Ann Arbor couple will journey to Zimbabwe to teach
By Lama Bakri / The Detroit News
Morris and Ann Taber have shipped hundreds of books to a school in Zimbabwe. They're bringing more when they go back to the southern African country to teach.
DEARBORN -- Morris Taber and his wife, Ann, are getting a second chance to do what they love best -- teach.
The Ann Arbor couple will leave in December for a five-month stay in the southern African country of Zimbabwe, where they've volunteered to teach during the winter semester.
"We want to continue to share and use our skills," said Morris Taber, 64. "We're seeking a new experience, and at the same time, we have an opportunity to give something back in gratitude. We have been so fortunate."
Morris Taber taught history from 1967-95 at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn. He will teach American history at Africa University.
"These are people who really want an education," he said. "Students make all kinds of sacrifices to go to school there. Some kids even walk five miles each day just to get to school. That's what attracted us."
Ann Taber, a former librarian and elementary reading teacher at Willow Run schools, will teach at Hartzell Primary School. The school, for children ages 5-12, has about 900 students, but does not have a library.
"I want to make a difference in the lives of some of the children," said Ann Taber, 66. "I want to give these children access to books and the opportunity to gain reading skills."
Lilian Mambrio, a friend of the Tabers and who once lived in Zimbabwe, said she is proud of the couple's efforts.
"They are going to do something good," said Mambrio, of Ypsilanti. "They don't even know how precious it is going to be for themselves and for the people of Zimbabwe."
The Tabers are working on several projects to raise money for books they want to ship to Africa. Morris Taber is buying history text books from HFCC to give to his African students. He said he wants students to have these books to use as reference when they become teachers. Ann Taber is collecting used books and money for the new library at Hartzell school.
"Books are like gold there," she said. "They're scarce, precious and largely unaffordable. That's what inspired us to work really hard and to get money for these students. They don't have adequate text books."
The couple already have collected several hundred books and shipped them to Zimbabwe.
"We don't realize how blessed we are to have books everywhere," said Morris Taber. "At the university, some textbooks are put on reserve in the library and students who can't afford to buy the books photocopy sections."
How to contribute
Donations to the book-buying efforts by Morris and Ann Taber for students in Zimbabwe may be made to Henry Ford Community College, c/o Ed Wallish/African Books, 5101 Evergreen, Dearborn, Mich. 48128. For information, call the Tabers at (734) 662-9880.