5.0 out of 5 stars A FINE DIVE INTO TANZANIA'S MULTIPLE CULTURES
Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2021
I couldn't bear to finish this book - the second in what I hope is a long series.
David's unique drawings and Jeanette's close observations of rural Tanzania life in the Nineties are a rich introduction to the multiple tribes of the Mangola/Lake Eyasi area - from the remnants of Hadza hunter-gatherers, Datoga warrior-herders, Japanese anthropologists, to Mzungu (white) farmers, biologists and visitors.
Throw in a safari with archeologist Mary Leakey to remote rock painting sites and wildlife love stories and you can visit a part of Africa through its remote to its intense settlement phases. The chapters can be read separately and then repeatedly, to appreciate their detail and depth.
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and insightful stories
Reviewed in the United States on December 12, 2021
I enjoyed both of the "oasis" books. Hanby and Bygott share stories of their interactions with local Tanzanians of various ethnic groups in a remote, wild, and fascinating part of the country. The stories ring true based on my experiences in Tanzania, and they are offered with grace and good will toward their neighbors. Bygott's illustrations are first class, the perfect complement to the stories. Safari visitors to Tanzania often tend to focus exclusively on the amazing animals they see, but the local people are equally fascinating, and these books can give the reader more insights into life beyond the safari.
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, insightful, educational and very engaging
Reviewed in the United States on April 6, 2022
Spirited Oasis and Beyond the Oasis are such inviting and plain-spoken accounts of her years in northern Tanzania that I read every word. People in the village where Jeannette Hanby and David Bygott settled were poor and largely unschooled, and they were so wary of outsiders that it took years for the foreign couple to become part of the community. Hanby’s recollections of their slow integration are presented in bite-sized chapters. Each presents a gentle story of everyday life, sometimes with a shocking ending. Hanby is brilliant at conveying a realistic sense of what it means to engage with a different set of cultures and learn about them. She describes in beautifully simple language the individual histories of the people she comes to know, the joys and conflicts that she and Bygott experience, the mix of four ethnic groups, the impact of the national administration, the wildlife and the scenery, as well as the fact that all around were sites with evidence of deep human evolution. Scores of superb illustrations by Bygott bring the stories to life. This is a wonderful picture of a fascinating and rapidly changing world.