Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Since the beginning of this project, we’ve said that the one of the benefits of the library would be to provide a safe space for kids to spend time when school is not in session. In fact, we argued, it would be the only public space in Busia for kids—how could they not flock to it? Well, flock they have.

The good news is, the library is packed with kids every minute that school is not in session. I mean, the place is busting at the seams. And they are reading-- they are reading Harry Potter, they are reading astronomy, they are reading children’s books. Yesterday I saw two 14 year-old girls examining a kids biology books, discussing in hushed tones the development phases of the human fetus.

The bad news is—well, I’ll just repeat: the place is busting at the seams. The space is simply too small. Oh, how Busia needs a new library!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Inequality Predicament

I arrived in Busia last night after being in Nairobi for a week. Maria and Mwaeka, who is the Busia Community Library’s primary liaison to the education community, were waiting in town when we arrived. As any proper catch-up should, we started with drinks. Tusker baridi at the end of a long, hot, dusty day, mmm. . . .

Maria had so many things to tell me. I’ll go into it a lot more in the coming few weeks. Something that stuck out, though, was the one book that Maria was asking for. The library used to have it but it was too damaged to save in the flood that the library had last year. The book was actually a report by the UN under Kofi Annan: “World Social Situation: the Inequality Predicament.”

“That book is a must for the library,” Maria insisted. “It is everything that we are built on.”

I will shamefully admit I haven’t read it. Adding it to my reading list!