Nearly two years ago the Mayor of the City of Mekelle approached Yohannes Gebregeorgis about the possibility of turning a vacated building into a children’s library. Yohannes, Barbara Baker (who was visiting Mekelle for the dedication of the Dr. Thomas Hooyman Memorial Library in memory of her brother), three Peace Corps Volunteers (Shelley McCreery, Danielle Hoekwater, Nicholas Strnad) and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and librarian Janet Lee, inspected the building and imagined the possibilities.
One grand thought was to line the pathway leading up to the entrance of the library with indigenous trees similar to the trees that one sees when entering the city from the airport. Regis University Librarian (Denver, Colorado), Jan Loechell Turner, heeded the call and funded the project of both purchase of the trees and their ongoing maintenance.
One does not normally think of planting a tree, providing a bench, or painting a mural when donating funds to build a library. A library should be more than a warehouse for books. It can be a refuge from the daily routines of a busy day: a place to read, to play chess or checkers or Scrabble, to participate in arts and crafts, or to read a book quietly under the shade of a tree.
Thank you Jan for your gift that will last a lifetime.
The attached photos demonstrate the growth of this precious gift of trees over the past year. Like children, trees grow by leaps and bounds with just a little loving care. Many thanks to Fitsum Behane, IT volunteer instructor, for providing these updated photos.