As I sit here back in the UK with temperatures at 3°c, I have wonderful vivid memories of sitting beneath the trees beside the blue library in temperatures of 34°c sweating buckets but loving the sense of belonging and self worth that the Osu Children’s Library generates.
I spent two mornings a week for almost two months being part of this amazing community, also known as the Kathy Knowles Library, where the adult learners’ appetite for knowledge is enormous as is their determination to overcome practical issues in order to attend the library.
I helped with the adult literacy classes and with fellow volunteers ran several workshops focusing on both physical and psychological well-being as well as some basic first aid. The role playing of how to treat a snake bite still brings tears of laughter to my face, but that laughter and camaraderie are embodied in the library’s motto ‘Joy of Reading.’
I also learned so very much from the librarians and students about the ability to embrace diversity and equality, about the human gift of kindness and welcoming another but most of all the determination to reach personal goals. One of my students when asked what she wanted to achieve by coming to the library said, “I want to be able to read my bible in church with pride rather than pretend I don’t have one” and another said, “I want to be able to read to my son.”
Even though I am now back in England and away from the Osu Library family, I have a book full of thank you letters written by the students and librarians that will continue to keep the memory alive until the next time.