Winner of the 2005 BookBrowse Sapphire Award for Most Popular Debut
Foreign correspondent Neely Tucker and his wife, Vita, arrived in Zimbabwe in 1997. After witnessing firsthand the devastating consequences of AIDS on the population, especially the children, the couple started volunteering at an orphanage that was desperately underfunded and short-staffed. One afternoon, a critically ill infant was brought to the orphanage from a village outside the city. Shed been left to die in a field on the day she was born, abandoned in the tall brown grass that covers the highlands of Zimbabwe in the dry season. After a near-death hospital stay, and under strict doctors orders, the ailing child was entrusted to the care of Tucker and Vita. Within weeks Chipo, the girl-child whose name means gift, would come to mean everything to them.
Still an active correspondent, Tucker crisscrossed the continent, filing stories about the uprisings in the Congo, the civil war in Sierra Leone, and the postgenocidal conflict in Rwanda. He witnessed heartbreaking scenes of devastation and violence, steeling him further to take a personal role in helping anywhere he could. At home in Harare, Vita was nursing Chipo back to health. Soon she and Tucker decided to alter their lives foreverthey would adopt Chipo. That decision challenged an unspoken social normthat foreigners should never adopt Zimbabwean children.
Raised in rural Mississippi in the sixties and seventies, Tucker was familiar with the mores associated with and dictated by race. His wife, a savvy black woman whose father escaped the Jim Crow South for a new life in the industrial North, would not be deterred in her resolve to welcome Chipo into their loving family.
As if their situation wasnt tenuous enough, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was stirring up national fervor against foreigners, especially journalists, abroad and at home. At its peak, his antagonizing branded all foreign journalists personae non grata. For Tucker, the only full-time American correspondent in Zimbabwe, the declaration was a direct threat to his life and his wifes safety, and an ultimatum to their decision to adopt the child who had already become their only daughter.
Against a background of war, terrorism, disease, and unbearable uncertainty about the future, Chipos story emerges as an inspiring testament to the miracles that loveand dogged determinationcan sometimes achieve. Gripping, heartbreaking, and triumphant, this family memoir will resonate throughout the ages.
People Like Us
The bureaucrat was not a happy man, and it didn't take long to understand that I was the source of his irritation. Richard Tambadini was a senior officer in Zimbabwe's Department of Immigration Control. In May 1997, in a drab office in a dreary government building known as Liquenda House, he looked over my papers. He was slow, careful of speech, and so disdainful he seldom looked up.
"You have sent your belongings here ahead of yourself," he said, sounding as if he were reading from an indictment. "You presume that we will give you a work permit. You think little black Zimbabwe needs big white American men like you."
He paused and looked out the window at downtown Harare. A car alarm was going off on the street below, the repeated bleating of its horn drifting above the sound of midmorning traffic.
I shifted in my hard-back chair. This was becoming embarrassing. Vita and I had packed up our belongings from our previous posting in Warsaw, Poland, a few ...
Love in The Driest Season won the 2005 BookBrowse Sapphire Award for Most Popular Debut. As such, BookBrowse, and the more than 1000 BookBrowse members who rated books as part of the 2005 Awards, recommend it highly!
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (703 words).
Zimbabwe (formerly known as Rhodesia) is a landlocked nation in the southern
part of Africa surrounded by the countries of Zambia, Botswana,
Mozambique and South Africa.
According to the CIA Factbook, its population is approximately 12 million. Per capita income is $1,900 and the % of those with AIDS/HIV is 34%. The official language is English with an adult literacy rate of 90%.
In 1965 the country declared its independence with the first free elections held in 1979. Robert Mugabe (a committed Marxist) has been the nations first and only ruler since then, surviving through a canny combination of dirty politics and intimidation including a bit of ethnic ...
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