May 25, 2011
-- The word “Muzungu” is Swahili for white folk. Translated, it literally means “confused person wandering about.” This aptly describes Bitterman as she audaciously spent months working and wandering throughout Kenya, not willing to avoid the frightening shadowy underbelly of the country. This was a journey, which saw the author’s husband railroaded and sentenced to prison. This was a journey, which ultimately contributed to the suicide of the author’s personal friend and guide. The reader will witness religious elders morphing into villains, political leaders exposed as criminals, and tribal chiefs engaging in forbidden rituals. Bitterman weaves a tale that reveals foreign missionaries at the ends of their ropes, and a country in violent revolt. This is no journey for the feint of heart.
The author’s white skin and declaration that she is a writer become her “free pass” through a succession of previously barred doors, and lands her smack into a living newsreel of Kenya in the flesh. From bizarre meetings with doctors and activists representing then President Bush’s AIDS Relief Project to hospital wards, surgery rooms, orphan clinics, huts, schools, churches and government offices, the reader will discover the real “Aids in Africa”. In fact, the reader may come to realize that few concepts familiar to them can be applied in Kenya. The term "lost in translation"
emerges as a gross understatement. Fellow volunteers who find themselves trapped in the foxholes during a horrific national political revolution witness and report from the front lines. Secret tribal rituals are described in graphic detail. Long-established cultural traditions are examined. Western religion's influence is dissected. Foreign intervention is challenged. History is revisited. Kenya is deconstructed.
The author invites the reader to take a shocking and unapologetic dose of Africa. Pamela Sisman Bitterman will be returning to the United States in late March 2011, and will be available for dynamic and compelling interviews about her new book. She will also be touring with a video-to-music presentation of revealing photographs from her unforgettable journey.