News: A taste of the Koru launch

March 17, 2012 By

by Zev Lowe

Background: This is a Worldreader Kit of 46 Kindles in a school in Kenya that we are launching with the Dr. Robert Ouko Memorial Community Library at the Menara Primary School.  It is funded by the Gordons and their family/friends.

The launch event was pretty grand. They had erected tents for the occasion (which they also did at the HUMBLE launch in Uganda). Tents may look like nothing to us, but they cost a lot, and are typically used for weddings and funerals, so this was a big deal. Also, look at the number of chairs that were available, and how the front row guests got extra-comfortable seats. These are all significant details that signal how big this occasion was. And indeed, it was huge. Just look at the turnout! In the next picture, the section on the left was for teachers, elders, chiefs, sponsors, Worldreader etc. The long trailing section not entirely covered by the tent is for parents.

Same view from the back. The microphone and speakers came in a green box with plywood sides on castor wheels, which reminded me a little bit of a charging station.

The kids sat on the classroom stoop and watched from across the way.

I arrived late from Nairobi despite leaving at 5:30am, thanks to three flat tires (yes, only one short of a full house), a closed road, and a lengthy forced detour. That meant I missed the kids singing and the flag raising. When I showed up, the village chief (whom I had initially assumed was a police officer) was talking. He spoke about safety of e-readers and then gave everybody his mobile phone number (twice) so that we could all him in case of any difficulties.

This is Mama Christabel, the late Dr. Ouko’s wife. The library is in his honor, and the school it serves is one that she has known for years and years. Mama is super well-respected in the community, and she has been a wonderful host to the whole Worldreader team, putting us up in her homestead, feeding us delicious hot meals, and otherwise pampering us while we’re in town.

David and Shadrack Lemiso came to represent The Kilgoris Project and Ntimigom School. Shadrack eagerly presented himself as “your elders, because we had e-readers first, but now we are no longer lonely because you are following in our footsteps.”

Lots of parents showed up- I noticed one father couldn’t stop beaming.

After the official event concluded, parents gathered around the table to check out these e-reader devices with all the local and international books on them. Exclamations of delight ensued- it was another successful launch (Interested in reading about an earlier community launch in Ghana?  Click here to travel back in time to December 2010)