From Kirsten, Lisanne and Esther:
The Busia County Library had the pleasure of hosting a very special guest, Ambassador Dr. Josephine Ojiambo of the Kenyan Mission to the United Nations. She came to see us in Busia. More than 200 people from the community came to welcome her. Among the crowd were special guests Professor Henry Mwanzi, of Masinde Muliro University and the board member of Kenya National Library Services who represents Western Province ; Moses Mwandihi from KNLS Kisumu branch; Washington Wafula, who was the first Chairman of the Busia Town Council; Peter Makoha from the Local Muncipal Government; Bishop Christopher Ogola; Cosmas Wafula, former Chief of Samia District; and Lona Wandera, a former Mayor of Busia Municipality, among many, many others. There were also more than 60 children present from 11 different schools in Busia, including the pupils that take part in our Watoto kwa Watoto program.
When the Ambassador arrived, Esther Ajambo, Head Librarian at Busia Community Library, gave her a quick tour of the library. Dr. Ojiambo took a keen interest in the selection of books on offer, particularly the new university standard textbook, and also complimented the library on the seven new computers and high speed internet available. Ben Musumbah from the Center for African Bio-entrepreneurship (CABE), a partner of Maria’s Libraries and Busia Community Library, presented the ICT for Farmers (i-Subira) project which will be launched at the library in the near future, and in which Dr. Ojambo saw great potential.
After the tour, the audience enjoyed a dance and vocal performance by a group of dancers from Bunyala and female performers from Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, a Kenyan NGO that is over 50 years old. Dr. Ojiambo, honorary guests and the Maria’s Libraries interns joined in the dance. Geoffrey Mubweka took charge as MC, and the audience heard a succession of speeches from the honored dignitaries. Highlights included a pledge of support by Professor Mwanzi for the efforts in Busia to construct a library. He noted that Busia County, and Western Province more generally had a serious deficiency in libraries, “1 ½ libraries for over six million people” was not enough, and trailed far behind, for example, Rift Valley Province, which has 11 libraries. Dr. Josephine Ojambo encouraged the community in Busia to contribute to the construction of the library in Busia as well. She said that “Anything that you sweat for you are not going to let go away. What you sacrifice for you are proud of.”
We are thrilled to further honor Dr. Ojiambo in New York this October 3rd. Information on attending this event here!
Moses Mwandihi leads local children in reading tent activities