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Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway

Monique and the Mango Rains

by Kris Holloway

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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
This is a well-written, engaging narrative of a Peace Corps workers time with a midwife in Mali. The ending is particularly moving. It is hard to say how much differently it would have affected me if I hadn't spent time with Peace Corps workers in a similarly third world country and in similarly "depraved" (by developed countries standards) rural communities. No electricity. No running water. No safe drinking water other than bottled. Squat toilets if any at all. And yet these communities have their Moniques, strong, intelligent, resourceful, persistent individuals who would be pillars of the community if they had been born in America, but would only be "welfare scum" if they tried to move to America. ( )
  larryerick | Apr 26, 2018 |

Monique is a very skillful midwife. She is one of the many people in the Mali Tribe. She and Kris Holloway meets when Kris goes to Mali for two years as a midwife. She assists Monique. It is amazing how careful and how much ability Kris owned to deliver babies. She worked with a dearth of medical technology. She had none of what we see on a hospital maternity floor. Surprisingly her lack didn't make her stop caring for the pregnant women who walked from faraway or close by for any little bit of help she could give. Through Monique's character I learned it is possible to make do with the little available to me. I don't have to give up.

While Kris Holloway lived and worked with Monique she gained a friend. They laughed together. They puzzled over an expectant mother's symptoms, and they danced and also talked about disturbing social issues which seemed unlikely to change. For example Monique doesn't receive wages in her hand for her work. Her wages are given to a man. Then, he gives her what is concluded by him as a fair amount. There isn't any governmental officials to weigh his decision. Making money fairly is most important to any woman in any culture. Monique is no different. The odd part is she never complains, never broods and never stops working. Her mind is always one step ahead. How can I save the next baby, how can I keep the mother-to-be strong and how to keep new infants fed and healthy.

Monique never grew tired of her work. She never did sloppy work. Monique is a perfect role model of what any woman can become in the worse of circumstances. I especially remember one mother. When she had a contraction, she didn't have the strength to push the baby. In Mali women never get bedrest before giving birth. They just keep doing hard, heavy labor. Monique tells how rest for this woman's body would have prevented the extremely awful birth this lady experienced.

Kris Holloway also writes about the cutting of women's genitals in Mali. It is horrible to think this very painful practice might still be done to women as a kind of passage ritual. In the end Kris Holloway left me wanting to know more about Africa and Mali. I have learned each culture is different. All cultures have a bad and/or good side. Also, diverse cultures can join with one another and share a friendship. The color of skin, the language, the way people worship doesn't have to be a reason to separate ourselves from one another. Kris Holloway and Monique maintained their friendship long after Kris left to return to the states. They shared letters and a visit. Their bond of friendship was tight. Their generosity toward one another huge.This is a great story of truth on many levels, and true story not to be missed. ( )
  Tea58 | Jun 24, 2013 |

The author, a Peace Corps volunteer in a village in Mali, recounts her experience with an emphasis on her friendship with Monique, the local midwife. The narrative is not as interior as some travel/work memoirs; the trade-off is that Holloway is able to focus on descriptions of the village, her work with Monique, and interpersonal relationships. Holloway is warm but not sentimental; she recounts her conversations with Monique about female genital mutilation as well as Monique's forbidden love for a childhood friend. The realities of hunger, disease, and war are all present, as well as the dilemmas faced by aid workers from more affluent and powerful nations. This is a memoir I hope to teach with in the future. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Monique and the Mango Rains is a very enjoyable story about the experiences of a woman in the Peace Corp in Mali, and the midwife that she becomes friends with. It is very easy to relate to both women, and through the story, one finds oneself cheering them on. The story provides information of what it is like to live in that area of the world, and the author's feelings on how it differs from America.
I really enjoyed this book and will most likely end up reading it again one of these days.
  ktsbentley | Oct 21, 2010 |
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Holloway, Krisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bidwell, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Monique and the Mango Rains is the compelling story of a rare friendship between a young Peace Corps volunteer and a midwife who became a legend. Monique Dembele saved lives and dispensed hope in a place where childbirth is a life-and-death matter. This book tells of her unquenchable passion to better the lives of women and children in the face of poverty, unhappy marriages, and endless backbreaking work. Monique's buoyant humor and willingness to defy tradition were uniquely hers. In the course of this deeply personal narrative, as readers immerse themselves in the rhythms of West African village life, they come to know Monique as friend, mother, and inspired woman."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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