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Deliberatepixel / Cause of the Month: Camel Book Drive

Cause of the Month: Camel Book Drive

Girl ReadingThe Cause of the Month is a little thing I do to increase exposure of a particular charity or organization I think is worthwhile, and I feature a new one every month. I also donate a minimum of $10 in cash or needed supplies to each cause. You can help the causes you find important in a variety of ways: 1) donate yourself, 2) link to my article and/or the charity's own website on your site, or 3) suggest an organization to me for a future month's cause.

I was one of those kids for whom books were a matter of survival. An escape from divorce, loneliness, fear, anything and everything that was too hard to go through without help. If help wasn't available from a human source, there were always your favorite books to depend on. Because of this, I have a highly-developed sympathy for any cause whose aim is to get more books into the hands of kids who otherwise wouldn't have them. The Camel Book Drive is just such a cause.

There is a mobile library that makes its way through Kenya, borne on the backs of camels. Since 1996, twelve camels have delivered books to four settlements of semi-nomadic peoples in Kenya once a week. For these people, who struggle with poverty and harsh living conditions, the mobile library books are an otherwise impossible treat and opportunity for education.

Author Masha Hamilton (of The Camel Bookmobile) jumpstarted the Camel Book Drive after her visit to Kenya and her first-hand viewing of the library's continuing needs. Over two hundred other authors have also lent their support, including Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, and Judy Blume.

Every couple of weeks, if not more, I take my daughter to the nearby Barnes & Noble and let her run around in the children's section. We read books, and more often than not take one home with us. I'm a constant library goer, and have been known to take out armfuls of books at a time. I can't imagine only having access to a few books, dried and damaged by the heat and sun, brought to me once a week by camel. It's such a simple luxury to have good books, one wonders why it can't be spread just as simply. One of my favorite Hugo quotes, from Les Miserables, has always been: "If there is anything more poignant than a body perishing for lack of bread, it is a soul which is dying from want of light." Books may be not be strictly needed for survival. But sometimes, to some people, it may seem that way.



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