2021 May 30
‘Footprints in Obscurity’ is written for dreamers and people who are constantly perplexed and consumed with curiosity about the great unknowns that this world has hidden for us to discover.
This book narrates a living story that the author experienced from when he was a young boy who was engrossed in the tales about Africa that his father used to tell him as ‘free-time stories’. Each of these stories weaved dreamscapes in his mind about this mysterious land and its people that he knew nothing about, which caused his curiosity to turn into a thirst to know anything and everything possible about Africa.
These free-time stories shaped every part of his lifestyle, including his career as a psychologist at the United Nations, which gave him the opportunity to travel to Africa, when he was an adult. The use of language throughout the book is simple and straightforward, making it easy for any reader from different walks of life to understand. Yet, the author paints a picture and lets the reader imagine each experience he had to face in Africa, with the use of many similes that compare scenes in Africa to day-to-day occurrences that many of us have experienced in life. Even though I was reading a book, it felt as if I was watching a documentary video on the National Geographic Channel.
In the book, the author unlocks stories about the hardships he had to face in Africa, and the people he met, and gives the readers a deep insight into the history, culture, socio-economic status, food and the general lifestyle of each country in the African continent that he visited to; shedding light on this completely new terrain. As you read about his adventures, you would also come across many historical facts and figures, historical stories about the governance of each country that he visited, quenching the reader’s thirst for knowledge. Further, the author analyses every situation that he came across during his adventure, in different perspectives, which are eye opening and promoting progressive patterns of thinking.
In addition to his own experiences in Africa, he narrates stories that are built around and interconnected to other men and women that he had the opportunity to meet and interact with during his journey, unlocking painful insights into war, slavery, destruction, rape, mutilation and the other horrors that exist in this world due to the savage greed for money and power. He brings to the readers the voices of those who were destined to be silent, evoking empathy and compassion towards those affected.
With every footstep the author took into the great unknown, the ‘free-time stories’ told by his father walked with him, helping him connect the knowledge that he had already acquired about the continent with what he was witnessing first hand – this was a magical realisation I had as a reader. Even though the author was a trained professional on a mission representing the United Nations, his kindness and compassion towards people seeped through as he tried his best to connect the lifestyle that he was witnessing to his upbringing here, in Sri Lanka.
This book is bound to shape one’s mindset and put so many things into perspective, creating a more realistic outlook on life and making people more appreciative of all that they have and not take their privilege for granted. With every turn of a page, you’ll realise that your problems are ever so minuscule compared to that of what certain people living in this world have to endure on a daily basis. ‘Footprints in obscurity’ is an eye-opener in a plethora of ways and a must-read for sure!