Tag Archives: Mali

FREE Day on Kindle. Sunday, April 15. What You Got to Lose?

Former Number One at Kindle Action and Adventure.

Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa

Free all day Sunday. Load up a great summer read.

The Best Choice in 2012, March 15, 2012 By Cat mom (LI NY) – This book is different from my usual Kindle choices…. It was absolutely outstanding. I found the African setting interesting. The father’s search for his son drove the exciting plot. The novel was worth many stars.*

I loved this book, March 12, 2012 By Jim Brumm – I can’t believe that this wonderful book is as inexpensive as it is. It is a great read of a father’s quest to find his son in Africa to deliver a letter from the boy’s dying mother. But it’s so much more than that. It is a saga of cultures clashing, of regret, redemption, and adventure, all told with great writing. There aren’t enough good books that are set in Africa. This is one of the best. I would have been happy to pay $10 for this book.

Captivating! March 5, 2012 By BookAddict (FL) – I was engrossed in this story from beginning to end. The plot is multi-layered, with mystery, suspense, drama and adventure. The characters are unique and have many dimensions. They made me care and I wanted to crawl inside the story with them. The dialogue is realistic. The ease of the descriptions immersed me in African countries and cultures. I did not simply read this story. I experienced it.

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FREE Days on Kindle. Friday, March 30 & Saturday, March 31.

Former Number One at Kindle Action and Adventure.

Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa  Get it here!

FREE Friday and Saturday, March 30 & 31. Load up a great summer read.

The Best Choice in 2012, March 15, 2012 By Cat mom (LI NY) – This book is different from my usual Kindle choices…. It was absolutely outstanding. I found the African setting interesting. The father’s search for his son drove the exciting plot. The novel was worth many stars.*

I loved this book, March 12, 2012 By Jim Brumm – I can’t believe that this wonderful book is as inexpensive as it is. It is a great read of a father’s quest to find his son in Africa to deliver a letter from the boy’s dying mother. But it’s so much more than that. It is a saga of cultures clashing, of regret, redemption, and adventure, all told with great writing. There aren’t enough good books that are set in Africa. This is one of the best. I would have been happy to pay $10 for this book.

Captivating! March 5, 2012 By BookAddict (FL) – I was engrossed in this story from beginning to end. The plot is multi-layered, with mystery, suspense, drama and adventure. The characters are unique and have many dimensions. They made me care and I wanted to crawl inside the story with them. The dialogue is realistic. The ease of the descriptions immersed me in African countries and cultures. I did not simply read this story. I experienced it.


My First Amazon FREE Day! Sunday, February 19

Rush over to Amazon for my first free promo on KDP Select. Load your Kindle with a wild journey through the African countryside.

Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa

 Go here.  NOW!

And thank you for making the trip.


Follower Love Giveaway Hop

A father’s enduring love for his estranged son propels him on a mission to West Africa.

The trip misery piles up but nothing can deter Matt Reiser from finding his son.  Except his son.

Use this code: RD36Z at this site for a free copy of Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa.

Or for a 99 cent copy click Kindle.

Back to the hop here.


Alaskan Book Cafe Guest Post

I have asked author Mark Rudolph to speak with us today about how he came to write his book, Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa.

Thanks Cristina for asking me to contribute to your blog.

My first real job was working for a US multinational, based in Brussels, from where I was responsible for organizing the sales and delivery and maintenance of major truck fleets to West African countries. This was in the early eighties when communication was by telex, when flights to Africa were infrequent, and when once you were there, you were largely on your own.

I would go for a month at a time to tour the West African countries where the State, AID, and United Nations organizations ran projects and kept offices. These men, and they were all men, were my potential customers.  My competitors were the Soviets, the Chinese, the French, the British, the West Germans, and the Japanese.  All business was conducted in French, which slapped my textbook French into shape pretty fast.

Most the projects were meant to improve the lives of people living in near-Biblical conditions: improving access to water, building roads and bridges, establishing self-sustaining businesses, and improving agriculture. Some projects were major buildings that provided jobs for the period of construction and afterward were intended to be a source of continuing employment, such as churches, stadiums, museums, administrative buildings, and other municipal structures. Some projects were just excuses for politicians to get rich

Graft and corruption were rampant. How much of the money lined the pockets of corrupt politicians and middlemen is hard to say, but it was obvious to me as a young executive that by complying with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which all my colleagues and I signed, we were at a significant competitive disadvantage. We agreed not to provide payment to any middlemen not directly related to a project. Our competitors labored under no such restrictions.

Corruption however didn’t stop the many people who spent significant portions of their lives in these countries striving to contribute to the improvement of the environment, and the quality of life, at the grass roots level.

I observed the contrast between the world of multinational head-to-head competition, and on-the-ground person-to-person education. I had many conflicting thoughts at the time as I became acquainted with a full range of people involved in all apsects of foreign aid.

Nearly everyone did the best they could with the tools at their disposal. But the deck is stacked against the indigenous people. The poorest of the world’s poor are still the poorest of the world’s poor forty years later, despite the billions of aid money poured into the region.

I devised a story so I could explore again what it was like to straddle the developed and the developing world at a pre-9/11 time, prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which in a geopolitical sense started the chain of events that brought us to today’s dangerously polarized world.

Matt Reiser is a naive, untraveled American, who makes one huge simple mistake, which sends him on a journey that he is wholly unprepared for. He needs to find his son and deliver a letter from his ill wife who desperately wants to reconnect with their son.  Matt’s life until this trip has been orderly and predictable. His son chose to strike out on his own for a different and more challenging life, joining the Peace Corps right out of college, and cutting off all contact with his parents for his own reasons.

On the way to find his son, Matt discovers a West Africa outside the confines of the taxi-airport-hotel-embassy bubble which is where most tourists spend their time. By the time he reaches his son, he’s in a better position to understand him, and himself.

My hope is the reader enjoys and respects the characters, and the countryside, as much as I did when I first traveled through the territory.  And will develop a deeper appreciation for the region and its ongoing challenges.

Thanks for giving me this chance to connect with your followers, Cristina.

Thank you Mark for sharing with us today. I will be reviewing Facing the Son, A Novel in Africa at a future date.

http://www.alaskanbookcafe.com/2011/09/a…


Ségou and Bla

In 1620, Bozo settlers founded the town of Ségou, later the capital of the Bambara Empire which stretched along the Niger River. The Empire based its economy on the slave trade and was therefore often at war with its neighboring tribes.

In 1861, El Hadj Oumar Tall, a Muslim Tukulor from Senegal, defeated the Bambara and forced the population to convert to Islam. El Hadj Oumar Tall often left his son Ahmadu in charge of Ségou while he continued his conquest of neighboring towns and tribes, until one day he  blew himself up with his own dynamite. Ahmadu ruled Ségou until the French, in league with his local adversaries, chased him away and took control in 1890.

In Mali, El Hadj Oumar Tall is blamed for wrecking the region through brutal warfare and preparing the way for French victory.

Today, Ségou is an important agricultural region. Its people excel in pottery made from the mud of the Niger River and weave the locally grown cotton and wool into cloth, blankets, and carpets. Most people live on less than $2.00 per day.

Early in the eighteenth century, the founder of the Bambara Empire, Biton Mamary Coulibaly, established Bla as a supply outpost for ammunition and grain. The verb, “ka bila,” literally means “leave behind.”

Today, the small town of Bla serves as a crossroads for goods heading north and south.


Bamako

In the 1880’s, Bamako was a small fishing village of several dozen mud huts built safely away from the banks of the Niger River.  In the local Bambara language, Bamako means crocodile river.  The original people, the Bozo, are still known as expert fishermen.

By the 1980’s, Mali was in its third decade of independence from its French colonial masters.  The world recession and the oil crisis aggravated by the Iran-Iraq war brought on a period of despair in the region.  The country had mismanaged its economy.  World prices for its commodities had fallen.  Drought had devastated its pasture and agriculture. 

But devastating as the droughts have been for the region, the greater obstacle to economic stability and growth has not been meteorological but political. Agricultural subsidies for cotton in the USA, for example, allowed American farmers to export their produce for one third of its cost to produce.  Cotton accounted for 5-10% of the Mali Gross Domestic Product.  By one estimate, the sheer weight of the US trade volume lowered the world price for cotton by 25%.  Other subsidies had similar impacts on world prices of basic food stuffs:  European subsidies for sugar, Asian subsidies for rice, Italian subsidies for tomatoes, Dutch subsidies for onions. 

Trade losses as a result of agricultural subsidies in developed countries outweigh the benefits of all foreign aid to Mali and the rest of West Africa.  These subsidies keep the individual Malian farmer in a perpetual state of poverty and subsistence.