Hello Madam Feikje Geertsmas, I bring you warmest greetings from Sumbrungu in Bolgatanga of the Upper East Region of Ghana. On behalf of Cesrud/Favl (the Sumbrungu Community Library) Ghana I want to once again express our sincere appreciation to you for the donation of the Amo games to the Sumbrungu community library and some schools under Cesrud. We are grateful for the kind gesture, the Amo games will be put to good and we are sure library users especially the little children will learn alot from playing the games. On 14th November, I trained five schools libraries teachers on the usage of the Amo games after which I presented to each of the five teachers a set of the Amo games for their respective schools. I will be updating you on progress of the usage of the Amo games. Thank you. Paul Ayutoliya.
CESRUD library coordinator Paul Ayutoliya writes:
On 31st October 2018, the director of AYA Afrika foundation Prof. Nene Kwasi Kafele with three others paid a visit to the Sumbrungu Community Library. Their visit was to interact with those students/pupils they supported Cesrud with funds to organize a one month after school reading program early last year (2017), the impact of the reading program. They were impressed from their interactions with the pupils, the way the pupils answered questions and asked questions. The director Prof. Nene in a jovial way described one table as the “hot” table because there were always questions and answers coming from that particular table all the time and every moment. Prof. Nene asked the pupils what they would like to become inthe future? Some said doctors so that they can save lives, some teachers, some engineers, some pilots, Prof. encouraged them and admonished the pupils to erase the mentality of “this subject is difficult” and study hard and they would make it. He further advised pupils to always seek information that will help them realize their dreams in future. Madam Carolann Wright, director of Business &Labour Development, African Nova Scotia presented two books title; Africaville by Shauntay Grant and Basket of Black Nova Scotia by Joleen Gordon to the Sumbrungu Community library. I thanked them on behalf of Cesrud/FAVL and the pupils for their visit and donations of the books before their departure.
From Paul Ayutoliya, FAVL/CESRUD library coordinator:
This is a brief report on happenings in the three community libraries. Attendance at the three libraries has been good. Major activities that characterized this month include individual reading of story books, group reading, riddles and games with story time. Effective daily patronages to the libraries are usually recorded in the Sumbrungu and Sherigu libraries, this is mainly due to the fact that these libraries are been surrounded by basic schools unlike the Gowrie-that has it’s basic schools distant from the library, so many a times it is the night sessions that patrons do come in their good numbers. At the Sumbrungu Library, patrons read story books in groups with the librarians and also had good riddle time with coordinator, during the night a good number of patrons come to study their notes taking from school, some copy notes from others whiles other also do their assignment work. Other also come to read story books individually. The patronage is increasing every day and we are doing all we need to do to make reading and learning continue to be very good.
The story is also the same at the Sherigu Library save that the night sessions attendance there is not as many as Sumbrungu. Over the week I paid a visit to the the library, it was Wednesday the 26th of September, the pupils of St. Peter and Paul Academy were in the library in their good numbers. With the assistance of the librarian and one teacher who came from class with some pupils, we divided the pupils in three different groups. One group read the story of Peter’s Wish with me. Another group read with the teacher Chidi likes only Blue and the last or third group read Diana, the hairdresser learns to read, one of the Literacy Changed my Life series with the librarian. We spend good time in our group readings answering and asking questions at the end of the reading. At the close of day everyone were happy.
The Gowrie library also have almost the same story of the library usage save that their attendance is mostly during the evening sessions. We today visited the library during the daily session and caught up with Mr. Akolgo Anaba who’s nicknamed ‘Americana’ Americana who is an adult told me he wants to read some of the story books with me in the library. So in the library I read with him the Crocodile Bread and The lucky one story books. It was a very very interesting encounter I have with this man. Americana once in a while as I read with him will talk about how he knows Accra especially when I mentioned Nima Mamoobi in the story of the Lucky One he exclaimed is in Accra! In the story of the Crocodile bread, Americana tried explaining to me with his broken English good and bad bread. To him bread with a lot sugar is not good especially when you taking it with tea that sugar is added reason being it can you sickness and so he prefer a bread without sugar. This and other fun discussion made our day. To conclude the community libraries are performing great and we are hopeful for more good performances.
Coordinator Paul Ayutoliya writes:
Basic schools resumed school on the second week of September on the 11th, a week after the climax of the vacation reading classes. The first week of schools reopening as usual was for major cleaning exercise in and around the surroundings of the various schools across the country. The respective three community libraries were also cleaned by the respective librarians with assistance from some pupils also. The patronage to the libraries for the first week during the daily sessions was quite good, as the days progresses patronage is picking up. The first week was characterized by individual readings, games and sharing with each other happenings during the vacations period. At the Sumbrungu Community Library, most of the patrons who shared their story said they spend their vacation periods attending free vacation reading classes that was organized by the library, they touch on a number of story books they read and the moral lessons, the fun with other colleagues and making of new friends from other schools. One of those who were attending the classes wanted to share with friends who did not attend the classes some riddles, he begun by putting this riddle to them: What belongs to you but it is mostly use by others? There were all kinds of funny answers such bicycles, shirts among others, Anaba told them the answer is simply your NAME. He told the friends he learnt all those riddles from the classes. Some also said during the vacation they were helping their parents in farming, taking care of animals among others. At close of that sharing with each other happenings during the vacation period, those who could not make it to the classes, were amazed the things they heard from the others who were attending the classes; the boldness in the way they talk, the story books read and the mother lessons, the riddles and rest. The look and indication from each face that were not able to attend the classes shows they will not miss the opportunity of attending the classes the next time it will be organize. The story of the first week of schools reopening is almost the same in the other two community libraries during my visits to the library. The night sessions attending is mostly patronized by the young adults, who come to read story books, work Maths, study science and the other related subjects.
From Paul Ayutoliya, CESRUD library coordinator:
The vacation reading classes begun well on the 6th of August 2018 in all the three libraries and lasted for four week. These weeks were characterized by reading of different kinds of story books in the respective libraries under the guidance of the coordinator, librarians and volunteer teachers who supported us in taking care of the participants, there were riddles, different kinds of games, story time, visits by parents and CESRUD directors among other interesting activities. This year’s reading classes was indeed an interesting one.
Early this week exams were conducted for participants in all the libraries on all the story books read during the classes, the riddles, general knowledge and some logical reasoning questions. Most of the participants and particularly the regular patrons to the libraries and the reading classes every year did exceptionally well in all the questions.
The closing ceremonies of the reading classes started at the Sherigu community library on the 29th of August, a Wednesday, some parents came around to witness the closing ceremony of the classes, parents present were grateful to the organizer of the classes after their wards took turns to read one after the other to their hearing. They wish the classes continuous every year. Prizes such as exercise books, pens and pencils were presented to all participants.
On the 30th of August, the Gowrie-Kunkua community library also had it climax of the reading classes. Parents were also present to witness the ceremony. The participants there also took turns one after the other to read some of the story books (Amoako and the Forest, David’s Day at the Mine, All about Ama, the Adventure of the Twins among others) to the hearing and applause from parents. Parents were very happy to see their children read with the confidence they were reading with. They express their appreciation to the donors and supporters of the library. Their wish was that we continue the good work. Prizes were also presented to participants.
The grand finale of the classes was held today at the Sumbrungu community library, parents came in their good numbers, and the participants were about 200 people excluding the parents. The director of CESRUD was with the education coordinator of CESRUD, the librarians were present with all the volunteer teachers. There were entertainment from the pupils/students, reading demonstration, participants of the classes share some benefits of the classes with parents and all present. There were a number of speeches from several people; the director of CESRUD, education coordinator, CESRUD/FAVL coordinator, parents and the participants of the classes among other events. Prizes were presented to participant with some refreshment to some of the dignitaries, volunteer teachers, the librarians and our participants.
From Paul Ayutoliya:
Week two of the reading classes continued on a good note, with the number of participants increasing day in and out as a result of the exciting activities of reading and/ or learning in all the three libraries. Activities such as group reading, individual reading, riddles, spellings of words, storytelling among others motivated participants to the point that those who heard of the activities from their friends said they must also get to the libraries and see for themselves happening in the reading classes. There were a number of riddles learnt during the week, participants gave their riddles as well, and at the end of the day we all (volunteer teachers and participants) do learn something new. In fact, one patron gave the riddle “I am a beautiful girl that is been chased by 22 young men at a time” Who I am? Honestly I did not know the answer until one other patron gave the answer as a football. There were lesson share by other patrons on the ICT, Mathematics, English and Science classes as well during the week that they had learnt with their respective teachers.
Every Friday is for quiz competition, questions are always based on story books read, riddles, spelling and others. The first quiz was between the boys and girls, the second week Friday quiz was between the three different young adult classes. In each group of contestant were two boys and a girl presented by their colleagues from their respective class to represent them in the quiz at the Sumbrungu library. It is always an interesting moment as audience cheers their colleagues with applause in a bid of motivating them. As this is going on in the women meeting hall now the Roden conference hall, the children also have their quiz and other game activities with the assistant librarian and one volunteer teacher in the library room. The average of the children for the second week was 70 children whiles the young adult averaged 75 bringing the total average attendance in a day to 145 at the Sumbrungu library.
In the Sumbrungu library, we have four (4) volunteer assisting us in the classes, one young lady and three young men.
The story about the reading classes is almost the same at Sherigu and the Gowrie-Kunkua community Library save that their number of patrons is not as many as the Sumbrungu library, so the respective librarians are able to manage the classes, at times some senior high school students do come around to support the Sherigu librarian in handling the classes. They also have their quiz completion on the story books and other activities that do take place during the week.
We have parents visiting the respective libraries once in a while during the week to monitor how their wards are performing in the classes. Cesrud members and the respective library committee (in Sherigu and Gowrie) do also visit the library to monitor the classes.
Paul Ayutoliya writes about the after school reading classes in Ghana… Here is his summary of one of the story books read (The Boy Called Wiser Than You by Michael Mensah):
Once upon a time, there lived a very troublesome chief in a certain town whose name the narrator of the story shall not mention. This chief claims he is the wisest in the whole world, and therefore every newborn baby had to be brought before him to be given an ‘appropriate’ name, this comes with expenditure to the baby’s parents more than if they done the naming ceremony themselves. The troublesome chief gives insulting names to babies brought before him to the displeasure of all parents whose babies are given the names. Some such names includes Ugly Nose, Kinky Hair, Thin Legs and…. as said the people were not happy with the names given to their children but they did not dare complain or else… Now there lived in a town a man called Sena. His wife had a son but because he did not have the money to give to the chief for the naming ceremony, Sena hid the baby indoors and fed him until he grew up to be 12 years old. One day, the chief saw Sena with his grown up son, and realised that he did not remember given the boy a name. The chief asked Sena, “What is your son’s name?” “Your Majesty, he is called Wiser-Than-You” “What did you say?” The chief asked in disbelief. His name is Wiser-Than-You Sir, Sena insisted. The chief was the angrier, for it was unthinkable that anyone in this world will be wiser than he is. From that moment he sought ways of eliminating the boy and his parents. The chief called the boy’s mother one day and gave her guinea corn to prepared him pito that very same day, the woman got back home sobbing, when the Son saw the mother crying he asked what the problem was, the mother told him about the impossible task given to him by the chief, the boy consoled the mother and assured her that all will be fine, the boy took some gourd seed and proceeded to the chief palace and starting planting the seeds, information got to the chief that someone have come to plant his seeds in front of his palace, the chief was very angry because the person did not sought permission, the boy apologised and told the chief, chief I am sorry but I know you are a very wise chief and everything about you is extraordinary that is why I have come to plant my gourd seeds here so that they will grow fast, bear fruits for me to cut, prepare and dry, all by the end of today when they are required for use. The supposedly wise chief asked the boy if he was crazy, how is that possible. A gourd plant needs at least one year to mature and then make into calabashes, don’t you know that? The boy said, that is most unfortunate chief but because I and my mother need the calabashes tonight for you to use in drinking the pito that my mother is brewing for you. As the chief still insisted that it was impossible, Wiser-Than-You then asked the chief Sir, why then did you asked my mother to brew pito in one day for you when you know that pito preparation needs at least three days, the chief was confounded and speechless when he heard this, he realised that the boy was smarter than he was. He later sent servants to go for the guinea corn from Wiser-Than-You mother. The chief did not give up on his evil plots to get rid of Sena’s family but all the wicked plots turns out against him. In order words he was always the loser in all his cunning ways to get rid of Sena’s family.
Moral lessons from the story;
The free vacation classes started today in all the three CESRUD/FAVL community libraries in Ghana. Patrons in their good numbers were in attendance for the start of the classes, we are sure of more patrons joining in the coming days. Basically today was for registration, familiarization, orientation (rules and regulations of the libraries) and a general reading of different kinds of story books with patrons in order to identify the reading ability of each patron. This exercise usually helps us (the librarians and other volunteer assistants) in identifying those with good and weak reading skills. With this exercise, more detail attention is normally given to those with reading challenges, they are usually taken through the vowels and consonants pronunciation and other reading techniques in a more detailed manner in a bit to improving their reading abilities. As mentioned earlier, patrons read a lot of story books of their choices today individually and during the group readings sessions. Story books such as the Pot of Wisdom, Amoako and the Forest, David’s Day at the mine, the Fati Series, the Cat and Dog series and many other books were read. Patrons had fun at the libraries with books and meeting with other friends.
Users of the Sumbrungu Community Library and CESRUD/FAVL staff remain grateful to Biblionef Ghana for the support given to the Library early this year. The materials provided are being put to good use during every operating period in the library, the attendance to the library has increased significantly after the rearrangements works in the library was completed. The patrons are getting use to the basics of computer skills and others as a result of the laptops and tablets. We have installed in all the laptops Mavis Beacon typing skills, typing master and other applications that will help improve patrons knowledge to the basics of a computer. Programs shown on the TV are the cartoon movies and others that benefits patrons academically.
The cats and dogs series are the most frequent used books in the library by mostly the lower primary and nursery pupils. The games provided are so fantastic to the users, every Friday which is our game day patrons are always busy with one game or the other to the extent that some do wish the day is extended for them.
Every long vacation CESRUD organizes vacations classes for pupils/patrons in all the three libraries. This year’s vacations classes are starting on the 6th of August 2018. Is usually a period that the patrons attend the libraries in their good numbers. These classes are basically geared towards helping pupils to improve upon their reading skills, English vocabulary, getting exposed to the basics of computer and having fun in the libraries. These classes organize yearly also play role in reducing the rate at which young pupils travel during this period to look for jobs and the associated problems in the big cities.
From Paul Ayutoliya:
On Tuesday 24th July 2018, I paid a visit to the Upper East Regional Library. I was welcomed into the library by the Regional Librarian Mr. Leslie Kasanga. The purpose of my visit was to learn about recent developments and plans of the library have in place that might perhaps support Cesrud/Favl community libraries. The Regional Librarian told me the patronage of the library has been great for quite some time. The private school students who will be writing their exams come September are the most frequent users of the library. He said he has been able to get an NGO called Scholars in Our Society Africa (SOSA) to assist the Regional Library with some major renovation works like: repainting of the library, changing of the shelves and tables, and donations of books and computers. Due to this renovation works and others, there will not be any major reading activities during the vacation period in the library. He assured me he would pay a visit to our community libraries during the vacations classes period and also try to see if he can get some of the books and computers that they will be receiving for our libraries.
He (Mr. Leslie) said he just returned recently from his promotional interview in Accra at the Ghana Library Authority. The Ghana Library Authority has a new director Mr. Hayford Siaw . Mr. Leslie recounts how active and passionate this new director is towards libraries all over the country. The new director, a government appointee has since been able to get some links again with Book Aid International which cut ties with the Ghana Library Authority as a result of some misunderstandings or so in the previous years. The Book Aid International Chief Executive is currently in Ghana to tour some libraries and assess their needs.
And so Prof. it was a good visit and I hope that when they finally receive the donations of books and computers, they will not forget of us. I will be in touch with Mr. Leslie for updates.