Reading is fundamental. This is a mantra that has been instilled in our mind from the very first day of school. However, this is a skill that many of us living in the United States take for granted.
The other day, I was informing some of the ladies in my community about a upcoming project. The printer was not working so I could not provide a hard copy of the letter to circulate. The letter was in the local dialect and I did not feel 100 percent confident verbalizing the information in the letter. I turned my computer screen towards them to read in hopes that they would inform others through word of mouth. A huge mistake was made on my part. I made the assumption that these women could read because it was in their language. I felt so ashamed of myself. Even though it was unintentional, I may have embarrassed this woman because of my American lens. I was reminded what some consider a basic skill is a luxury to others.
Now, first world countries are more dependent on technology to read than ever before. News comes from twitter, books are downloaded from apps and our enjoyment of reading is determined by battery life. The value of reading is not a priority in my town because books are not easily available. The nearest bookstore is more than three hours away and expensive. Developing nations are trying to keep up with the times, for example, using Facebook as their reading source. They are trying to run but have barely learned to walk.
During a brown out, traveling by bus, or waiting on a meeting that starts a few hours late; these are all great times to utilize your time by reading a book. I did not arrive in the Philippines with the expectation that I would be doing tons of reading. I only packed three or four books, I wasn’t a fan of reading e-books, and the nearest bookstore is on the opposite end of the island. I was thinking reading would be a rare occasion for me. However, I am now entering my second year of service and I have read on average two books per month. Knowing what I know now about the value of reading, I have a greater appreciate each book I finish . Here is a list of the books I’ve read.
“The Family Business 3: The Return of Vegas” By Carl Weber with Treasure Hernandez
“Rembrandt’s Secret” By Alex Connor
“Strength Based Leadership” By Barry Conchie and Tom Rath
“The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” By: Issa Rae
“Year of Yes” By: Shonda Rhimes
Currently Reading: “Library of Souls” The third novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children By: Ransom Riggs