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When I began to write about my life in Africa, my third cousin gave me the diaries and letters of her grandparents who had lived in the same region of Mozambique in the lates 1880s where I had worked inearly 1970. As she handed me a huge bag of papers, Carol Bennett Brandt said that her grandmother always wanted to write their story. Carol read and approved the first draft of this book prior to her death.
The story follows Harriet Sage Bennett and her husband from the Kansas prairies to Mozambique. She contributed greatly to developing Xitshwa as a written language so that others could learn to speak it. The book is a fictionalized biography of their years in Mozambique and quotes portions of correspondence regarding problematic issues they had to cope with.
The Bennett's story introduces us to Tizore Navess and his wife, Paketi. They worked side by side with the Bennetts and developed a longing for independence for their people.
This is the story of my life in Lisbon and Africa. It is presented as a fictionalized memoir because I wanted to protect the people I worked with. While everything happened to me as it unfolds for Amanda Bechtel, I've changed the sequence of some experiences and condensed the events of five years into a span of three. Amanda's story is the fictionalized account of my experiences as a United Methodist missionary nurse.
Amanda has to adjust to living with secret police surveillance in Lisbon as she is learning the language. Soon after arriving in Mozambique, she is deported and has to decide about her future. Temporarily reassigned to Rhodesia, she is confronted with a cholera epidemic and later learns about the true conditions of Ian Smith's 'protected villages.' A visit to the area offers the opportunity for her to take clandestine photos that are smuggled out of the country and later used to defend colleagues arrested for subversive activities and treason. On her return to Mozambique, Protestant clergy are being arrested and tortured which heighten safety concerns at the hospital. Renewed fighting thwarts her romantic involvement with a freedom fighter.
Tristi witnessed the massacre and destruction of her village when she was twelve years old. By working on the ship, she was completing the internship requirement for her university degree. This was her last voyage before returning to classes in Lisbon.
During embarkation, she saw the man who gave the orders to destroy her family and home board the ship. Her work as a cabin stewardess brought her into contact with many passengers. For this transatlantic crossing, Tristi hoped that another passenger, Amanda Bechtel, now Amanda Allmond, would come to her assistance, if needed. The mere sight of Colonel Perreira triggered vivid memoris of all that had happened during Mozambique's war for independence. How would she avoid the colonel? Is it possible that he would recognize her and try to erase the last person who could connect him to the genocide?
This book was a finalist in the categories of suspense and adventure for the 2010 New Mexico Book Awards.
Daphne and Thekla
Roman society was opressive for women, but Thekla has even more challenges to face than most. Her own mother, Theokleia, wants her dead and will stop at nothing to destroy her. She sees the perfect opportunity when Thekla becomes a follower of Apostle Paul. She conspires with Thekla's fiance to have Paul arrested, and when Thekla bribes the prison guards to let her speak to Paul, her mother uses her influence over the judge to have Thekla condemned to death. Soon after climbing her funeral pyre, a terrific storm douses the flames chasing onlookers away and sets Thekla free. She seeks refuge with her father's friend Daphne, a wise and loving woman who has been like a mother to Thekla, although as a courtesan she herself lives on the fringes of society. With Dahpne's help Thekla embarks on the journey of a remarkable life.