the main room before...
It’s been a long few months since the fundraising for the library in Pobe-Mengao started. The process has been hard and at times frustrating but the transformation into library has finally begun!
While the full $10,000 has still not been reached, enough money has been raised ($6885 so far, including all my savings!) for us to begin. I also have applied for grants and I expect to be able to raise the full amount within the next few months.
Step 1: DEMOLITION
taking down the walls!
Hamidou taking a breather
Giving us the Prefecture’s building as locale for the library was incredibly generous. The building is in good shape and is huge, giving us lots of different opportunities to work with in the future. Due to its vastness, however, we wanted the main room to be one large rectangular space. So, within a period of two days, Hamidou, Adama and the team of helpers not only took down the extra walls (with small pix-axe like tools) but recemented the floor, fixed any holes in the walls and replaced a rotting wooden beam on the ceiling.
Step 2: Painting
The guys couldn't get over me, a "weak woman," doing any manual labor and were shocked when they saw me climbing up a ladder to paint
Adama and I made a field trip to Djibo to buy all the paint and supplies needed for another weekend job. Again, within two days the men had the entire building walls painted an off-white color. On the bottom half of the main room's walls, to reduce cost, we followed the previous pattern and re-splattered the walls with a cement/stucco like material. Its not the most eye-pleasing thing but I figure once we add decorations and posters it'll liven up the room. In all the other rooms the walls are off-white with a blue/turquoise colored trim.
Since physical progress can now be seen, a lot more people are taking interest, stopping into the room to offer help, praise or support. It's been great to see the number of people who want to ensure this project's success. But Hamidou, who since day ONE has been supportive and was the first one to volunteer his hands and time, and Adama have truly taken over this project, I merely sit on the sidelines now and watch (which is what I was hoping for.) With Hamidou’s constant help and Adama’s expertise on buildings, masonry, and his having contacts that give us great deals on supplies, this project has been incredible.
The renovations are not quite done. We underestimated the size and height of the building and ran out of paint. Though within the next week, renovations should be complete!
the room after nearly-complete renovations!
Earlier in the week we held our first official meeting, complete with all the head honchos of Pobe and villagers who came in support the project. The purpose was to emphasize that this is a project for the entire community and that they are essentially the ones who must ensure its care and sustainability.
During the meeting we made our Official library committee and created more posts within it. It was so wonderful to see everyone arrive and we had so many people volunteer for the different positions. They are the ones who will soon decide who will be the librarian.
The next step involves Elisee, the FAVL rep, to come for a visit and check out the site. We will also start ordering furniture (tables, chairs, desks, bookshelves) and of course, BOOKS!
Donations are still very much needed. Please continue to help support Pobe's library!