African Story Books for Esabalu

Imagine that you are a six-year old child who has never been to school.  You are thrilled and excited and a bit scared to be starting first grade at last. 

Now imagine that when you arrive at your first-grade classroom you find that all the books at your school are in French and German!    There are no books in English which is the only language that you and your family speak at home. 

Impossible right?  Sounds like a bad dream.  Unfortunately, this is exactly the situation that faces every new learner at Esabalu’s Ebussamba Primary School and all the other primary schools in the Esabalu area!  At home, parents and siblings speak only Kinyore which is a dialect of the Luhyia language, the mother tongue of Esabalu village and surrounding areas.  All the schoolbooks are in English or Swahili (the 2 national languages of Kenya).

Now, thanks to a South African Publisher and the efforts of kids and teachers in Amesbury Middle School this situation may be remedied.  African Story Books can take text and illustrations in electronic manuscript form and produce durable books for early elementary students in the childrens’ mother tongue. 

Charlie Wright, a British teacher who works with the NGO Vibrant Villages to improve teacher training in Esabalu and surrounding villages, has been contacted by Amesbury for Africa and will be meeting this month with Dorcas Wepukhulu who represents African Story Books in Nairobi, Kenya to work out details of the project.

Charlie writes, “We actually have a fabulous young artist and storyteller, Maxwell, on our staff as one of our Education Field Officers who has been crying out for an artistic outlet and this kind of project would be perfect for him!”

As to funding, Librarian, Lori Byman and social studies teacher Kristen Bilodeau will be planning a fundraiser with students and staff at Amesbury Middle School this spring to raise seed money for the first Kinyore books!  Mungu akubariki (God willing).