Pub. Date:
Waveland Press, Inc.
Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali / Edition 1

Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali / Edition 1

by Kris Holloway, John Bidwell
Current price is , Original price is $21.95. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781577664352
Publisher: Waveland Press, Inc.
Publication date: 07/24/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 184,236
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Kris Holloway is riveting readers with Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali, in which she shares the compelling story of the rare friendship between the author -- then a young Peace Corps volunteer -- and a midwife who became a legend.

Date of Birth:

June 12, 1967

Place of Birth:

Smyrna, Tennessee


B.A. in Environmental Studies, Allegheny College; M.P.H., University of Michigan

What People are Saying About This

I was moved and inspired by Monique. The friendship between the author, a young Peace Corps volunteer, and the Malian midwife is one of the great gifts of the book and proof of the power of women's relationships to recreate the world. --Anita Diamant, author of the international bestseller The Red Tent

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
BWOC More than 1 year ago
I tend to read books that are from real life experiences, almost exclusively. "Monique" was suggested to me by a friend who was reading it for a writing class. Although I enjoy browsing at my local B & N, my friend was so enthusiastic about it that I cut to the chase and made the purchase. From the moment I started reading, I was captivated. The descriptive writing was so vivid that it was as if a movie was playing inside my head. The characters, the landscape, the buildings...all were alive and in color. I found myself absorbed in to the pages. I literally couldn't put the book down. I read for hours, stopped for a snack and continued reading. The main character's enthusiasm and, at times her frustration, took hold of me. I almost felt as I had a duty to continue on, putting everything else on hold. Thankfully, it was a weekend, as I had nothing planned, other than a couple days of rest. My suggestion would be that you do the same. Set aside some time and jump right in to the book. You won't want to put it down. The more you read, you'll be astounded to learn how primitive conditions still remain the high tech world in which we live. To realize that some people, thousands upon thousands of people, are still living under conditions that most of us, (those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to browse the isles of a book store) surpassed generations ago. You'll take fewer things for granted. You'll find yourself smiling and possibly shedding a tear or two. All in all, a terrific book and a very easy read.
monicabrandywine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Monique and the Mango Rains (Two Years with a Midwife in Mali) is a memoir of Holloways¿ experience as a Peace Corp volunteer in Mali, where she befriended midwife Monique Dembele.From the backcover: 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.I know! I know! Yet another memoir. This one I couldn¿t resist, mostly because I¿ve read hardly anything at all about Africa, except a short story by Hemingway. (Why is it I can¿t remember any of the details of The Sun Also Rises and¿ another Hemingway novel I read? Can¿t even recall the title of that book).Plus, I won this book from the Early Reviewers group over at LibraryThing. I had to read it.Oh, darn. You all know how I hate a memoir. Ha.Modern medicine in Mali looks nothing like what we take for granted here in the United States. I look back at my four birth experiences, and nothing that I¿ve complained about with those hospital births comes close to what the mothers in Mali have to endure. We American mothers are blessed, and dare I say ¿ spoiled ¿ with the health care we have available.
julyso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kris Holloway travels to Mali, West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. She is assigned to work in Nampossela (a remote village) assisting Monique Dembele, the area's midwife. Kris works with Monique as she births babies, and as she attempts to educate Mali's women about nutrition, pregnancy, and general healthcare. They do all this without electricity, running water, or doctors. Kris spends two years in Mali and during this time not only do they become friends, they become family.I found this book very interesting and quite informative. It really makes you appreciate all the things we take for granted in the United States, like running water and electricity. It also opens your eyes to the hardships that women, especially, face in countries such as Africa. I loved learning about Monique, her work and her people. The only thing I would have liked is more information about Kris Holloway and John Bidwell, not much was mentioned about their own personal lives. This is a book to cherish always.
alliegator321 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was drawn into the lives described in this book very quickly. It's amazing how different the life is for people in Mali, but how much is also the same.
LivelyLady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 1989, Kris Hollaway, a college grad, was notified that she would be assigned to Mali to be with a mid-wife for two years. This book is her memoirs of her life and time in Mali with Monique, the mid-wife. Besides being interesting to read, her experiences are well written, making it hard to put down the book! I love that in a book. But what really completed this was the follow-up on both the author and on Monique. This is a great book in which to experience different cultures on paper through the written word.
alceinwdld on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Monique and the Mango Rains tells the story of a friendship between an American Peace Corps volunteer and a Malian Midwife. I appreciated the exploration of women's issues and the gentle challenging of western ethnocentrism. This book captures a sense of heartfelt emotion that is sometimes lacking in non-fiction. I truly enjoyed it, and am recommending it to all of my friends.
jeanie1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a bittersweet story of a Peace Corp worker and her friendship with a midwife in the village of Nampossela, Mali in West Africa. Holloway's writing style makes the story very easy to read and as the story unfolds I found myself engrossed in the everyday life of the main character, Monique, and her struggle to provide basic heath care for the local population. The secondary story is the author's adjustment to living in a small African village. Although the focus of this book is a tribute to Monique and her selfless work ethic in the face of overwhelming odds, I was disappointed that there was little background information about the area, other than the brief information in the introduction. The chapters seemed like the skeleton of a larger story, that should have included more in-depth information about the area both politically and culturally. I wanted to see the bigger picture. What was the history of village? The people? Were they always sedentary or had they once been nomadic? As I read the book I wondered if the story was taken from the author's diary- as the writing sometimes seemed to just record a typical days events. Although I was disappointed in the lack of background information, this in no way diminishes the impact of this book. Mali as well as the rest of Africa has appalling medical care and Holloway's testament to this fact will stand the test of time. This story made my cry, for Monique, and for the unfairness of life. While I sit here typing into a laptop in my well-appointed kitchen, a women somewhere in Africa or (insert Third World Country here) is dying in childbirth or her children are starving. Holloway is donating proceeds from this book to expand a healthcare clinic named in Monique's honor. She also includes information on how to donate to assist the clinic, provide school tuition and health care for Monique's children. Please spread the word about this book, discuss it in your bookclubs, make sure your local library has a copy, encourage your friends and neighbors to buy this book, or purchase copies for gifts. Together we can make a difference.
LoreleiMuriel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I seek books offering a vignette of daily life in another culture. This book does that and, most importantly, magnifies how one friendship between two young women with vast cultural differences can have an impact on women's health issues, independence and cultural respect. Monique, the Malian midwife, and Kris, the American Peace Corps worker, spend two years sharing meals, strenuous work and personal confidences while living in a small rural village located in one of the poorest countries of the world. Much appreciated is that neither culture was stereotypically described or judged, only displayed for context. We see how a young American assimilates in Malian village life with the guidance of the Monique and other villagers by learning to eat meals with fingers, sleep on mats, urinate in buckets, and stop menstrual flow with clothing. These women rely on each other for comfort and advice with apparent mutual admiration. In this capacity, birth control, genital mutilation, children's health care and gender inequality are introduced. All these issues were discussed through friendship - one woman talking life talk with another woman while weighing babies and attending to birthing mothers and averting scorpions. It is heartwarming and encouraging to see a significant relationship emerge and a connection held between two woman significantly separated both geographically and culturally.This book was important to understanding the hurdles women in rural Mali confront with forbearance and humor.
monarchi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent read! I was immediately engrossed in the friendship that emerges between the two principal women in this story ¿ an American Peace Corps volunteer, and a young Malian midwife. At the same time, Monique and the Mango Rains opened my eyes to the hardships of life in Mali, especially those that affect women.
schmadeke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kris Holloway spent two life-changing years in Mali, West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. Monique and the Mango Rains is her memoir of that time, of the people she met, and the country she grew to love. Holloway, twenty-two years old, fresh out of college and hailing from Ohio, was assigned to the village of Nampossela in southeastern Mali. Her host, the person she would shadow for two years and with whom she would develop a remarkable friendship, was the village health care worker and midwife Monique Dembele. This book educated me about so many aspects of Mali - the culture, it's political climate, the economy - never once losing my attention or becoming tedious. In fact, I was hooked from the first page. I attribute this to the author's love of the country and its people. Even though her focus in this book is Monique and the villagers, it is obvious that Holloway was an exceptional person in the ease with which she adapted to life in Nampossela. She picked up the language quickly, had relatively few complaints about the lack of ammenities and physical comforts, and was in general open to the experience, embracing the beauty and simplicity of this extraordinary existence.Above all else, Monique and the Mango Rains is a tribute to its title character. Monique was regal and intelligent, wise beyond her 24 years, with an easy-going sense of humor. She was compassionate and kind, dedicated to her work, despite its frustrations and the toll it took on her own life. Overworked and underpaid, she worked at the dilapidated village clinic with her infant son strapped to her back. The resources available to health care were scarce and educating the villagers often meant contradicting a patrilineal cultural tradition in which women were not free to control their own destiny where health and reproductive issues were concerned. Holloway's descriptions made Mali come alive. She painted a richly hued picture of the village of Nampossela. When she described the oily chunks of mudfish that accompanied one meal, I could see and smell them. My skin crawled when a seven-inch long, jet black scorpion fell from an item of clothing she was about to put on one morning. I felt emotionally invested in this story, drawn to keep reading but not wanting it to end. I ached for her when her Peace Corps assignment came to an end and it was time to say good-bye to Monique and the villagers. While Holloway recounted holding back tears on her last day in Nampossela, mine were flowing freely. I am so glad that Kris Holloway decided to write this memoir of her two years in Mali, and that she did it so masterfully. It touched my heart, and changed the way I see the world ... and I can't stop thinking about Monique.
InsatiableB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali was written by Kris Holloway, a former Peace Corps worker. It is a true account of her two years stationed in Mali, Africa as a midwife's assistant.A concise blurb from and the Mango Rains is the true story of the life and death of a remarkable West African midwife, seen through the eyes of a young Peace Corps Volunteer who worked side-by-side with her, birthing babies and caring for mothers, in a remote, impoverished village. It is a rare tale of friendship that reaches beyond borders to vividly and irrevocably unite another woman¿s world with our own.I really enjoyed this book. It was an eye-opener. The reader is transported, along with Holloway, into the depths of West Africa. Into destitute villages, smelly birthing houses and familial feuds. I did with there was a bit more coverage of births in the village just because that's "my thing."This was a read I recommend for sure. It was quick but will stick with you.
mcna217 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Monique and the Mango Rains" is the story of Monique Dembele, a midwife and health care worker, as told through the eyes of Kris Holloway, a Peace Corps volunteer who assisted her in the local clinic and birthing facility. Ms. Holloway served in Mali from 1989 through 1991 and during that time developed both a professional and personal relationship with Ms. Dembele. While living in West Africa, she grew to care very deeply for the people of Mali, and especially for the midwife she worked besides each day. This care and respect is evident as the story is told with real sensitivity and cultural awareness. Ms. Holloway relates village customs like polygamy and animal sacrifices in a way that educates the reader, while at the same time, honoring the local traditions. It is obvious that the author was greatly moved by her experiences in Mali and her narrative has the same effect on the reader.I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an appreciation of other cultures and traditions, who is interested in midwifery and other health care practices in Africa, or who just enjoys a good book about the friendship between two women. I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to learning more about Western Africa.***I think it is unfortunate that I finished this wonderful book on the same day that I learned that the Peace Corps is unable to place all their volunteers because of funding issues. Hopefully, "Monique and the Mango Rains" and other books like it will do something to help rectify this situation.***
ahegge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Monique and the Mango Rains was a moving account of the friendship between a peace corps volunteer and a midwife in Mali during the late 1980s/early 1990s. This book was fascinating while also being incredibly educational. As someone who has spent time in Africa and currently works in women's health, I was greatly looking forward to reading this book, but was unsure about how much new information it would provide me. I was happy to find that the story was incredibly compelling and that many women's health issues were addressed. Holloway manages to address these issues by incorporating them into the narrative, which results in a book that is informative and engaging rather than preachy. I will definitely be recommending this book to my friends and family.
guppyfp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Americans are used to thinking of themselves as self-reliant individualists, but Monique and the Mango Rains reminds us how much our individual self-sufficiency depends on an infrastructure so pervasive that we don¿t notice it. It gives us a view into a world where everything depends on yourself, your family and your local community. If you don¿t plant your crops at the right time, or the rains fall at an unexpected time, your child may die of malnutrition. If you are a woman who bleeds too heavily after the birth of a child, you die ¿ there is no intensive care unit, no transfusion, sometimes not even latex gloves for the midwife. Kris Holloway was thrown into this world as a Peace Corps volunteer. She introduces us to Monique, a village midwife and healthcare worker, and more importantly, makes us care about her and about her life. She is a living individual, a power in her own community who can raise the standard of living in her village. Holloway puts the emphasis on Monique, not herself. Appropriately, she gives Monique credit for improvements to her village, changes that Holloway and the Peace Corps structure could facilitate, but not impose from outside. The book reads easily, like a novel, and it reminds us that the world¿s poor people have lives as full and meaningful as our own. The focus is personal and individual, but the themes it brings up are universal: that it is only chance whether we are born into wealth or poverty, and that a small spark of generosity can lead to big changes.
whjensen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What if you lives in a country where, if you are a woman, you have a 1 in 12 chance of dying in childbirth? What if you are expected to have three, four, five children? What if a complication means being bundled on the back of a moped and being driven fast to the nearest larger village, where the nearest real medical care is?The author of this fine book, Kris Holloway, spent 2 years with the Peace Corps living in a remote village in Mali. This story is the amazing tale of her friendship with Monique, a midwife who - although only 3 years her senior - was the only medical care most people in her village would ever see.The story progresses from Kris' early moments being drawn in by Monique's personality and dedication, to an unexpected conclusion that is all too common in the world of Monique. A book I was prepared to not enjoy, I found myself drawn into it. With the plot structure a total shambles, with time jumping months in a matter of sentences with no warning, the book rather focuses in on Monique and her situation. A relatively short book at 200 pages, it successfully paints the picture of a woman who is fully aware of her situation as midwife in a sub-Saharan African village, and faces that with a striking combination of fatalistic acceptance and entrepreneurial will to change the fate of women in her village.This story should be read by all Westerners, if only to contrast the sanitized birthing process we experience with the trials found in most of the rest of the world.
lesliecp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a Peace Corp volunteer from the U.S, and young midwife from the African nation of Mali. Rarely, have I read a story of another culture told in such a respectful and loving manner. I wanted to go to Mali and visit the village and people depicted in the story.The book describes Kris Halloway's adjustment to Malian culture and her growing friendship with Monique Dembele who serves as a village midwife. As Kris helps Monique with her work she learns how Malian woman cope with pregnancy, childbirth, hope, disappointment and loss. The story is told with much more humor than I thought was possible. It manages to be both heart-warming and heart-breaking . This book deserves a much wider audience. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Bonni208 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a delightful book that I was sad to see come to an end. Holloway writes of her time spent in Mali as a member of the Peace corp. She worked side-by-side with a midwife and received a hands-on education about the culture, medical practices, and challenges of the local communities. I highly recommend this book.
co_coyote on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love travel books, and especially travel essays. Think Barry Lopez or Gretel Ehrlich, or even John McPhee. But there is a difference between a writer who just tells us what happened, and a writer who is somehow able to draw larger connections between what happened and what it means. Kris Holloway has written a fine book about what happened. I think it certainly paints a realistic portrait of what it is like to live in a poor country as a Peace Corp Volunteer. And I liked it for that reason. But what was missing for me is the larger picture of what her personal experience might mean for the rest of us. If it was there, I missed it.
zibilee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Monique and the Mango Rains is the moving account of Kris Holloway's experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa, assisting Monique Dembele, the area's local midwife and medical worker. In the crippling poverty of Mali, Monique and Kris work to help Mali's women and children in times of medical distress. From the birthing of babies to relationship counselling, fending off disease and infection to nutrition education, Monique labors ceaselessly and tirelessly. Her work builds a reputation far and wide that draws women from distant villages seeking her expert help. Kris, while adapting to her harsh environment, becomes more than just an assistant to Monique, experiencing with her the joy of her work and her relationships with the local women. She shares the anguish and disappointment of Monique's life outside the clinic and the close bond of her host family in Africa, becoming a friend to this inspiring woman. As Monique and Kris work to bring education and information to the women, they must broach sensitive topics like birth-control, AIDS, and abolishment of female circumcision. These topics, foreign to the local women, directly affect the survival of the community, and they work tirelessly to educate and inform the women while still dealing with the malnutrition, illness, and injury that besiege them every day.The candid portrayal of life in the small village was very informative and interesting. I learned a great deal about the regions politics, the African society, and the general day to day existence of the small provincial village. The backbreaking work that the community must endure to prepare for the seasonal rains that fortify their village was explained in rich detail, making the story of the community's struggle for their survival come alive to the reader. Every hand is needed to plant and harvest the life giving crops that will sustain the villagers in the dry season. Monique's inexhaustible commitment to her patients and to her family was awe-inspiring. Her work to repair the birthing house, her bi-weekly weighing of babies, and her educational instruction to mothers for the care of their children was invaluable to the women of her community. Monique's story, though inspirational, was also fraught with sadness. The relationship between her and her husband, who she only calls le gars (the guy) is upsetting and one-sided. While Monique provides the money, care and stability, her husband takes and takes from her, never realizing the treasure that he is entrusted with. Monique works long and trying hours at the clinic, barely scraping by financially, with her young son tied to her back. Though at times the story was sad, there were real moments of joy and laughter throughout this book, from the triumphant birth of twins in an area where a double birth is almost unheard of, to Monique's musings on an airplane ride, I found myself smiling and laughing with Kris and Monique. Monique and Kris's friendship continued even after Kris's time in the peace corps ended, and straddled two different continents and many years.This was a remarkable story of a remarkable woman. It encompassed the difficulties, differences and uniqueness of African culture that goes unnoticed by most Americans. I found Monique to be a fascinating woman who gave her heart and soul to the people who relied on her for their daily survival. This book was written in part to document the work that Kris did at Monique's side, but more than this, it was written as a homage to her great friend Monique. Monique truly touched Kris's life, and upon reading this book, I found she touched mine as well. Wonderful book, highly recommended.
tela1226 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 1989 Kris Holloway left rural Ohio and traveled to Mali in West Africa. From the first chapter of her book, the reader is transported there as well. The author offers riveting descriptions of everyday life in a country that most of us would be hard-pressed to find on a map. She paints a vivid picture of the culture, customs and religion of the region, all without sounding preachy. The story of her friendship with Monique, the lone village healthcare worker and midwife, is beautiful in its rarity and its ability to transcend vast cultural differences. The reader finds oneself at once totally immersed in a difference world, and thanking God that we live, work, and raise families in a place with more modern amenities than Mali offers its residents.
Kirconnell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Monique and the Mango Rains begins as the memoirs of a young American Peace Corps volunteer assigned to assist in a medical clinic in Mali, West Africa, but it becomes a loving tribute to a remarkable woman. Monique served as a medical technician and midwife to the people of her village and through shared experiences and true affection she became a close friend and soul sister to the author Kris Holloway. Ms. Holloway never glosses over the less attractive features of life in Mali nor does she present herself as a savior to the people there. Instead she tells her story with love and what a story! I laughed and cried and learned about a new world. A marvelous book. One that I will never forget. I took it to work and already have 3 people waiting in line to read Monique's tale.
its-lauren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Monique and the Mango Rains" is an enjoyable, easy read. It details the growing friendship between a Peace Corps volunteer from Ohio and a young midwife in Mali. I learned much about Mali culture (traditions, rituals, food, etc.), as well as about what a Peace Corps volunteer does. Although I am glad that I read this book, I would caution you that its descriptions of childbirth and female excision are fairly graphic.
JGoto on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Monique and the Mango Rains is aptly named. This memoir of Peace Corps worker, Kris Holloway, is not the story of her own adjustments in far-off, parched Mali, although it was probably as different from her rural Ohio hometown as you could get. Instead, the story concentrates on Holloways¿ friendship with and observations of Monique Dembele, a twenty-four year old Malian midwife she worked with in the small West African village of Nampossela.The book was alluring from page one. No, even before that. The captivating smile on the cover photograph of Monique Dembele drew me in. With only a sixth grade education and 9 months of midwifery training, Monique was the main care-giver for the sick and pregnant in her village. She also tended to her in-laws¿ family and endured a marriage to a man she disliked. Monique knew of the injustices and difficulties women of Mali faced, yet she strived to help these women make the most out of life. I particularly like the image Holloway presents when she imagines her at work shortly before Monique is to die in childbirth: ¿Monique, my teacher, my friend, my sister¿I could picture her here, wrapped in bright blues and sparkling gold, giving this room its only splash of vibrant color. A pregnant midwife, her large feet splay for balance as she leans over a woman in labor. Two bellies nearly touch: one pushing and one waiting. Her chestnut skin glistens in the stifling heat. In steady, fluid motion, her hands beckon another soul. Her dark eyes, her warm voice, and sure smile give welcome comfort to another mother.¿Monique Dembele was an inspiration to those who knew her. She was like the ¿mango rains,¿ the brief and welcome rains which come unexpectedly in times of drought to freshen the world around them.
Lallybroch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Mali, the maternal death rate in childbirth is one of the highest in the world. True, Malian women average 7 children to the US women's 2 children, but the absence of modern medicine makes childbirth a dangerous activity. That is why Monique was such an asset to her village and to those villages nearby. Her training could be lifesaving to mothers, and to their children afterwards as she counseled on proper nutrition.This story isn't just about a Peace Corp trip and making life better in one Malian village, it is also the story of a true and lasting friendship. The bond between Kris and Monique is evident as they share their dreams, hopes and fears with each other. The glimpse into daily life in a Malian village is also fascinating. The descriptions of the village and people are vivid, and the hardships they endure are eye opening and heartbreaking. I highly recommend this moving memoir.A portion of the proceeds from this book are donated to Monique's children for their well being and for capital in a new clinic in Monique's village.
gretchenlg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I think about what we in the US consider "survival," i.e. TV's Survivor, etc, I think that we are really missing the point. Monique and millions of people like her are real survivors, living each day in spite of poor nutrition and being surrounded by disease. Some of these people don't just survive. They spend every waking moment helping everyone around them to live and to live better. One of these real people was Monique, who safely birthed hundreds of babies and tried to bring birth control to her small village. Ironically, and very sadly, she died in childbirth. Thanks to her friend, Ms. Holloway, for telling Monique's story to the world.