This is a charming story about a young woman’s experiences living overseas. As the back flap will tell you, Eve had been toying with the idea of joining the Peace Corps for years, but her mere idea became a must-do when she fell head-over-heels in love with her Peace Corps recruiter, John.
Desperate to prove herself worldly enough for him, Eve joins the Peace Corp and moves to Ecuador. At first, the poverty and depredations make her miserable, but eventually she finds a place for herself as a social worker/reverse Peter Pan, helping lost boys find their way home.
When a medical event causes her to move back to the states, Eve goes back to dating John, sure that now that she’s proved herself, they can live happily ever after in a first world country. But John hasn’t shaken the ex-pat bug, and the two soon find themselves living in northern Uganda, in a city that most Americans are forbidden to go to (because it’s too dangerous.)
I thought this was going to be something of a cautionary tale about what happens when a woman does something she really doesn’t want to do in order to be with the man she loves. But it’s not that, not really. It’s mostly just a memoir of someone who did what many of us wished we had done–travel the world and have adventures. Even the stories of getting malaria and dysentry, of gunfire in the streets and termites swarming in the house didn’t keep me from envying her, just a little.
Like most good travelogues, this book will make you feel that you experienced the good parts of her trips while shielding you from some of the bad parts. It may make you wish you could go on a safari of your own, or wistful that you, too, didn’t join the Peace Corps. (Or is it really too late? They take old people, don’t they?)
I listened to this as an audiobook, and shockingly enough, I didn’t hate the narrator. She “did voices” for most of the people, but I felt the voices added, rather than detracted, from the story.
I recommend this for former ex-pats, people who wished they were ex-pats right now, and people who like travelogues.