The Vegetable Grows and the Lion Roars: My Peace Corps Service

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I felt like I was with Gary Lindberg in the Ivory Coast of West Africa in his book, The Vegetable Grows and the Lion Roars. The novel focuses on Lindberg’s recall of his Peace Corps Service in the 1960s. Full of great adventures and wonderful stories, I loved hearing about his experience, especially about his exposure to many different cultures.

Gary Lindberg joined the Peace Corps right out of college and was soon sent off for training with other prospective volunteers. Not long after, he found himself on his way to West Africa. Upon arrival, Gary’s assignment was to work with locals on creating school and community gardens. The Peace Corps was hoping to promote healthy eating, leave the people a long-lasting skill, and teach of the lucratively of agriculture to overall improve the Ivory Coasts’ way of life. Gary describes both his trials and joys of this process, from teaching the people how to make planches, prepare a pepiniere, and the importance of palliage (mulch) and of keeping a garden maintained. Traveling extensively from village to village, Gary taught as many as he could how to make these gardens and checked up on them periodically to see their progress.

One of my favorite parts of this book was reading about Gary’s interaction with the native peoples. I found it fascinating to learn about their tribes’ ways of life and local customs. I was touched when I read about the extensive generosity and kindness everyone had towards Gary and the way he treated them in return. I also found the chapters about Gary’s personal vacations in Africa, apart from his Peace Corps assignment, to be interesting. The book is full of pictures from these stories, from safari adventures chasing lions, visiting various historic and famous sights, and images of traditional African dress.

Prior to reading this book, I was familiar with the Peace Corps group but honestly unsure of a lot of what they actually did. Therefore, I found this book a great introduction to the Peace Corps and the various work they partake in. I appreciated how authentic Lindberg was in his recall of both the good and bad of his service, making this book especially beneficial for someone who may be considering joining themselves. I think this book is a wonderful insight into the life of a Peace Corps volunteer, from their daily routine to tasks they are expected to perform.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 204 pages
Publisher Bookbaby
Publish Date 08-Mar-2022
ISBN 9781667812724 Buy this Book
Issue March 2022
Category Biographies & Memoirs