Thought-provoking presentation

Intriguing issues emerge from Calvin White’s latest book, Letters From the Land of Fear.

Author Calvin White with residents of a Central Asia village where he worked.

Who doesn’t wonder what the purpose of life is? Who doesn’t think of death without trepidation?

These are the issues that emerge from Calvin White’s latest book, Letters From the Land of Fear, (Guernica Editions, Toronto).

For 11 months, White worked as a mental health specialist with Doctors Without Borders in Central Asia. During that time he worked every day to keep death at bay from the 400 patients that the international humanitarian aid organization was serving.

That area of the planet, little known to most of us, is the region of the ancient Silk Road which connected Europe to the Far East. Today it’s the region hardest hit by the environmental disaster of the Aral Sea.

Formerly a part of the Soviet Union, the Aral Sea was once the fourth largest body of inland water on the planet. The decision of Soviet authorities to siphon off water from its two feeder rivers for cotton production has resulted in a sea now only 70% of its former size. That has created uncontrollable health issues from the toxic winds that carry their poisons from the exposed sea bed. Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is epidemic in the Uzbekistan area that White was sent to.

His job was to counsel patients and to train local counselors to help patients cope with their affliction. During the period White was there, an eruption of communal violence in the east of the region also threw him into trauma and post traumatic stress counseling in refugee camps. These compelling adventures are brought to life in Letters From the Land of Fear in such a way as to emotionally connect the struggle and beauty of human beings from a far off place to ordinary Canadians and their own challenges.

The Okanagan Regional Library in Kelowna is sponsoring the author for a special evening presentation on Monday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.  There is no charge.

White will show slides and integrate his experience in Central Asia with the derivative themes of how to live more intimately, how to healthily live with suffering, and how to heal from personal traumatic experiences of the past. The presentation will be thought provoking and emotionally charged.

Calvin White is also the author of two books of poetry, the latest out this year from Now Or Never Press in Vancouver, as well as the non-fiction book, The Secret Life of Teenagers, which came out in 2013.

He has written more than 85 essays and articles in all of Canada’s major newspapers, the most recent being an article on B.C.’s new personalized education initiative in the Vancouver Sun.

 

Just Posted

A pickleball debacle unfolds in Lake Country

Pickleball players and frustrated residents discuss the sport court

Lightning causes three wildfires east of Osoyoos

It is believed the fires started by a lightning storm

Kelowna man found guilty of second-degree murder awaits sentencing

A Kelowna jury found Steven Randy Pirko guilty of the second-degree murder in June

Kelowna cab driver charged with sexual assault

RCMP received a report May 28 alleging a taxi passenger had been sexually assaulted by a cab driver

Trial delayed for West Kelowna man charged with murdering his wife

Kevin Costin’s trial is on hold until the Crown and defence work out a few kinks

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Lightning causes three wildfires east of Osoyoos

It is believed the fires started by a lightning storm

Backhoe ‘burned to a crisp’ in South Okanagan

South Okanagan fire chief said the situation could have been a lot worse

Air ambulance called to second collision on Highway 1 west of Salmon Arm

Emergency crews respond to motor-vehicle collision near Second Nations Road intersection

Crash closes Highway 1 near Tappen

The collision happened about 3:30 p.m. by James Road

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Controversial anti-abortion film to be screened in the South Okanagan

Unplanned will be shown at the Penticton Landmark theatre

Okanagan-based pop star Andrew Allen is back with a new band

Singer-songwriter Andrew Allen is bringing his new band home for a concert this Friday

Most Read