Change Agents

Lessons from a decade of working in a Kenyan slum Rye Barcott ’01 traveled to Kibera, the largest slum in East Africa, as a senior on a Burch Fellowship in 2000, intending to research the lives of the young people there. Where other visitors might have stood at its entrance and seen only the crushing … More Change Agents

Rye Barcott Goes to War

Two o’clock in the morning and the noise is deafening. Rye Barcott gets dressed, grabs his machete. It sounds like war coming down outside his shanty in Kenya, and swarms of people are running toward the railroad tracks on the border of the Kiberan slums. Barcott follows the candles, the flashlights, the moonbeams that shine like an interrogation lamp; he follows the banging, to a man who lies bloodied in the middle of an enormous mob. He’s a thief, a mwizi, and his tale makes Barcott lose his voice. A villager stands over the mwizi. He appears to be flicking something at him. Seconds later, the thief is in flames.
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