Natalie C. Anderson: City of Saints & Thieves

Last Friday, all S6 Geography classes were invited to go on an imaginary travel to Africa, joining a young girl, Tina, on her fight for the truth – the truth about who killed her mother. We followed her to Kenia, Kongo, the hell of war, flight and revenge, and a lot of moments that could cost Tina her life.

But City of Saints & Thieves showed more than this layer, meant to being more than just a thriller. It opens a world we normally do not experience living in a peaceful, secure country. Being dedicated to “all girls who are more than just refugees”, the book offered the opportunity of talking about flight, development, colonization and decolonization in Africa – all the topics students are dealing with in year 6 Geography.

Natalie C. Anderson is a writer and international development professional living in Geneva, Switzerland. She has been working with non-governmental organizations and the United Nations on refugee relief and development, mainly in Africa.

Natalie did not only talk about flight and development, the working conditions in rare earth mines in Africa – something we can find in our smartphones and tablets – but she also challenged students to close their eyes and imagine an intense scene during flight. They imagined sudden gunshots – and wrote or designed as a tattoo what they expected to happen right after.

This was another very intense author visit, and we can be sure that there will be moments in Geography lessons, where students will say or think: “Oh, that was what Natalie was talking about…!”