Meet Maria Nhambu

Last fall I wrote about Maria Nhambu’s memoir, Africa’s Child. You can read my blog about it here. It tells the story of how she grew up as an orphaned, mixed-race child in Tanzania. The first book in the Dancing Soul Trilogy, Africa’s Child is as heartbreaking as it is inspiring. It leaves you wondering where she went from there.

I am thrilled to share that the second book, called America’s Daughter, has been published. In it, Nhambu chronicles what it was like for her leaving Africa. She was eighteen years old with a newly-adoptive mother who was barely four years older than her. She found a vastly different culture in America and began building a new life in it.

Laugh and cry with her as she recalls the many differences between Tanzania and Minnesota. She reveres education as her key to escaping a life of poverty and oppression. It is no surprise that she chose a career as an educator (at one point, she taught a soon-to-be famous musician named Prince Rogers Nelson.) Nhambu has a love for music, especially African music. She went on to create a program called Aerobics With Soul. It incorporates African dance into a fitness workout.

Nhambu still spends summers in Minnesota, but lives in Delray Beach, Florida during the winter. Thanks to family ties she has to the Quad Cities, she will be visiting us at Eastern on Saturday, Sept 9 at 10:30am to share her story with us in person. Joining her will be her adoptive mother and sister. Refreshments and copies of her books will be available. If we are lucky, there will be dancing. 😉

Nhambu is a gifted storyteller whose candor has made me cry, then cheer for her. Come meet a fascinating woman whose indomitable spirit has proven that love truly does conquer all.

Life Among the Lutherans by Garrison Keillor

life lutheransIf you’ve never read anything by Garrison Keillor before, you’re missing out.  This humorist not only has his own National Public Radio show,  A Prairie Home Companion, but has written many magazine articles and more than a dozen books, including Lake Wobegon Days.

Life Among the Lutherans also takes place in fictional Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, and has that familiar style,with more than half of the chapters beginning with that signature line, “It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.”  The chapters are short (3-5 pages) so it makes for an easy and fast read. Typical of Keillor, there are also a few poems thrown into the mix.

Each chapter is also introduced with an appropriate quote.  This was my favorite: “I don’t like to generalize about Lutherans, but one thing that’s true of every single last one of them without a single exception is that the low point of their year is their summer vacation.”

I was beginning to wonder why there had been no mention of lutefisk.  But then, there it was, listed as Number 2 in the Ninety-Five Theses.  No account of Scandanavian Lutherans would have been complete without some mention of  lutefisk!