Book Campaign

Book Campaign

Quite a number of alumni and friends have  donated books, magazines and related materials to the SMS library.  If you have reference books, story books, magazines and the like which you are not currently in need of, ship them to St. Mary's School.

The "Book Donation to SMS Campaign" have been going on for quite some time. Click on Book Donations to see who have been reported to have donated books and other reading materials to SMS. I say reported because it  was brought to the attention of the SMS alumni that there have been many unreported  donations/donors. If you know of any unreported donations/donors please send an email so that this may be rectified at least in this website.

To further encourage more donations/donors to the on-going book campaign an article by Esther Padalla Pietermann is pasted below. [May Esther recover from her present incapacity]

One Book + One Dollar   =  Passport to the World

by Esther Padalla Pietermann

I think I was the smallest child among the children when I first tried to enroll in Grade I,  so Mrs. Zabala, the first grade teacher sent me home to wait for another year before I started school.  The next year,  I didn't grow any bigger,  but somehow I was able to put my right arm across my head and was able to touch my left ear,  thus I was accepted to start my years with the book and the pen.

Because of my size,  two of the naughty boys always teased me and one started calling me  "kin-oy".  The moniker rankled,  but I showed the boys that it did not bother me to be small,  for after all  I was doing better than they did in class and I was the favorite of our teacher.  In grade two,  we got our first book,  Pepe and Pilar.  One time as I was reading,  one of those boys taunted me and pulled my hair.  To defend myself,  I threw the book at him.  The book was torn to pieces.  As punishment for destroying the book,  our teacher made me sit on the same desk as my tormentor.  That was one of the worst times of my life.  I not only had to share a desk with someone I did not like,  but he was so boring because it took him forever to spell and read "Pepe".  This incident gave me a lesson for life.  I take care of every book that I have to handle  (up to this day).  During those elementary days I saw to it that all the books lent to me by the school were covered,  even if I had only the inner cement sacks to cover them.  For taking good care of my books,  I was praised by my teachers and I believe this  counted in qualifying me as a recipient of the Plaque for Model Pupil awarded by the Department of Education before I graduated elementary grades.

In grade four,  we were taught to use the library.  During our breaktime I did not have to be outside with the other children who would rather go out and strip maguey and make ropes or run around the premises.  However,  it did not take long before I finished reading the books that were up to my level.  The other books in the library were dictionaries and encyclopedias.

I entered Saint Mary's School and for the seventh graders,  we had a small library full of books.  That was for me a heavenly place.  I spent most of my spare time completely immersed in a world of my own with the Bobbsey Twins,  Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys,  Laura Ingalls,  Tom Sawyer or Uncle Tom - in his Cabin and other characters made alive in my mind as I progressed in reading other materials in the main library.

Aside from the greater than life heroes and heroines of those fiction books,  the things which fascinated me most were the picture books especially those with colourful autumn leaves,  the children with sleds playing in the snow and the mouth watering cakes,  roasted turkey and goose in the Good Housekeeping Magazines - probably left by by the Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs),  the Alps Mountains,  and the postcard panoramic views of the western nations (that was a great limitation in our library, -but I was still grateful that we had them).

I came here in the autumn of 1985 and there were moments wherein I had the feeling that I was dreaming.  We lived near the English Garden,  one of the biggest parks in Munich,   and there my husband took me for a walk on my second day here.  It was a sunny day,  but cold,  so I was wrapped-up with a coat and a muffler and high boots.  We reached one corner of the park when I saw the mounds of leaves gathered by the gardeners.  I couldn't help myself.  I ran and jumped in the middle of the leaves.  Like a child,  I scooped and covered myself with all the leaves - leaves which were more colorful and beautiful than what I always saw in the picture books in the library of Saint Mary's School.  I had to physically touch and feel them to believe that I was here in another land where they have autumn leaves on the ground.

One time,  my husband announced that we will be having guests for dinner.  My culinary skills then were limited to boiled vegetables (thank God we have the same vegetables in the Mountain Province and here) and adobo.  I asked him what we should cook.  He brought me to his office where they sold English books.  Like an answer to a prayer, I found a Good Housekeeping Recipe Book  (my favorite to this day).  Again memories of my days in the SMS library inspired me to come up with a well-commented dinner.  (When I was still a young girl in Sagada,  those recipes were only wishful thoughts.  We could hardly afford the ingredients even if they were to be found in the market.)

In 1975 when I heard that SMS burned down,  I shed tears.  Not only because of the loss of the building,  but of the library which I thought would be irreplaceable.  Somehow part of my best memories were hurt.  The books could be collected again,  but they would not be the same.

I was there for the last time in 1973 and SMS is now miles and miles away from Germany,  yet sometimes I could still see and hear Mrs. Gulian drumming into our system the English grammar rudiments,  I am-You are-He,She,It is;  Mrs. Killip reading with us, A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,  Mrs. Marie Ullocan Buking directing Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for the Senior Night's Play;  Mr. Mapili, chewing ginger and telling us how to measure angles with the same lesson plan he used for 20 years and making calculations with a slide rule which he carried wherever he went;  Mrs. Belingon picking our brains about historical dates and events;  Mr. Dizon asking us why Rizal wrote the Noli Me Tangere  and Father Stapleton saying mass at the St. Mary the Virgin Church.

If I could be young again,  I would like to be transported back to those idyllic high school days languoring under the pines in SMS or snuggling in the library corner enjoying a read in a new SMS library stocked with books coming from all over the world.  Perhaps my visions would include extracting syrup from the maple trees of Canada  (the source of my daughter's maple syrup),  or hopping with the kangaroos of Australia,  zooming-up the elevators of the skyscrapers of Hongkong,  having a picnic in the manmade green parks of Dubai and the Emirates,  sunbathing in the ozone free midnight sun of the Scandinavian countries,  having tea at the Buckingham Palace,  eating Sushi in Tokyo     and. And. And.

Everything could be possible now,  even the stocking-up of the Saint Mary's School Library with Books- Books- Books and more Books and  hopefully  all kinds of reading and multi-media materials and communication systems not only from the western countries,  but also from the other corners of the world.

It is all up to us,  isn't it? 

We may not make use of the library, but we will be building the future of the next genaration to come with it.  Who knows some of your descendants would become astronauts and be the fisrst to reach Mars, or be oceanologists and explore the deepest part of the sea, or be a writer by being inspired from an article from a magazine that you have once upon a time thoughtfully included in that balikbayan box full of other materials for the SMS library.

I am doing my part here.  The Germans are one of the most read people in the world.  Most families include reading materials in their weekly budgets,  but they do not want clutter in their houses,  so after reading they usually dispose of these materials.  I could collect these things,  only we would have to hire a language teacher to teach German in SMS and that is at the moment not our aim.  Still,  I do have a modest collection to send.  I hope you will have one too.

I would like to suggest some ways which might work for you or your organizations.  (I am aware that we have our own families back home who may be needing these items too,  but if each family has one or two objects to give,  then there would be a sufficient collection for one or two boxes at least in a year).

  1. During your BIBAK meetings or group activities or Sunday
    masses you could put a box marked -  for SMS library -  where anybody who has a book, magazine, CD, Cassette tape, Video tape, posters, games or any material for the library can put it in and beside it a piggy bank for collecting money for packing and postage to the Philippines.

  2. You could involve your children too.  Have a separate box for them,  but make it more attractive by painting the boxes or writing slogans on the boxes.  Books for children could do wonders for the children back home.  The children can be motivated to do this themselves.  It is very important though that the children will know what they are doing and why.  For monetary donations,  a tin or a box prepared or painted by the children themselves with slogans of children helping children can touch the children's hearts to share their pocket money.  This could be a worthwhile cause to start the children to become active in such endeavors.  Children in the west are usually pampered with so many things during Christmas, birthdays or Easter some of which are made use of for a little while and then dumped in a corner.  Some of those things (let the children decide for themselves what they want to give away)  like games or sport articles could be collected.  Hope the SMS Administration wouldn't mind getting used (but in good condition) sports articles or games.

  3. For smokers and drinkers  (sorryI can't think of a better term for this),  they could give their physical selves a treat by buying a book or a magazine even for only one time instead of a pack of cigarette or alcohol.

  4. Getting others and the community to be involved -  Perhaps you have friends,  other organizations in your area or other members of your community who want to share what they have.  It is always worth a try and this could also be a means of getting to know the people of your community.  Remember we are not begging,  but trying to get people involved in a worthy cause.  There are so many generous people in this world,  we only have to look for them.

  5. Soliciting from companies.  This can bring in more results when done through the endorsement of the school administration or the SMS Alumni organization.  A letter of appeal or better yet a project proposal should be presented.  For the computers,  I think this would be the best approach.  For this reason,  I would suggest that the school administration or the Alumni organization prepare a letter or a project proposal for dissemination (to officially designated people).

There are more than twenty BIBAK,  BIMAK, IGO - organizations around the world and if these would all take part in the campaign that would bring in at least twenty boxes a year of materials for the library.  Is this achievable?   Let us ask ourselves.

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