Reunion in Barsaloi

As Gary, who taught me at Ryerson used to say, ask and ye shall receive. He was, of course paraphrasing Matthew 7:7 – and he was talking about television interviewing skills (This is why everyone should go to journalism school. Where else would you learn a lesson in perseverance in scoring an interview through a Biblical reference? Journalism school taught me to pay attention to references to texts like this – and to brush up on my Bible knowledge because biblical references are EVERYWHERE, and for that, I am forever grateful. It’s fun to know what people are talking about). Anyway, the same philosophy also applies to book-borrowing, and perhaps to most things in life. I’ve used Gary’s ‘ask and ye shall receive’ motto to get a raise at work, make a new friend in a city full of strangers and even to score tickets to events.

After I finished The White Masai, I mentioned to my mom that I would love to read the sequel, Reunion in Barsaloi. Wouldn’t you know, she had the same thought I did after reading the first book and had already borrowed the follow-up from one of her colleagues. She happened to have a copy right at home, so on Monday night, I dove right in.

Reunion in Barsaloi picks up just over a decade from where The White Masai leaves off. Corrine is raising her daughter Napirai – now 14 – in Switzerland and decides to make a return to her African village to meet with Lketinga and his family. Wisely, she leaves her daughter at home for fear of a custody battle – as it turns out, Lketinga still considers Corrine to be his ‘wife number one’ – but her dramatic return to Africa is a surprisingly touching reflection on what it means to be part of a family in spite of geography, language and culture.

I felt satisfied with Reunion in Barsaloi as a conclusion to The White Masai. I was also inspired to do some Googling to find out where everyone has ended up since 2004, when this book was released. I came across this lovely interview with Corrine Hofmann, in which she describes her newest book Africa, My Passion and a particularly poignant scene in which Napirai gets to meet Lketinga for the first time. I guess I know what needs to go on my list of things to read.

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