Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kenya Mission - Books Donated

Several months ago, students at Summit Middle School in Edmond donated books for the children's library I helped launch in Meru, Kenya. Above is a picture of one of the drop off sites at the school. I went there with file boxes and the kids threw the books into my boxes. Those boxes have been sitting at my church and now I'm finally sorting through the boxes and repacking them tightly in preparation for their being shipping to Kenya.

I am actually going to store the boxes in a donated storage unit for a while until I have enough boxes of donated books to fill a 20 foot shipping container. I'd mail the books to Kenya but the postal rate is $1 per pound plus most of what gets mailed to Kenya of any value never arrives at it's destination. Also, there is much rigmarole involved in getting a waiver on books (otherwise I'd have to pay import tax on the assumption the books were for resale in Kenya). It involves getting papers signed by the Secretary of Finance and the Secretary of Education, bribes to officials at the Port of Mombasa and bribes to policemen who stop our truck between the port and Meru... I'm willing to jump through those hoops once for a 20 foot shipping container but not numerous times for smaller shipments.

If you know a middle school that would consider a service project of donating books for the community library located on the campus of the Kaaga School for Hearing Impaired Children in Central Kenya, please have a teacher or school official get in touch with me. My Kenya connection, the remarkable Florence Mubichi, and I will come to the school and show pictures and talk about the need for books and our goal of creating a culture of reading for children of Kenya. Thanks.

FYI, the first picture is my living room hearth where the repacking process has just begun. I am trying to bring home and repack 5-8 boxes a day. I keep wanting to hold back what I consider hugely culturally inappropriate books while my 7th grade language arts school teacher daughter insists we send almost everything donated. I have talked her into letting me set aside the "Adventures of Mary Kate and Ashley" series and the "Girl Talk" ("Allison's a model!") series. But Pokemon, Captain Underpants and Scooby-Doo are going to Kenya!

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