Monday, December 29, 2008

Bill Bryson's African diary by Bill Bryson, Jenny Matthews, and CARE International

Bill Bryson's African DiaryBill Bryson's African diary is a quick book about Bill Bryson's one week trip to Kenya with folks from CARE International.
In the book, Bryson describes his week-long journey to Kenya, in which he visits a slum in Nairobi, a Somali refugee camp near Kenya's border with Somalia, and many other areas of the country in between where CARE projects have helped to improve the living conditions of impoverished communities.
CARE International's process is to go into an impoverished area and teach an individual or a community how it can better help itself. For example, Bryson describes a bank system where women are able to borrow money in order to grow a small business. This allows them to make their own money and pay back the original loan. In another example, CARE built a water pump in the center of a community, which made irrigation and obtaining water for daily chores much easier for the community. What is unique about this project is that they organized a group of locals who were taught how to fix the pump to be responsible for maintaining the pump for the future. A farmer who was taught new farming techniques, which allowed him to increase the size of his farm greatly, was expected to teach his newfound knowledge to other local farmers.
This was a quick read. In fact, I read it in about 20 minutes while sitting in my car. That fact does not take away from the importance of the work CARE does in impoverished parts of the world. In addition, all proceeds from sales of the book go to the non-profit organization.
For more information about CARE International, go to


hamilcar barca said...

i've never heard of this one. is it new? is it funny? it seems like a difficult fit - Bryson's wit and a CARE International project.

Trixie said...

I don't think it was that new. A couple of years I believe.
It was a little bit funny. For example, it had story about a terrifying flight across the country in a small plane through a rain storm that he followed by a comment about wanting to drink his body weight in alcohol. You could tell that it was a bit of an advertisement for CARE. But it was short, and I wanted to read it more because I wanted to read something about what really goes on in refugee camps and the slums of Nairobi. In 47 pages or whatever it was, I heard a bit, and I thought it would be an easier read than finishing What is the What which will likely give me more info (although it's about a different country obviously).
Plus, I did tell you a while back that I would read more Bryson, and I borrowed it from the library that long ago and had renewed it like 3 times, and I had to take it back, so I literally read it in my car before I drove to the library. So ha.