During our October 2021 visit, we learned that books, especially hardcover books, were extremely expensive and difficult to obtain in Kenya. Knowing that reading is so important, especially to children learning another language, we began to work on this project. It seemed a bit daunting, where to find the books and more importantly how to get them half way around the world at a price that we could afford.
In explaining this to someone in our community, she came up with the plan to obtain the surplus library books. Quickly she sorted, cleaned and packed the books into seven sturdy boxes. The books chosen were mainly beginning reader books to help children of all ages. So grateful to my generous friend who collected the books.
Next step was the shipping. A few quotes put it in the almost-impossible range. However, fortunately we came across Gerald at Maktabas. Maktabas is an amazing organization which sends books to children and adults in Kenya. Their mission “One School, One Community Library at a Time”. http://www.maktabas.org To make it even easier, the storage lot was located in our community. Gerald was supportive of our work and agreed to take our seven boxes as a gift to our effort. Whew! It made this project a possibility.
To add to our blessings on this project, Gerald visited his family in Kenya in January 2022. He made the long trip to AIC Siyiapei Children’s Home in Narok and visited the children. Generously, he brought a huge stack of books with him for the children. It was an unexpected boost and the start of the library for the children, as they awaited the arrival of the ship carrying the books we sent from San Bruno, California.
The San Bruno books arrived in April and were unpacked by the tutors who were there that week. The books were quickly put to use. A big special thank you to Abdul Azim, Shelina’s (Amani Mara) nephew. He has donated his time and skills to constructing the shelving needed for our new library. It truly takes a village ….
Quickly the older children were given lessons in how to write a book report and what to look for while reading.
The younger children were learning two and three letter words. Here is my favorite video – a young reader reading about Batman:
Big thanks to Caroline, Martin and Emma, the tutors who helped the children reach this level of achievement!!! And to Shelina for the donation of sofas and carpets to set up a nice reading area for the children.