Peace Corps Writers — the publishing arm of Peace Corps Worldwide — is happy to announce the publication of Glimpses through the Forest: Memories of Gabon by Jason Gray (Gabon 2002–04).

glimmpesSituated in Central Africa, the nation of Gabon is a vibrant and mysterious place full of rich history, diverse culture, and stunning biodiversity. In the midst of the African rainforest, a Peace Corps Volunteer from Montana is thrust into a new life of adventure and discovery. From close encounters with forest elephants to classroom teaching challenges, this retelling of one man’s experiences takes readers on an extraordinary journey through daily life, cultural events, and ongoing conservation efforts, and shares his love affair with a country that will forever own a piece of his heart. This new book by Jason Gray (Gabon 2002–04) leaves readers with an impression of having shared in his experiences.

Author Jason Gray and Jean Pierre Bayet at formal school event in 2003 (photo by Aristide Kassangoye 2003

Author Jason Gray and Jean Pierre Bayet at formal school event in 2003 (photo by Aristide Kassangoye 2003

Gray’s underlying reverence for Gabon and its people comes out in this recounting of his three years of work there with the Peace Corps and WWF International, and shows the importance of understanding other cultures while enhancing individual awareness of the global community. Glimpses through the Forest: Memories of Gabon is an engaging read for eco and cultural travel enthusiasts, conservationists, nature lovers, and other adventure seekers.

Jason grew up in the high mountains of Montana, in a town on the Missouri River called Great Falls. Most weekends, his family would seek out some outdoor adventure, whether it be fishing, or hiking, or skiing, or mending fences for the horses they raised. He developed the travel bug early, and has visited many places in the United States and abroad. His education years were spent studying French, ecology, and conservation biology, which lead him to study abroad programs in Paris, France and in Kenya. Upon graduation from college, he knew he had to go back to Africa and he jumped at the chance to serve in the Peace Corps. Gabon proved such a remarkable place that he stayed on after his Peace Corps years with WWF International, still working in Gabon. Eventually, he headed back to the United States to begin a career in environmental law. He lives with his wife and new child in northern California.

He began writing the stories which make up Glimpses through the Forest as a way to remember his experiences and to pay homage to the people with whom he lived. As each memory took shape on paper, the sights and sounds and smells of Gabon seemed to spring back into his mind with incredible precision. For most of the recollections, he had pictures to use as a guide, and for some he had actually kept a journal (not religiously, but when the mood struck) of his experiences. This is especially true for his time in Lambaréné and the first few months on the Ndougou Lagoon. He was also able to discuss specific memories with the people who were there, as he had been fortunate enough to maintain contact with many of his friends and former colleagues. Putting these thoughts and recollections into a book has been an amazing experience, he writes, both challenging and fun. He now hopes to share these stories with others that they will come to know Gabon and to want to share their own stories and adventures.