having fun isn't hard

Why is it that I am up at 8am on a Sunday morning to do laundry when the rest of the week I am unable to wake up at 9:30 to go to class?

Still not feeling like writing.

I watched The Big Lebowski last night. It was quite enjoyable. I laughed at times that I did not expect to laugh at all (ferret-wielding nihilists!)

Graduation and then possibly grad school seem so far away. But when the day comes that I have all the legitimacy that this silly world demands, I am turning in  my application to work at Room to Read.

I saw the founder speak, and then I read his book. Then I pored over their website. And I’m convinced this is one of the best non-profits ever. They build libraries and schools and give scholarships to girls.

“Okay,” you say, “but my cousin’s friend’s daughter spends her summer building schools in third-world countries too? And my church’s youth group pays thousands of dollars to go to ecuador each spring break to offer their irreplacable services as makeshift construction workers. What’s so special about Room to Read?”

Let me tell you. Or at least, begin to tell you. They don’t take overseas volunteers. A couple skilled people – architects, engineers, construction workers, for example – are hired within the country to work with the community where the building will take place. Then, the community is responsible for the labor. They are always more than willing. This way, a sense of ownership and ability is instilled, rather than having it be some charity-job. The materials are bought locally and transported by local custom – if there are no pick up trucks where the students are going, there are no pick-up trucks used to build the school. If you must use a yak to move everything, you use a yak.

The idea here is that everything possible locally – meaning that if residents of a community want to make an addition, for example, they are able to without help from a non-profit the next time. This has been done – the first school built by Room to Read was expanded. And when John Wood, the founder, went back to visit, he was surprised and pleased.

The teachers for the schools are trained, and the schools are inspected every once in a while to make sure they’re still running and everything. The libraries are filled with donated books, but ALSO with local-language books. Room to Read helps establish local-language publishing companies to help preserve heritage and just because – I mean, english isn’t the only language out there.

From their website:

Throughout the developing world, most children don’t have access to children’s books in their local language. The few books that are available are either second-hand books in foreign languages or low -quality, black and white books for more mature readers – not the type of literature that is meant to spark a child’s imagination, curiosity, and a desire to learn to read..We are significantly increasing the quantity and diversity of children’s books published in local languages by sourcing and publishing new children’s literature in every country where we workThemes include gender equality, the environment, health, art, beginning words and basic vocabulary, morals and values, family life, folktales, rhymes and poems.

It’s just awesome. And it’s particularly awesome to me because I love reading. If there was a non-profit related to getting kids in third-world countries ferrets, I’d probably want to work for them, too.

Anyway…Yeah. I really want to work for them someday.

Feel free to read the book Leaving Microsoft to Change the world to learn more, or browse their website or make a donation or whatever.

wow, i’ve never used my diary as a marketing tool before (except, you know, every single time I mention Nat. Geo. They should be paying me for this)

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