Lake Atitlan Libraries News - December, 2007

the board in 2007Louise Eidsmoe and Richard Adams are meeting at the San Juan La Laguna Library in February, 2007 with the Director, Israel Quiq (the red hat). He did a presentation to the ABP Board. The Library is owned by a community cooperative. The community is 98% indigenous Mayan, Tzutuhil, which is different from the Kaqchikel Mayan on the other side of Lake Atitlan near Panajachel.

(Photo, Pat Berman)

Thanks to your generous donations, this past year has been busy for the Asociacion Biblioteca Panajachelense Y Regional (ABP) our partner in Guatemala. ABP is a registered non profit organization in Guatemala. Its president and organizer, Richard B. Adams, is a retired anthropology professor for the University of Texas, who has lived much of his life in Guatemala. The ABP is group of citizens of Panajachel who work with us to get books to children in middle schools in the most remote village schools whose population are mostly Indigenous Mayan. With your donations of $6,000, we leveraged $15,000 in additional funds for the work of ABP. $5,000 came from founder, Penny Rambacher, in June. In August, LAL received $10,000 from the Daniele Agostino Derossi Foundation, a foundation specifically interested in helping Guatemalan indigenous youth. Thanks to all your donations, 21 Basico schools in rural areas around Lake Atitlan were provided with 1,860 textbooks!!!! Richard explains how the work of ABP took on a slightly different focus in 2007. Last year, the focus was on schools partnering with libraries, in the Lake Atitlan area. In doing that work, ABP began to run into a number of rural Instituto Basicos that needed the books, but had no local public library. After some consideration, ABP decided to go ahead and provide these schools directly with books this year.

Subscribe to the LAL newsletterThis proved very interesting because they now found themselves in the aldeas, cantons and casarios, (small villages around the Lake) where Basico program had been set up with official names, minimal buildings, and never any books. From May to July we provided the only books for ten rural schools. In September with the Derossi grant, they followed the same procedure again, working with eleven new rural schools. Many of these had fewer resources than those with which we had been dealing earlier. Two of the directors specifically mentioned that they were just now getting some furniture even though the schools had been operating for some years. For the first time we also found two impressive women school directors, bright, well organized and very young. It was clear that as in the summer, they were reaching the really needy schools. These were places where there were almost no books at all. The Casario of Tzancotom in Nahuala, for example, is 30 kilometers (about 15 miles) on a barely passable road from the main highway. It can take three hours to walk there. In discussing the acquisitions with these directors, it was clear that most of them had spent the time discussing the needs with their staff, and could explain why they preferred one publishing house over another. (All the books are developed in Guatemala) One teacher, for example, related that they were opting for a set of books (the Editorial Educativa texts) that were not as sophisticated as those of another house (Santillana) but that their teachers found them easier to work with. (Teachers in Guatemala often have only a high school level education which includes some teacher specific training).

Richard reports that other rural Basico schools around Lake Atitlan still need basic textbooks. With your help we can provide more of these books and keep more children in school making educational progress.

You can mail your tax deductible donations to:

Lake Atitlan Libraries
449 Overlook Pass
Hudson, WI 54016.

If you have any questions, contact us.

Rory Cameron, President of the LAL Board;
Howard Cameron, Treasurer;
Louise Eidsmoe, Secretary and Newsletter;
Teresa Cameron, Charlotte Cameron, Mary Norman, and Jeri Brost

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