Books for Africa

posted Jan 14, 2013, 6:41 AM by Sandy G   [ updated Apr 4, 2013, 4:55 AM by Remember Robert ]
It gave me great pleasure to send 40 lbs. or about 2 dozen books to Namibia for school children.

The last time I saw Robert, he said he wanted to work in Africa for the Peace Corps after graduation. His friend is there now, in Namibia, teaching math and science to middle- and high-school kids. Robert didn't go to Africa, but his books did.

You too can send BOOKS FOR AFRICA. Try it! Give directly to help boys and girls in Namibia get an education. There's no 3rd party charitable agency overhead. Send books or materials such as crayons, compasses, rulers, pencils and pens to:

Sachi Graber
Peace Corps Volunteer, St. Therese JSS
Private bag 2062

I have more [children's] books than I know what to do with. Recently, looking through some of the books at home, I found Robert and Alex's Landon School text books, by Glencoe, "Science Interactions" for the years: Course 2, 3, and 4. They had Robert and Alex's signatures inside the cover along with some of their teenage doodling. That was the start of my pile of "BOOKS FOR AFRICA". 

What else got squeezed in the boxes along with the Glencoe Science books?
The project was a bit of a brainteaser. What's the best selection of books, totaling no more than 20 lbs., to fit in which size of United States Postal Service flat rate box? The "USPS Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box", with the size 12" x 12" x 5.5", was the optimum size box for 20 lbs. of books. The box alone weighed 10 ounces. Packed full and taped shut, each box weighed just under 20 lbs. Twenty pounds is the maximum weight, using a standard USPS flat rate box, to ship to Namibia. The cost of mailing a box at the USPS flat rate to Namibia is $60.95, totaling of $121.90 to send the two boxes.

Most of the books that I sent were hard cover books. If you send more paperbacks, those might weigh less and you might use the other larger size USPS flat rate box, which is 23-11/16" x 11-3/4" x 3".

Is $122 a lot of money? Well, yes it is, thank you. But let's compare the value:
  • Of course, you can use your own random size box and weight of books, but if you don't use the USPS flat rate boxes, 40 lbs of shipping to Namibia from Washington, DC costs a little less than $300! 
  • If you subscribe to telecom packages, such as either Comcast cable TV with broadband internet, or a Verizon Family Plan for cell phones not including data, the cost is comparable to one month. 
  • Or two tanks of gasoline for the car. 
  • Or a month or more of Starbucks for the high-flyers. 
  • If purchased new, the text books cost between $120-$175 each. The value of these books is up to $1000 today. Maybe within 10 years, these expensive books will only be e-books, but Africa doesn't have reliable and ubiquitous internet like the rest of us. 
What do we do with our old books? Surely our country is already blessed with more than we need or can use. I sent only a small fraction of our library. I hope they arrive (should be in 6-10 days). I hope the books will aid in learning, capture imagination, and bring happiness.

I wish to mention that Isabella Mia Lee, the winner of the 2012 SPIRIT Scholarship, won the scholarship based on her story about providing used books to economically disadvantaged children in our local area. I thank Mia, because her infectious initiative was also an inspiration for BOOKS FOR AFRICA.

- Sandy Giger, January 14, 2013

Update - April 2, 2013 - from Sachi, "... the learners here are thrilled to have new books, and they are reading those books every day in my classroom! It is really great to see them poring over books and absorbing and learning new information whether they want to or not =) ... We have a few voracious readers here, who are very happy to see some new titles!"