'The Road to Makokota' is set in a war-torn former British colony in present-day West Africa. Craig Allan Hammond, a black American, returns to Africa to find his former love, Oussumatu Turay, and her son — his son — Abu. Sixteen years earlier, Hammond left Oussu and Abu in Makokota after completing a road-building project; she was nineteen when he left, and his son only a few weeks old. He has not seen them since. Now the country is decimated by a civil war. Wracked by guilt and fear, Hammond needs to find mother and son and bring them out of the killing zone to safety — in order to save himself. Hammond scours refugee camps in the French-speaking country across the border from Makokota. Having no success, he journeys with a Polish nurse deep into the ravaged land and its violent and dismal reality. Before his journey is over, he will learn that you can’t find anything until you’ve lost everything.
About the Author: Stephen Barnett grew up in Muskingum County, Ohio. He joined the Peace Corps in 1976 and served in Sierra Leone, West Africa, for two years. After traveling in Africa and the United States, he received an MFA from the University of British Columbia. He lives in the Sacramento Valley with his wife, Carol, and their daughter, Nina.