PERSONAL: Born in Granville, OH; married John Bidwell; children: two sons. Education: Alleghany College, B.A.; University of Michigan, M.P.H.
ADDRESSES: Home— Northampton, MA. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: Served in the Peace Corps in Mali, 1989-91; consultant to nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and businesses; fundraiser for the National Priorities Project.
Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali (memoir), Waveland Press (Long Grove, IL), 2007.
SIDELIGHTS: Kris Holloway spent two years in the Peace Corps stationed in Mali, beginning in 1989, where she first intended to apply her skills as a forestry and natural resources expert. Instead of planting trees, however, she soon found herself assisting twenty-four-year-old midwife Monique Dembele. Holloway, who was twenty-two, lived with Monique, and the women forged a strong friendship in spite of their differences. Monique was in charge of all births and cared for the often malnourished expectant mothers in her makeshift clinic in the village of Nampossela, as well as for the population in general. The women had no form of birth control and often suffered malnourishment and physical exhaustion in a village without electricity, running water, or the most basic of medical equipment. Many were abused and exploited. Monique was in an arranged marriage, and the men of her family often took her pay. She died during the birth of her fifth child. Her story of poverty and struggle is representative of other women in many parts of Africa, and one which Holloway began to write about after returning to Mali in 1999. Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali is a memoir honoring her friend. “Holloway does not disguise the realities of life in a poor rural African village, and yet she is never condescending,” reported a Kirkus Reviews contributor. “While Holloway’s story is a personal one... the rhythm of life and death in Mali itself shines through all the pages,” concluded Mary Grace Flaherty in Library Journal.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Holloway, Kris, Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali, Waveland Press (Long Grove, IL), 2007.
Entertainment Weekly, Abby West, review of Monique and the Mango Rains, p. 82.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of Monique and the Mango Rains, p. 616.
Library Journal, September 15, 2006, Mary Grace Flaherty, review of Monique and the Mango Rains, p. 77.
Publishers Weekly, May 15, 2006, review of Monique and the Mango Rains, p. 56.
Kris Holloway Home Page, http://www.moniquemangorains.com (January 11, 2006).
Peace Corps Online, http://peacecorpsonline.org/ (August 28, 2006), Sonja Brodie, review of Monique and the Mango Rains.
Peace Corps Writers, http://peacecorpswriters.org/ (June 9, 2006), interview with Kris Holloway.