Hello, old and new friends! We’re building a library for kids in a village outside Siem Reap, Cambodia, and we need your help!
Many of you know I like to tell a good story. The WHOLE story. Well, this time I’m going to tell a condensed version (wish me luck).
(Mostly because my brain is pretty much all tied up in writing my newest e-book. Shipwrecked: The Unlikely (but True) Story of a Family Rescued by Refugees. I’m looking for “People of Peace” to read it and share. Let me know if that’s you!)
So, you might know I like books. And libraries. And reading. And words.
You might know that I’m passionate about people (especially kiddos) being passionate about reading.
You might not know that, when I was a kid, I turned my bedroom into a library (homemade card catalog and all) and that I worked in the school library as a 5th grader.
You might know that we moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia (from the capital, Phnom Penh) last January to work for an organization we’d been supporting for years. And then got fired this past summer while we were in the States raising money for them.
One of the saddest parts of that whole debacle was no longer being able to work with Chhoengka and Channorm, who were like son & daughter to us, as well as good friends.
Fast forward to January 22, 2017. I write in my journal: I would really love to open a library. Thoughts churning, dreams spinning. What do you say, God?
January 23, 2017. Channorm comes over for a visit after work. We talk about some things that have been going on in her life. And then she drops a bomb.
“I really want to build a library out in the village.”
Oh. My. GOSH.
I tell her I do not even have to think about this, I do not even have to pray about this. God has already put this exact dream on my heart. LET’S DO IT.
And let’s do it SOON.
Her entire face lights up and she can’t believe this is happening.
Next thing I know she is telling me that Chhoengka is also super excited about the library and wants to help. I have a flashback to April of 2016 when Chhoengka was living with our family. We were learning about his story, and he tells us about the library in his village that made such a big impact on him when he was a kid.
“It’s my dream to build libraries in villages,” he says.
A couple weeks later, we have a planning meeting at our house, and I don’t even wait to see if the Village Chief has given us official permission. I announce it on Facebook. WE ARE BUILDING A LIBRARY.
Chhoengka has the name picked out already. Bamboo Library (roo-SY bon-uh-LIE in Khmer).
The Village Chief says yes. (Channorm has been teaching English & the Bible in this village for a long time and has a relationship with the kids and families already.)
On Saturday, February 17, we take a moto trip out to the village (about a 45-minute drive), see the plot of land where it will be built, buy a 15-meter bamboo shoot and cut it one-meter pieces, and GET VERY EXCITED.
Today (Saturday, February 25), we went back out to the village, met the guy who will be building it for us, and went to shop for materials. Chhoengka and Channorm are in charge. We are along for the ride, for moral support, for financial support, and for BOOKS FOR KIDDOS. (Be still my heart.)
Here’s where you come in. Will you help us build the first Bamboo Library?
We’ll be able to build the whole thing for around $550 USD (not including the books, bookshelves, mats, and chairs).
I’n clueless when it comes to building things, but this is how I think it will go. Foundation of bricks, filled in with sand, covered in cement. Wood structure. Tin roof. One-meter bamboo fence around the outside. Waist-high gate. Open air (because we won’t have electricity). Bookshelves we can close/lock. The library will be small (4 meters x 4 meters, about 12 feet squared), but the kids won’t mind, and there are lots of beautiful spaces for them to read outside as well.
Here’s the breakdown of costs:
300 bricks = $12. PAID Sand = $30. PAID Cement = $68.50. PAID Cement smoothing tools = $2. PAID Metal roof = $61.75. PAID Hammer/nails = $18. PAID Delivery charge = $10. PAID Wood = $140 (estimated) PAID Delivery charge for wood = $10. (estimated) PAID Bamboo = $20. PAID Labor = $170. PAID Bookshelves = 5 @ $30 each = $150. (estimated) PAID Chairs = 15 @ $2 each = $30. (estimated) PAID Mats = $20. (estimated) PAID Total: $742.25. PAID PAID PAID PAID PAID PAID PAID !!!!!!!
If you’d like to donate one or more items (or part of the labor or one bookshelf or whatever), let us know in the comments! (or via fb message)
Construction begins THIS WEEK! (and I have no idea when it will be done–ha!)
Because this is our first time to do anything like this (we taught our Khmer friends the word “pioneer” today), and we don’t have a non-profit library organization set up (yet–maybe someday?), we’re going to take donations through PayPal and ask you to trust us to be honest about the finances. (I’ll email/message you payment instructions.)
If you’d rather donate through our missions agency for a tax-deductible receipt, you may, but we’d ask that you donate an additional 8%, because that’s the fee we pay for administrative costs.
We will cross out the materials as they’re donated.
You can also pick out books from our Bamboo Library Amazon Wish List to donate! The books will all go to our friend, Pam, who is researching shipping options to Cambodia (and is coming with a team from our church in June). She will get them to us somehow, some way!
A friend hosted an Usborne Book Facebook Party for us last week, and some generous party-goers donated over FIFTY books (and we get a bunch more free for having the party!)
We’ll also be doing a (Gently-) Used Book Drive in the near future, so stay tuned!
Feel free to share this with anyone who might be interested! And let me know if you have any questions!
I AM SO EXCITED FOR THESE AWESOME KIDDOS TO HAVE A LIBRARY!! THANK YOU FOR HELPING!!