So Close, Yet So Far Away

These past few weeks I have been spending most of my time developing my final project. Since I have been working primarily with the Youth Department, I decided that I wanted to base my project around the vocational students that I interact with daily. I came up with the idea of a library a couple of weeks ago, after reflecting on my time spent with the vocational girls, and taking sustainability into account. Little by little, I’ve gotten to know a lot about them. From the disappointments and adversities they’ve faced, to their dreams and aspirations. Most girls ended up dropping out of school, some as early as first grade because of lack of funds, or instability in their home life. Despite these adversities, the girls continue to press on in hopes of one day being able to support themselves and their families. I actually learned that a lot of the girls would like to one day go back to school and finish their education, hoping to one day attend University.

These conversations prompted me to start up a community library for Sisterhood for Change. The library will include new textbooks for general studies and trade, fiction and nonfiction books over a range of reading levels (some in Kiswahili and some in English) and workbooks for the girls to practice their language skills. The idea is that once I’m gone, the library will continue to sustain itself. I’ve called on KMET staff and interns to donate used books that they might have lying around, something that will hopefully continue over the years. Although the project sounds simple enough, it’s actually been a bit complicated trying to plan out all the little details. I’ve needed help every step of the way from knowing what textbooks to get, what kind of bookshelf would be most appropriate, where to even find textbooks for a reasonable price and so forth. It’s been frustrating at times, not being able to do things on my own and get answers when I need them, especially because my time here is dwindling down, but if there’s anything that I’ve learned during my time here it’s to be patient, things will work out in due time. With only one week left I’m going to spend the remainder of my time setting up my project and getting as much done as I can before departure.

Chentese Stewart ’18
Kisumu, Kenya