Hi peeps, Ruan over here.
I’m really glad to be here once again updating our 299th post at VPFI!
These days it is easy for most of us to get hold of the latest books or magazines. We can go to bookstores, order them through the Internet, or borrow them from the local library. Now imagine having to walk miles and miles throught a hot sandy desert just to borrow a book. This is the reality for people living in the villages of the Garissa region of Kenya in East Africa.
In 1996, librarian Wycliffe Oluoch used to spend each day waiting for people to come to borrow some of the 24,000 books in his library in Garissa. The library had no shortage of books, but people waren’t coming to read them. It was too much effort to walk through the desert just to borrow books. Oluoch racked his brain for ways to entice people into the library. After a lot of thought, he hit upon a great idea. If people wouldn’t come to the library, then he would have take the library to them. Oluoch strapped boxes of books onto the backs of camels, and created the Mobile Camel Library.
Starting with three camels in 1996, but more recently expanding the service to six camels, the Mobile Camel Library serves over one million people. Twice a month, the camel library can be seen carrying books all around the Garissa region. These hard-working animals need little water and can carry up to 500 pounds of books across the sands. A librarian, a library assistant, a herdsman, and a lookout all travel with the camels. The lookout protect the books from thieves.
The children of Garissa love the camel library and appreciate Oluoch’s effort. Eleven year-old Mohamud Mahamed reads his library books careful and always returns them on time. He knows the Garissa library punishes people for losing books, just like any other library. However, the punishment is very stiff compared to that of other libraries. If a village loses a book the camel library stops visiting.