In the three months that I’ve been coming to the Fountain of Hope Lubuto library, I have been fortunate enough to get to know almost all of the kids who live at the center, help out in the library, and who are regular library users. While I love each one of them, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have favorites, or three, to be precise. Joe Tembo, Enesto Zulu, and Moses Zyambo represent what is best about a Lubuto library. They each take turns assisting Elijah, our library manager, in the Reading Room as well as alternately running the OLPC program; Joe and Enesto participate in the Lubuto Arts program, and all three are helping to create projects using Etoys for our eIFL.net OLPC Zambian Language Literacy Program. When they are not in school, they are at the library, reading, playing on the computers, or just having fun with their friends. The Fountain of Hope Lubuto library is their home. I really can’t imagine the library without them. In addition to their faithful assistance with library programs, they’re incredibly funny and loveable guys with unique personalities. Joe is extremely outgoing and is an aspiring rapper. We have a running joke that I am Mapalo Tembo of Zambia’s Eastern province and he is Slim Joe from Canada. Enesto is much more reserved, but is faithfully trying to teach me Nyanja, although all we’ve been able to accomplish is his asking me what time it is and my responding in English (I think he’s losing hope in my abilities). And Moses is like a sweet teddy bear, who also happens to be a computer genius. But while I could wax on and on about how great each one of them is, I think it’s only fair that they be allowed to introduce themselves.
Joe Tembo: “I’m a librarian here, and I’m also doing art, and I’m in the program with Etoys with my friends Moses and Enesto. I’m seventeen. I first come to the library in February 2007. I was at Fountain of Hope in Grade 7. I came here in this room, to work
as a librarian, and when I finish school, I want to become a librarian. I like to come here to help read books, help Elijah, and even you, Mapalo. I like to read books here, about Martin Luther King, and Leonardo Da Vinci. It’s nice to read the book about Leonardo Da Vinci because he was drawing and he made that famous painting the Mona Lisa. I started doing art in 2007 here, with Mr. Mwamba, he used to teach us how to paint and do drawing. I used to sketch before. I’m happy about the exhibition in the U.S. next year. This library is important to the people so they can know how to read, and even how to write. I’m helping out with Teacher Betty to show her how to use Etoys for the project. It’s a very, very good project. My favorite thing to do here is to read. I like being in this space. My favorite place is the ‘People’ section. I also like sitting in the ‘Sciences.’ Thank you very much.”
Enesto Zulu: “My name is Enesto Zulu. I am nineteen years old. I’ve come to the library for four years. I was learning here at Fountain of Hope and so one day they were building it, I was looking, then when they finished it, I was coming and reading. I come to know about the world, about the people, and about the maps. I like coming because I need to know how people live in other countries and what things they have. We have to keep the books clean and ordered in the library. At the library, I do the laptops and art. Since when they finished building this, I joined the art class. My favorite thing to do is to know the books. My favorite sections are ‘Science’ and ‘Stories.’ I like ‘Science,’ ‘Technology,’ ‘Plants,’ and ‘Mammals.’ The library is important because children, even me, they have to know things from the library by reading the books. I just need to be a businessman and a musician someday.”
Moses Zyambo: “My name is Moses Zyambo. I am sixteen. I came to the library in 2007. I came because I feel that the Lubuto library can do something with what I want to do in life. I want to do IT technology, information technology, and DJ. I live at Fountain because I want to change, change my behavior. Lubuto has helped with self-confidence and discipline. I’ve changed. I’m a librarian, and I teach children computers. There’s a program about Etoys, and I’m involved with that. Sometimes when I don’t have other things to do, I like coming to read and do other things. My favorite section is “Science” and my favorite book is “Plants.” The Library can help you to read, and know how to read, and when you don’t know librarians can help you to read. I just want to say thank you to Jane Meyers for helping me.”