cover image Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum

Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum

Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner. Ecco, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-229285-8

This riveting memoir takes place primarily in Kibera, one of Kenya’s worst slums (which range in population from 170,000 to 1 million), and the authors narrate in alternating chapters. Odede, a community organizer in his early 20s, grew up in Kibera, and tells of his childhood of poverty, abuse, and struggle; Posner, a privileged, 20-year-old Wesleyan University student on a semester abroad project, arrived in 2007 hoping to help out with a theater group that Odede runs. Wanting an authentic experience, Posner moves in with Odede in the slum; there the eyes of the Denver-raised American are opened to another world, and she begins to fall under the spell of the charismatic, courageous young man who founded the nonprofit community organization Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) and is known unofficially throughout Kibera as “Mayor.” Before long, Odede’s dream of building a school for girls (many of whom have been abused and/or raped) is put into motion, and with Posner’s help, grants are secured to bring this dream, and others, to life. Self-taught on the writings and work of Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela, Odede is determined to rise above violence and poverty and help his neighbors in the process; in Posner he finds the perfect partner for his quest. Suspenseful and absorbing, this true story of a man and a woman from two different worlds reveals how dramatically circumstances can change. (Oct.) [em] [/em]