Simbolei Community Assistance Association

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Everyone has a passion and since I was a kid, mine has been books. I was lucky that as the seventh of eight children in my family, my house was already full of great books by the time I came along. Not only that, but because my community valued books and education, and because of the generosity of some people I never met, our town had a public library.

Carnegie Library, Denison, Iowa

We also had a school library in each of our public school buildings. All of this was overwhelmed, however, by the sheer size of the library I found at Iowa State University when I headed off to college. And, over the past 2o years I have been able to visit the East Lansing Public Library often with my own kids.

All my life, books have been abundantly available to me. When we visit the kids in rural primary schools in Kenya, we find that they also are enchanted and delighted by books. But, sadly, their access is limited. Books are too expensive for most parents to buy. There are no public libraries within the Iten area and school “libraries” usually consist of piles of textbooks in a corridor or storage room.

Imagine what an accessible, well supplied community library would mean to these students and their families.

That is why we have decided that an essential component of Simbolei Academy is a community library that will not only be open to the public but will promote literacy through community outreach such as storytimes and workshops.

Currently, I am in the process of cataloging the books people have donated for the library. We can use more books, especially popular science, fiction, poetry and of course, picture books.  Please contact us if you or someone you know has books to donate.

In addition, we are looking for people with a deep commitment to literacy and libraries to help us fund the completion and furnishing of the Simbolei Community Library. This is a big job and we need your help. If you would like more information about gifts to the library fund, please contact us at

I’ll keep you posted about the cataloging. It goes rather slow when my helpers and I have to stop and read every few books.

Luna helps with cataloging and packing books for the Simbolei Library.

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The Great Rift Valley is part of a huge tectonic rift in the earth's crust that also created the Red Sea and the valley of the Jordan River.

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Simbolei Girls Secondary School, Kenya