Maalika: My Life Among the Afar Nomads of Africa

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Pan Macmillan Australia, 2008 - Afar (African people) - 264 pages
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In 1973, Valerie Browning, a young Sydney nurse, volunteered to go to Ethiopia to help the victims of a devastating famine. She had little or no conception of Africa or Africans, and yet the continent and its people would become the guiding force of her life.Galvanised by the suffering she witnessed in Ethiopia, on her return to Australia she became a human rights and aid activist for the people of the Horn of Africa. Valerie's work led her back to Africa again and again, involving her – at considerable risk to herself – in the armed liberation conflicts of the region. Even as she discovered brutality and corruption at the heart of these political movements, she also found love, marrying Ismael Ali Gardo, whose people, the Afar, roamed Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Sudan as nomadic herdsmen. Ismael's life mission was to help the Afar – desperately poor, uneducated, landless, and the victims of oppression in every country they once roved freely. Soon it became Valerie's too, as she embraced their culture and threw herself into their cause. In one of the most inhospitable landscapes on earth, Valerie and Ismael have waged an incredible struggle, bringing health and education to a people who would otherwise have nothing. Valerie's story is both an astonishing adventure and a testament to how determination and passion can achieve extraordinary things.

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About the author (2008)

Valerie Browning lives in Ethiopia and runs the Afar Pastoral Development Association. John Little spent 25 years working as a reporter and producer in television current affairs, and his previous non-fiction books are Inside 60 Minutes, The Hospital by the River, The Man Who Saw Too Much, Jem and Christine's Ark. He lives with his wife, Anna, in Avalon, NSW.

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