BOOKS: Memoirs - Africa
The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur
Daoud Hari

This memoir, written by a native Darfuri translator who, after escaping the massacre of his village by the genocidal Janjaweed, returned to work with reporters and UN investigators in the riskiest of situations. Taking readers far from their comfort zones, Hari charts the horrific landscape of genocide in the stories of refugee camp survivors. Also available in Spanish as El traductor.

Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey Of A Desert Nomad
Waris Dirie and Cathleen Miller

By age 6, Waris Dirie was herding her family's sheep and goats, fending off hyenas and wild dogs as the family carved a path through Africa. She was just twice that age when she ran off into the vast furnace of the Somali desert to escape an arranged marriage to a much older man. Traveling for days without food and water, she made her way to Mogadishu and later to London as a servant to her uncle, the Somalian ambassador. There she wrestled with culture shock and got her first taste of the modeling life that eventually brought her into the public eye. Dirie is resilient, having survived drought, hunger, and the ritual female genital mutilation that marks a step toward womanhood among some traditional Moslems but, argue critics, steals or ruins many girls' lives. Also available in Spanish under the title Flor del Desierto.

Heart of Fire
Senait Mehari

Born in 1974, Senait Mehari was abandoned by her parents as a baby and spent her early years in a state orphanage. After four years she returned to her father, but at the onset of the War of Liberation he made the shocking decision to give Senait and two of her stepsisters to the rebel troops of the Eritrean Liberation Front. Senait spent three harrowing years in a training camp for child soldiers - witnessing first-hand the brutalities of war and enduring hunger, sickness and beatings. She was rescued in 1983 when her uncle arranged a daring escape to Sudan and the sisters lived in Khartoum for four years, until they were summoned to Germany by their father. Life in Germany was difficult. At fourteen Senait left home to live on the streets and began composing music. Now Senait feels compelled to speak. Heart of Fire is the moving and inspirational story of a woman determined to succeed.