African Library Project

Kenyan_children_2First ALP Shipment to Kenya Gets a Warm Reception

In late May, a team from the US and Kenya celebrated a landmark event in ALP history—the first arrival of books and the creation of 30 libraries in the country.

The books for 15 of the libraries were distributed in a ceremony on Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria. ALP partner Project Humanity planned the distribution to take pace during a service trip for American volunteers, including Book Drive Organizer Sharon Allen.

Representatives from the schools where the libraries will be located attended the ceremony to receive their boxes of books. After a few speeches and sorting of the boxes, the library representatives faced the challenging task of transporting the books to their communities.

Boxes were loaded into vans and wheelbarrows and packed onto motorcycles. One group of children carried boxes of books on their heads.

For the library located on Takawari Island, the books traveled by boat. When the boat reached the island, children came streaming down to meet the boat and take books back to the library building. Parents came out of their houses to cheer the new arrivals.

Once at the school, the children were tasked with unpacking the books and placing them on the shelves. But Sharon reported that the children were so engrossed in the books, they didn’t want to put them on the shelves.

Meanwhile, the books for the other 17 libraries were distributed at Rongo University, ALP’s other partner in Kenya. Joel Wekesa, Senior Librarian at Rongo University, found the distribution ceremony, “memorable and touching.” He said, “I likened the exercise of placing books in the hands of the young ones to dropping seeds on a good watered soil. The seeds will for sure germinate and grow to the joy of the farmer. This is the conviction that we all had when we saw the pupils happily carry books of boxes on their heads.”

The librarians have already been trained, so now their hard work begins of organizing and cataloguing the books. According to Joel, “A follow up to the schools indicated that the majority have already set up their libraries, and the kids have started using them.”

These 32 libraries are only a first step in ALP’s work in Kenya. Project Humanity and Rongo University are now collecting applications for the next 60 libraries. We are looking for volunteers to sign up now to do a book drive for Kenya this summer.

June 2017