A great little reader in Tufuvai!
Tufuvai village is on the idyllic island of 'Eua which is situated in the southern region of Tonga, and they are hosting a B4T library. We received a wonderful letter from Jessica the Peace Corps volunteer who helps run the Tufuvai library. Right now the books are safely stored in the school library until a special community space is completed, and then they will move the B4T library in there. This is what Jessica told us:
"Since they have arrived, the B4T books have been extremely well loved! Currently, the community library is open after school from 4 to 5pm. I am working with Nancy Kava to coordinate a time to open the community library on Saturdays.... I have also been opening the library upon request, if students want to read on a Saturday or at a time the library isn't typically open. I am so excited when kids want to read and definitely don't want to discourage them! With that being said, there are a good number of students who come to the library and borrow books. I am still working on spreading the word for a wider range of individuals to come and take advantage of what a wonderful resource the community library is.
One boy in particular, Sitakio, a class 4 student, comes every single day to borrow a book from the community library. I let him borrow books, then the next day we reread the text together and I ask him questions checking his comprehension of what he read. His reading skills and knowledge of the English language has immensely improved since the beginning of the school year. He has a thirst for knowledge and is extremely self-motivated. It makes me so happy reading with him and watching him grow, not only as a learner, but as an individual.
There was one day Sitakio was home sick from his school, and his mom came over to my house. She asked to borrow books for Sitakio to read while home sick, and told me how happy he is to come every day to the library and read with me. On another occasion, I was out all afternoon and returned home just before dark. Having been home less than 5 minutes I hear, "Jessica... Jessica...." It's Sitakio! He was waiting for me to come home just to borrow a book from the community library. Sitakio is just one example for how positively B4T has affected Tongans. So, thank you B4T!I will keep you posted with any further updates but thank you so much for your generosity. It has not gone unappreciated! Malo aupito, Jessica"
Wow! We loved this letter, to read about a young avid reader who at last has the opportunity to read lots of books, and to also read first hand about the positive work B4T is doing for Tonga! But this wouldn't be happening if we didn't have the support of the wonderful locals who understand the important of literacy, and in many villages the fantastic Peace Corps volunteers who put their energy into the libraries alongside the local villagers.
Malo 'aupito to you all!