This week’s letter is “C”. Stacy’s 2 “C” books are:
Bright Stars - Cinderella by Jeanette O'Toole BLURB: Beautiful fairy tales for early readers and read-to-me time. Help your child find the star in every picture. Stacy's Review **** stars! This is a modern retelling of the classic fairytale, with the stepsisters "watching t.v. and eating cakes all day". The book features unusual illustrations. Congo Kitabu by Jean-Pierre Hallet Blurb: Congo Kitabu is an auto-biographical book about the travels of Jean-Pierre Hallet through central Africa from 1948 through 1960. In it he documents interactions with multiple isolated cultures throughout the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi regions. His accounts provide a unique anthropological source of information of the Congo basin during that period. Dr. Hallet's accounts include those of extensive personal participation in cultural activities of the region, including secretive and forbidden (by the Belgian colonial government) practices. In several chapters of the book are described some of his first encounters with the Efe pygmies of the Ituri forest. Stacy's Review: ***** stars!
I have just read another to add to my all-time favorite list. I love stories about personal courage against all odds, sacrifices for a noble cause, and bucking the powers-that-be for the betterment of their corner of the world. In my opinion, this memoir by Jean-Pierre Hallet fills the bill.Jean-Pierre Hallet served for 10 years in the Belgian Congo in government administration. From 1948 until 1960, when the rebellion for independence began, he was faithful in his post. The 17 native tribes under his jurisdiction adored him, many calling him "Father" because his love for them and the Congo itself was so evident. He quickly saw that the standard practice of jailing and fining for minor infractions would never produce results. Instead he taught them. Even the Pygmy natives, who were commonly looked at as unable to be educated and as little more than monkeys, he taught to farm, educated them in schools, how to govern their little villages, and to see themselves as humans worthy of respect and dignity. He battled a full-grown lion with only a spear, a full-grown leopard with only his hands after one of his staff had been attacked, endured "blackwater fever" malaria (the most serious type, usually fatal), the loss of a hand, most of his hearing, was seriously disfigured, but in spite of all, persevered in the field every day to better the natives' lives. It broke his heart, when the independence rebellion began, that the various tribes started killing each other, destroying everything in their path, and did not know why they were even doing it. Here, I quote him: "Most of us had come to the Congo very young and full of altruism. Our goal had been to heal, feed, and educate some thirteen million natives; somehow to build a self-supporting nation where disease, sorcery, tribal warfare, cannibalism, and the slave trade had decimated nearly a million square miles of tropical wilderness. Ironically, tragically, the natives were about to lose, in the name of freedom, almost everything we had tried to help them build."The book has many photographs to document all of these things that he endured, that he accomplished, and those he had witnessed. I will be rereading this definitely.