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Sleeping With Lions

Lee Anne McIlroy’s Sleeping With Lions: A Year in Tanzania documents her time spent as an English Language Fellow for a university in Bukoba, Tanzania. The author’s memoir is a poignant portrayal of the landscapes and people who shaped her journey as a woman following a difficult divorce.

Lee Anne describes the scenery in Bukoba with eyes of wonderment. Unlike some of her peers, who only see the economic poverty of Tanzania and greater Africa, she indulges in the cultural richness of local life. She sees her time in Tanzania as a way to rediscover herself in a land that has always felt dear to her heart. From the food to the sounds and sights she experiences, she uses vivid descriptors that give the landscape a magical feeling.

The people she meets are a formative part of her journey. She makes an active effort to do more than coexist with her colleagues and the locals around her; she strives to learn from them, even in the most minute ways. She gets to know the family of Ocham, the professor she partners with at the university, and even visits their family home. She has a particular affinity for the priests with whom she stays for the duration of the trip. The priests help her rediscover her womanhood; unlike her ex-husband, who never fully understood her, they respect her career and offer her a set of fresh perspectives.

Finally, as an educator and mom of daughters raised in California, she often considers the conditions in which her students learn and operate. Despite lacking the socioeconomic privilege that her daughters had throughout their childhoods, she describes her students as some of the brightest and hardest-working she has encountered. In contrast to her students in California, students frequented her office hours in droves to reinforce their commitment to their education. In the end, she discovers that it is not wealth that makes a person’s life rich; the richness of spirit and passion makes it so.

Sleeping With Lions: A Year in Tanzania is an emotional memoir that shares one woman’s journey discovering parts of herself while learning about a new culture. Her strength shines through her stories and is inspirational to those that read them.

Pages 291 | ASIN : B0BKYFTPC9

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