A Foreign Service Officer stationed at the American Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia (Central Asia) wrote me for a request. I paused in amazement wondering why I was contacted by this stranger from the State Department. How did he find me?
In his quest for authors to endorse his upcoming memoir, Christopher came across my book, In Search of Pink Flamingos, on a Peace Corps website and contacted me. We had both served as volunteers and were the only white people in our remote villages. This seemed to be our common thread.
But our commonalities diverged when I began to read his book. With our large age gap, I could easily be his mother. He came from a city in Wisconsin and had a four-year college degree. He knew himself well enough at age 23 to question his value as a Peace Corps volunteer. I on the other hand was a 19 year old naive, inexperienced farmer’s daughter with a license to be a practical nurse, who was going to conquer the world. We were both assigned to remote villages in countries on opposite ends of the world, 25 years apart. I was stationed in Liberia and Christopher was in the South Pacific on the island of Papua New Guinea.
His his memoir later revealed why the universe brought us together. We were both raised in a Catholic household. Family dysfunction was familiar to us. We endured similar challenges in our overseas assignments where we were a novelty to the villagers and lived in a fishbowl environment surrounded by a male dominated culture. We experienced the injustices of the local women, especially those unmarried, and we coexisted with witchcraft practices. After the Peace Corps learned of murders in our area, they offered to remove us from our villages. We both refused.
Perhaps our Western beliefs and values kept Christopher and I on the edge of total acceptance by the villagers. Yet we both discovered a deep love for them that compelled us to write our respective memoirs. 18,000 miles and 25 years that separated our village assignments seemed nonexistent as we lived parallel lives. Ironically, we both came to similar conclusions about our experiences, only in a different country, at opposite ends of the globe, at a different moment in time.
Take a rare look into the village life found in a cloud forest in Papua New Guinea. I encourage you to read The Tin Can Crucible, to be released in December 2020. Click here to purchase the book on Christopher’s website and follow him on his Facebook page.
Here is my endorsement for his book,
Davenport’s masterful and lyrical memoir delves into the complexities of his remote village where he strips life and death down to their purest and truest form. His conclusion leaves us with our own values and culture to examine for a long, long time.
– Susan E. Greisen, author of In Search of Pink Flamingos