Johanna Maula was only eight years old when her family-mother, father, and four small girls-moved from the snow-covered Finnish countryside to middle of the tropical heat of Nigeria. The Biafran war was raging, and the young girl saw many historical events unfolding that impacted her deeply and set the course for her life.
Dr Maula later worked for the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation, and the African Development Bank. She travelled the length and breadth of Africa and saw tragedy and misery, but also the beginnings of growth and hope.
In this memoir, she presents unique insights into the life of people in the rapidly changing Africa, from the street children in Lagos to Vodou priests in Benin; from destitute women of Ethiopia to presidents, ministers, and business leaders in these countries. Her story combines a seasoned social scientist's viewpoint with pertinent and pointed observations covering more than four decades of socio-cultural and economic developments in Africa.
Dr Maula candidly recalls her work, her friends and neighbours, starting a family, and the ups and downs of raising an infant in Ethiopia and a moody teenager in the pre-revolutionary Tunisia.
Through her experiences in Africa, Dr Maula also learned to look at her own native country with new eyes. Hilarious and tragic by turns, her story throughout bears great compassion and love for Africa and her beautiful and talented people.