March 27, 2003: Headlines: COS - Mozambique: Blaine-Spring Lake Park Life: PCV Stacy Hegg's goal is to collect 25,000 books for school library in Mozambique

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mozambique: Peace Corps Mozambique : The Peace Corps in Mozambique: March 27, 2003: Headlines: COS - Mozambique: Blaine-Spring Lake Park Life: PCV Stacy Hegg's goal is to collect 25,000 books for school library in Mozambique

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PCV Stacy Hegg's goal is to collect 25,000 books for school library in Mozambique

PCV Stacy Hegg's goal is to collect 25,000 books for school library in Mozambique

Local woman dedicates time, energy, expertise broadening horizons with the English language.

by Sue Austreng
Life editor

She had completed her studies at St. Thomas University and earned a double major in women’s art history and religion.

With years of research completed, hundreds of reports written, and dozens of final exams finished during four diligent years of study, Stacy Hegg’s time had become her own.

She could relax with a copy of the latest issue of Time magazine or Newsweek and scan the world and national news while munching on handfuls of chips and sipping a bottle of Coke.

She could spend a weekend at the lake, soaking up the sunshine and delighting in the artistry of the green horizon accented with yellow and red wildflowers.

But Stacy wanted more.

The hours and days of unfettered time and the well-deserved season of rest and relaxation she was anticipating wasn’t enough.

She wanted more.

She wanted to give something back, and for Stacy, the Peace Corps seemed like the best way to do that.

And so, a couple of years ago, she enlisted in the Peace Corps and was assigned to Chicoque, Mozambique, a village resting on the southeast African sea coast on the Indian Ocean.

On these long-awaited springtime days, when she would have been looking forward to lazy days at the beach, Stacy spends her days in sweltering heat, teaching English to the Portuguese-speaking students in her grass hut classroom.

Inside her primitive classroom (which was equipped with electricity just two months ago), she teaches four classes each day, revealing the secrets of the English language to 50-70 students in each class. Her students range in age from 7-year olds to 20-year olds.

After dismissing the students, Stacy returns to her own little hut, retrieves a bucket, and walks a couple of miles through the sandy desert until she reaches the nearest water pump.

Supper is probably a handful of gritty bread and a swallow or two of water and some fruit.

The bread has a gritty texture because, since the atmosphere is so sandy over there, the bread is baked with sand in it. As a result, Stacy’s teeth have begun to wear down.

Stacy’s days and nights are painted in yellow and brown earth tones. Her diet is simple and basic. And the institute of higher education where she earned her degree rests thousands of miles away in a distant land across the ocean.

Watery miles and time zones aren’t the only void in Stacy’s current world of academia.

The village’s newly-built library is complete with sturdy rows of book shelves.

The only problem is the rows of shelves lining the library’s walls are without books.

To fill that gaping void, Stacy’s dad, Blaine/Ham Lake Rotarian Vern Hegg, has enlisted friends and colleagues, family and neighbors from across the United States to put their volumes together and fill those shelves with books.

Hegg and Al Sannerud (his partner in book-collecting) have coordinated their efforts with Books for Africa, a 16-year old nonprofit organization that collects books for the developing countries on that continent.

So far, Hegg and Sannerud have received books and donations from the Blaine/Ham Lake Rotary, the Anoka Rotary, the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Barnes & Noble book store, local churches, and the Catholic schools in the area.

The goal is to collect 25,000 books by June 23.

The count as of Friday, March 21: 2,500.

According to Hegg, Stone Construction in Ham Lake has donated warehouse space to store the books until they are shipped to Chicoque, and L&S Electric has donated the use of fork lifts to move the thousands of pounds of reading material from warehouse to truck.

Once they are wrapped and packed, the books will travel by truck to rail, rail to boat, and boat to Africa.

The estimated time on the boat is 30 days, therefore, Sannerud urged donors to drop off their books by June23.

“We want to have them arrive there when someone’s there to receive them,” Hegg added, reporting that Stacy is due to come home December 1.

Books for the library (written and printed in English) can have hard- or soft-cover books for readers from the novice preschooler to the more studied college-aged student.

Preschool, primary- and secondary-level textbooks (science, math, social studies and music) are needed, as are secondary-level vocational textbooks and business and commercial books.

Vocational/technical books needed include automotive, construction, carpentry, electricity, masonry, metal work, plumbing, technical drawing, welding, and wood-working.

Business/commercial textbooks include accounting, bookkeeping, business, English economics, and computer skills.

Agriculture books are also needed.

Post-secondary and university-level textbooks in need cover business/economics, political science, library sciences, sociology, psychology, general education, statistics, history, business administration, geography, law, languages, arts and journalism.

Medicine and health sciences books are also needed, including nursing, clinical subjects and surgical, the practice of medicine, and basic and clinical disciplines relating to medicine and surgery.

Dozens of genres are needed to fill the empty shelves in Chicoque, so go through your book shelves and give without delay.

You’ll be opening the book to a whole new life for those who live half a world away.

Sue Austreng is at

When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Blaine-Spring Lake Park Life

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Mozambique



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