“How do you feel about giving things away?” Sami ask Chelsi from across the dining table.
Chelsi sighed, “Well…” she plucked up her white knight to capture one of Sami’s pawns. “I thought quite a bit about it. I mean, this is something that’s been building up for the better part of a year, and of course it’s only happening because Marmar happened to come to my house for that malaria activity last March.”
Sami moved her bishop to capture Chelsi’s knight, “You’re pretty terrible at this game.” Sami laughed.
“Yeah, especially considering you’ve never played before.” She paused to collect her thoughts and ideas. “So basically what happened, is there’s this man in my village and about a year ago he started asking me about bibles. If I had any, if I could find any, if I knew anyone who could bring some. And every time he asked I gave him this non-committal answer;” She moved a pawn up two spaces, “Oh, I don’t have any but I’ll ask around, books are really expensive to ship, if I give one to you then I have to give one to everyone. And I really didn’t want a bunch of people breathing down my neck about bibles and books, so I was so-so about the whole thing.” Sami mirrored Chelsi’s move.
“Then last March, Marmar and I went by that man’s house for our malaria activity, and of course he was like ‘well, what about those bibles?’ And I did my shoulder shrug and Marmar was like ‘I know someone!’ And when she asked me about it later I was like ‘You know what, if you know someone go for it.’ At the very least I figured this man and I could stop have the same conversation over and over again; even if we didn’t get any we tried, and if we do, I’ll have my hands washed clean of it.” Chelsi charged her pawn forward.
Sami moved her rook out on to the board, “And now you have how many books?”
“Like 40,” her pawn moved to capture an enemy pawn.
“Shit,” her rook moved to capture an enemy pawn.
“I have like 4 pieces left!” the two women laughed.
“So what are you gonna do with all of them?”
“When I was sure they were coming I asked my counterpart, and he suggested we divide them up and give them to the churches between my house and the tarmac and let the community figure out how to divvy them up.” Chelsi castled her king. “And what I decided is that in the end, the people will be really happy, I really didn’t have to do any of the work to organize it, and always when I see men or children just standing around I catch myself thinking ‘Why don’t you go read a book?!’ and then I remember, ‘Oh yeah, there really aren’t that many books lying around.’”
Sami move her rook over “Check.”
“And so now, at least there will be more books around. If there all bibles then fine, that’s what’s most feasible any way, and they’re kiikaonde translations too.”
“Well, that’s kind of cool.” Chelsi slid her king out of harm’s way.
“It’s good for literacy.”
Sami slid her rook, “Check.”
“I think if it’s just going to go back and forth like this its check mate.”
“Check Mate!” Sami exclaimed with glee.
“But there is just no way to report this on my volunteer reporting form, huh?”
Sami laughed, “no, definitely not… Like, maybe you can tell them at you Close of Service ceremony.”
“Fair enough…” Chelsi looked at her defeated statue on the board. “Do you want to play again?”