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A Day of Smiles and Giggles

Dr. Steven J Dick -- Sun, 03/11/2018 - 8:02am

This is my weekend in Zanzibar and I decided it was time to give away the last of the books I brought – thanks to Karen Burstein’s and the Picard Center.  I have not had time to approach more schools so I went out the communities that have been so welcoming to me these last two weeks.  I had already decided on my rules. ​

  1. I would only approach adults and ask permission.
  2. One book per child
  3. Protect everyone’s pride.
      a. Give the books a walk away. This is not about me. 
      b. Tell people I had extra books and could not take them home to the USA.

I packed up my books and went out.   I realized my first problem right away.  Women who were of age to have children would not or could not talk to me.  I had to talk to the men near the children.  In one case, he was little more than a boy – probably about 15.  I looked at women in the eye, but without a man around, they would do nothing more than smile.

The pattern was always the same.  First, suspicion or shock.  Second, happiness.  Finally, the giggles from the kids.  I walked about four miles to hand out the last 30 or so books. I found one school and gave them a package of 10 books.  As I walked away, I saw the children starting to enjoy their new books.  The men would smile and shake my hand.  

Zanzibar SchoolAfter a couple of hours, I had given away all the books but now the new problem.  Kids had heard what I was doing, and they came to find me.  Fortunately, I still had pencils to give away. These kids smiled and offered handshakes. 

At the end of the day, I only wish I had 1000 more books.