Empathy & Empowerment in Mali: A Review of Monique and the Mango Rains

July 06, 2024


Empathy and Empowerment in Mali:
A Review of Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Halloway

Written by Andres F. Diaz, AMSA National Board of Trustees, Student Editor, The New Physician,
& MD/PhD student at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson

Kris Holloway’s Monique and the Mango Rains is an evocative exploration of the highs and lows of providing healthcare in a rural African village. Set against the backdrop of Nampossela, Mali, Holloway recounts her life-altering friendship with Monique Dembele, a midwife whose limited formal training belies her profound impact on the community she serves. This book is a narrative of personal growth and tragic loss, one that delves deep into the raw realities of women’s health in some of the most remote corners of the world.

Holloway’s narrative is enriched by her immersive approach and acculturation. Living and working alongside Monique, Holloway gains firsthand experience of the daunting challenges faced by healthcare providers in under-resourced settings. From assisting in births to tackling the controversy of female genital mutilation, Holloway’s account is both authentic and compelling, providing readers with a clear window into the intersection of cultural practices and healthcare.

For those interested in global health and women’s reproductive rights, Holloway’s insights are invaluable. The book highlights the cultural complexities of medical practices for women and children, as well as the systemic socio-economic barriers that exacerbate health disparities; its themes are particularly resonant with AMSA’s commitment to advocating for equitable healthcare. Moreover, Holloway’s respectful, non-judgmental portrayal of the Malian people and her candid discussion of her own evolving perceptions encourage a nuanced understanding of health beyond a Western perspective. 

Monique and the Mango Rains is more than just a memoir;
it is a powerful call to action for all AMSA members. 

It challenges us to consider the ethical dimensions of our future professional practices and the broader social responsibilities we bear as future healthcare providers. By engaging with Holloway’s narrative, we are reminded of the urgency to advocate for systemic changes that ensure health equity and respect for all cultural contexts.

In conclusion, Monique and the Mango Rains is an essential read for anyone committed to the cause of global health equity and women’s rights. It enriches our understanding of the complexities of healthcare delivery in resource-poor settings and inspires a deeper commitment to advocating for comprehensive and culturally respectful healthcare practices. Holloway’s heartfelt account of her friendship with Monique and her dedication to improving women’s health in Mali provides a compelling template for how AMSA members can engage with and impact global health.


X (Twitter): @Andresfdiaz10
Instagram: a_fdiaz
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ua-gs1-andres-f-diaz/ 


*Note: an excerpt of this Spotlight is included in AMSA Reproductive Health Project eNews #23: Standing for Reproductive Freedom, July 6, 2024
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