4. "Mididima ... means Those Rooted in Dust" (p. 25). How is this a metaphor for the lives of the villagers? In what ways are their lives changing, for the better or for the worse?
The villagers' roots are also without stability because they are forced to move to survive. Their lives are now being uprooted not only because what appears to be a coming draught, but because of the educational opportunities (the camel bookmobile is a big part of this opportunity)which will result in more of the people leaving their community.
Although not as dramatic as the Mididima villagers, we are all "rooted in dust"--ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Even with whatever religious beliefs we have giving us immortality, our earthly lives are limited. However, through books and other written documents, people can have limited immortality with their earthly lives.
5. Mr. Abasi considered Miss Sweeney meddlesome: "These foreigners couldn't understand that literacy was not the only path to education. In tribal settlements, the tradition was an oral one..." (p. 51). What do you think about a librarian with this attitude?
I think that Abasi realizes that the oral tradition is not being appreciated by those such as Sweeney who bring book learning to villages without fully appreciating oral tradition. He seems to realize that changes are coming to the village and is afraid that the oral traditions will be lost as part of this change.
It is interesting that libraries are adopting broader approaches to include not just written materials, but also art, movies, and music as part of their collection.
6. What do you think about Mr. Abasi's rule that losing even a single book means the camel bookmobile will not return to the village? What was Mr. Abasi's ulterior motive for making such a rule?
I don't like the rule that one book lost results in the whole village mosing bookmobile visits. However, the rule does emphasize the value of books to the people and the books are in scarce supply. Perhaps Abasi doesn't think that villages will be able to comply with the requirements and will then lose the use of the library.
7. Why do you think educated people are feared by the illiterate? "Mothers watched with a mixture of envy and resentment as she [Kanika] shared some mysterious secret with their offspring. They didn't respect her any more than ever. But they were afraid of her ... afraid of the skill she possessed that they didn't have" (p. 16).
When someone else has knowledge that is not shared with all, it does make those without knowledge vulnerable.