Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Build a Library...

I have lots of good news to report! 

The Guina'ang 1Book project is taking on a life of it's own. Here in the Philippines, school is back in session and the seeds of intention sewn back in December are blossoming.

When we first talked about "building a library", I honestly was kinda just thinking "books". Of course, you gotta be careful about what words you use-- We did in fact say "build a library".

Two weeks ago, I met Derek and Andrew as they were passing through Sagada. Derek and Andrew were deeply interested in what we are doing. After coordinating with Manuela, the principal, they set out a day later on the rough mountain road to visit the school. They stayed the night and then met the teachers and students in the morning.

It was an all around luminous experience of connection.

Andrew was the first real American most had ever met! Andrew talked about the USA and his home in Washington D.C. Derek (their second Canadian!) talked about the children of Afghanistan where he had last worked. The Guina'ang students have little global experience. The brief presentations will be experiences the kids won't forget for a long time.

Derek has a military background, and just as he would do back on the job, he conducted a thorough field assessment of the library situation at Guina'ang. This included scouting out the terrain and logistics for an independent library building.

Only a few days later, Derek and I met Andrew B.-- a world class Australian architect who designs mega buildings in the middle east. A little tired of fancy-dancy-building-designing, Andrew B. jumped at the chance to help out. As I type he is making his way back from the school after also braving the rugged mountain road and the enthusiastic kids!

We are now talking about a potential mandalic library design. We are envisioning a building that makes use of the local building materials, yet leverages the latest global eco-innovative building techniques we've got going on in Canada and Australia-- like the use of timber frames and straw bales. You should see the amazing timber they have here. With Andrew's help, the right builders, and a combo of local resources and global innovation, we can manifest a structure that is a regional inspiration!

In the meantime, crates of books are arriving now from Lorraine in BC, and Ray in Manitoba (his box was too heavy for his van!). In Manila the youth of a Muslim/Christian youth group that I have worked with heared about the project. They live in the humblest of neighborhoods, but, scoured their shelves and came up with two boxes of books for "our brothers and sisters in mountain province". See their portrait below.

I head there soon to lead the mandala workshop with school-- this is where the school gets to give back to you guys.

You can see and share the project details as always here:

Thank you everybody for your support, books, donations and kind words.

We're co-creating something beautiful!

Here are the latest photos:

The Muslim Christian Youth of Tala pose with the 1Books they've collected for Guina'ang.

Andrew and Derek with Manuela and staff

The site for the new library

The current makeshift library-- those are all our books in the corner!

Andrew introducing America

Derek talks about the life of Afghanistan kids

The students listen

The school after the rain

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