We invented library money called 'tecas' (from the Spanish for library - biblioteca). Children are paid one teca for each picture book they read and older children get five tecas for reading a book while longer novels receive ten tecas for their efforts.
Yesterday we had our first store opening - we handed out free pencils to anyone who bought stuff!! (a grand opening special!!) The children had so much fun making decisions about what to buy, not something they often get to do. We let two young Nica teenagers run the store, checking to make sure each child had enough tecas to buy what they wanted.
Ruth and I had priced the items on Thursday. On the Saturday of the store opening it only took an hour for the store to open, handle all of the children's purchases and giving everyone time to shop.
An interesting sideline - every time we do something that involves giving stuff away, adults patrol up and down outside the library. They are not members (although they could be if they wanted) but rather there hoping for handouts. The same happened yesterday with the sale and Ruth had to tell them that you could only buy things with tecas!! It also happened when we had the hot dogs last week and a few weeks ago, when someone brought us a big pile of shoes to hand out!! Nicaraguans are so used to handouts.
All in all, a very successful project. And..... the children learned the rewards of reading, basic principles of banking, value of saving for items that cost more, how money works and maintaining records.