Voices of JAMS Timeline

Today, Voices of Jane Adeny Memorial Schools is sitting on my bookshelf – something that started almost a decade ago when Teresa Wasonga and Andrew Otieno came to speak to in a course I was taking at the time (I was getting a couple graduate certificates for the fun of it because I had missed being a student). I had no idea the journey that would stem from that night so long ago – and I can’t put into the words the emotions I’m feeling seeing this book sit among others that I hold so dearly.

Below is the timeline from the moment I met Teresa and Andrew to this one.

  • Oct 30, 2012 – Teresa Wasonga and Andrew Otieno came to my Feminist Theory course to talk about the school they founded in Kenya (where they are from originally). I thought about nothing else for weeks. I proposed an idea to them about a month later that involved teaching memoir, turning the work into a collection (with the girls’ permission, of course), and using the book as a fundraiser for the school.

  • Spring 2013 – I participated in an independent study where I research education and writing in Kenya and then created the “Memoir Writing for Empowerment” curriculum we would implement at the school.

  • June 18 – July 7, 2014 – Our trip was originally scheduled for Summer 2013, but it was postponed for one year. We spent three weeks at the school implementing the curriculum and working with the students to edit/revise their work.

  • I spent a lot of time typing up the handwritten memoirs, fitting this in wherever I could.

    July 28 – Aug 6, 2015 – Formatted and then edited the entire manuscript

  • Aug 6, 2015 – Oct 2019 – Handed over the manuscript to the individual who was supposed to be co-editor. The project then stalled for several years (as Randy Pausch said, “Brick walls are there to train and demonstrate your resolve, not to keep you out. Some brick walls are made of flesh.”) I was finally granted permission to take the project back and go ahead solo (in Oct 2019).

  • I did another round of edits – and then the pandemic threw a wrench in my ability to meet with Teresa. We were finally able to get to get together in Nov of 2021 to go over spellings of names and places (to make sure everything was spelled correctly).

  • 12/5/2021 – Submitted proposal to the Friends of JAMS board to get approval for funds to typeset, for cover design, and to print initial run of physical copies. Was informed the board would not be meeting until February 2022. The board did approve our proposal. (However, one member requested we add updates for all of the students for where they are now. Because this would further postpone the project, potentially indefinitely, a decision was made to add updates for students we had quick contact with.)

  • March 2022 – The manuscript was sent to our typesetter, Kevin Moriarity (who is fantastic, by the way) on March 18, 2022. He turned this around quickly (we had a final version by March 24, 2022). The interior and cover were uploaded to KDP so that we could order a printed proof on March 28, 2022.

  • Printed proof arrived March 31, 2022. I spent April 1 – 4, 2022, proofreading. I sent Kevin updates each day. I checked over the final interior on April 5, 2022 (did I mention Kevin is quick?), and it was uploaded on April 10, 2022.

  • Image of a book laid on a display shelf in my bookcase. The book cover text: Voices of Jane Adeny Memorial School. Book cover picture is looking over the shoulder of a young Kenyan student as she writes.

    On April 13, 2022, my copies of Voices of JAMS arrived. One has sat on my display shelf since. I keep peeking over at it to make sure it’s really there. 🙂

    Still doesn’t feel real.

All proceeds from this book will go directly to the Friends of JAMS scholarship fund. The Kindle version is priced at $9.99; the paperback is priced at $15. If you are interested in helping further, please consider also donating directly to the Friends of Jams scholarship fund.

Your Donation  Provides:
$50  A year of school supplies for one student (calculator, writing materials, notebooks)
$100  Full set of school uniforms for a student
$250  Solar battery to power a campus building
$500  Textbooks for a student for 4 years
$800  Full Sponsorship for 1 year for one student (tuition, room & board, school supplies, uniforms, books)

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