- Perfect Paperback: 317 pages
- Publisher: Rocket Science Productions, LLC (July 22, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1939954037
- ISBN-13: 978-1939954039
- Package Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,203,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Vuto Perfect Paperback – July 22, 2013
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In Vuto, A.J. Walkley has vividly captured the idealism of First World volunteers, as well as the cultural differences they encounter in the countries where they are placed, giving readers a rare glimpse into the issues that aid organizations are fraught with, but which rarely make it into the news. --Rex Pickett, author of Sideways and Sideways (the play)
Vuto is that rare combination of creative genius and personal knowledge so necessary for a reader to not only thoroughly enjoy, but also learn. Well done, Ms. Walkley! --Jeff Mudgett, author of Bloodstains
Walkley guides the reader along a path known only to a very few in the world. Her knowledge of the Malawian culture adds such depth to her words that it is hard to put this book down. Vuto is a truly gripping story a real treasure of a read. --Van Heerling, author of Malaika
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We meet Sam, an HIV/AIDS health educator and second generation volunteer watch her first birth. What should be a joyous event anywhere, here in rural Malawi, its another tragedy. We learn that here, infant morality is the norm. Fathers don't even see newborns unless they survive the first two weeks. Vuto's crime: forcing her husband to see her third dead infant. Vuto's banishment and Sam's subsequent involvement begins an odyssey through the ancient forests and mountains of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Walkley crafts her two protagonists as mirror images yet from different worlds. Both are fighters for justice. Each are "troublemakers". Through their journey, Vuto learns of the options available to Sam; Sam learns the lack of Vuto's, and rural Africa's, options. We also learn that, while International organizations try to help, years of work doesn't make much difference, especially for women.
I learned so much taking this journey. I recommend you should too.
I have never been to Africa, and I have never been a Peace Corps volunteer. This story gave me a first-hand experience of this lifestyle and what it truly means to be part of this organization, and the types of things you see on a daily basis. I found my jaw hanging open at several points throughout this book and I turned that last page feeling so enlightened and educated. AJ - when's the next novel? ;)
Vuto is a 17-year-old native who has just buried her third child. Malwaian tradition prevents women from naming their children before they've lived for two weeks. Men won't even the existence of the child before either.
But Vuto breaks tradition. All of her children are named and she shows her husband his dead daughter. This causes her to be banished, leading Samantha to help the teenager. Vuto's husband goes after her and Samantha kills him in defense.
The chapters are very short and switch between the two women and, later, two men Peace Corps members. This drives the story forward in little snippets that made me want to keep reading.
The two females are then chased through Malwaia and other parts of Africa for running from the crime.
While this isn't a rue story, it's based on the author's experiences. The United States has done a lot to help other countries, but we can't force all of their traditions away, no matter how we feel. Female genitalia mutilation occurs and there are "rites of adulthood" where pre-teen children of both genders are raped, even as young as 8-years-old, and by the same person at the same time. I had no idea the latter happened; it's so sad and depressing. We can only hope that AIDS awareness has spread a little more and such rituals have ended.
And then there is mention that at least one volunteer in every Peace Corps group is raped before their two-year stint is up. Yet the Peace Corps sweeps it under the carpet to save their reputation. If that's true, and they only help their people on the surface (so to speak) that that is angering.
I learned a lot about different customs and the people. It was a good book (with some not-so-good events)