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Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda (1999)

af Rosamond Halsey Carr, Ann Howard Halsey

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1413187,203 (4.06)10
When Rosamond Halsey Carr first arrived in Africa, she didn't realize she would spend the rest of her life there. As a young fashion illustrator living in New York City in the 1940s, she seemed the least likely candidate for such a life of adventure. But marriage to a hunter-explorer took her to what was then the Belgian Congo, and divorce left her determined to stay on, in neighboring Rwanda, as the manager of a flower plantation. In the ensuing half century she witnessed the decline and fall of colonialism, the wars for independence, the loss of her friend Dian Fossey and the relentless clashes of the Hutus and Tutsis. And, finally, 1994's horrific genocide--of which she provides a personal, first-hand account that is unparalleled and underscores her continued devotion to the country by her decision to care for more than one hundred of its orphaned children.Land of a Thousand Hills unfolds against the backdrop of Rwanda's history from the royal Tutsi dynasty to the present, a landscape whose magic is aptly evoked. It is the epic story of a woman alone in an exotic land, struggling to survive untold hardships only to emerge with an extraordinary love for her adopted country and its people.… (mere)
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In 1949 Rosamund Halsey Carr left New York for what was then the Belgian Congo. Her marriage to a hunter-explorer was not to last but by the time of her divorce, she had fallen in love with the country. To support herself she started a pyrethrum farm (a natural insecticide). Her descriptions of the country and its people are captivating. She met and became good friends with Dian Fossey, who was murdered in the middle of writing a letter to Carr.

Over the years she faced many tragedies and difficulties, however the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 was the most heartbreaking. She had stayed through previous conflicts but this time was given minutes to grab essentials and make her escape. She left the country for some months returning when the risk was reduced. She was 82 years old and determined to return "home" and convert her old farm into an orphanage to take in some of the thousands of children left without parents. When she returned to the devastated country and her destroyed house, the first friends who arrived soon after were her two dogs and cat who were starving and in bad shape. She concluded that the cat had kept the dogs alive by catching small animals for them to eat. Rosamund Halsey Carr died in 2006 and is buried next to the orphanage she founded.

Carr's niece, Ann Howard Halsey, collected information from letters, diaries and notes as well as her own first-hand accounts to create this book. It is a charming account of one of the most courageous women I have come across. ( )
1 stem VivienneR | Nov 16, 2016 |
Very moving...a women with true courage ( )
  tmscott13 | Jan 23, 2016 |
Fascinating look at the life of a plantation owner in Africa. As a new bride transplanted to Africa, Carr had to learn how to run a plantation, how to survive amidst political turmoil, and how to best help the African people she has grown to love. If you enjoyed An Ordinary Man, you might also want to give this one a try. ( )
  Sengels | Nov 28, 2007 |
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When Rosamond Halsey Carr first arrived in Africa, she didn't realize she would spend the rest of her life there. As a young fashion illustrator living in New York City in the 1940s, she seemed the least likely candidate for such a life of adventure. But marriage to a hunter-explorer took her to what was then the Belgian Congo, and divorce left her determined to stay on, in neighboring Rwanda, as the manager of a flower plantation. In the ensuing half century she witnessed the decline and fall of colonialism, the wars for independence, the loss of her friend Dian Fossey and the relentless clashes of the Hutus and Tutsis. And, finally, 1994's horrific genocide--of which she provides a personal, first-hand account that is unparalleled and underscores her continued devotion to the country by her decision to care for more than one hundred of its orphaned children.Land of a Thousand Hills unfolds against the backdrop of Rwanda's history from the royal Tutsi dynasty to the present, a landscape whose magic is aptly evoked. It is the epic story of a woman alone in an exotic land, struggling to survive untold hardships only to emerge with an extraordinary love for her adopted country and its people.

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