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Drawn from her own experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, Melissa Fischer weaves a rich tale set in 1992, Obuasi, a mining boomtown. The gold mine, West Africa Gold, dams the Gyimi River, stagnating the water source of Gyimiso Kakraba, a village of subsistence farmers who refuse to accept a modern world that has forsaken the art of human connection.
The Advocacy portrays with unsparing detail the reality of this era in Ghana’s history, as well as this moment in the evolution of the dialogue between indigenous communities and transnational extractive industrialists. Fischer provides a rare and intimate view of a broad cross-section of Ghanaian society and the inner workings of a multinational mining corporation.
The Advocacy’s protagonist, Louisa Lehmann, is a gritty and opinionated civil engineer who has returned to Africa from the U.S. to reconcile her past. Louisa exudes pride in her profession, honors her fluid gender, and yields to the greatest lesson of all, taught by the people of Gyimiso Kakraba deep in Ghana’s equatorial forest.
“Melissa Fischer celebrates in precise and brilliant prose the steadfast and innovative heart of the engineer — harnessing technology in service to humanity; yet, with equal clarity and sincerity, Fischer mourns the tragedy of engineers complicit in the destruction of the environment and the concomitant desecration of the human spirit.”
— DR. KARL LONGLEY, PE, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering, California State University, Fresno; Chair, California Central Valley Water Quality Control Board
“Melissa Fischer conveys in poetry what cannot be truthfully expressed in prose. It made me sad to reach the end. I will certainly read it again.”
— W. E. ABRAHAM, author of The Mind of Africa; Advisor to President Kwame Nkrumah
“The Advocacy is both a beautiful and disturbing story; exactly what good books are supposed to be.”
— JUDY REEVES, author of Wild Women, Wild Voices
“This is a novel of the intellect, where Fischer grapples with the meaning of our shared colonial history and how far our responsibility as global citizens extends.”
— GABRIEL BRANDT, Peace Corps Volunteer, Ghana, 1992-94; Professor of Chemistry, Franklin & Marshall College
“…this novel reveals the ambiguity, the mystery, and ultimately the reward of embracing a new culture while holding on to the core of your being.”
— ERIN BAKER, Peace Corps Volunteer, Ghana, 1992-94; Professor of Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
“The Advocacy does not ‘other’ anyone. It is masterful in this way.”
— MADELEINE MADER, Peace Corps Country Director, Ghana, 2004-07
“While reading The Advocacy, the term that came to mind over-and-over was, cura personalis; a Latin phrase taught with tenacity by every Jesuit influenced institution. 'Caring for the whole person' – body, mind and spirit comes screaming through the pages of every chapter.”
— PROFESSOR DANIEL B. OERTHER, PhD, PE, Missouri University of Science and Technology; Three-time Fulbrighter; former Senior Science Advisor at the U.S. Department of State; and incoming President of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists