In an African village, deep in the highland rainforest of East Africa, Dave's birth proves to be an inconvenience to his American parents, who work in Africa for foreign aid societies. His disabilities only exacerbates the problem. During their long and frequent absences, his parents unburden their curly-haired, freckled son into the willing hands of an elderly Kulima couple who raise him as their own. While Dave's parents rescue Africa from itself, Africans rescue Dave from his abusive father. Beyond the tattered educational remnants of a boarding school for white foreign children, Dave's real education comes from the stories, traditions, and skills Africans passed down through the generations. Nothing compares to what he learns around the village fires at the feet of the elders. Dave is at home among the Kulima, the Ibutho, and the Malusi peoples. In this multicultural setting, Dave struggles to come to terms with the law that requires him to leave his African birthplace at the age of nineteen and go to the America that his birth-parents call home. For most in the white community, he is little more than an unkempt misfit. In the African communities he is the subject of exaggerated folklore.