The Reading Epidemic

Zambia is plagued by aids, cholera, typhoid, malaria, and other epidemics. According to the dictionary, an epidemic is a rapid and extensive development or growth, usually of something unpleasant. On this trip to Zambia, there was one defining moment for me, and it was more of a redefining moment. Reading will redefine the word epidemic in Zambia. The definition will be transformed into the rapid and extensive development or growth, but of something great. June 23rd, 2011 the reading epidemic began. The origin? Shine Zambia Reading Academy. On our last full day at the school, Mal and I began to tackle the cabinet that housed some of the books donated by A to Z. After lessons finished for the morning, we sifted through book, flooded the floor with a sea of literature, and the students dove in. One child after another stepped to the back of the room asking for a book. In the midst of sweat, dust, spider webs, rat droppings, and books, I stopped and looked up. What I saw was the newest Zambian epidemic. Reading! Students stumbling over each other to get to a new book, shouts of excitement as they flipped to the next page in the story, the screech of fingers on paper ensuring no two pages stuck together, heads squished together so three and four students could see the page. This is the just the beginning. The students now have the bug, and resources, and it is time to let this beautiful bug infect the culture. A rapid and extensive development or growth, of reading: the reading epidemic.

One thought on “The Reading Epidemic

  1. This is one epidemic for which I hope there is no cure. Kudos to you and Mal for your help in getting it started!

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