TIA honcho Fred Hunter wants you to know that A YEAR AT THE EDGE OF THE JUNGLE, his memoir of a challenging, dangerous and coming-of-age time in the small Congo town of Coquilhatville fifty years ago, has just been published by Cune Press of Seattle. It’s now available at Amazon.com/books.
Here’s how he happened to be there.
In 1963 the American government decided to establish a presence in the remotest part of the strife-torn Congo. Policymakers determined that Western interests must hold this country, independent only three years, against Communist influence or takeover. The State Department wanted officers in every part of the Congo, even in tiny Coquilhatville in the country’s least developed region, the Equateur. But a stripped-down diplomatic post would do for Coq. No diplomatic protections, no commo links. Experienced officers were assigned there, but refused to serve.
Enter Fred Hunter, a novice U.S. Information Service officer just arrived from training in Belgium. Why not send him? Sink or swim. Let’s see if he’ll survive. So Fred goes alone to Coquilhatville, a typewriter his only friend. His job: to establish an American Cultural Center, a small library about the US and a film service. He encounters loneliness, privation and political turmoil; he makes lasting friends. But it’s all put on the line when Simba rebels move to attack Coq.
Quoting liberally from letters, this memoir recounts Fred’s isolated and hair-raising year at the edge of the jungle. You may have read some of Fred’s experiences on this blog. This is the whole story. Check it out on Amazon.