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ISBN 0-7679-1506-2

I read "African Diary" on the plane ride home from Philadelphia. It is a mere 53 pages and doesn't take more than an hour or so to finish. A friend recommended I read it and I'm glad I did - not only for its own merit as an interesting text and a donation to CARE International, but also because it reminded me that I want to work my way through the catalogue of Bill Bryson travel tomes. I'm preparing (beginning to prepare? beginning to think about preparing?) to live abroad and find myself gravitating toward texts that inspire/motivate me to that end.

In 2002 Bill Bryson was commissioned by CARE International to travel to Kenya to visit the refugee camps and experience the projects CARE is working on. All profits and royalties from this book are donated directly to CARE International, so your $12.00 will be well spent. CARE is motivated by the fact that "nearly half of humanity struggles to survive on less than $2 a day. More than 30 countries are gripped by armed conflict. AIDS threatens to take as many lives as all the wars of the twentieth century..." and believes "it's not enough to simply alleviate the symptoms of poverty." CARE works systemically to eradicate the very causes of poverty.

Bryson details his time in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, the people he meets in Mombasa, and all the miles and adventures in between. He is not only composing an interesting travel diary, he's attempting to raise awareness of the political, social, racial, economic realities that compound the problem of global poverty. He accomplishes a lot in 53 pages and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone curious about the world we live in.

After sharing his interactions with individual people helped by CARE International, Bryson writes, "...30 million other people just as individual and real. I don't suppose they can all be saintly and deserving, but they do have one thing in common with the rest of us: they are human beings. And, like us, they get only one life apiece."

I. Am. Powerful.

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