"Spin your globe or leaf through your atlas. Pick a country, but not the country where you live or any country that you are particularly familiar with. I want you to create an entirely fictional character from that country and write a paragraph in which that person introduces him or herself."
Louise Doughty, A Novel in a Year
Alan is from a small village near Katanga Plateau where only a few hundred people speak the local language. Alan spoke five languages by the time he was twenty. Miller met him just after he had returned from school in France. After visiting his village, Miller was astounded that he found his way to France from such a remote place in the middle of the Congo.
Alan's father was the chief of the village and his uncle was the medicine man. His mother was killed during Africa's First World War, in which most of the women in their village were raped and murdered. Miller always assumed that was why Alan was such a good armed driver for foreign women. In addition to female foreign journalists, he drove diplomats and presidents. Miller never feared for her life in his care while driving through war zones, but as Derek would say, "Miller is laced with luck."