Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"A Dream So Big"


I was given a book called A Dream So Big to read and review. When I opened the package and saw the cover I thought what kind of book is this? Do I really want to read a book about Africa. (not my favorite place--Paris or London yes, Africa, no) So the book sat on an end table for a few weeks forgotten. I finished reading a Jodi Picoult book and looked around for another book to start. I saw this one. What the heck, I thought. I'll give it a try.

The first part of the book gives the background of the author, Steve Peifer and his family. Steve and his wife Nancy lost an infant son shortly after he was born. To escape the pain, the family decides to follow Nancy's dream to be a missionary in Africa.

Once the family gets to Africa and Steve begins to describe the horrific poverty they encounter I could only read the book in segments. It was very hard to read about starving children and the AIDS orphans. Steve tells of his family's trials and tribulations along with their joy. He uses narration and shares emails he had sent to friends back in the states. He paints a picture of incredible frustration with the Kenyan government and incredible resilience in the face of almost insurmountable odds. He also shares how the generosity of many helped him feed thousands of starving school children. (Being a teacher it was really hard to read the descriptions of the schools and classrooms.)

One of the things I found most incredible was that he was able to set up computer-training centers using solar power. At schools in remote places without running water or electricity children were learning how to use technology. Steve felt it was one of the ways the next generation could help lift themselves out of poverty.

I can't imagine the sacrifices that Steve and his family made in moving to Africa and living there. I can't imagine giving someone giving that much of him or herself to help strangers. I am truly moved that someone would! (After the Boston Marathon pain we need to be reminded that goodness is still out there.)

Reading this book makes you want to do your part in helping children in poverty. In the back of the book Steve lists ways that we can help the children of Kenya. Besides buying the book you can go to this website which provides instructions on financial support for Steve's school feeding program and the computer centers. You can also read his blog posts there.

If you are looking for a book for your next book club I would highly recommend this one!

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