By Rye Barcott
Bloomsbury Press, $26.00, 340 pages
If the picture on the front of Rye Barcott’s It Happened on the Way to War doesn’t draw you in, the prologue will. Barcott begins by detailing how he met Tabitha Atieno Festo, and how her illness and the possibility of losing her impacts him, even while in Ethiopia with the Marines. When Barcott goes on, in later chapters, to share Tabitha’s impact on Barcott and the beginning of Carolina for Kibera, this reviewer realized the true meaning of that first chapter. Losing Tabitha would change everything for Rye.
It Happened on the Way to War isn’t just about Tabitha, though she plays a large role. Barcott is a young man who began an organization to help the people of Kibera, the largest slum in East Africa, help themselves, and his story of how he got from doing research in the slum just outside of Nairobi, Kenya, to working every spare second to help them, is inspiring. Even more inspiring is that Barcott serves the people of Kibera while he is serving the United States as a Marine, and has an impact on his fellow Marines that he might not have had without the help of Kibera.
It Happened on the Way to War is a book everyone should read, but especially those who are interested in starting their own non-profit, working with people in Africa, or even serving in the military. Rye Barcott writes the book wonderfully, and is also the epitome of an inspiring U.S. Citizen. If the reader takes anything from Barcott’s book, it will be that one person can change the world.
Reviewed by Melissa Boles