Biblioworks Wk #8 - Puppets in Presto
Trip Start Dec 06, 2010
32Trip End Mar 31, 2011
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"When the people in Morado K'asa began building their library, the mayor of the tiny town of Presto became interested. He approached Megan (the Peace Corps volunteer who started the libraries) to discuss the possibilities of implementing a library in his town.
Presto has the advantage of being a municipal capital and while Megan was interested in working there, she didn't know how to fund it. Again, enter brother Brendan who with the Board of Directors of Biblio.com decided to officially establish Biblio Charitable Works Inc. in order to implement the library in Presto.
Currently the library in Presto is still functioning and is in an enormous perfect space on the main plaza of the beautiful town of Presto."
It was a clear, sunny day when we started out to Presto
Matt had told us that the library was housed in a wonderful large building, next to a very old church. The library had gone through several librarians since it opened, but the current librarian enjoys his job there and the Biblioworks' staff are trying hard to support him as he learns how to run a library. Training new librarians is a big job and Presto is far away from Sucre.
Presto is an isolated town in a pretty valley. The well-kept central park was green and a good meeting place for people who just wanted to sit and talk. The concrete roads were narrow and the adobe houses close together. When we arrived it started to rain and the streets which sloped down to the river became ankle deep streams of flowing water
Upon arriving, Roxana immediately looked for a place for us to stay. There were no signs indicating hotels, but Roxana asked around and we ended up getting 2 rooms - one for Roxana and one for the 4 of us. Our room was pretty sparsely furnished with 4 single, sagging beds and a light bulb. That's all. Later on, when it started to rain harder, we had to move Chris' bed and add a piece of furniture to our room - a plastic water bottle to catch the falling drips from the ceiling...
We went off to the library to quickly set up the theatre in preparation for our show.
Ever since Beve Matson, a fellow teacher, introduced me to the world of puppetry, I have had a deep respect for the power that these little figures have in igniting the imaginations of children, as well as adults. No where else have we seen such pure joy and creativity than in the little village of Presto, Bolivia.
Once our puppet show, The Armadillo's Song, began, the library full of kids was turned into a magical world of talking animals by a tottery, old grandmother who entered the room and asked the kids if they wanted a story read to them
A puppet show is a wonderful and entertaining art form, but children can do a lot more with puppetry, rather than just observing other peoples' efforts. For that reason, we added the puppet building workshop to our little program. Twenty four children from the village, 8 to 12 years old, are chosen by their teachers to take part in this workshop. We use lots of materials, many of which are very new to the kids and teachers
In the meantime, Pat and Chris found time to do some of the repair jobs that needed to be attended to. Top priority was to add more light to the library. There were no lights over the bookshelves or the librarian's desk and the library was open in the late afternoon and evening. Imagine using a library with limited lights. The guys did the best that they could in the time that they had and without a ladder! Tables on top of tables got them high enough to work on the lights ...(The 'ladder training' course that we had to take when we were teaching wouldn't have been necessary here.) Then they added the reading glasses shelf and the coat/backpack rack
After lunch and a little walk to the replenished river, our private combi van was waiting to take us back to Sucre. Things had dried up a bit and the sun was out. As we drove home, Chris had to hop out of the van a few times to move a few of the larger, fallen rocks from the road. The rains really do a number to the roads in Bolivia!
Once again, we came home to our appreciated comforts - firm mattress, bedside lamps, internet (and Leaf scores), dry bedroom with hardwood floors and plenty of hot water in the shower
On Sunday, if the weather permits and there are no lingering transportation strikes, we are going to Biblioworks' 6th library in Sopachuey (soap-a-choo-ey) which is a 6 hour bus ride away.