A Washington author is visiting Coupeville this week to talk about her experience in the Peace Corps.
Kingfisher Bookstore in Coupeville will host Kirkland-based author Christine Herbert in a “meet the author” event at 5 p.m. this Thursday, July 28. The event will showcase Herbert’s book, “The Color of the Elephant,” published earlier this year.
“The Color of the Elephant” is a memoir that brings the reader along on a comedic retelling of the two years and three months Herbert spent with the Peace Corps as a health educator in Zambia.
The memoir, which Herbert described as “Bridget Jones goes to Africa,” is meant to entertain and inform. It leads the reader on a humorous walk through Herbert’s journey, from learning the Bemba language only to find out upon her arrival that the villagers she lived among spoke Lamba, to living in a mud hut with no electricity or running water.
It also tells her story as a health care volunteer and educator. While living in Zambia from 2004 to 2006, Herbert worked on health issues such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, child and maternal health and nutrition, and water and sanitation. She worked in clinics, built wells and formed and trained neighborhood health committees.
Herbert describes her years in the Peace Corps as both the hardest and the best years of her life. She always knew she wanted to join the Peace Corps, and when she turned 30, she decided to stop dreaming about it and actually go for it, despite a lack of support from friends and family at the time.
“It was something that always drew my attention and my imagination,” she said. “I’m so glad that I didn’t let anybody talk me out of it.”
Her background in biology and massage therapy qualified her to work on the corps’s healthcare project in Zambia. After spending two years and three months with the Peace Corps, she worked in the nonprofit field for a while and eventually returned to massage therapy, which she practices now.
“Bottom line, I just like to help people and it doesn’t really matter to me what form that takes,” she said.
Herbert said she hopes her author talk at Kingfisher Bookstore will raise awareness for the Peace Corps and demonstrate to listeners that they can make a positive impact — whether halfway across the world, or at home in their own communities.
After Herbert speaks about her Peace Corps experience, she will read a selection from her memoir and answer questions. Readers interested in spotlighting “The Color of the Elephant” in a book club may also connect with Herbert at this event.