Friday, March 12, 2010

Karibu Ellie and The Great Book Migration

We are very pleased to announce the arrival of Eleanor Kebabian to our lovely Busia-based team. Ellie is a Boston-based architect who has kindly offered to come and help coordinate get the plans drawn for the library in Busia. She will be working with Nairobi-based architects, the community members who have been active in the library project in Busia, and the Busia district and town planners to come up with a design that can be a source of pride for the Busia community (and which follows all Kenyan regulations!).

Ellie also joins the ranks of those who have lugged books half way across the world for us to the library. However, I think she single handedly doubled the contribution we had made to date by convincing Delta to allow her to bring 500 lbs of books on the plane with her for free! There’s a long list of people we have to thank for this, so let’s go in order:

Thanks to the many individuals, churches, and publishers who donated so many books.

Thanks to Ellie’s family for helping her pack the books and get them to the airport.

A HUGE thanks to Delta for agreeing to let her bring 300lbs on the airplane, and then not blinking when she showed up with 500lbs.

Thanks to the dudes at the airports in Boston and Nairobi for helping her lug them to/from baggage.

Thanks to the director of the Library of Congress’s Nairobi office for helping us arrange transport for the books once in Nairobi and for letting us crash at her house with all that luggage!

Thanks to Maria Wafula who used her wile to get them sent to Busia via Akamba bus for a ridiculously low cost.

Thanks to the boda bodas who loaded up their bikes to bring them from the bus station in Busia to the library (see photograph!).

And of course, thanks especially to Ellie for organizing all of this. The books are of unbelievable quality and range, any community anywhere would be lucky to have them.

Let’s review—for the well over 1,000 books (we are still catelogueing/counting them) Ellie brought to the library, we paid 700 Ksh (less than 10$) to ship them from Nairobi to Busia on Akamba bus and about 300 Ksh (less than 5$) to get them to the library once they were in Busia. An international team effort!

I hope Ellie will start to grace this blog with her thoughts, so keep an eye out for that!

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