Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other: its buildings are made from mud, sticks or plastic, its entire economy is grey, and its citizens survive on rations and luck. With an estimated population of 321 000, Dadaab is the World’s largest refugee camp.
Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education. City of Thorns, 384 pages (325.21 RAW)