Maalika

Written by Valerie Browning and John Little.

In 1973, Valerie Browning, a young Sydney nurse, volunteered to go to Ethiopia to help the victims of a devastating famine. She had little or no conception of Africa or Africans, and yet the continent and its people would become the guiding force of her life.

Galvanised by the suffering she witnessed in Ethiopia, on her return to Australia she became a human rights and aid activist for the people of the Horn of Africa. Valerie's work led her back to Africa again and again, involving her - at considerable risk to herself - in the armed liberation conflicts of the region. Even as she discovered brutality and corruption at the heart of these political movements, she also found love, marrying Ismael Ali Gardo, whose people, the Afar, roamed Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Sudan as nomadic herdsmen. Ismael's life mission was to help the Afar - desperately poor, uneducated, landless, and the victims of oppression in every country they once roved freely. Soon it became Valerie's too, as she embraced their culture and threw herself into their cause.

In one of the most inhospitable landscapes on earth, Valerie and Ismael have waged an incredible struggle, bringing health and education to a people who would otherwise have nothing. Valerie's story is both an astonishing adventure and a testament to how determination and passion can achieve extraordinary things. Paperback 288 pages. Published 2009. 

SUPPORTER REVIEW- This book is recommended by Hamlin supporter Kim

"My life is linked with the Afar people... an ancient nomadic race with a language of their own, and a mode of living I deeply respect. Their story is interwoven with my story, and the stark fact is that the Afar are facing cultural extinction. By telling you about my life, I hope to persuade the wider world to value the Afar as I do…" Valerie Browning tells her remarkable life's story with honesty and humour. From her early years in country NSW, her first foray into famine-stricken Ethiopia in the 1970s and to her life changing decision to marry an Afar clan leader and live in Ethiopia, Valerie takes us on an amazing adventure into Eastern Africa. Co written by John Little (author of Catherine's gift and the co-author of The Hospital By The River with Dr Catherine Hamlin) the style is conversational and very easy to read. I highly recommend this book - it would make an ideal present, or just a gift for yourself!"