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I never thought of being an author
My name is Esther Ogonda, but I prefer coining it as E’star, to remind me that I am a star from East Africa. By profession I am a public health nutritionist with experience working in the humanitarian space. To say that I saw myself as an author would be a big lie even though growing up I really liked reading storybooks. I still remember a storybook in a series of 10, called the woman and the millet. It was a book no 7. I was pleasantly surprised the other day to realize that the longhorn series is still in the market. I spotted another nice story of the gum on the gate, book no. 6.

To date, I thank my parents for encouraging us to read storybooks as a way of enhancing our English performance in school. My growing up and schooling was not anything out of the ordinary. My dreams to be a dentist were thwarted after I failed in Mathematics. I settled for nutrition as a path to still take me to work in the hospitals, something I changed my mind about after doing my internship in KNH for 4 months in 2000.

My experience as professional nutritionist
As a community nutritionist in the community development world, I have seen and learnt a lot. From the wilderness experiences in North Eastern Kenya to countries I call my second and third homes in Ethiopia and Rwanda respectively. Talk of going to Afghanistan and Syria, all in the name of wanting to help save and heal malnourished children. The stories is what I share in my book, “Treasures in sack clothes”. I wrote these stories from a Christian perspective to help inform people keen on community development be they educationists, agriculturalists, social workers or Water and sanitation specialist, etc. I also wrote to challenge Christians everywhere to be transformative change agents.

Ups and downs encountered in publishing
When I was ready to write and presented a draft manuscript to a Christian publisher, I was told if I was willing to wait for at least 2 years before someone read my book to decide whether or not it will be published, I almost gave up. A friend made me even more discouraged when he mentioned that my book had nothing much to offer. There was some ray of hope when an editor in the Christian publisher I had visited followed me up and talked to me about alternative ways to publishing and that he was willing to help me polish my book.

That’s how I ended up “self-publishing” thousands of copies that are stuck on my shelf to date, mainly because I am such a poor marketer. My experience with book shops hasn’t been very good. With some even “losing” my copies on their shelves.

Most disheartening was when a well-known Christian bookshop told me off that they don’t stock local author’s books. I celebrate CLC Kenya because of its initiatives to hold the hands of African Authors. CLC’s mission is truly a God-given agenda. Keep up growing and exposing authors like us and moving us to the next level. By the grace of God, I published 2 books at the same time in 2009. And when I was ready to digitize them around 2015, I got another bitter pill to swallow. A reputable publisher had accepted to rework on “Treasurers in sack clothes”. We even had a contract signed only for them to retract. They said their priorities had changed and my book did not fit in their new agenda. This was after staying with my book for over half a year.

I was disappointed and shelved any further publishing dreams. That was until I was introduced to CLC Kenya earlier this year. From my little interactions with them, I can say that they are God-sent. I look forward to learning and growing with them and all of us here as I know I still have books inside me to write on. Top on the list is a book on my fight with depression.

As we all celebrate being shortlisted for the Acabba Award, here is how to get a copy of the book: There are 3 options:

1. With Ksh. 499/=, you can purchase a hard copy at the African Book Hub Kenya, located in Absa house, Loita street in Nairobi city centre.

1. Get a soft copy (PDF) version on paying Ksh. 400/=. Mpesa payments my number on 0722591814

1. With 500/= an arrangement can be made for delivery by gift- square. Free deliveries within the Nairobi city centre. However, delivery outside the city centre can be made at additional cost.

Gifts that keep giving:
Remember that with every purchase you are helping us keep 2 physically challenged girls (Brenda and Beryl) in Joyland special school, Kisumu as 100% of the profits goes to our philanthropic work. This is the main reason why I write: to transform the lives of those who read my books while also using the profit to give back to worthy courses. You will also be helping us mentor young boys and girls in Tree house children’s home. Feel free to reach out if you want to know more about the girl’s education sponsorship program or the youth we mentor through the Electra Hadassah Foundation.

Book review
This is what a respect, Christian leader in our nation said of my book:

“Herein a story of a life that has been lived in sacrifice for others and with great impact. It is a great and challenging story of faith, hope, and love! [It will inspire you] to rise above the comforts of the moment and seek to serve God and His people wherever He places you.”
Dr. David Oginde (2009).

Bishop Emeritus, Christ is the answer ministries.
Vote for my book: https://africanauthors.net/nominee/treasures-in-sackcloth/

Email: sisestar@gmail.com
Mobile: O722591814

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