Remembering Africa
by Jo Paroz
Trafford Publishing

"It is amazing to discover the things that are missed and appreciated most when living in the third world."

When Jo Paroz was recruited for a 2-year teaching position at the International School of Tanganyika (IST) she was thrilled. The opportunity to live and work in Africa was truly a dream come true. That enthusiasm transfers to the page in this engaging memoir that combines personal journaling and adventurous travelogue in highlight of the life, culture, and landscape of a fascinating region. Acclimating to her surroundings in Dar es Salaam, Paroz shopped for food and staples at the open-front dukas, made use of colorful native Kanga wraps to ward off bedbugs, and kept malaria at bay with potent lariam. She battled the heat and humidity that attracted giant snails, geckoes, and roaches, and dealt with major refrigeration woes.

While teaching at IST, Paroz clearly made a positive impact on students via projects both in and beyond the classroom. Problematic concerns primarily surfaced as Paroz realized the work environment "demanded the efficiency of western standards, but operated within the frustrations of a third world setting." Low water tables, electrical outages, slow mail, and limited phone service were frequent occurrences. But school breaks offered great opportunities for travel. Paroz is in full glory regaling readers with details of vacation getaways that included visits to Nairobi, Zimbabwe, the Seychelles, Ethiopia, and several other destinations. From safari treks to creative batik lessons, walks through sacred underground churches to tastings of a rare coconut liqueur, the author happily shares experience and insight from each new venture.

Black & white photos serve well as both a souvenir collection for Paroz and visual enticements for the reader. Within the narrative Paroz also mentions several books on African life and lore that could benefit a traveler's inclinations. Paroz clearly relishes the experience of learning and travel, and her writing is a testament to these interests. She seems at home, meeting new people, seeing new places, and sharing her discoveries. Hopefully beyond Remembering Africa, we can look forward to a new installment from this teacher/adventurer as she heads to her next assignment in the Far East.

Return to USR Home