Learning made fun with science and dance

Lubuto was excited to host MLIS student intern Samantha Hyde in July for a three-week internship focused on music, movement, and scientific inquiry in early childhood programming.  Previously the Director of Education at the Colorado Ballet, Samantha is currently enrolled at Indiana University – Bloomington working towards a dual Master's degree in Library Science and African Studies while serving as the Company Manager for IU’s African American Dance Company of the African American Arts Institute. We are delighted to name Samantha Hyde our Volunteer of the Month!

Samantha spent her time in Zambia based at the Lubuto Model Library, where her days were full of early childhood programs co-facilitated by Brendah Mkandawire, Lubuto’s Family Literacy Coordinator. With Samantha and Brendah, kids explored their own styles of creative movement, conducted color-mixing experiments, made rice “dance” with baking soda, and did some dancing of their own during themed storytimes!

Samantha says it was an experience of mutual learning: “One of the most rewarding parts was working directly with…Brendah, and learning from her. We both brought activity ideas to the table, tried them together with kids, and made decisions on what to include in the curriculum. Watching Brendah get as excited about the ‘magic milk’ experiment as me helped to form a connection right from the start…. We both learned a great deal from one another.”

Brendah and Samantha jointly developed written early childhood curricula focused on music, movement, and scientific inquiry for use in future programming and training. Samantha also “brought excitement to the drama group in terms of contemporary dances,” Besa said, teaching them a West African dance that the teens plan to perform in August.

The children and staff of the Model Library all miss Samantha, and we hope to see her in Zambia again soon!

A chance to meet beloved author Paula Leyden!

We had an exciting visitor during the month of July—celebrated author Paula Leyden, who wrote The Butterfly Heart and The Sleeping Baobab Tree, both popular book club reads at Lubuto Libraries. She came to visit the Model Library and the Mthunzi Library on July 27th, 2019. Paula’s books are set in Zambia, where Paula grew up, and are based on her real-life experiences. The Butterfly Heart is about twins Bul-Boo and Madilla, who are trying to save their friend Winifred from a forced marriage to a man old enough to be her grandfather. The story was inspired by a close friend of Paula’s who dropped out of school after being forced into a marriage in her early teens, and who Paula never saw again.

Large audiences at both libraries—a total of 84 teens attended the talks—had lots of questions for Paula about her books, about her experiences as a writer, and about her childhood in Zambia. Many of the kids at the libraries said they were interested in becoming authors in the future, and Paula encouraged them to read broadly, write every day, and to stay in touch with her over email. The day ended with book inscriptions, group photos, and lots of smiles—and with plans for Paula to visit our rural Mumuni Nabukuyu library, where Lubuto’s innovative Makerspace programs aim to prevent early marriages, on her next trip to Zambia!

In memory of Cindy Pellegrini Johnson

We mourn the death of our dear friend and former Lubuto Director Cindy Pellegrini Johnson. Cindy’s dedication and generous contributions of time, talent, and resources made a real impact on Lubuto. After stepping down from the board due to illness, Cindy’s support of and close relationship with Lubuto continued to her final days. We will always miss her.

Will you join the Lubuto family?

Our regular donors are the lifeblood of Lubuto. When you set up a recurring donation, either by bank billpayer service or credit card, we can better plan for the future. Please consider joining the Lubuto family as a sustaining supporter—making a transformative commitment to Africa’s children as a monthly donor.

Grants can move us forward in specific directions, but only unrestricted donations from our supporters can keep us afloat. Lubuto helps so many young people at such a low cost. A modest contribution each month is an easy way to brighten many children’s lives!