My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Library

A few years ago, I was holding school in a little blue house without electricity and running water.  I didn't have a curriculum, much less access to many books.

But, what we did have, we used! 

That year was magical!  We read books.  The kids expanded their vocabulary.  They began to imagine things for themselves.  They began to really dream and become children again. 

I knew one day, after reading that day's passage from one of the Chronicles of Narnia passages, that we had finally broken through to the kid's imaginations when outside the creaky window doors, I heard the clash of metal and "For Narniaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...." being screamed.  When I peeked out the window, Micheal and JJ both had machetes and were using them as swords.  I put a stop to that, but laughed at the whole idea.  They were beginning to dream.  It reminded me of how it is in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when the snow begins to melt and Father Christmas comes with good gifts.  These good gifts were imaginations, the ability to dream and write, joy in childhood, and an understanding of a greater truth--that God is the author of all stories and He is telling one in THEM!

And when we moved here, there just wasn't a place to even put the books, nevertheless have the students and teachers handle them in a way that kept them in good enough condition for the future.  So, they sat in piles, in boxes and under mats in our teacher's lounge for over a year.

And when my good friend, Sarah Tallmadge, decided to come to Ghana to visit us here at City of Refuge Ministries, I knew the perfect project for her.

It was a culmination of so many things.

Over a year ago, we had a library program called Alexandria (an amazing software program!!) donated to us.  But, we didn't have a computer to load it on to and we didn't have the hardware to set up a library...and we didn't have a room to house the books.

Then, a friend of the ministry, Evangelist Sandra Riley, fundraised for 8 computers for our teachers to use.  Last year, we didn't have electricity here at the school, so the computers were set aside, and now, they have been taken out and put in the library for students and teachers alike to use.

And for over a year, a group of life-long learners from the Semester at Sea voyage in the fall of 2011, have been sending us small batches of books to help fill out shelves.  We have been able to get curriculum, chapter books, picture books, and so much more from these generous donors.

Kathy (left) and Sarah putting the finishing touches on our computer table before the grand opening.
And then, Sarah came and grabbed a hold of the vision of our library with two hands and ran with it!  She was able to raise support to purchase the hardware and the labels and all that was needed for our library to get up and running.  And she came and spent her full two weeks breathing life into that space. 

That beautiful space!

Now, walls covered in shelves.

Books available for teacher's to increase their knowledge of teaching.

Books available to open WORLD's for these students who previously didn't have access to anything like this before.

When Sarah spoke to the students the afternoon of our grand opening, she told them, "This library is for you so that when you read these books, you will know how much God loves YOU."

And that is true.  We prayed over the library...over the doors...over the entrance...over the shelves...that when students walk in, they would know the love of Christ that brought them to this place for this time. 

We prayed that students would have a whole world opened to them.

We prayed that students would feel confident in beginning to read, knowing the support is there for them.

Such a sweet, sweet blessing to have so many pour into this place so that we can bless GENERATIONS of children through this library.

Books ready for students to read!

Thank you that have given....that continue to give...and will give in the future.  You are an enormous part of making what we do here possible!

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