In March 2021, initial steps were taken to prepare the future site for COCE’s community library space. A fence was established around the perimeter of the property and vegetation was planted. While this may sound like a minor project, it was quite a large feat.
In rural parts of Kenya like Sijowa Village, it takes considerable time, energy, and coordination to pursue any type of construction project. For instance, multiple trips must be taken to price out materials and then figure out how to transport them. Moreover, large equipment and machinery is not available. That means the work – such as digging up tree roots, removing large ant hills, and leveling out the ground – is completed by local day laborers using hand tools. Finally, irrigation systems are uncommon, which means that the planting of vegetation must be timed according to the rainy season so that plants become established.
While the work and time commitment are great, so are the benefits to families and local businesses. Buying materials from local businesses and paying local day laborers puts money into the local economy. And, when the library project is finally completed, it will serve not only Sijowa Village but also several surrounding communities. It's a worthwhile investment and we are thankful to have solid community connections that supports the work we do in Busia County, Kenya.
We will share more updates as we move forward with the planning for this community library. As we continue to raise money to complete this project, we want to thank each of you for your support. This library will be a dream come true for so many students and community members and your contributions are making this dream possible. And, we send a special thank you to our monthly donors, whose continuous investment is propelling our efforts forward little by little. We are grateful for all you make possible!