Review of Monique and the Mango Rains
Monique and the Mango Rains is a memoir about a friendship that develops between Kris Holloway, and a midwife in the village of Nampossela, Mali. Kris Holloway served in the Peace Corps and was assigned for 2 years to be stationed in Mali. Kris was trained to “give health demonstrations, repair wells, build fuel-conserving stoves, plant trees, and protect the shoots from the ever hungry mouths of goats” (11). Kris meets and assists Monique Dembele in her struggle to improve health care for the women of this village and surrounding areas. Monique, having apprenticed for two years as a midwife, and studied for nine months in a health services program, is the only health worker in the village. She performs prenatal consultations, gives health demonstrations, births babies, administers vaccinations, solves the health problems she can treat and is forced to accept the fate of those who suffer from more serious illnesses and have no access to further medical care. But not only is Kris helping Monique, they develop a relationship that becomes a very real friendship as their lives intertwine and Monique brings Kris into the circle of her family. Despite all the things that might make it difficult, these two women create a partnership as they both try to better the lives of the women and children in the village. Women of Mali
In Mali, the women’s role is to be confined to her home and yard. A Malian woman is first and foremost valued in her roles of spouse and mother. Placement into these family roles starts early; young girls are expected to help with housework and look after younger siblings. The women of Mali have arranged marriages from an early age. And even though they are arranged, the husbands are usually married to other women also. Irreconcilable differences like lack of communication, spousal incompatibility, and unhappiness between marriage partners are some of the things Monique complains about. She has more...
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