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John 21:17

The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

Oct. 3, 2011

Looking for Lovedu: A Woman's Journey Through Africa

by Ann Jones

I have mixed feelings about this book. At its best, it is a riveting travel narrative about traversing Africa from north to south. It's divided into the frenzied journey with Kevin Muggleton (coinciding with the most dangerous countries, worst road conditions and harshest climate) and the more leisurely drive with two other women (through a more stable part of the continent). It's also a pretty good thought piece on the differences between men and women's perspectives, power, work and attitudes. The author seems to grow in her own understanding of these things as the trip progresses.

The book is at its worst in the overviews Jones gives to many of the countries she passes through. Here she comes off as a writer with an ax to grind. She makes sweeping generalizations in a snide way. It's not that history wouldn't back up her assertions as to how awfully white Europeans and Americans treated and continue to treat the continent and its people. It's the way she says it---in a tone that pretty much begs the reader to find reasons to disagree with her.

I found it interesting that in these overview sections Jones constantly took potshots at Christians and missionaries who she felt had ruined Africa. Yet on the road, each missionary outpost she encountered (whether African- or European-run) showed her the utmost kindness and generosity, and was filled with peaceful people who lived well. Jones mentioned all these things, but apparently saw no contradiction between what she personally experienced and what she wrote in the overviews.

Definitely worth a read, but take the polemic with a grain of salt.

ISBN 978-0-3757-0533-5

©2011 Rebecca Copeland


Jones does her best to cross Africa with several companions, but has a hard time shedding her preconceptions.