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Reflections from the scorched earth

Monarch Books (Oxford) 2007
RRP $16.95

The continent of Africa has for decades been in the news due to stories of war and conflict and the resulting humanitarian crises. Ed Walker has been in the thick of some of the worst areas – and has witnessed the depths and heights of human interaction.

Ed Walker has worked as part of TEARFund’s Disaster Management Team (to whom all royalties from this book are directed) in some of the most desperate situations confronting the world in the last ten years – Burundi, Southern Sudan, Northern Kenya, Sierra Leone and most recently Darfur. This book is part of the author’s search for the God of hope in the midst of extreme suffering and deep anguish and despair.

The book gives us contrasting and personal pictures in its telling of sad but also hopeful stories; it captures something of the beauty and magnetism of Africa and gives insights into the background to some of the conflicts. The author mingles diary entries with reflections and reactions, and shows something of his own zest for life, huge compassion and heart-searching quest for some sort of coherent answer to the questions of life.

If you are interested in Africa, a good read, and an honest questioning of God in the face of suffering, but still want to be left with a confidence in God, this book has it all. I commend this book and the ongoing work of TEARFund.

Reviewed by Peter Harvey Patrol Minister with Frontier Services in the Flinders Patrol