I have not forgotten about the blog, I promise. I guess I have just been busy. Yeah, that’s it. We have been pretty busy. There are lots of things happening around ACC. A new semester has started and we have new guests on campus.
A few weeks ago our family went to the public library…like in Manzini. It was an adventure and I guess the first time we ventured out into “downtown” alone. I had asked many people since we have been here if anyone knew about the library and no one had ever been there.
We are big library users…like 70 books at a time library users. At least we use to be. And I did have a system of how to keep up with them all. So, anyway, I was very interested in checking out the public library here in Swaziland.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. We went to survey and ask questions and see how we could get library cards. Nothing is ever easy here, but after we talked to several people at the library we left with some papers to fill out and bring back.
We had to go and get passport photos taken so they could use them for our library cards.
Today we actually had all our stuff ready and decided to go and make it official. It was an experience.
We took in our papers that we had filled out…and figured out we had done it wrong. We were told it would not cost money, but then today we were told we basically had to pay a deposit…that we would get back, since we are non-Swazis. Who knows about that one???
After waiting for Brad to go to an ATM machine while the girls and I hung out at the desk and reading all the posters on the walls about AIDS, he finally returned…only to find out we did not really have to pay for each person, just our family. We had filled out our papers wrong and stuff like that, but finally we got it all settled.
We decided to wait there and look at the books while they processed our cards. After about 30 min. of looking they came and found us and gave us all our very own library card.
Each person is given 3 library cards (pieces of paper) and you can only check out 3, yes 3, books at a time. So we quickly made our selections and went to check out at the front desk.
We made this trip in the afternoon and the library was filled with school children. They were everywhere. We are getting use to people looking and staring at us these days. Sometimes it’s a mutual thing. As we were waiting my girls were sitting and reading books. Several times some of the school children would come over to them and try to talk to them. Annie talked to them. Some kids blew kisses from between the bookshelves at them and people stared at them and talked about them the whole time we were there.
On our way to check out, a table of girls called Annie and Ellianna over to them because they wanted to feel Annie’s hair. They asked if they could touch it and so they all wanted to feel what it was like. They asked Ellianna her name and after about 5 times of saying it, they got it right. A girl asked Ellianna if she could be Ellianna’s friend. As soon as Ellianna said yes, then they all asked if they could be her friend too. I smiled and the next thing I know a girl was telling me she loved me. It was all sweet and funny and strange and normal all at the same time. And my girls had the strangest expressions on their faces. They were a little confused.
Okay, so back to checking out. I’m pretty sure we were some of the only people who have checked out books from the library. They had to go and get the glue stick to put in the little page where you stamp the due date. You remember. Think back with me…before computers. Remember the card where you sign your name and your due date is stamped on that little page. Well, that is still how it is here. So, we give them our cards and books and they don’t know what to do. And neither did we.
After we got that part all figured out I noticed the box where they keep the cards when you check out books. There were only like 5 other people who had books checked out. Really. Like 5! Our family with our 15 cards like tripled the amount of cards in their box. I think I might know why though. The consequence if you don’t return your books on time is that your name and picture get published in the newspaper. I have heard no one has ever really seen it in the paper, but I am thinking it’s because no one has ever checked out books.
So, the library is pretty random, but definitely better than nothing. At home on our library days my girls would come home and I would hardly hear them the rest of the day because they would be so interested in reading their books. (No, I did not go everyday.) However, with the limit of 3 books per visit, we will have to plan to spend time just reading at the library. We might even go and do school there some days.
It was fun. I’m glad we are “official” members of the Swaziland Public Library. The next time I go I am thinking of asking if I can get any special “deal” for being a teacher and get to get more books. I’m mean, I will return them cause who whats their name and picture in the newspaper? Okay, I actually think it would be kinda cool to make it in the newspaper here but I don’t believe it will really happen. We will see. I have been known to have overdue books before…and that was when I could renew them online. Wish me luck!