Last week I went back to Lewa, to finally set up the library where construction had just finished. We arrived with all of the I.T. (smart board, computers, laptop), furniture, and 2000+ new books selected specifically to foster the values Lewa espouses of conservation, wildlife, and the environment. Sleeves rolled up, we arrived at the school on our first day to start unpacking and begin the training program for the library. But we found a library space we were not satisfied with. Normally when we construct or renovate a space, we tile the floors. With the Lewa library, we encouraged by Lewa to go with polished concrete floors. We decided to give this a try, but what I found was a red floor very similar to dirt floors. Any movement or shuffling kicked up red dust that stained the furniture, our shoes, pants, books, and skin. There weren’t enough lights to substitute for cloudy days and evenings, and we found grills where they didn’t appear on the floor plans we had approved. Needless to say, some changes were required before we could deem this a project complete.

We could have decided to just setup the the space as it was. It certainly would have been easier. And we would have saved money as all of these changes require funding – from us. But that is not our standard. We want our spaces to amaze, inspire, and most importantly, last. If we don’t insist of these things, who will? Instead of compromising on what we deliver, we strive to raise the bar for what Kenya can expect in a library. So we made the decision to pack everything back up, store it securely, and start planning the necessary renovations. These renovations will be implemented over November and December, and I will be back at Lewa in January to finish the setup.

The library at Lewa is a project of the Field-Marsham Foundation