The village of Hopkins has a school which the many children of the village attend, but clearly resources are limited. In particular, the village was lacking a library for both the community and the school prior to 2007. In that year a Peace Corps volunteer “Miss Bertie” repurposed an old nursery building close to the school into a community library, and with donated books (mostly from friends) started and ran a library for the community. You can learn more about her efforts and vision by reading her Blog http://www.blogger.com/profile/17172662894415397338. Sadly, Bertie Lee Murphy died about a year later. The library, renamed in her honour, has reopened and is currently run by Diane Bootland who is also with the Peace Corps.
- She helped us learn to read.
- She would read us stories, and sometimes we would pass the book around the circle and take turns reading.
- She brought books from the library into our class rooms.
- Miss Bertie was always smiling.
- She would ride her red bike around Hopkins and wherever she went she would wave and smile at us.
- She had a funny thing she did when we were loud and not paying attention...She would quietly say “clap your hands if you can hear me”…. And some of us would start to clap our hands. She would then say again and again “clap your hands if you can hear me” and pretty soon we were all clapping and nobody was talking.
The materials however are only part of the problem; shipping anything to this location is very expensive. To limit these costs I will be sharing shipping arrangements that already exist for Hamanasi. They deal with a bulk shipping firm (Hydes Shipping) in Florida which provides the ability to transport purchased materials from the United States to Hopkins in a relatively cost efficient manner.
What Can You Do?
Nothing elevates the human condition as much as education and reading is a critical keystone for that. To help with education for the children of Belize and supporting reading in the community you can:
- Bring new or used books with you to Hamanasi as a donation for the library or
- Make a direct cash donation during your visit to the resort which will be used to purchase books and related educational materials for Miss Bertie’s Library