As Forrest Gump said: “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.”
That is the thrill the boxes of books give us – the excitement of seeing the rich collection of books that have been sent to our libraries, the joys of reading some of them first before they are shipped to the six Kris Peace libraries; and other poor isolated schools with libraries without books all over the country.
We are quite excited with the thought that those books will open up the minds of a farmer’s son or a fisherman’s daughter somewhere to some magical world of imagination and wonder that only books have the capacity to bring.
These very books that pass through our hands may land in the hands and awaken knowledge, ambition and hope in the mind of a smart kid out there who may one day become the country’s next top neuro-surgeon, architect, legal eagle, senator, president, the next king of the Silicon Valley or even the next hero like Jose Rizal!
Recently, six “balikbayan” boxes of books coming from the US gave us such feeling! The books are so diverse as to make up a complete set of start-up library. Much as they are generous – having sent six boxes and even helped built our first of six libraries – these US-based donors would rather do the helping anonymously. May God bless their family!
The new shipment of books include a 1982 “Merits Students Encyclopaedia” that is in good condition that immediately packed them up and included them among the donated books to the Bulusan Elementary School in Bulacan, who asked for books after a one-storey-high flood wiped out all the school’s reading materials.
Other books include the Pulitzer Prize Winner “Andrew Jackson in the White House, American Lion” by Jon Meacham; Jeffrey Meyer’s “A Biography: Scott Fitzgerald” (one of my most favourite authors), Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol”; the New York Times Bestseller’s “Execution, the Discipline of Getting Things Done”; “The Core Balance Diet” (another personal favourite),; and Paco Underhill’s national bestseller marketing book “Why We Buy, the Science of Shopping.”
It seems that the books shipped here have everything for everyone that even my junior golfer Ashia exclaimed upon finding two books on golfing, which she immediately borrowed to read before we give them away.
There are also children’s books to include a sizable set of Hardy Boys, skill-building and self-help, motivational books; and popular magazines like the Rolling Stone and US Weekly.
Seeing all these beautiful books, my only regret is not having the time to read those I like most before the books are shipped to places where children are so poor that many grow up without their parents or anyone giving them books; books being a luxury and less of a priority to poor families.
Still, my happiness lies in knowing that while most of these books will only pass through our hands, they will land in the lap of poor children whose minds will sparkle and be greatly empowered by them.
As I close the boxes after inspecting their content, I say a prayer for these books to work their magic on young, hungry, inquisitive minds of a tricycle driver’s son or even a child of a rebel or terrorist in Mindanao that he may grow up realizing that truly there is richer, peaceful and better life lived outside the barrel of a gun in violent Mindanao.