Book club: Page Turners

Dommy Odhiambo, is a volunteer Project Coordinator and a Page Turners Book Club Lead. Photo | Pool 

What you need to know:

Name: Dommy Odhiambo, is a volunteer Project Coordinator, and is a Page Turners Book Club Lead. She is a holder of a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with IT - Finance Major from Maseno University. 

While growing up in the slums, books acted as a great escape from the harsh realities of life. I started reading from when I was around seven. One of the best books I read as a child were the Moses Series by Barbara Kimenye and I love Chimamanda's books as well. I read because books allow me to travel around the world and live a thousand lives. Recently, I 'travelled' to Central Falls, Rhode Island and had an experience of what it means to grow up black and poor in that particular part of the United States. To date, books allow me to build on my creativity as well as meet incredible characters who inspire me I also learn.

I read a minimum of two books in a good month. I always walk around with a book either in my back pack or on my phone. That means, any time I am waiting on someone or something, I utilise that time to read. I spend the last few hours of my day, right before I sleep, reading. The stories I read usually form part of my dreams at night - haha. 

I belong to Page Turners Book Club. This is a book club constituted of young people, mostly university students, who love community service as well as reading. The book club members also form part of Page Turners Initiative Volunteers. Page Turners is an initiative that my friends and I started in 2020 to help promote literacy levels in children living in underserved communities by making relevant reading materials such as story books and mentorship accessible to them. We have established one community library in Dagoretti where our volunteers conduct book reviews and mentoring sessions with the learners on a weekly basis. Our book club conducts virtual monthly book review sessions. We meet thrice in a year for a physical fun hangout and a themed book review event in Nairobi.

We are 15 committed members but we are looking to grow this number by the end of the year. We read African literature genres and autobiographies.

This month we have been reading Finding Me by Viola Davis. One of the lessons I have drawn from it is the importance of speaking your truth and owning up to your story. Every single experience we go through in life plays an important role and it is prudent to own up to that and not be scared of how society’s standards.  My favourite quote from the book is – “Memories are immortal. They’re deathless and precise. They have the power of giving you joy and perspective in hard times. Or, they can strangle you. Define you in a way that’s based more on other people’s tucked-up perceptions than truth.”


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