Man in a Mud Hut
A true-life memoir from West Africa. The culture shock experienced by a London-based government trouble-shooter when he travels to Africa only deepens when he is hit by tropical fever, mysterious forces and the ramifications of corruption at high level. His gradual coming to terms with Africa opens a window on the colour, vibrancy and richness of rural life in Africa in the 1970s. More
An uninvited 'ferret' from Whitehall, dark deeds in the 'heart of darkness', escape from bloody terror and black magic - a true story that shocks the sensibilities and staggers the imagination... West Africa is the setting for Man in a Mud Hut, an intriguing story of witchcraft, wizardry, water resources and Whitehall bureaucracy. It is the gripping true account of a clash of cultures and what can happen when preconceived western ideas collide with the raw reality that is rural Africa. Man in a Mud Hut tells the story of Desmond Parkis, who was sent from London to find out why a taxpayer-funded aid project in Nigeria was going wrong. Pitched head-first into a culture alien to anything he had experienced before, Desmond uncovered much more than expected; a snake pit of corruption, extortion, murder and evil that threatened to devour him with primal forces beyond comprehension. Tasked with Desmond's safety, the author diverted attention from his own rural development work to extract his reluctant house-guest from danger and immerse him in the rich culture of African village life while he recovered. His engagement with the villagers, including a team of masons, an argumentative butcher, an ingenious blacksmith and a witch-doctor who looked into his soul and ministered to his afflictions, gave Desmond a very different view of Africa and new respect for its people by the time he finally left. Rural development work in the 1970s forms the backdrop to Ian Mathie's gripping narrative. Man in a Mud Hut opens a window on a changing world where age-old customs and practices coexist with new methods and technology, where Land Rovers share roads with donkey carts, where the sound of Beethoven symphonies echoes across the parched bush landscape and appeasement of the spirits is an everyday necessity. Man in a Mud Hut is as engaging as it is eye-opening, a juxtaposition of the bizarre and the unusual with the essential humanity of people whatever their colour, language or background.