Libros Para Pueblos
Every Monday in the little town of Brisas de Zicatela a group of volunteers gather to run the Libros Para Pueblos project. This community let project aims to establish libraries for the communities of Oaxaca, provide free access to books and technology, and help children develop a love for reading.
We learned about this project from a women we met at a yoga class. Tinka has been helping Libros Para Pueblos for several years, and is known for bringing cars full of neighborhood kids to the weekly event. We were so excited to be invited to participate and help out with this sweet project.
After walking in circles through town in the swampy weather for 30 or so minutes, we finally were able to find the library. A small room about the size of a walk in closet with handmade shelves was neatly organized into several sections. There were games, picture books, young readers, and books for emergent readers. Most books were in Spanish, but they had an English section as well.
We quickly learned that the children were much more interested in playing games than in reading or even listening to stories. The teacher in me immediately went into brain storming mode; problem solving all the suggestions I could provide in order to help get these children more engaged in the books, but soon I remembered that was not my place. I was here to do whatever they asked of me.
So for the next three hours the kids and I played. We played board games, puzzles, playdough, and Legos. The kids made some new friends, and I learned a little about some ancient Mayan traditions from a board game.
It was a fun afternoon for the kids and I felt excited to be able to participate but also discovered that my presence there was not very impactful. We will continue to attend for the next few weeks while we are visiting and enjoy the time for our children to build some friendships with the locals. Hopefully can we find another way to contribute to this sweet community before our time here ends.