A newly married couple with great teeth leave the comforts of their quiet Texas home to join the Peace Corps and teach inland fish farming in the land-locked East-African country of Burundi.
Turtle Tushies in the Land of Banana Beer is a collection of letters home, edited and structured in story form, of the lessons, laughter, trials, tribulations and personal growth of jimani (Jim and I), alias Hewe (hay-way) and aahh-nnneeee-tah.
Overcoming our slow-moving, slow-talking 'Turtle Tushie' mode of existence, we find an unexpected niche among the friendly, enthusiastic and hard-working people of Burundi.
Join us as we learn to drink banana beer, grapple with motorcycles, bugs, frogs, charcoal-spewing imbabulas, mud, tons of rain, more mud, falling down, getting up, political uncertainties, language and cultural barriers, and search diligently for courageous farmers willing to take a chance with us.
Our farmers are so enthusiastic at sight of their first fish in their first ponds that they run amok, awry and away with the program, constructing ponds on every allowable and appropriate space, working us to a frazzle to keep up.
From trying to fuel the fires of development work our first year, to applying the brakes in the second, we ride the daily emotional and labor-intensive roller coaster to its intense conclusion.
This is simply a story of us: Of love, humor and hard work; Of learning to embrace a culture and a people not our own; Of learning to laugh, deep from the belly, at the simplest and most beautiful things in life.
To our readers--we hope you enjoy our adventure and thank you for coming along for the ride.
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About the Author
Anita Pauwels walked out of the dust in a semi-arid desert seeking a wider Universe beyond the beyond. She has worked in surgery as a scrub tech/circulator, nurses aide, in a flower shop, chemical plant, bronze foundry, and for 20+ years was a successful bronze artist and writer of prose, showing and selling in venues and galleries across the greater Southwest. In mid-careers, Anita and her husband took a two and a half year sabbatical with the Peace Corps, to work in Burundi, East Africa, where she earned the JFK Volunteer Service Award for Sub-Sahara Africa. She has written a non-fiction book, Turtle Tushies in the Land of Banana Beer--A Peace Corps Memoir, of their adventures teaching fish farming among a heart-warming people. As her second self (Cooper Hill), she has completed seven dystopian future-fiction action-adventure and space opera novels, replete with strong female protagonists, side-kicks, heroines, heroes and an abundant and appropriate number of villains. Ani enjoys writing/reading, disc-golf, friends, long walks with the dog, painting, kayaking and good movies. She currently greets the sun each morning with her patient husband, fun-loving Mom, and their latest rescue dog, a bundle-of-energy-and-joy black cock-a-poo, Cricket. They reside on a beautiful tree-covered hill above a quiet valley.