Bill Bryson’s African Diary by Bill Bryson
Publisher: Broadway Books (December 2002)
Genre: Travel, Non-Fiction, Diary
A short review for a short book. Bill Bryson was invited in 2002 to visit Kenya on behalf of CARE International. CARE is a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty with effective methods, by eliminating the causes instead of fighting the symptoms.
Bill Bryson is a famous author of humorous travel, science and language books. For me, he is most known for his A short history of nearly everything, which tells the story of science in a popular, easy-to-read way. Starting to read his African Diary, I was actually surprised that he seemed to know so little about this continent. He always struck me as a knowledgeable guy and being a travel writer I expected him to be more informed. His ignorance, on the other hand, was quite entertaining and his observance of the bitter situation in Kenya to the point.
Even though it was short, it was a good experience to gain some insights in the important work CARE is doing. Not only in Africa, but all over the world they have projects to eliminate poverty. Their motivation to care for people was beautifully captured by Bryson: ‘They have one thing in common with the rest of us: they are human beings.’ This illustrated why I think humanitarian aid is important. And even though I know that a lot of these organizations are corrupt, or are using non-effective methods, with CARE I really feel that they are making progress.
So this novel/diary was very short, but nice to read. Knowing a little more about what CARE does give me hope for the world. It also makes my feet itchy to go and travel to Africa myself again.
Final rating: ★★★★☆
And a picture to conclude: