Tuesday, May 19, 2015

*Book Review*

   Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com
I need to preface this post with this statement, I LOVE CRIME NOVELS! Detective novels, movies, and tv shows are my jam! The suspense of what is going to happen next, or trying to figure out who did it, is far scarier than anything with a lot of violence.

I subscribe to Shelf Awareness were I get a daily e-mail in my inbox. The newsletter highlights fun things happening in the world of books. I've found some really fun new authors! Occasionally they post links with the option of getting a free copy of a book, yet to be published. This is the best, coming home and having a free book waiting in the mail for me.

A while ago, I got a book in the mail called “Crime of Privilege” by Walter Walker. I have a bit of a back log in my reading requests (for work and fun). Once I started this book, I wonder how I overlooked it in the first place, it should have been read the moment I got it.

What I love about reading this book, is trying to figure out who did what. There is a list of characters, all whom have some part to play. The main character is George Becket. He is an assistant D.A. in Cape Cod. This character really made me mad, I felt times he was being a baby, or just letting things happening. He wasn’t living life, but just going through the motions of living. He was a lawyer, has friends in high places, and he just acts like a bum.

An excerpt from the book:

“A murder on Cape Cod. A rape in Palm Beach.

All they have in common is the presence of one of America’s most beloved and influential families. But nobody is asking questions. Not the police. Not the prosecutors. And certainly not George Becket, a young lawyer toiling away in the basement of the Cape & Islands district attorney’s office. George has always lived at the edge of power. He wasn’t born to privilege, but he understands how it works and has benefitted from it in ways he doesn’t like to admit. Now, an investigation brings him deep inside the world of the truly wealthy—and shows him what a perilous place it is.”

This book is a realist portrayal of the justice system when it comes to the wealthy. George finally comes to and starts asking the right questions. It takes him on a journey across the world, but it’s hard to decipher who is pulling the strings in this investigation. I felt the ending was less climatic than the rest of the book, justice wasn't really served, but again that is a very realistic outcome. The main character and the book felt like a real investigation, and not one that is solved in a 60 minute television show.

Check out the book HERE!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Reflection of Service

After recently celebrating my 6th anniversary of meeting a great guy, we reflected on my Peace Corps experience. Discussing how we met, the people I worked with, but mostly laughing at the craziness that was my service. Surprisingly, I still find myself running into people who are interested in learning more about Peace Corps, or my experience overseas. After most encounters I think back to those 3+ years. 

Waking up every day to a new experience might frighten some, but to volunteers serving in the Peace Corps it’s just a regular day. I lived in Burkina Faso, a country in Western Africa, serving from 2008-2012. As a health volunteer I taught health education and outreach. I spent most of my time weighing babies, teaching mother’s proper food preparation, and children how to wash their hands. 

Teaching overseas in a another language was really hard, and sometimes felt very daunting. During training, Peace Corps helps to teach the common language spoken, which in my case was French, but like most African communities the local tribal language is also very prevalent. Even though I used, Moore, the local African language more than French, my skill level was far from being perfect. Each program I put on was a struggle, always needing a translator. Which to most, would be great, but I seemed to never be able to get the translator to show up at the same time as my women, or vice versa. Rainy season was a whole different story; I just knew people wouldn't show up to programs because everyone and I do mean EVERYONE was in the field farming.
While on vacation in the United States for a short time in 2010, I would get all sorts of questions. The most common was, "What did you like or didn't like about being overseas?" The one thing I did not like, was having to barter for my food. It’s petty, but going from booth to booth to get all my vegetables, fighting for a fair price is not how I like to spend my time. That was something that would never change, but I learned to deal with it. 

I loved the sense of community. My village was small, were everyone knew each other. Not in the way were you know everyone’s business, but when there was a crisis everyone banned together. I loved everyone knowing my name, or when I was gone people took turns feeding and caring for my dog. These villagers lack in resources and materials, but they are rich. They have a strong community, stronger than most communities I've been a part of in the US. One person may have nothing but together they have it all.

When most people ask me to describe my 3+ years worth of experience in a sentence or two, I usually say, “It was great!” which is was, but it is better described as a roller-coaster. Once you start you’re normally scared for the future, you don’t really know what you got yourself into. Then you get used to the roller-coaster and start to like it. During the ride you have a lot of ups and downs, but in the end you love it so much it leaves you wanting more, and you beg to ride it one more time. 

That’s exactly how my Peace Corps experience was, it left me wanting more. 

View some of my pictures of my service here.