Zimbabwe

Beads help support Baby Heroes Africa

Do you have a hobby that you no longer enjoy? Maybe you have all the parts and pieces in your attic or basement? Recently we were gifted with a massive bead donation.  The collection included everything needed to set up a complete jewelry making operation: beads, wire, tools and more.  We knew this collection could have a huge impact in Zimbabwe, and that the bead collection would provide the opportunity for women to create their own cottage industry.  The impact has actually been even more profound than we imagined.

We sent the beads, with our partner Mark, to Zimbabwe.  He shared them with an organization created to assist premature babies and their mothers, Baby Heroes Africa Foundation.

“Baby Heroes Africa Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2015 by Chengetai Makuni and Dr Norbertta Washaya with the aim of increasing the survival of preterm babies and enhancing their quality of life. Through the provision of technical, clinical and social support we have been able to aid institutions caring for preterm babies as well as the families of preterm babies. Our headquarters is in Bulawayo while our other offices are in Harare and Gweru. We work closely, Mpilo Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals, Maphisa Rural Hospital, Gweru Provincial Hospital and Chipinge District Hospital,Parirenyatwa and Harare Hospital.”

Baby Heroes Africa trains volunteers to assist mothers and babies during their stay at the local hospital.  They have included beaded jewelry making as one component of their outreach, making jewelry to sell to support their mission.

Baby Heroes Africa said, “The beads and craft accessories donation helps us to support mothers of preterm babies who spend months on end in the hospital  caring for their babies.”

Baby Heroes Africa also said, “The beading workshops are part of a bigger program called love our preemie mums which focuses on caring for and supporting mothers of preterm babies which in turn increases their capacity to provide that critical care to the babies.”

“Our social support involves giving care packages through “Bundles of Joy” project, to mothers for their babies; these packages include diapers, soap, petroleum jelly, blankets, wraps, clothes, baby tubs or buckets, cotton wool, maternity pads and methylated spirit. It also involves supporting mothers of preterm babies with home visits and skills development to assist them in improving their quality of life and that of their babies.”

Our next container leaves in under a month.  If you have any baby items, beads or other craft projects which you would like to donate to Baby Heroes Africa, please contact us.  We can arrange the donation.

“Giving care packages helps relieve the stress many of the mums have. Most of the mothers are unemployed and single I know you mentioned sending a container in 3 weeks. If there is anyway you can include any of the above listed items we would really appreciate it.”

Naturally, our donation included books for older siblings.

Baby Heroes Africa says, “Thank you once again for everything.”

 

 

June Trembles like a Butterfly – Neruda

As we stumble headlong through spring into summer, we eagerly set aside schoolbooks in favor of all our summer reading favorites.  There is nothing more magical than designing our own Wizard of Oz Summer Camp at Pequot Library. In the words of L. Frank Baum,

“Folklore legends, myths and fairy tales have followed childhood through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous and manifestly unreal.  The winged fairies of Grim and Andersen have brought more happiness to childish heats than all other human creations.”

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We begin our day with baseball warm-up,

and then since our theme is everything Oz, we really begin with the Story of Oz.

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 the very first thing we come across is instructions: Follow the Yellow Brick Road!

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“If we walk far enough” says Dorothy, “we shall sometime come to someplace.”

The Yellow Brick Road leads right back to the Library; time to choose Summer books.

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and now: Wizard of Oz Bingo

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And everyone’s favorite, snack time: green food, of course!

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Building the Emerald City from green glitter and glue:

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself.  There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger.  The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.”

Glitter Tornado in a Bottle

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Being Wonderland BookSavers, we had to collect shoes for our African friends, these ones were hand painted by students at a local school.  Here, we organized and packaged them, “Click your heels together 3 times, There’s no place like home.”

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“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”

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Outdoor games!

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Inside: The Tornado Swirl, a purely Oz version of Musical Chairs with a Twist

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Wizard of Oz Puzzles and Word Search

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A trip to the Rare Books Special Collection room to read original Oz books, enjoyed by children over 100 years ago. What were their summers like?

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And finally, of course, our famous Lemonade for Literacy!

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Over $1,500 dollars donated directly to Pequot Library for children’s literacy programs, thousands of books purchased for our Zimbabwe and South Africa donations, hundreds of shoes sent to South America and Zimbabwe, lots of fun for us and our campers, as well as a new adventure: The Wizard of Oz!

As Henry James said, “Summer afternoon: the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

Join us for our next camp: Summer by the Sea, in July! (pequot library.org)

Fall Renewal: 10,000 Books for Zimbabwe; 100 Pen Pal Letters Exchanged

As summer comes to an end, many schools along the East Coast begin preparing for the new school year. This means clearing out their shelves. For us, at Wonderland BookSavers, this is an excellent time of year. We hopped in our Suburban and began visiting our favorite schools from Massachusetts to Connecticut.

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The Wetherbee School, in Massachusetts, has been especially generous. They truly understand the concept of charity. Working with their teachers, school children help to determine books, games and “manipulatives” as well as classroom posters and other tools that are no longer needed. Students then organize, prepare and box items for shipment to Africa. They are so excited and happy to know that they are actively helping other children. They compete for the opportunity to load our Suburban and take photos with us!

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As members of a Title I school, the children here are themselves frequent recipients of aid. Hailing from at least 35 countries, with many of the children describing rice and beans as their favorite food, these students eagerly share stories of daily life in America.

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Although it takes almost one year for their Pen Pal letters to make a round trip from Mbembeswana Primary School in Zimbabwe to Wetherbee School in Lawrence MA, they are thrilled that they can share their love of books, games and food with African children. We are so grateful to be the conduit for this truly snail-paced child-to-child mail system.

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Many other schools have been eager to help us in our mission to spread literacy. Librarians eagerly contact us as they prepare for the new school year.

They are delighted that their favorite books will keep inspiring children.

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And we are happy to help them box and relocate their books from their libraries to our fabulous sorting area: our garage!

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Here we sort our books by age, subject, and intended destination, so that each region will get appropriate material. Some countries require us to weigh and quantify every box. Finally, we load our boxes onto trucks.

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From here they get loaded onto shipping containers and finally set off on their long journey across the sea, to another continent, 10,000 books, school supplies, pencils, crayons, and most importantly, 100’s of letters of encouragement from children just like themselves in America.

IMG_9907.JPGThe Wonderland BookSavers are grateful to have been able to connect so many children from across the continents and to inspire a shared love of reading, our tagline: Inspired by Literature!

“Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
– Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll