While thinking about how to start this blog post, something popped into my mind: how it’s so part of our nature to take things for granted. We expect the sun to rise every morning. If we have running water, we expect it to come out of the pipe when we open the spigot. If you live in the Western World, you might add driving to work every day, obtaining the latest technology, or ordering anything you want from Amazon. But after living in Chile for thirty-seven years, I’ve learned to be grateful for little things. Amazing as it might sound, one of those little things is books.
What if New Books Weren’t a Few Clicks Away?
Here, having a book is a commodity. It seems to be especially true for young people. Native authors don’t target that audience, so books are imported. The tax factored into the price of a book is twenty-five percent. That’s on top of shipping. Given that reality, street vendors have taken to pirating obligatory reading books or the whole class photocopies the one tome available in the library.(Toss to the wind any copyright laws!) Of course this messes with supply and demand, thus fostering continued high prices. The epitome of a vicious cycle.
Even more tragic, kids here in Chile don’t read except what is absolutely mandatory and even at that look for a way to get around it. Perhaps that would change books were more attainable. Or if authors would write quality, value-infused books for our young people. Or that students would be encouraged to seek writing as a viable career.
Hope for the Future
It’s my dream to change this reality in our schools. A law to eradicate tax on books is in the making. If it passes, will things change? I don’t know that, either. I believe it’s a thing of attitude, of education.
So, never take anything as simple as a book for granted. It is a jewel, a thing to be treasured. A true blessing.
Thanks so much for inviting me, Kasey. I pray that someday we will need a blog like yours in Spanish to review all the books pouring in for our young people.
Colleen Shine Phillips
Colleen and her husband Steve have lived and served God in Chile for over 37 years in church and school ministries. Colleen’s short stories have appeared in Clubhouse Magazine.
It’s Kasey Again
Thanks, Colleen, for sharing your heart with us!
How We Can Help
For two more days, the four book boxes are available for bidding on eBay. Remember – each bid equals one entry for a free $50 Amazon gift card! All proceeds will go to the Christian World Mission in Chile to buy much-needed materials for students.