Yesterday was an exciting day! I was expecting to order a proof copy of my book, In the Place of Many Zebras: Stories from Kenya on culture, courage, and change. Instead, I was able to proof the book digitally, publish it, and list it for sale on createspace.com. What a great surprise!
So the book is finally a real thing, ready to be read by people after me taking 2 trips to Kenya and spending 4 years thinking, researching, interviewing, writing, editing, rewriting, editing, rewriting…and so on. It’s not very long, and I’m sure it’s not perfect, but it’s extremely close to my heart, and it’s a product that I’m very proud of. It baffles me to look back at what I’ve learned about writing and about the world since starting this project. In the writing realm, I’ve learned about interviewing, trust, language barriers, cultural barriers, patience, respect, planning, creative problem solving, research, story structure, narrative nonfiction, memoir, imagery, imagination, dedication, self-discipline, self-editing, self-editing, self-editing, workshopping, self-publishing….and way more that I can’t even think of off the top of my head or that is much bigger to me than all of this tossed-around writing vocab. In the realm of perspective and world view, I’ve learned about Kenya, Maasai people, volunteerism, dedication, sacrifice, fate, female circumcision, early marriage, education, poverty, religion, spirituality, hope, faith, the power of educating girls, cultural change, cultural relativity, cultural sensitivity, non-governmental organizations, government, history, global health, global connections, international travel….again, the list goes one. There are so many things I can’t even think of off the top of my head, and so many things that have soaked into me over the past 4 years of thinking about this mini-book project. So, when I think about all of the intangible personal gains from this project it feels like it’s already paid off for me in very big way!
All the profits from this book will go to the Olooloitikoshi Girl’s Rescue Center in Kenya, where I spent weeks interviewing girls who have faced circumcision and early marriage. This rescue center takes in girls who are at risk of circumcision and early marriage, and provides them with basic life necessities and education sponsorships.
The book is currently for sale at https://www.createspace.com/4631441, and will soon be available as a Kindle book too!
Here is the description of the book:
In 2009, as a newspaper intern, I was sent to interview Colorado resident Mark Hagen about the work he does in Kenya as one of the founders of the Olooloitikoshi Girl’s Rescue Center. He didn’t hesitate in telling me about the issues that Kenyan girls face, namely female circumcision and early marriage that permeates all other parts of their lives. He also didn’t hesitate in inviting me to come see for myself. Five months later, with a sense of adventure and curiosity, I boarded a plane to Kenya. What I found there were girls who allowed me, a 21-year-old writer, to enter deeply into their lives. In 2012 I went back to learn more so that I could share their stories; this book is the result, and all profits made from this book will go back to the Olooloitikoshi Girl’s Rescue Center in Kenya.
In talking about the controversial subjects of female circumcision and early marriage, my hope is not to perpetuate the dark image of Africa that is often presented to us in mainstream media. Before visiting Kenya, I naively believed that Africa was violent and ravaged, sick and starving and lost. Now, I see the importance of looking at the big picture. It is my hope to show both the complexities of these issues, as well as the spirit and hope of the people who have faced them.
Here are the stories of the girls and women who changed my world by letting me into theirs.
Happy reading, and thanks for supporting this project and the Olooloitikoshi Girl’s Rescue Center!