Eleni also shared with me some of the challenges in running an international charitable program. Competition for grants and other funds; locating and training library staff; and transparency (or lack of) in financial interactions with other organizations or local communities. But even with these difficulties, Eleni displayed a dedication to both the Fountain of Hope and the Lubuto Libraries. It was a joy to speak with her and I regret not getting a photo.
Eleni was kind enough to offer me a ride to visit Mary Wagner, a Fulbright Scholar in Lusaka. Mary is a professor at Saint Catherine University in Saint Paul, here in Lusaka as a visiting lecturer at the Unza Library Science program. Her first three weeks in Lusaka were spent trying to obtain the proper paper work to straighten out her position as a visiting scholar and getting her visa extended. Only on the day before her three week visa expired did she receive the official letter from Unza verifying her teaching position, allowing her to receive her lengthier visa. Her original plan was to teach children's librarianship, but in reality, she will probably be teaching courses on information technology as the library science curriculum here has a definite technical focus. Mary and I spoke about various international library development programs, our concerns about sustainability, the need for additional ILD research, and our love of travel.
Mary was kind to meet with me today, being Thanksgiving and all. I got to meet her husband, Bill and on of her daughters, Lebo. I also got to see the beautiful pumpkin pies they made that morning (squash, condensed milk, sugar, seasoning, and pastry shell) as well as the beginnings of a full Thanksgiving meal with chicken, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. I really enjoyed sharing a bit of Thanksgiving with Mary and her family. Later in the evening I even got to share Thanksgiving dinner with my family back in North Carolina via Skype and a laptop on the dining room table. : )