Growing up in the rural Midwest in a family of conservative Christians, Bill's life was safe and predictable―until his teens when his parents divorced. Attempting to rewrite the ending of his parents’ marriage and salvage his worldview, he marries a young evangelical woman, but that, too, ends in divorce.
Desperate for answers, Bill leaves home to serve in the Peace Corps. His assignment: to teach at an all-girls' boarding school in Tanzania. Over the next two years, his Bible Belt racism and religious beliefs crumble as the challenges he faces escalate―glimpsing death on holy peaks, meeting “ancestor spirits” in sacred caves, and receiving the leopard-spirit’s blessing from elder shamans.
Filled with breathtaking accounts of death-defying mountain climbs and the spectacular beauty of the African landscape, this memoir is both a tale of adventure and self-discovery―and proof that even the most naïve and insular American can achieve an awakening.
"The trope of mountain climbing as an irresistible call—and the presence of Mount Kilimanjaro as a proving ground—is fit smoothly into [the author's] social and political awakenings. Like Howard Thurman (With Head and Heart, 1979) and Gretel Ehrlich (A Match to the Heart, 1994), Hatcher not only illuminates his own life but the life of the reader as well. An intriguing choice for interfaith book discussion." — Francisca Goldsmith, for the American Library Association
“Personal accounts like this one are hard to pull off, but Bill Hatcher does it!” — Forrest Whitman for Colorado Central Magazine
“Bill Hatcher got about as much from his experience as any [Peace Corps] Volunteer could hope for — accomplishment, challenge, adventure; new eyes and ears as well as a close call with death; education, heartbreak, and through it all, a changing relationship with God. Not a bad two years, all beautifully recalled…" — Eric Lax for Peace Corps Worldwide
“More than rote storytelling, this bracingly honest book follows Hatcher through a transformation from a red-blooded, all-American good old boy to an adventurer and global citizen.” — Madeline Friend for The Leader
"This is a wonderful book. Complicated. Interesting. With depth and meaning [for people] working their ways out of orthodoxy that stifles growth. Lovely work." — Jean Gould, author of Forty Years Since My Last Confession
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