It Happened on the Way to War - Rye Barcott

In 2000, Rye Barcott spent part of the summer living in ten-by-ten-foot shacks in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. He was a twenty-year-old college student heading into the Marines, and he sought to better understand ethnic violence—something he would likely face in uniform. Barcott learned Swahili and listened to young people talk about how they survived amidst poverty he had never imagined existed. He stumbled into friendship with a widowed nurse, Tabitha Atieno Festo, and a tough community organizer, Salim Mohamed.

It Happened on the Way to War is the gripping story of this unlikely trio’s journey to build a nongovernmental organization in a volatile place and help develop a new generation of leaders from within. Their organization, Carolina for Kibera (CFK), is now a pioneer of the movement called participatory development, drawing recognition fromTime magazine as a “Hero of Global Health” and interest from Melinda Gates, President Barack Obama, and other dignitaries, who have visited to see its best practices.

Barcott continued his leadership in CFK while serving as a Marine in Iraq, Bosnia, and the Horn of Africa. Engaged in two forms of public service at once, he fought in wars while waging peace. Grappling with the intense stress of leading Marines in dangerous places, he took the tools he learned building community in one of the most fractured parts of Kenya and became a more effective counterinsurgent.

This is a true story of sacrifice and courage, failure and triumph, and the powerful melding of military and humanitarian service. It’s a story of what America’s role in the world could be.

About the Author Rye Barcott

Rye Barcott served in the U.S. Marine Corps and co-founded Carolina for Kibera, a non-governmental organization that invests in talented youth in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. After the Marines, he worked for the former CEO of Duke Energy, then co-founded and led Double Time Capital, a clean energy investment firm. He earned his MPA and MBA from Harvard, where he was a Center for Public Leadership Social Enterprise Fellow. Rye co-founded With Honor, a cross-partisan organization that helps elect principled next-generation veterans to US political offices in order to solve our biggest problems and to fix a Congress that is dysfunctional.

It Happened on the Way to War is his first book. He wrote it for students and speaks frequently at high schools and colleges across the country.