Making sure that Zimbabwe reads II: from Boston via Beira to Harare

Allen Chimombe of Restore helped bring the books and his organization will be using part of the shipment in their work with juvenile offenders

reprinted from Zimbabwe reads site

Today our container, the first since Zimbabwe reads partnered with the Boston-based  Sabre Foundation, arrived in Harare. After crossing the Atlantic (and before that, a chunk of a highway from the Sabre warehouse in Boston to the New York City docks in late October 2011), and traversing a bit of the Indian Ocean along the South African coastline,  58,000 books donated by American publishers and individual friends of Zimbabwe reached African soil in Mozambique.

From there, crossing into Zimbabwe at Beira, a Mozambican driver (a Tete native, well-conversant in Shona, by the way), Senhor Tiberio (see group photo at the bottom, far right), brought the container to Harare. The Rotary Club in central part of Zimbabwean capital was kind to offer us their premises to store the books, as the container needed to be emptied to avoid extra costs.

It took two and a half hours for a team of local workforce and friends of ours to unload the container. Our project manager Andy Kozlov [and founder of the Steppes in Sync Initiative] joined them to speed up the process, document the event and pocket some details of palette packaging for future generations along the way – Andy said that the historian in him wants to preserve at least a piece of paper numbering the palettes. And appealing to the philosopher in him, Andy compared the slashing through the plastic wrapping to cutting the ‘umbilical cord’ of the culture of reading that our shipment aims to foster in Zimbabwe’s youth.

Zimbabwe reads' Andy Kozlov (far left) compared unloading this container to cutting the 'umbilical cord' of Zimbabwe's reading culture

The whole shipping process from Boston to Harare was facilitated and closely monitored by our Harare-based partner organization Restore that works with the capital’s street children and youth delinquents.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Boston, Massachusetts (USA)

Restore’s head Allen Chimombe also did some stretching today hauling the boxes with us, and they will be using part of the books in their reading programs.

The largest part of the shipment is 40,000 primary school science booklets provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. These colorful graded readers, as well as 10,000 McGraw-Hill primary and secondary school books, will be distributed in the Harare and Bulawayo areas by the regional committees there as well as to the Catholic school network of almost 200 schools. A group of nursing schools will receive 370 specialized nursing books. The shipment also includes 30 boxes of fiction and 20 boxes of academic books in the humanities from Harvard University Press that are being distributed to the University of Zimbabwe and hard-hit tertiary institutions.

Beira has long been a major trade point for exports coming in and out of Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and other Southern African nations. Because of this, the port of Beira is the second largest in Mozambique. The importance of the port was shown during the Mozambique Civil War, when Zimbabwean troops protected the railway and highway from Beira to Mutare in order to continue trade.


3 thoughts on “Making sure that Zimbabwe reads II: from Boston via Beira to Harare”

  1. Thank you for the good work. one good turn deserves another, i hope the books would be put into good use. i would love to hear about the distribution process

  2. This is excellent and will help to create a reading culture for Zimbabwe’s younger generation. I would love to see libraries in poorly resourced rural schools that have libraries benefit. Thank you Sabre Foundation for this great work you have done.

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