Quaker Minute Detail

Books for Kenya

In August 2019, Michael ’27 and Nathan ’28 Wanyoike traveled with their parents, Charity and Mike, to Kenya to visit family. Charity and Mike were both born and raised in Kenya, coming to the U.S. to pursue higher education and eventually careers in the area.

While in Kenya, the family visited Good Samaritan Children’s Center (GSCC), an orphanage located in Kayole, a slum outside of Nairobi. GSCC is home to more than 80 children, ranging in age from newborn to adolescents. It was difficult for the boys to experience, especially when they noticed the empty book shelves in the library of GSCC. Michael and Nathan were stunned by the condition of the library - the books they did have were torn and tattered - they had never seen anything like it before. They spoke to their parents about collecting books for GSCC upon their return home. This is where their project, “Books for Kenya,” began.

Michael and Nathan’s goal was to send textbooks, workbooks, and other educational materials to the orphanage...And they did just that! They collected more than 1,800 books - some of which were donated by the Wilmington Friends School library after Ellie Poorman ’53 connected the family and the School. The boys were not previously WFS students, and their mother explained that the Books for Kenya project drove and fueled their decision to start at Friends in September 2020!

Because of the pandemic, Michael and Nathan were not able to deliver the books and supplies in person to the orphanage, but enough donations were raised to not only ship these supplies, but also for them to purchase three computers for the children at GSCC to use in the library.

In August, the Wanyoike family learned of difficulties GSCC was enduring due to the pandemic, including some vital donations the center was no longer receiving. The family identified the greatest need to be food supplies as well as feminine hygiene supplies. Appealing to their friends and family again, they were able to purchase a year’s supply of hygiene products and several weeks’ worth of food. 

“I hope that in sharing their story, it will inspire other students to be agents of change wherever they are in whatever big or small way they envision,” Charity said. “As evidenced in Michael and Nathan’s project, it does not take a lot to make a difference.”

The Wanyoike family plans to continue providing feminine hygiene products yearly to GSCC. Michael and Nathan will continue collecting more books and engaging in service projects for GSCC and other needy children, both locally and in Kenya. They hope to engage their peers and the WFS community at large in these endeavors.

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