Monday, 29 October 2007

So... I have decided to begin what I swore I wouldn't do. But using this form of diary of what has been happening as far as the comings and goings of the Borderline Books may help me to keep things straight.

Today I collected around 100 books from United Airlines. Mainly in English with a couple in Dutch and German - and a single gem. Chinese - so hard to find and so very much sought after.

Then packed up 7 boxes of children's books to be collected at the end of the afternoon. A few days ago a friend alerted me to the fact that a young woman was taking part in 'Heel Holland Helpt'. A sort of Oprah rip-off on the concept of paying it forward. Several people were given 1000 yuris and had to do something creative with it in seven days. This particular young woman wanted to surprise a foundation in the Curacao with a huge gift of clothes, books, school equipment and other items for disadvantaged children in the Nederlands Antilles.
Nice initiative, but in some ways a pity it had to be done with so much haste. I can only hope that she will be able to send more things another time. We have loads of books available which could be a big help in Suriname and the Antilles - but Borderline Books doesn't have the staff or funding to go shipping books all around the world ourselves.

My concentration has always been on the fact that people find it so much easier to 'help' people a long way away. It's so easy to give money to some disaster fund and feel good. But how about the neighbours? Yes, we'll support building a school in Africa - but don't ask us to help that African refugee family that just escaped a war...

At the same time, anyone who comes to us to get books to send overseas will be given whatever suitable books we have.


And the UK. Just off on another trip to bring books to the Durham prison service and to check out what the various organisations are planning for the 'festive week' in December. We are already taking a good supply of childrens books (new) and hope to be able to take more next time. We recently suggested to the British School near The Hague that their pupils might like to donate the books they are finished with so we can give them to refugee children.

what would I have done if someone had just given me 1000 yuris? Hard to say really since what I need most is something I can't buy - people! People who get the point of giving free books (but don't want to run off with my idea and profit from it as has just recently happened.) Maybe more of that fiasco another day.