Articles for the Month of August 2020

Peculiar by Lang Fafa Dampha

A young Gambian man’s search for a new life in Paris.

In this interesting story we follow the immigration, hopes, and dreams of the protagonist Sainy as he leaves his native Gambia, in search of a better life in Paris. This migration is seen as a way of securing a better future, however it is still a courageous thing for the young Gambian man to do.

The story begins with Sainy’s plane descending to Roissy, Paris Charles De Gaule. Immediately he discovers how different Europe smells, how dull it is, and how wet. Yet, this is the place where his future lies, and he is soon to learn that life in Europe is very, very different from his native Africa.

He manages to find lodgings in Paris with Janneh, a friendly African who is extremely generous and is very caring, and his wife Kaddy. However life amongst the African community in Paris is very different from back home. He discovers that the women benefit from the famous French “Allocation familiale” – Child Benefit monthly, free medical care, and transport on the buses and the metro. In this promised land of Liberté Égalité Fraternité the role of the woman is very different from in Gambia, and this is something the women and their husbands find it difficult to adjust to.

Sainy manages to secure a temporary residents permit for three months and spends his time watching how his people live and behave in this other country, comparing in very thought-provoking ways, the lives they lead now to how their lives would have been, had they stayed in Africa. He discovers the ‘Peculiar’ attitude of his people living in this very different country, noticing their anger and how the roles are different. His people may be in another country, far from Gambia, but their heritage and roots still stand firm in their hearts and outlook, especially when they feel there is injustice. He discovers that some traditions like the replacement of wives if one dies are still maintained even though they are out of their own country, and realises that it is impossible for his people not to compare the differences in the cultures and how it affects them.   It is interesting that as he watches it doesn’t seem to occur to him that he might adjust the same, and that under the umbrella of Europe he may adapt, and adopt these different values himself.

He falls in love with the beautiful Gambian divorcée Fatou. She had admired him since they first met at Kaddy’s, and they got to know each other more. A mother of a young son, she looks after him well and eventually they become engaged and married. The icing is truly on the plate when Sainy receives his residency permit, now nothing can stop him following his dreams…

The author of this interesting and thought-provoking story, Lang Fafa Dampa was born in the Gambia, migrated to Paris, where he earned a B.A. in English Language and Literature, and a Ph.D. in English Studies (Society and Culture). He also taught Legal English (Law and Politics – UK/USA) and Economic English, for two years before returning to Africa and working as a Senior Research and Programme Officer at the African Union office (the African Academy of Languages) in Bamako, Mali, from November 2009 to July 2015, and as Acting Executive Secretary from August 2015 to December 2018, and from then to now as Executive Secretary of the same institution.

This fascinating story gives its readers a true look into the lives of Gambian immigrants to Europe, showing the adjustments they have to make, and what drives them to succeed.

About the Author:

Born in the Gambia, Lang Fafa Dampha lived and worked in Paris between 1989 and 2009. He has obtained a B.A. in English Language and Literature at the University of Paris 7 Jussieu, and a Ph.D. in English Studies (Society and Culture) at the University of Paris IV Sorbonne. Lang Fafa taught Legal English (Law and Politics – UK/USA) at the University of Paris 2 – Panthéon Assas, and Economic English (introduction to banking and finance, and the history of economic thought) at the University of Paris 8, Saint Denis, for two and a half years. He returned to Africa in November 2009 and is now working as Executive Secretary at the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), in Bamako, Mali, which is the African Union’s specialised institution mandated to develop and promote African languages so that they could be used in all spheres of life in Africa.

Website: https://acalan-au.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/African-Academy-of-Languages-Acalan-1976775255951086/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AcademyAcalan

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/acalan-au-441522180/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/africanacademyoflanguages/

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acalan/

About the Book:

Sainy, a young Gambian immigrant arrives in Paris with high hopes for a better life; . At firstin the beginning, he faces a lot of immigration restrictions. He is later seduced by Fatou, a Gambian divorcée who madly falls in love with him, and they get married. Through the eyes of the protagonist, the reader will discover, the purposelessness, fake lifestyle and illusion surrounding the community of African immigrants living in France, marked by racism, treachery, jealousy, adultery and death.

Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Peculiar-Lang-Fafa-Dampha-ebook/dp/B08FZJN6J7/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=lang+fafa+dampha&qid=1598257794&sr=8-3

Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table: Book Two Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Normandy, Brittany, Loire and Auvergne: Savoring the Olde Ways by Carole Bumpus

NEW RELEASE

I have eagerly awaited this, the second part of Carole Bumpus’ culinary tour searching for family and traditions at the French table, and I was not disappointed.

Carole and her good French Californian friend and translator Josiane Selvage begin this adventure by heading to the Somme, a now beautiful area which was the site of some of the most horrendous battles in WWI and WWII, and indeed even now, dotted throughout the countryside and coastal towns are the remains of the wartime bunkers, along with the memorials to the thousands who died there.

Then they carry on through the Nord-Pas-de-Calais to Dunkirk to meet with an old friend Veronique, and her mother, and thus their culinary journey begins as they discover the delights of cuisine pauvre or peasant food of France.

For those of us who love France and also who have a deep respect and interest in the tales of the older generations, this book is a real gem. Carole and Josiane are invited into many households on their travels, and they provide wonderful snapshots of the families, their history and that of the regions. The book is overflowing with descriptions of the wonderful regional produce and tales of times gone by.

Following the coast, the pair travel west, driving through Normandy and catching up with old friends. Near Mont St. Michel they stop off at the Manoir and are lucky enough to obtain an interesting interview with M. Barreaux, its owner and head chef. It is there that they are able to savor the delicacy of pré-salé d’agneau. These lambs (agneau) graze by the bay, consuming the salt-encrusted marsh grasses, and this is what gives their meat its unique flavor. Just one of the many exceptional local products they are lucky enough to sample on this amazing journey as they travel on through picturesque Brittany, with its breath-taking coastal views, wonderful architecture, and of course the delicious cuisine, before heading down to the Pays de la Loire.

The Pays de la Loire and the Loire Valley hold a special place in my heart because it has been my home for the last 16 years. Sampling its wonders is a daily pleasure, and I have enjoyed visiting the tuffeau cave homes, and the mushroom caves, in the area, taking home their produce to cook. However, I was fascinated to read about the truffle farms, with their truffle dogs (and pig,) and discover some of the uses of this world-renowned delicacy. The majestic chateaux and beautiful landscape of woods and vineyards truly comes alive through the author’s wonderfully descriptive writing, and it is no wonder that this incredible area steeped in history is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

However France has a diverse landscape and soon the pair find themselves noticing that it has changed, first to rolling hills, and then more mountainous, as they arrive in the Auvergne region, the Massif Central. Here, as in all over France local produce is celebrated, from the scallops and oysters of the coast to the Auvergne’s Fête du Cochon where each year a pig is slaughtered and is the center of celebrations, as this is an important time of the year and a traditional part of village life.

This book captures the French people, their love of family and friends, their generosity, and their passion for sharing good quality fresh local food. The author has generously ended the book with a collection of some of the wonderful recipes for us to enjoy making in our kitchens, whilst embracing the flavors and traditions of French family life.

Throughout it, however, the devastating effect the World Wars have reeked on families, and communities is heart-breaking. Yet despite this these people have survived and carried on with fortitude. The tragedies have given strength to this nation, emboldened them with incredible comradeship, and inspired the bravery of the resistance.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this excellent book, and I am sure it will be enjoyed by anyone loving, France, cooking, traditions, and history.

About the Author:

A retired family therapist, Carole Bumpus began writing a culinary travel series when she stumbled upon the amazing stories of women, recipes and war in France. Her historical novel, A Cup of Redemption, was based on the poignant story of a French woman she had met and interviewed. It was published October 2014. Her unique companion cookbook, Recipes for Redemption: A Companion Cookbook to A Cup of Redemption was released August 2015 with the recipes from all the foods savored in the novel.

In addition to the cookbook, she is completing her original series of culinary travel books, Savoring the Olde Ways. The first of this series, Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, Book One, is to be published August 27, 2019. The second of the series will follow in one year completing the original French tour. The third book, Searching for Family and Traditions at the Italian Table is scheduled for April 2021.

She has also had three short stories published in the California Writers Club – Fault Zone anthologies: Words from the Edge; Stepping up to the Edge and Over the Edge. She has received numerous writing awards including: Honorable Mention in fiction and also Runner-Up in cookbooks in the London Book Festival – 2015; Honorable Mention in fiction for A Cup of Redemption – Paris Book Festival – 2016; Bronze Medal – IPPY Award – Cover Design of A Cup of Redemption – 2016; Finalist – International Book Awards – A Cup of Redemption – Historical Fiction – 2016; Finalist – International Cookbook Awards – Recipe for Redemption – 2016 – www.carolebumpus.com

About the Book:

Join Carole Bumpus as she continues the culinary journey of Book One in Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, with her incomparable guide, Josiane, as they head north from Paris to Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Normandy, and Brittany, then drop into the Loire Valley before ending in the Auvergne.

Sample family favorites and regional delights such as Flemish Potjevlesh, Algerian-influenced chicken tagine, moules (mussels) in cider and cream, salt-encrusted Lamb Grevin, Far Brêton, and Pâté de Pomme de Terre. Enjoy the music and antics of local festivals like La Bande de Pecheur (Gang of Fisherman), Feast of St. John, and the Blessing of the Fleet. Discover the wonder of troglodyte caves, wineries, and truffle farms in the Loire Valley. Then travel to Josiane’s family home, where you, too, can discover why food and family time are considered sacred in the Auvergne. And, all along the route, witness the impact WWI and WWII on the families profiled. Even seventy-five years later, the legacy of war remains―and yet, incredibly, the gift that each generation has handed down has been gratitude and a deep understanding of the importance of family.

A compilation of personal stories, memorable moments, family secrets, and mouth-watering recipes, this French culinary travelogue is sure to find a prized place on the bookshelf of readers who love France―its food, its people, and its history.

Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Searching-Family-Traditions-Nord-Pas-Calais/dp/1631528963/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=carole+bumpus&qid=1597734910&sr=8-2

Cross Winds: Adventure and Entrepreneurship in the Russian Far East by Steven Myers

Steven Myers, the award-winning author of this awe-inspiring book has had an unparalleled career. He graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Mathematics, is a serial entrepreneur, director of public and private company boards, CEO, coach, author, public speaker, and aviator. He has achieved astonishing success with his company SM&A, which is an international management consulting firm serving aerospace and defense, aviation, telecommunications and other high-tech industry clients, he is a two-time US Air Force veteran, and a loving husband and father.

In this incredible story which is accompanied by amazing photographs, the author pays homage to the famous Charles Lindbergh, the American aviator who made the first non-stop transatlantic aircraft flight in 1927. He does this by sharing with his readers his own incredible adventure when in 1992 he became the first American aviator to pilot an aircraft into the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula, since Charles and Anne Lindberg’s flight in 1931.

Steven Myers amazing adventure was an incredible aviation feat, and one which had to be completed adhering to the three basic rules of aviation: Don’t crash, don’t run out of gas, and don’t get lost. The latter was a challenge as in 1992 the Air Force had a few satellites in orbit, but although GPS was being created and was starting to appear for land and boat use, there was nothing available for the aviation market.

With fortitude and attention to detail, this serial entrepreneur, called upon his knowledge, meticulous planning, and determination and then on the 4th July 1992 he began this epic journey, flying out of US airspace, across the Bering Strait, into former Soviet Union airspace, through Siberia, and into the Kamchatka peninsula. He was accompanied by Tom Heinsheimer, space scientist and Vice President of SM&A, Tom’s wife, Julie, an expert in Russian cultural affairs, Ed Beall, a Torrance architect and urban planner, Mike Stoner, 31, of Palos Verdes, a photographer and documentary film producer. When they eventually touched down at Russia’s Provideniya airport, they were joined by Viktor Shlyaev who had been assigned to fly with them whilst they were in Russia. This likable man was their interpreter, navigator, companion, and, of course, the eyes of the State.

The journey for all concerned was amazing and the book has wonderful photographs. Through the author’s incredibly descriptive writing the diverse landscapes they viewed comes alive. From Icebergs in Alaska to the scenery of the Kamchatka River Valley, which runs south between the two ranges and contains twenty-nine active volcanos. He also treats us to fly-on-the-wall glimpses into the everyday lives of the people he visited, from remote villagers to mighty Heads of State.

For those interested in aviation and technology the details throughout the book will provide an in-depth insight into aviation and space technology.

With this flight Steven Myers also helped create a union between the United States and the governor of Kamchatka being pivotal in establishing one of the first successful Russian-American ventures. He helped create a refueling base for carriers with international cargo near the city of Petropavlovsk and introduced entrepreneurship into post-Soviet Russia. In doing so he pioneered expansive business enterprises with the potential to transform the lives of the people of the Russian Far East.

I have never read a book which can come anywhere near this one as a real-life adventure, an expedition into unknown territory, facing dangerous situations, and throughout told by the man himself, ‘the real deal.’ In this book the author reflects on what makes people like Lindberg go on to live exceptional lives, and where do they get the courage from? For me, he answers this question by telling his readers his own near-death experience at the bottom of a crevasse on Mt. Rainier. He reveals that during the experience he never considered he would not survive, perhaps it was his ability to face adversity with courage, and discovering his inner strength which led him to go on to live his own remarkable life and has made him the man he is today. Highly recommended!

About the Author:

Steven Myers is a successful four-time CEO and serial entrepreneur, director of public and private company boards, CEO coach, public speaker, author, and aviator. He has conducted business in a dozen countries in Europe and Asia. He is an Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” for Software and Information Services. He graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Mathematics, is a two-time US Air Force veteran, a recipient of the California Governor’s Special Recognition Award and the FAA Wright Brothers Award.

Steve founded SM&A, Inc., which grew into a NASDAQ-listed $110 million annual revenue international management consulting firm serving aerospace & defense, aviation, telecommunications, and other high-tech industry clients. After a very successful IPO in 1998, he served as Chairman and CEO for ten years before the company was sold to private equity in 2008. His private equity investment company, Dolphin Capital Holdings, Inc., has interests in a broad array of enterprises.

A nationally recognized thought leader on business competitiveness, Steve is a frequent guest lecturer on entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. He served three terms on the US Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy. He also served on the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council Task Force on Cyber Resources.

Steve is a highly accomplished aviator, holding an Airline Transport Pilot license with eleven jet type ratings. With more than 6,000 hours of flight time, he received the FAA’s highest civilian award in 2020, the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.

Author’s Website: https://stevenmyers.com/

About the Book:

The cornerstone of courage is optimism.

In 1992, at the end of the Cold War, Steven Myers became the first American since Charles Lindbergh in 1931, to pilot an aircraft into the Russian Kamchatka peninsula. There he formed one of the first post-Soviet era joint ventures—a pioneering, expansive, business enterprise with the potential to transform the lives of the people of the Russian Far East. 
 
Steve’s remarkable true story recounts the dramatic adventure, courageous entrepreneurship, and intrigue in the creation of a breakthrough business in a remote corner of the world, a wonderous place few people have been to or know anything about.

The underlying theme of the story is the clash of two vastly different cultures:   Americans, with go-for-broke, entrepreneurial “can do” attitudes, and Russians with a long, painful history of constraining rules, risk aversion, and fear. 

After years of hard work, just as the enterprise is about to achieve breakthrough success, an unexpected warning by US government agents alerts Myers that his life is in danger if he continues with his business activities in Russia. How he reacts, and what he does next, provides a gripping, dramatic climax to the story. 
 
 A timeless exploration of human conflict, determination, and power, this book will inspire adventurers, aviators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, politicians, and diplomats to push past their fears and take command of their dreams. After all, “the cornerstone of courage is optimism.”

Crosswinds is available from: https://www.amazon.com/Cross-Winds-Adventure-Entrepreneurship-Russian-ebook/dp/B08DZDHLV7/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Soaring Through Silent Skies: Deaf and Life ~ Sport and Success by Brian Ehlers

A truly inspirational memoir

In this inspirational book the author, Brian Ehlers, really proves that Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote ‘life is what you make it,’ can be true. In revealing his story the readers get a glimpse into what it is like living life severely-hard-of-hearing and becoming a volleyball star.

Brian and his older sisters Debbie and Laurie were born in Minnesota, but the family moved to Southern California, and this is where he grew up. His childhood memories are happy as part of a loving and supportive family, however very early on his parents noticed him not responding to his name and it was discovered that he was severely hard-of-hearing. They decided to enroll him in the nearby John Tracy Clinic which was one of the world’s most acclaimed private providers of audiology diagnostics education and family support for pre-school to young hearing-impaired youth. Here he learned to master lip reading without a hearing aid, and this empowered the young Brian, enabling him to attend mainstream schools. As a child he embraced life, traveling with his family, enjoying adventures and this established his positive thinking attitude, allowing him to believe nothing could stop him from achieving his dreams.

He went to Chadwick private school and learned there that it takes commitment and dedication to succeed at sport. His two favorites were basketball and volleyball, however, it was volleyball which was to become his focus. After Chadwick, he went to Pepperdine and during the following years had an extremely successful sporting career.

It is through following his career the reader discovers the sacrifices and dedication required when training for the Olympics and major sporting events. Although in time, an injury forced retirement from playing professionally, his love of volleyball continued.

As husband to Gracie and father to Jake and Laney, his focus in life changed to being a good father, and a successful businessman. He discovered other ways of supporting his favorite sport and was eventually to accept an offer to come out of retirement and successfully coached volleyball at TCA. However, over time he realized his true passion was to focus on helping players at all levels get better, and achieve their own personal best, and teaching them that it was not all about winning, and as in with other avenues in life, you grow by facing adversity.

This attitude has helped the author face challenges in his own life, and as the book draws to a close we find him offering an important piece of advice to his readers, and this is, “Live your story, make a positive impact on the world, and leave a legacy that is yours.”

There is no doubt that the author has had an incredible impact on those around him throughout his life. His resilience, positive attitude, his impact on the people he has coached and the volleyball scene, and his passion for his children, make this memoir a truly unforgettable read. 

About the Book:

The author provides a firsthand insight into his life as a trailblazer who, despite being deaf, became a successful athlete, father, coach, and life mentor in a hearing world.
Lost his hearing at the age of three Dreamt of being an airline pilot Came close to racing motorcycles Became a high school basketball star Was a multiple volleyball champion Represented USA Men’s Volleyball Now a well-known volleyball legend Helped others reach for their dreams Never learned or used sign language
The book will both surprise and challenge the reader with some funny, amazing, and inspiring experiences that very well may motivate themselves to do better in certain parts of their own lives.
You, as the reader, can consider this mine and your personal life playbook. There is a decent chance you will find something to use in here.
Soaring through Silent Skies is also a modern, positive, and correct portrayal of the deaf culture in our country. This book describes the trials and tribulations, the opportunistic life, and unique success of a deaf person.
This is Brian at his wisest, bluntest, wittiest, and most relevant and humble self.


About the Author:

Brian Ehlers has long been well known in USA volleyball circles for his uncanny “court sense” and legendary vertical leap. He also achieved notable coaching and training success in junior club volleyball. He is a dual Athletic Hall of Famer at Chadwick Prep High School and at Pepperdine University-Malibu. Brian is generally recognized as the first ever deaf volleyball player to win an NCAA championship and start in the USA Men’s National Team program in international competition.

Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Soaring-Through-Silent-Skies-Success/dp/B08BWD2TRR/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=soaring+through+silent+skies&qid=1596544747&sr=8-1