African Library Project

The Stories We Tell: Our Blog

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Guest blogger and book drive organizer, Sankalpa Bhuma from San Ramon, CA shares her experience as a reader and how it spurred her to volunteer for a larger cause.

Towards the end of my sixth birthday, I received what I could only perceive as the ultimate symbol of adulthood: a chapter book. Specifically, a Magic Tree House book. I, a newly minted six-year-old, had never even touched a chapter book before. It didn’t help that it came with a shocking twenty-nine others of the same series, and I couldn’t fathom how I was supposed to consume one, let alone thirty whole chapter books. The shock of the gift quickly turned to excitement with the prospect of the instant transformation into a “big kid”, pushing me to open the first book. I discovered the power of reading: the ease of immersing yourself through those sweet words and transporting to another world. A world filled with adventure, a world filled with love, a world filled with mystery, a world filled with laughter. I would be with the characters through their quests and their trials, in the midst of the action.

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Ghana and the whole of Africa, in general, is known to have a rich history of making art. From its traditional garments and dances to urban murals, art comes in many different forms for African countries.

You don't have to travel far to see graffiti in North America. Just go outside and you're likely to get a glimpse of it in some shape or form. What’s most striking to us about the kaleidoscope artwork splashing the streets of Downtown Accra is the message of diversity, equality, and hope behind them.

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“Many artists working in and out of Accra today are directly confronting the country’s political history and social iconography—often utilizing the techniques and aesthetic influences of the West to create works purely Ghanaian in tone and message,” Christoper Bollen writes in a piece that explores the uniqueness of Ghana’s art scene and the story behind it.

Jamestown is known as one of the oldest districts in Accra. It’s where you’ll have a front-row seat to the bustling city, ocean-side views, and art from some of Ghana’s most prolific painters and drawers. It’s a historical town with a personality of its own, hosting the annual Chale Wote Street Art Festival along with other similar street festivals. If you want to get a taste of Ghana’s art scene, Jamestown is a must. It’s where I was lucky enough to visit and get my own tour of life in Accra - through paintings.

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At African Library Project, we’re all about powerful stories. Art is its own form of storytelling, a powerful one that combines past, present, and future. Whether it be through reading and breaking the cycle of youth illiteracy in countries like Ghana or creating stories with a paintbrush or stencil, people must be empowered to pursue creativity. 

Ghana’s art scene is only growing from here. Keep an eye out on young African talent that comes out of this marvelous country. They have stories to tell and we want to listen.

 

Be sure to explore more of Africa's unique art scene at websites like Okay Africa.  

A huge congratulations to Whitman Middle School located in Fairfax County, California that gathered students from the National Junior Honor Society this year and successfully created a library in Botswana with African Library Project. We're always impressed when students at home come together to empower other students. Thanks, Whitman!

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Guest blogger and African Library Project marketing intern Divya Prakash shares her experience as an active book drive organizer.

Most of my early memories center around my local library, wandering in there with my brother, marveling at the colors and variety of the stacks, trekking down to the Bookmobile each week and returning with a heavy stack of books and breathing in their crisp library scent. As I grew older, I realized what a gift this was, and I wanted to help others share the same experience. So as a seventh-grader in the winter of 2013, I formed a neighborhood team and we signed up for our first-ever African Library Project book drive. Now, six years later, we’ve sent over 7,500 books to eight libraries in four African countries...and my team pledges to continue the book drives now that I’ve graduated. So what brought us back, year after year? Here are four reasons we love being book drive organizers.