The Virgin Journey
Gary Stokes is a struggling young American, who then lands a job with a press bureau based in East Africa and an expatriate is born. Gary moves to Kenya, meets a fellow reporter, Guy, who helps him adjust to his new life. Cue in intimidating government officials, unmovable landlords, and incidents unfolding in snooty exclusive membership clubs left behind by settlers—, Gary and Guy become lifelong friends. In this new life, Gary soon discovers that life in East Africa requires an abundance of open-mindedness, patience and caution.
The Virgin Journey is an interesting perspective on life for an expatriate living in East Africa in the eighties. Through Gary, Wampamba takes us through heavy issues present in the eighties and even now, like the first HIV epidemic, unrest in Uganda, bribes in government offices and racism in South Africa. The change of perspective is refreshing, because she manages to make Gary’s immersion into these issues effortless, without seeming contrived, through experiences in Gary’s life.
At the core of Gary’s new life, is love: for his old home, his new home, his old girlfriend, and a new one. The struggle to reconcile all these parts of him is real, and Gary’s character emerges as just a man, doing what he can to earn a living, and find happiness…albeit in the real jungle that is Africa.
What did I love about this book?
The change Gary goes through from the negative mess he starts out as at the beginning. His quite uninformed view on our beloved East Africa made me remember a question I was once asked by an acquaintance…,
‘Do I live next to Lions in Africa? Are they right next door?’ No, they’re not right next door, thank you. They’d have me for dinner otherwise…
Gary’s character had this annoying factor at the beginning for me. However, that changes through the story, as he travels from one city to the next, experiencing the joys and beauties…as well as the bittersweet parts of East Africa, you find yourself sympathizing, rooting for him.
In all, this story is a great start to an unforgettable adventure in East Africa. Two reporters work to tell the East African story, the best they can. Wampamba stays true to the culture while adding her own zest into a growing love between two expatriates and their strong African princesses.
Get Your Copy: The Virgin Journey