the distance between each other with an arm length.  The prefixes check alignment and then order
them to march to the sea wall.  Here they
line up in formation, legs tight together, and listen for instructions from the
head mistress. After instructions, which I couldn’t really hear from the
intense ocean breeze, the children sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It” in
English.  When they got to the point in
the song where if you’re happy and you know you should laugh, Kelly giggled at
the students mock laugh.  They all turned
and looked at her while smiling.  It was
pretty funny.  They followed up this
classic with a few Tuvaluan tunes and then were ordered to widen their
stance.  More instructions followed and
then they where ordered to turn 180 degrees facing us.  Kelly and I and the teachers were lined up in
a row behind the formation.  Each of us
said, “Hello,” and they responded, “Hello Sir / Madam,” respectively.  After the greeting they turned again and
received their final instructions from the head mistress to clean up the beach
while we had a meeting.

After the meeting we stopped at the kindi and spent about an
hour playing with the kids.  (**note from Kelly – Matt left after 15
minutes to “go to the bathroom” and never came back! I thought he had been
eaten by geckos!!!**)
The teacher works with kids ages 3-6 and averages
about 25 per class.  We offered to help
during the play times of 9-10 am.  Most
of the students were at a small table playing with legos, colored shapes, and a
magnet paddle toy.  A couple of the girls
were practicing writing their numbers. 

At the office we continued our work on the community
library.  Rotary Clubs in Australia  Therefore the
librarian has been slowly purging books to the council’s restroom and it all
accumulated to a pile of boxes rotting away in the corner.  It appears some had been there over two years
from the critters, mold, and damage.  One
box even had a rat’s nest complete with mother and four newborns!  Thankfully Janice found that one instead of
Kelly.    have
donated boxes of books to the school library but a lot of them are for mature
readers and adults.

We have been unpacking and sorting according to adult
fiction, children fiction, and non-fiction. 
The multiple copies and damaged books were placed on the council office
front porch for people to take.  It took
us about 8 hours to unpack and sort all the books.  Next week we will work on alphabetizing and
fine-tuning the fiction book organization. 

We found a lot of gems including several classics such
as:  Watership
Down, Huckleberry Fin, Fahrenheit 451, Cool Hand Luke, Pride and Prejudice,
Never Ending Story
(not a classic but a great movie!), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (ditto), Tess of D’urbervilles, A
Separate Peace, Animal Farm,
and 1984.  Also alot of the fiction books are Reader’s
Digest Condensed Books, which have condensed novels from several famous authors
such as Grissom and Norah Roberts.

It felt really good to let the books breathe again and there
is an air of excitement from the people who visit the office and see all the
books spread out.  Several of the
councilmen have even been spotted browsing the picture encyclopedias and nature

I measured the free wall space of the council’s conference
room and shelves will work nicely around the perimeter with enough space to
accommodate about 40% growth.  It will
also warm up the place, which is pretty stark at the moment.  We are hoping to help find donations for a
couple of computers with internet for an internet café/research center.  The students currently research from 15
year-old encyclopedias and there is no public internet on the island. 

Here’s the floor plan of the proposed library awaiting
council approval:



It is a great space for a library as three sides have large
floor to ceiling windows and two sides are unobstructed views of the bay.  The center of the room already has a nice
conference table and there are plenty of chairs to set up a reading area. 

Also, the water project is scheduled to start off next
week.  I took a few more measurements
today and the community is currently consuming 43 litres/person.  This equates to about 25,927 litres/day.  In order to sustain their current usage and
flush toilets the water supply will need to double. 

I have attached my spreadsheets for those with similar
projects or challenges.  Hopefully they
will be helpful to other volunteers challenged with water shortages.  Let me know if there are any math errors or

One thing I like about the data is it shows if the water
supply significantly changes.  I would
think a spring fed creek would be pretty consistent but in just one day the
water feeding our tank dropped 300 ltrs/hr. 
Monday we plan on taking a tour of the sources to get before and after
shots of the upcoming modifications and see if there are any blockages.

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