The fair-haired child of Canadian missionary parents, Daniel Coleman grew up with an ambivalent relationship to the country of his birth. He was clearly different from his Ethiopian playmates, but because he was born in Ethiopia and knew no other home, he was not completely foreign. Like the eucalyptus, a tree imported to Ethiopia from Australia in the late 19th century toThe fair-haired child of Canadian missionary parents, Daniel Coleman grew up with an ambivalent relationship to the country of his birth. He was clearly different from his Ethiopian playmates, but because he was born in Ethiopia and knew no other home, he was not completely foreign. Like the eucalyptus, a tree imported to Ethiopia from Australia in the late 19th century to solve a firewood shortage, he and his missionary family were naturalized transplants. As ferenjie, they endlessly negotiated between the culture they brought with them and the culture in which they lived.In The Scent of Eucalyptus, Coleman reflects on his experience of "in-between-ness" amid Ethiopia's violent political upheavals. His intelligent and finely crafted memoir begins in the early 1960s, during the reign of Haile Selassie. It spans the king's dramatic fall from power in 1974, the devastating famines of the mid-1970s and early 1980s, and Mengistu Haile Mariam's brutal 20-year dictatorship.Through memoir and reflection, The Scent of Eucalyptus gives a richly textured view of missionary culture that doesn't yield to black-and-white analysis....
|Title||:||The Scent of Eucalyptus: A Missionary Childhood in Ethiopia|
|Number of Pages||:||300 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Scent of Eucalyptus: A Missionary Childhood in Ethiopia Reviews
Coleman grew up in Ethiopia, where his Canadian parents were missionaries. The Scent of Eucaluptus tells of his relatively privileged upbringing and of his return to Ethiopia as an adult visitor.I read Chameleon Days last year, and this feels, in many ways, very similar...and for good reason, considering that not only were both families missionaries (Coleman's parents were teachers; Bascom's father was a doctor) but Coleman and Bascom attended were friends in boarding school. Small-world coincidences...Anyway, this is less a memoir of growing up in Ethiopia than it is a memoir of growing up as a missionary child. Coleman was in an odd space where Ethiopia was almost all he knew -- he was born there; he returned to Canada only for furloughs throughout his childhood -- but he also knew that it was not his home, that he was not Ethiopian, that he operated in a different world than his Ethiopian playmates. He had more of a sense of permanence than the embassy kids he went to school with, and certainly a comfort with the local language and the like, but not necessarily a sense of belonging.I find missionary work kind of...confusing...but also interesting to read about. Coleman talks, for example, about missionaries returning after having been expelled from the country during the Italian takeover; they were relieved to find that Christianity had taken route but had to 'correct' local interpretations of the Bible. Reminds me of You Can't Get There from Here, when Forman is in South Africa, talking to black South African Jews. In other places, Coleman puts in a sly dig or two of his own: We knew from their [our missionary parents'] conversations that you couldn't be a missionary if you believed all doors led into God's sheepfold. You needed to be sure of the One True Door, and you needed to be clear about which side you were on. When we were old enough, we knew we would go to Bible School to learn what we believed (64).Coleman doesn't say why he ultimately chose to focus on something other than mission work (his intent throughout most of his childhood; as he says, he knew very little else), and I wonder whether that's a bigger question than he wanted to attack. He does a fair amount of interpretation of his childhood actions and beliefs, but I'm left wondering what regrets he had when he wrote this book, what things he wishes had been different in his childhood or with his friends. He opens with his return to Ethiopia after a long time away -- a long time in which he hadn't wanted to return -- and I'm not sure I fully understood that desired distance.
An interesting account of a missionary upbringing in Ethiopia, however I couldn't get past the growing feeling while reading the book that I really didn't like its author. Not that he was overtly a jerk, but I definitely got the sense that he held himself on a different plane from his Ethiopian contemporaries as well as his surroundings. He also jumped around, not telling a story as much as sharing short vignettes. The book was totally without any sort of satisfying chronology. Worth reading if you're very interested in all things African, but otherwise not so much.
Oh my god, so much to think about!! I absolutely love this book; it's one of my favorites. My mom was born and grew up as an M.K. in Ethiopia, so this book meant a lot to me personally. It helped me understand some of the abandonment she often expresses having felt when being left at boarding school at age 5.
One of the better memoirs by a missionary kid that I've read. I agree with Ann about the last chapter. The author does an excellent job articulating the aspects of colonialism and post-colonialism that those of us who grew up overseas in the post-WWII era experienced. "What do you do, then, when your family stories emerge from the tangle of pink stories about Africa?" You keep telling them.
Surprized that some folks thought that this book should not be in the library. Hopefully the author got permission from his first girlfriend to write about her!
The final chapter is a wonderful essay about cross-cultural perceptions, beautifully written and evocatively phrased.