Camel Book Drive

Donate To Kenya’s Mobile Library

Emails From Garissa Librarian Mr. Farah


Feb. 12, 2008

Dear Masha, I am sorry for keeping quiet. In fact I was down with malaria, a tropical disease that is very common here after it rains. I have now recovered though a little bit weak. Mrs. Warfa has some boxes in post office that she expects to pick soon and the post office people still insist for their payment with no convincing reasons but I have written to postal headquarters in Nairobi for clarification. Indeed you could directly send donations to Mrs. Warfa.  

I spent the better part of last week in Garissa since the university was still closed but at the moment I am in Nairobi and expect to start attending lectures tomorrow. It is normal for Kenyan universities to close indefinitely whenever there is political crisis since regimes fear regular students going to the streets. For sure Garissa is indeed a better place for me and my family, and were it not for the university, I would not have stayed a single day (in Nairobi) because of its rampant crime. At the moment, because of the ongoing mediation, it’s very calm and peaceful and surely our great hopes lie on this mediation. Wish you the best, Mr. Farah


Jan. 19, 2008

Dear Masha, Thank you very much for your concern. In fact, there is a lot of tension and riots in Nairobi at the moment but we are soon expecting the arrival of Mr. Kofi Annan to initiate a dialogue to end the impasse and that is where our hopes lie. Without dialogue, we are in great danger, and Kenya might go the Somalia way. Meanwhile it is our prayer that the dialogue succeeds. Wishing you the best, Mr. Farah

Jan. 7, 2008

Thank you for your concern. My family and I are very ok and doing well. I am still in Garissa but will leave for Nairobi tomorrow. So far, Warfa has received 440 copies of books and she told me that though she has an email address, there are no internet providers in Wajir and hence she can only send and read an email while in Garissa or Nairobi. I have forwarded cash donations received and tomorrow she is buying a big camel. Meanwhile I wish you and your family a prosperous and happy year.


Jan. 3, 2008 Dear Masha, Thanks for your concern. In fact, the situation in Kenya is not good, especially in the Rift Valley, Nyanza and the Coast provinces. Garissa and environs are relatively calm, though everything is at a standstill. Offices and busineses still closed.  The good news is that I am today seeing donations of 350 dollars from 3 different donors to purchase a camel for Wajir library and will forward the same to madam M .Warfa when banks open and also forward to you names of the donors. Meanwhile, I wish you all the best. Thank you.  Mr. Farah


November 5, 2007 Dear Masha, We have received 3,500 books so far in Garissa for the camel library and 150 in Wajir! Please pass on thanks to all the donors and let them know that their contributions will help a child in this part of the world who would not otherwise be able to afford a book to read. We very much appreciate the books that are being sent. Thank you! Best to you and Briana, Mr. Farah


August 18, 2007

Last week I visited the Wajir and Bute libraries, since they share a lot with us. In Wajir, they have replicated the camel mobile library. They now serve large areas but unfortunately they do not have enough books. They are also requesting for books for their camel mobile library, especially children books  The librarian in charge is Mrs Maryan Osman Warfa,  P.O. BOX 217, WAJIR  Kenya. We would appreciate your kind help as the people are more in need.The good news is that we have up until today received more than 2,000 copies of books and therefore can say that we have enough camels, book boxes as well as books to serve our clientele. We have processed quite number of the books for use and continue to do so as they come so that they could be put into circulation.    We say once again thank you so much for your effort. Thank you, Mr. Farah


July 9, 2007

We have just completed a week of stock taking. Books are coming and so far we have received 948. … We also have received cash donations and we intend to pay the deposit for tents for shade and are receiving a she-camel tomorrow.  Thank you very much. Mr. Farah


June 2007

Thank you for your last email. I could not reply earlier as I traveled to a place called Bute, which is 600 km away from Garissa. So far, we have received 457 books. We have also received donations toward buying a camel. As soon as we can, we shall buy a she-camel that we would like to introduce to our male camel for the purpose of breeding.  In July, we intend to locate a village where we can set up a satellite library. We shall keep you posted.


April 27, 2007

Mr. Farah emailed to say he has received more than 250 books so far. He is very grateful, and also mentioned that he is excited about the prospect of expanding the camel library to include books in Somali. If you’d like to donate a book in Somali, please check here or here. Mr. Farah also says the camel library is hoping to reach more settlements by starting a new static library in the village of Sankuri, about 25 kilometers north of Garissa. Three camels will be placed there permanently, and this will give the camel library greater reach. Your book donations are helping make this possible. For those who might want to help purchase a tent to provide shade for the camel bookmobile (see email below), Mr. Farah is going to try to find out how donors can deposit money directly to the tent manufacturing company. He hopes to provide that information soon. 


March 19, 2007

Dear Masha, The good news is that we have already started receiving boxes of books from USA. Our biggest needs beside the books at the moment are: 1) One 30ft x 16ft tent costing about US $2500, and 2) 12 book boxes costing about $1000 total. It is okay if you post my email address so that people could contact us directly: rmfarah2001 at Pass our warm regards to your daughter and your youngest child and tell him his books with the greeting are in good use  – ALL STAFF ARE ALSO SAYING HALO MASHA. Thank you. Hoping to hear from you. Your, Mr. Farah


March 17, 2007 Posted by | Email | 1 Comment

Email from Donors

Would you please use this donation to purchase one she-camel? This is in honor of my mother Mary Petrino. My mother is 80 years old. She just underwent difficult heart surgery and survived. I am grateful to God for this, and so make the donation in her name. She is happy that a camel will be helping people get books to read. Her own mother from Sicily was illiterate, and suffered much violence. My mother also had a very difficult life, but she is strong, and a survivor, like the camel. If you want to call the camel Mary after her, that is okay too, or whatever is appropriate.

I work in several libraries in Arlington, Virginia in the USA, mainly checking books in and out, making library cards, and occasionally doing reference work (I, like the camel, travel to different branches as needed). Our patrons are from all walks of life and many countries as we are so close to Washington, DC. We help many newcomers to the USA. I live very close to the Pentagon, which was attacked in 2001. I believe the only way to end violence in the world is with love and learning. May God bless you and the camels in your great work. With respect,  Marianne G Petrino-Schaad


I grew up in a small town in Ireland and our local library was tiny, but I spent a lot of my time there.  I can’t imagine a life without books, even in this techo-heavy age and I’m so glad that people are doing their part to ensure that every child, even the most disadvantaged, is exposed to the wonder of other worlds, other words and other ideas. Suzanne O’Donoghue, Toronto, Canada


I grew up in Schooley’s Mountain, NJ, when it was utterly rural and one of my mother’s great successes was convincing the Morris County library to create a bookmobile and have it stop in our neighborhood once a month.  My novel (Design Flaws Of the Human Condition) is dedicated to her memory. In any event, congratulations to you for this worthwhile effort! Very best regards, Paul Schmidtberger


It’s wonderful to read this site and the kind of work you are doing. I wish many people could be as generous as you are with this poor children in Africa. I am an old student of these schools in Garissa which are receiving your assistance and I am now doing my masters in the U.K. It’s my hope that when I go back, I can contribute to your project in one way or another. I have been following this project for some time and I think I can bring some helpful contact back home when I go back. Hope to meet you one day.Regards, Mohamed Korane, MA Finance, Accounting & Management, University Of Bradford, UK


I just finished reading your book and enjoyed it so much and was inspired to help this project.  I gave the book to my mother who I’m sure will feel the same way.  I will donate some books for the children as soon as I get paid.Cindy Gerardi


I grew up in Libya and bought my first books (and Archie comics which seemed to belong to another planet) from an old man who carted them round on a donkey. How nice it is to now be able to supply another 4-legged library.

Nicole Aragi, agent


This project has just resonated with me. Reading has been a salvation for me for so many years — the thought of it being that for some child or adult on the other side of the world — the opportunity to learn and dream and be transported by books even in the remotest of worlds is such an incredible blessing for you all to give.  I have such amazing memories of summers in the library and in the bookstores, I imagine my excitement at a trip to the library can only be a drop in the bucket to those in
Kenya when the camel and the librarians arrive.
Sarah Binion, Austin, TX


I was born in such a small town in northern Wisconsin that we didn’t have a library.  We had the bookmobile (looked like a big white whale on wheels) and when that came to town, the excitement was huge overall and in my family in particular. I grew up with a strong oral storytelling tradition.  So that hunger for literature was very real in my youth and now to own books is still thrilling to me.  I can’t imagine a life without them.

Mary Relindes Ellis 


Our family lived in Kijabe, Kenya from August 2003 until April 2004.  We worked in a mission hospital alongside Kenyan doctors and nurses to care for the needy.  But the poor in our area were rich compared with those in the north of Kenya, where drought had made (and still makes) life far more difficult.  I am glad to hear of the Camel Book Drive and am joyful to think of young Kenyans holding and reading the books I’ve sent.

Amy Givler


I grew up on a mission in Zimbabwe, so am more than thrilled to support your effort in Kenya. I have sent off a pile of books today. I chose what I call “Africa” appropriate books from my own selection: universal themes that will, I hope, speak to any child in any country in the world. I’m not entirely convinced that “any old book” is quite good enough. Only the best is good enough for these great people! All the best in your brilliant efforts, Mem Fox. 


I sent 27 lbs., 0.2 oz. of books to Kenya from Oberlin, Ohio on March 7. There are about 60 books, all gently used, from my bookshelves. I am glad to help out and will look for suitable books at yardsales this spring so I can ship more at another time. Good luck with the project. Laura Paxton 


Just wanted to let you know that I will be speaking at a huge leadership convention in Albuquerque this week and will mention your Camel Book Drive during my presentation. Tomorrow I am mailing an M-bag of books to Kenya. Hope many more people will do so!

Margriet Ruurs


My kids helped me select the books yesterday, we had a great time of it, picked up a dozen little picture books and then spied a series I hadn’t seen before in which each book had a list of facts on a given subject: weather, scientific inventions, mammals, birds, explorers, etc. The pages were nicely laid out and simple to read, not the confusing jumble of facts you see in some of those series where the chaos on the page can make you want to run away! So we picked up most of these too. I passed over the one on Dolphins, and when my son, who is eleven, called this to my attention, I told him most of the kids who would be looking at these books would probably never have seen a dolphin — thinking of the irrelevance of these creatures to these children’s lives. And he said, “But isn’t that the point, Mom?”Indeed.So we got the book on dolphins too.

Elizabeth Crook

April 6, 2003 Posted by | Email | 10 Comments