By being born in a Western country you are a winner in the lottery of life. You may not have won the jackpot like say, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Hollywood’s Jennifer Lawrence, but you are still a winner—BIG TIME!
You turn on a tap—you get water. Hot water if you want.
About a fifth of the world’s population do not have enough water to drink, and a third do not have enough for basic hygiene.
One flush of a Western toilet uses as much water as a person in the developing world uses for a whole day’s washing, drinking, cleaning and cooking.
You go to the supermarket and buy food for a week—or a month—or trot off to the mall to eat pizza or hamburgers until you’re bursting.
About one eighth of the world’s population—almost a billion people—never get enough food to stave off the pangs of hunger.
Most of us Westerners live in comfortable, temperature-controlled homes where we can lock our doors and feel secure—homes large enough to provide each member of a family with his or her own room.
A far cry from what a large majority of the people on this planet live in—a single room about the size of one of our bedrooms with maybe ten people crammed into it. No electricity of course—and no toilets as we know them.
The ‘room’ might be constructed of grass or mud, canvas or cardboard, or squashed tin cans. Or maybe a mish-mash of all these materials with a few sticks of wood thrown in—nothing that would withstand a decent blast of wind or a determined thief with a stout club.
It is almost impossible for us Westerners to fully comprehend life without adequate water, food and shelter. These are things we simply take for granted—like the air we breathe.
And for many countries, poverty is just the beginning of its population’s misery. Take parts of Africa for example. Heavily armed bands of so-called ‘freedom fighters’ rampage through defenseless villages, burning and looting, killing, raping and maiming the inhabitants, knowing full well they will never be punished.
What can we do about all this? Not a great deal as individuals. We can send money to poor countries, but more than likely it will end up in the Swiss bank accounts of their rulers. Most developing nations have the potential for wealth but most of their leaders would rather support their own lavish lifestyles than the people they rule.
Sometimes, when my day is not going as I think it should because some idiot dinged my car in a parking lot, or I stepped in dog poo—in other words when life isn’t treating me exactly the way I’d like to be treated—I find it helpful to engage in a reality check.
I try to put myself in the shoes (or bare feet) of someone born in a poor part of the world—say a small village somewhere in Africa. It’s not easy for us to understand the misery of those living hopeless lives in violent, impoverished countries.
But once in a while we should try.
Eight teenage actors, along with their young director, are the sole survivors of a plane-crash in the mountains between The Republic of Bongani and Lutalo in Africa—a region controlled by a cruel warlord who is reputed to dine on his captives.
Two of the actors—Daina and Scott—are thrust into the role of group leaders due to their knowledge of the outdoors. Daina, from a wealthy family, has a fiancé back home—an attachment that becomes threatened by her proximity to Scott.
The survivors are assisted by a mysterious old African shaman who appears to have a telepathic connection with Daina. The spirits of his ancestors, he claims, have told him that she has been sent by the Gods to ignite the torch of freedom in his country.
Through an unexpected encounter with a teenage soldier in the rebel army, Daina and Scott are drawn into the world of the young men and boys who have been forced into military service in order to ensure the safety of captive relatives. The meeting inspires the two actors to volunteer their assistance in freeing the young soldier’s mother and sisters from the rebel stronghold.
Following the plane crash, Daina—who was raised in luxury—has had to trudge through a jungle inhabited by wild animals while evading the search parties of a cruel warlord…until the time when she, Scott, and a group of young soldiers set out to face the Cannibal in his mountain stronghold.
The White Cannibal draws on the amazing backdrop of Africa—its mysticism, its unique wildlife, its breathtaking topography, and the colorful diversity of its people. The book might be compared to The Hunger Games in that its protagonists are young people using their wits and courage to triumph over extreme adversity. But controlled environments have been replaced by the equally fascinating and daunting reality of darkest Africa itself.
The White Cannibal is the first in a series of three books featuring Daina Roxborough.
The White Cannibal took me into the heart of Africa. As Daina puts it—‘terrifying and exhilarating at the same time’.Brad Caslin-Smith
The White Cannibal grips you relentlessly because you know this could actually happen. I found the amazing reality of modern day Africa more fascinating and frightening than any mythical setting.Geoff Robertson
Totally believable! The White Cannibal took me on an amazing journey into a frighteningly real place! It is one of those rare books that will remain with me for many years.Hannah Houston
In The White Cannibal, the equally fascinating and daunting reality of darkest Africa itself replaces the controlled environments of science fiction. A truly scary place. I loved it!Jan Bethly
This is an incredible adventure superbly told! The White Cannibal is without doubt the best book I’ve read in a long time.Matt Selfridge
Apart from being a wonderful story, it opened my eyes to some of the horrors that are going on—right now—in this tortured country.
The White Cannibal takes you on an unforgettable journey. You become part of the book.Robin Cornish
Daina Roxborough is my heroine. I can’t wait to read the next book in her ongoing adventure.Trudi Cristl
I was born in Sydney, Australia a long time ago. But I'm still a kid at heart—at least that’s what my friends tell me.
Most of these friends have, at various times during my life, suggested that it might be time for me to grow up. “Don’t be ridiculous,” I tell them. “Why would anyone want to do that?”
Whenever I’ve asked someone about their favorite time in life they usually tell me it was when they were ‘young and crazy’ rather than when they were ‘mature and sensible’.
The only bad thing I can think of about not growing up is that people sometimes don’t take you seriously. But then does this really matter?
Whenever I do something inappropriate for my age (some would call it 'childish'), the people who know me don’t say, “What an idiot!” they just nod their heads and remark, “What do you expect from that clown Lawson?”
But I can be serious sometimes. If you’re going to write a book you have to take the project seriously or you’d never get past the first page. In writing a book of fiction you are entering a world of fantasy. I think it’s okay to be serious about a fantasy world.
I just try not to allow it to smudge into real life.
© 2014 P.B. Lawson
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Reproduction in whole or in part requires written permission.