Being a full-time surgeon is taking a toll on Dr. Sarah Whitaker’s mental health. When her fiancé David suggests taking a year-long break in Africa and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro together, she is more than up for it. Sarah readily agrees with the idea, looking forward to a positive change in her life. Even when David cannot accompany Sarah, she is determined to go on this journey alone. Reaching Tanzania, she falls in love with the culture, the heartwarming people, and stunning natural beauty. She gets more than she had hoped for as she makes friends with brave and strong African women. She learns about the excessive gap in healthcare for women and the pervasive female genital mutilation. Determined to make a change, she begins a training program to teach tribal birth attendants safer medical practices. Sarah’s life has taken a revolutionary turn, after which her life may never be the same.
After Kilimanjaro: A Novel is a descriptive story filled with compelling imagery about Tanzania, the African people, their health practices, and how they differ from the West. Gayle Woodson explores romantic relationships throughout the book with subtlety, with one of the most beautiful African countries serving as the backdrop. Sarah is a strong woman who perseveres in the remote village during her training program where conditions are tough, but her determination to improve the quality of life of the women is forever present.
Gayle Woodson has written the medical aspects of the book in great depth and precision, owing to her medical background. Poor health conditions pertaining to prenatal care, female genital mutilation, HIV, malaria, and malnutrition are what Dr. Sarah hopes to work for in this story. It is a captivating and beautiful tale that can entrance anyone looking for an immersive travel adventure with vibrant imagery and great storytelling. It is a hypnotic tale that will instantly transport any reader to the lush beauty of Africa and allow them to explore the humanity of the deftly crafted characters.