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Album Name: Guatemalan Library 2009 Return to Albums
Album Date: Mar 26, 2009
Description: This community library managed by The Riecken Foundation (www.riecken.org) is located in the 100% indigenous village of Xolsacmalja, Totonicapan in northwestern Guatemala.
(click an image to enlarge and start a slide show)
The library was built on the second floor of the community center.  The community raised extra funds to strengthen the roof in the hope of adding another floor to their library one day. All of the books and educational materials were purchased by our Rotary Club.  This is the childrens' corner designed to aid early stimulation of the youngest children. Riecken Foundation libraries are not just for children but for all ages.  In this community many of the adults are illiterate and now hoping to learn to read. The community library committee is already thinking about adding another floor to their library. The community of Xolsacmalja, one of many who will benefit from the library.
The whole community, from the youngest to the oldest, turned out for the inauguration of the library. Those who couldn't fit into the meeting room for the inauguration event watched through the windows A full house.  The man in the front is a member of the local council.  They all carry the walking stick that he has. Using several handheld cell phones the festivities were transmitted to four radio stations that broadcast everything as far away as 30 miles. Part of the festivities included indigenous dancing by children from three different area schools.
The doors to the library are finally open after five years of work on the part of the community. Young and old crowded into the library that the community had yearned for for five years. Even the youngest were curious. The indigenous women wear very elaborate, colorful, handwoven Riecken staff member, Jackie, shows a group how to use one of the educational games.
Alexander, the Antigua taxi driver, wishes he had had such things available when he was a child. The science corner including a giant puzzle of the solar system and a telescope was very popular. Paul Guggenheim, Riecken's Guatemalan director, wearing an indigenous shirt which was a gift from the community shows some of the books to women from the community. The computers were a big hit as well.  The women asked when they could have internet.  The community needs to set up a fundraising campaign for internet access then internet access will be provided. The women were very curious about everything in the library and wanted their picture taken with the
The women were intensely curious about everything and asked if they could have meetings in the library.  The answer was The women converse with Penny Rambacher, founder of Miracles in Action, an NGO that contributed funds to the library. Paul reported intense curiousity on the part of the men (including the mayor to Paul's left) with the large scale anatomy charts. This little one was most fascinated with the camera and does not yet know how the library will change her life. The
After the inauguration a food basket was delivered to a woman whom the local council selected as being Lunch for all These gentlemen provided the music while we enjoyed (and lived to tell about it) lunch in the community.