Sunday, October 19, 2008

Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Holloway

What is it like to live and work in a remote corner of the world and befriend a courageous midwife who breaks traditional roles? Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Mali Midwife is the inspiring story of Monique Dembele, an accidental midwife who became a legend, and Kris Holloway, the young Peace Corps volunteer who became her closest confidante. In a small village in Mali, West Africa, Monique saved lives and dispensed hope every day in a place where childbirth is a life-and-death matter and where many children are buried before they cut a tooth. Kris worked side-by-side with her as they cared for each other through sickness and tragedy and shared their innermost secrets and hopes. Monique's life was representative of many women in one of the world's poorest nations, yet she faced her challenges in extraordinary ways.

In Mali, the maternal death rate in childbirth is one of the highest in the world. True, Malian women average 7 children to the US women's 2 children, but the absence of modern medicine makes childbirth a dangerous activity. That is why Monique was such an asset to her village and to those villages nearby. Her training could be lifesaving to mothers, and to their children afterwards as she counseled on proper nutrition.

This story isn't just about a Peace Corp trip and making life better in one Malian village, it is also the story of a true and lasting friendship. The bond between Kris and Monique is evident as they share their dreams, hopes and fears with each other.

The glimpse into daily life in a Malian village is also fascinating. The descriptions of the village and people are vivid, and the hardships they endure are eye opening and heartbreaking. I highly recommend this moving memoir.

A portion of the proceeds from this book are donated to Monique's children for their well being and for capital in a new clinic in Monique's village.


Ali said...

This looks like an interesting book! I like books where I can travel vicariously to places I'll probably never go.

Anonymous said...

This one is on my wish list.