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Three Hundred Cups of Tea and The Toughest Job: Riding the Peace Corps Rollercoaster in Mali, West Africa

Three Hundred Cups of Tea and The Toughest Job: Riding the Peace Corps Rollercoaster in Mali, West Africa

Author(s): Asifa Kanji

Location(s): Mali

Genre(s): Autobiography/Memoirs

Era(s): Contemporary

Even if Trouble is staring you in the face, be good to people. Dance.

When David and Asifa said yes to serving with the Peace Corps in Mali, little did they know they were stepping onto a rollercoaster that would test their endurance, their creativity and patience. At age 60 and 57 they found themselves on the shore of the great Sahara Desert, posted to one of the hottest and poorest parts of Africa. She took up the fight against malnutrition, with a campaign to cultivate the nourishing Moringa tree; he worked with a radio station and cybercafé that cultivated values of democracy and religious toleration. They found love in a hopeless place, a place that challenged them to look again at friendship, family, and development with fresh eyes.

It’s a crazy tale of vampire cats, giant termites and Toyota-flattening freight trains, not to mention playful conjugal text-message sex to pass those weary hours of waiting for the bush taxi. Most of all it is a story of the warm-hearted Malian people, set against a darker background of approaching famine and political unrest, and culminating in the couple’s first-hand accounts of the military coup and Peace Corps evacuation from Mali in 2012. Told with humor and compassion, the side-by-side memoirs 300 Cups of Tea and The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Lovetake you on a 14 month journey of life in the Sahel.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021