I spent much of today working on an ongoing library activity called "Reading Stars" where each grade gets a different book list and each time a student reads a book from the list they get a star sticker. Every 5-10 books they read they get to pick a small prize (pencils, notebooks, etc.). If they're one of the top readers in their grade, they get their name on a poster board hung in the library (thanks for the great idea Fridah)! I made and decorated almost 200 cards today for the kids to record the books they read on it and the stickers they earn. I came up with the idea from one of my favorite reading programs in elementary school, Book It! I'll be going in during their English classes to help out with this as well as some other activities like a short story writing contest and a librarian apprentice program.
In the afternoon we visited Makena Textiles, Ltd. which is a group of 19 women who hand make rugs, aprons, oven mitts, tablecloths, napkins, etc. When it was founded in 1979 as a Women's Empowerment and Development project, it was the first company in the Eastern Province owned and operated solely by women. Makena in Kimeru, the local language, means joy. The wool they use comes from sheep who graze the slopes of Mount Kenya. Their products are beautiful but they unfortunately don't have much of a market for them. Most of their sales are in Nairobi and/or at exhibitions. I thought they might benefit from a website, but the group consists of older women who may not know how to run the website after I leave. It's something I'm going to look into.
The other day someone told me they really had no idea what it looks like here and I couldn't even begin to describe it to them. I sneakily took some pictures of the town through the car window as I drove past. Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what Meru looks like!