In September 2018 my five-week safari to five countries in East Africa was to see the animals in the wild while they are still in the wild. The itinerary included cultural experiences which didn’t interest me, and honestly, I was apprehensive about visiting homes, schools, villages, slums, bushmen, etc.
The animals were fantastic! Unexpectedly, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the people and visiting their homes and schools. The African people we met were warm, friendly, smart, creative, and happy.
We visited the Amboseli Primary and Secondary School in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. In rural Kenya, the government does not build school buildings. You either build it yourself or raise the money to have it built. The government does supply teachers and some school books and supplies. This school is located next to a Maasai tribe, who has changed its way of life so their children can be educated. The Maasai are nomadic herdsmen moving their sheep, goats, and cattle to greener locations. However, school buildings can’t move. Therefore, this tribe established a more permanent settlement next to the school so their children can attend. This created a problem. The warriors now take the herds farther away to graze and may be gone 3-4 weeks, making both more vulnerable to predators. Education is that important to them! A teacher was asked if they had a library. Anne replied, “No, but we would love to have a library.” That stuck in my mind. Thinking, “surely I could get books donated and shipped to the school,” Libraries For Kids was born.
Many people told me that it can’t be done, it’s too expensive to ship books, and they will disappear going through Customs. However, one of my life philosophies is “Focus on the Objective, Not the Obstacle.” Every worthwhile project will have problems and obstacles. If you focus on the problems you will never start. Conversely, if you focus on the objective and solve the problems as they arise, most anything is possible. Consequently, we have successfully shipped books to Nairobi, Kenya; Arusha, Tanzania; and the Amboseli school, learned how to minimize shipping costs, and sent money to the Amboseli school to help them buy new textbooks that fit their curricula.
Libraries For Kids, Int’l is an IRS tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization – IRS ID: 83-4470093, so donations of books and money are tax-deductible.
Thanks for your support and prayers for Libraries For Kids, Int’l.
Coach Roy Austin