Yesterday I was able to visit Maliana Community Library. I had helped set it up in 2002, and it was great to have the opportunity to see how it was doing. I did not have contact details for anyone at the library, so I thought I would be going there and looking in from the outside. I was fine with this as I really just want to see it, and I know that communication here can be challenging.
After I had walked around the outside of the library, looking in and taking photographs, two women asked me if I would like to see inside. It was one of the staff and her friend. They were going to work in the library in the afternoon. This was brilliant and it allowed me to see inside the library much better than I could by peering through the windows. It was more exciting that I could have imagined to be able to be inside this library again. I really can't convey how special this was for me.
The library and whole town have 24 hour electricity. Where I was there before the electricity ran from 6.00pm until midnight. The library has two computers with internet access which is brilliant. It also has two treadle sewing machines which are used for sewing school bags and some other things. The staff member wanted more information about libraries so I will be emailing her some online resources to help the local university students.
The library shelves were the same, although there was some additional furniture now. One of the posters on the wall I had brought with me in 2002 as it was an alphabet in Tetum with local images to illustrate the letters.
Outside the library there were cattle grazing, this is a good use of the grass, and cattle graze wherever they can.
You can see more photographs of the library here
You can see photographs from 2002 in the slideshow below
In the rest of Maliana there were a lot of new buildings, including a new hospital, school and building for government administration. More of the shops were open, and the markets were bigger.
It was amazing to be able to visit Maliana and see what had happened.
It was also really different driving there as there were no military road blocks where there had been a lot.