Click to order now!In Our Village
by the students at Awet Secondary School in Tanzania, East Africa and What Kids Can Do
Edited by Barbara Cervone
This exquisite book gives voice to students in a rural community in Tanzania, close to the towering Mt. Kilimanjaro, the vast plains of the Serengeti, and the Great Rift Valley. This village called Kambi ya Simba, has one road in and one road out. Its 5,000 residents, spread over 40 square kilometers, are farmers. They are poor, by every measure. They know scarcity, which can make “enough” seem like plenty. In a world of digital technology and designer coffee, they illuminate the night with lanterns and drink from streams and pumps that often carry illness.
From 2005-2008, the U.S.-based nonprofit What Kids Can Do (WKCD) worked with students at Awet Secondary School in Kambi ya Simba to document daily life in their village—with digital cameras and tape recorders.
For two weeks in August 2005, Barbara Cervone of What Kids Can Do, worked with a team of Kambi ya Simba students, gathering photographs and stories. The core group included ten student collaborators sixteen to eighteen years old and their three young teachers. On the last day, forty or more students joined the process.
Students identified twenty topics and wrote down everything they knew about each, creating a common pool of knowledge. In three teams, they then collected photographs and interviews that fill the book. They worked on weekends and after school until the sun gave way to kerosene lamps. Each expedition to take photographs entailed walking five miles or more.
No students had held a camera before. Within minutes, they mastered the three digital cameras and took over a thousand photographs and, with only a few exceptions, the pictures that animate In Our Village: Kambi ya Simba Through the Eyes of Its Youth are theirs.
As the students reflected on what they had done, they told Barbara: “It stretched our imagination in so many ways. Before this, we had never seen a book with photographs. Few of us have journeyed beyond the town of Karatu, nineteen kilometers distant. Of the larger world, we know only what our teachers have told us, a small encyclopedia we carry in our heads, containing facts and words, a few pictures, and no sound. Lacking electricity and computers, we have not traveled the Internet or watched other media that would show us life elsewhere, true or false.”
As Barbara parted, they told her: “It astounds us—and we remain unconvinced—that anyone outside our village would care about our stories and our challenges. In a sense that goes beyond this phrase, your interest means the world to us.”
Visit these students through their videos at www.inourvillage.org.
Join IN OUR GLOBAL VILLAGE
In Our Global Village began when Barbara Cervone sent a copy of In Our Village to Cathryn Berger Kaye. As Cathryn says, “I loved the book and was stunned knowing they were ‘unconvinced that anyone would care.’ touced me deeply. This began the program Barbara and I developed called In Our Global Village, an invitation for youth across the globe to create their own book in response to the one authored by the Awet Secondary students.”
To learn more about the process and see copies of In Our Global Village books (readable as “flip books”) written by students from countries all over the globe, visit www.inourvillage.org/iogv. We hope they will inspire you and your students to create your own IOGV book. Please let us know how we can help.
Download In Our Global Village Curriculum on our ABCD Books Curriculum section and on the IOGV website.
Proceeds from books sales of In Our Global Village benefit a scholarship program for Awet Secondary School Students.
Next Generation Press
64 pages, paperback, all grades and ages