I couldn’t wait to meet Zefe and Nolasco when I first heard their story from Brenda at Fountain of Hope regarding how they “stole” school. Yesterday, I finally got a chance to sit down and have an interesting chat with them about why they come to a Lubuto Library every single day that it’s open. However, before I proceed with their account, I would like to share that I had actually taken notice of Zefe’s gusto during a mentoring session conducted by Kenny and Brenda a few weeks ago. At the time I thought to myself, “Wow, what a clever boy!” because Zefe was actively answering most of the questions posed to the group of approximately 48 children in the mentoring session and even providing examples so that his peers could understand his point. Little did I know that there was more than meets the eye with Zefe. I sat down in the Fountain of Hope reading room together with Zefe and Nolasco for a very informal chat. Reason being that I was very curious to hear from them about how exactly they stole school and came to know about Lubuto! Apparently, stealing school is what led them to the Lubuto Library.
This is how they did it. Both boys come from Misisi compound in Lusaka and claim that they have never attended school not even Grade One. Zefe and Nolasco told me that before discovering Lubuto, they spent their days playing soccer and just hanging out with their friends at home. However, one of their friends approached them and told them that there was an opportunity to attend school at the Fountain of Hope community school where he was enrolled and that they could also participate in some interesting activities at the library on the same premises. That is how Zefe and Nolasco went to attend a Grade Four class without the classroom teacher’s knowledge. Concurrently, the boys started visiting the library and became active participants of the LubutoLiteracy, LubutoMentoring, and LubutoDrama programs. No sooner had they joined these programs than they were transferred to Grade Five because they were found to be smarter than the other Fourth graders. Zefe and Nolasco give credit to LubutoStorytime for teaching them how to read because they say it sparked their curiosity about how to spell words and pronounce them.
According to Zefe and Nolasco, they both enjoy spending time at the library because they learn a lot from Lubuto in a fun environment. Zefe dreams of being a pilot, while Nolasco aspires to be the Vice-President of the country one day. "The boys who stole school" has become an endearing reference to Zefe and Nolasco because it acknowledges their courageous pursuit of education and enlightenment!