African Pearl

“AIDS, loss and redemption in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains”

Pamela Brown-Peterside

ISBN: 9781912726202

256 Pages

Published Apr 2020


Paperback £8.99 Kindle £5.99
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Single, burned out and on the cusp of forty, Irish-Nigerian New Yorker, Pamela Brown-Peterside, is yearning for meaning when she exchanges a stable US career in HIV research for the lush but AIDS-hit valleys of western Uganda.

Ambivalent about missions, Pamela unwittingly joins an American missionary-medical couple committed to preventing HIV infections in newborns. Within days, she learns they have to leave and she finds herself alone and in charge. Confronted by personal illness, ever-present death and a devastating Ebola outbreak, Pamela faces uncomfortable questions of identity, sacrifice and calling even as the AIDS programme succeeds.

Vulnerable, inspiring and honest, Pamela’s gripping account of an African returning to Africa and experiencing it as an outsider tells how she rediscovered God’s grace both for herself and those she went to serve.

  • Pamela Brown-Peterside has written a very thoughtful account which will be full of interest to readers on a number of levels. It touches on matters of theology, Christian growth and community, of race, justice and poverty, and of the making (within the context of Christian faith) of personal identity. It will be engaging to readers today because these issues are covered in an absorbing real-life story. It looks to be a great contribution to contemporary Christian literature.

    Rev Tim Keller, Founding Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NY; New York Times best-selling author
  • A heartwarming testimony of one person’s journey from the Bronx in New York to a village in Uganda following a calling to serve people with AIDS. The story is both moving and inspirational and will challenge readers to reflect on their own lives and calling, with clear practical examples from the author’s own life journey.

    Ram Gidoomal CBE, Chairman, Traidcraft Plc
  • It was Dostoevsky who said that love in practice is a 'harsh and dreadful thing' compared to the love in dreams. In this 'harsh and dreadful' memoir that includes heartache, loss, sickness and tragedy as she shares her life with the least of these, Pamela provides us with a picture of love in practice. Woven within are also glimpses of hope, redemption, truth, beauty and a love that will not let us go. That is to say, Pamela shows us Jesus. This book is manna for anyone whose imagination is ready to travel to the places where Jesus lives.

    Rev Scott Sauls, Senior Minister of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville; author
  • Pamela Brown-Peterside’s journey from HIV work in the South Bronx to a village in Uganda was much more than a long-term mission trip. Her decision to leave behind home and career to return to Africa, the land of her birth, was transformational for the health of the area where she served and for her as an individual and as a Christian. Now chronicled in African Pearl, it became not only an eye-opening look at the global health crisis, but also an emotional memoir that takes her from hope to despair and back to hope, through joy and grief covered with grace, and into depths of loneliness where she finds a profound understanding of community. Armed with highly respectable academic credentials, the author had much to give the people and health practitioners of Uganda intellectually, but never imagined how much she would learn personally. The lessons and insights she shares are not only for her, but for all who read her wonderful story.

    Beth Clark, co-author of New York Times best-seller Kisses from Katie
  • Pamela Brown-Peterside’s story serves as an example of a modern-day missionary. One crucial difference is that Pamela, as a West African with transnational identities, has to relearn what it means to be an African. This book is about negotiating multiple identities and the true meaning of community in the face of death.

    Pamela’s journey, as an Irish-Nigerian who grew up in Nigeria and travelled from the United States to Uganda, echoes a transatlantic voyage. She went as a medical worker to Bundibugyo in Uganda to help pregnant mothers so that the HIV virus would not be transmitted to their babies. In the midst of this was an Ebola breakout that claimed lives. Surrounded by death, Pamela learns the power of community at its finest and what it means to have peace and joy in difficult circumstances.

    This book is recommended to all Christians who want to take their discipleship very seriously and understand what it really means to die to our selfish ambitions.

    Rev Israel Olofinjana, Founding Director, Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World
  • Pamela Brown-Peterside’s work combines vivid description, personal transparency and thoughtful reflection on God’s presence, call and work in the world. The author offers a refreshingly direct and honest account of a faithful woman’s journey through loss and growth. Her choices to work in contexts of human need and vulnerability and her unusual personal and academic background provide a compelling backdrop for a narrative style that is fast-paced and engaging. It is a vibrant and sobering story that invites readers to reflect on God’s redemptive work and their own call and fidelity.

    Dr Christine D Pohl, Associate Provost and Professor of Christian Ethics, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky; author
  • In a time when so many people of the world are displaced, when crossing cultures is now a daily occurrence wherever you live, we need stories to help us navigate the challenges and gifts of the diversity around us. Dr Pamela Brown-Peterside does that here. But make no mistake: this isn't a 'how to' guide for confronting global issues. Rather, this is a beautiful and compelling journey where Pamela leads by example, humbly, carefully and insightfully. It is a story for anyone who cares about loving their neighbour.

    Jo Kadlecek, author of Woman Overboard:How Passion Saved My Life
  • Pamela Brown-Peterside’s book is timely, insightful and important. The stories of the people Pamela met during the AIDS epidemic in Uganda are inspiring, vivid, and deeply moving. African Pearl is a compelling read on how Africans are effecting transformative change on their continent, told by an African. This book is a reminder of why Africans must shape their own narratives.

    Parminder Vir OBE, former CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation

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