Review — THE VEGETABLE GROWS AND THE LION ROARS by Gary R. Lindberg (Ivory Coast)
The Vegetable Grows and the Lion Roars:
My Peace Corps Service
by Gary R. Lindberg (Ivory Coast 1966-68)
$ 7.49 (Kindle); $15.67 (Paperback)
Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador (1974-76) & Costa Rica (1976-77)
Peace Corps memoirs of 1960s-era volunteers are like precious gems that become more and more valuable as more of those folks pass on. Gary Lindberg wrote this memoir about his Peace Corps service in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) from 1965-68.
Lindberg taught primary school students and teachers various gardening techniques as part of a school gardens program. The memoir includes how he decided to apply for Peace Corps, how he trained, his project, his daily activities, and the friends he made while he was there. He also shares highlights from the travels he took when on vacation breaks, such as his experience on a safari and his visit to the legendary city of Timbuktu.
Interestingly, Lindberg thought he might be rejected for Peace Corps because he was a Republican. That proved not to be the case. I enjoyed the fact that he included the population of some cities both at present and at the time he was in Peace Corps. This gives us an idea of the explosive growth experienced in Côte d’Ivoire and throughout Africa. When the author first arrived in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire the population was 347,000, but by 2021 Abidjan had grown to 5,355,000.
This memoir combines historical elements with personal vignettes as Lindberg elaborates on his many adventures – such as having a broken radiator in the middle of nowhere and how he and his companions got help. In addition, he offers an interesting view of village life and work during a special project he worked on in a village called Déahouépleu. Accompanying the text are photos that illustrate his work, life, and travels.
D.W. Jefferson was a Peace Corps agriculture volunteer in El Salvador (1974-76) and Costa Rica (1976-77). A blog about his Peace Corps years is at: http://dwjefferson.blogspot.
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