by Bill Bryson
This book was not on my radar at all, yet I just had to read it when I found it yesterday. I've been listening to the biography of Isak Dinesen, author of OUT OF AFRICA, and it has put me in the mood to watch the movie again and to read the book. So while I was at the library yesterday I decided to look for a copy of OUT OF AFRICA. Lo and behold, this Bill Bryson book was shelved right next to it. A Bryson book I'd never heard of, that was very short, and had to do with Africa? SCORE!
The book is a very brief chronicle of a trip Bryson took in 2002 with CARE International, a relief organization, to tour their projects in Kenya. The trip included a stop at a camp for refugees from Somalia, visits with women who are part of CARE's micro-lending program, a tour of a model farm, and a trip to see a community well installed by CARE. There was some sightseeing thrown in as well, including a trip to Karen Blixen's farm (that's the same Karen from OUT OF AFRICA, who wrote under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen).
Bryson's account is a blend of his trademark humor and clear compassion for the people he meets. It is an uplifting look at what poverty-stricken people can do when they are given even just a little assistance.