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Deeper than African Soil

Faith Eidse

2023 FAPA Award Winner

Deeper than African Soil captures the romantic, pores-open wonder of a child raised among worlds. It unveils the adventure and suffering of revolution, disease, boarding school trauma, wrenching farewells and losses deeper than most people endure in a lifetime. It explores the nature of memory itself, why we repress it and how to call it forth, all five senses open. Daughter of Canadian Mennonites, Faith Eidse was separated from family at the scariest moments of her life. Amid postcolonial tensions in Congo, Canada and the U.S., Faith and her sisters—Hope, Charity and Grace—lived vivid lives, bridging cultures from their home (Dutch Mennonite) to their host villages in southern Manitoba, the American Midwest and southwestern Congo. Yet home was always changing—sometimes drastically. Faith never truly belonged to the places they lived. In the United States, Faith was an immigrant. In her parents’ passport country, Canada, she was a visitor. In Congo, she claimed friendship, longing and memories. She related to all cultures yet owned none, formed identity from bits of home (first culture) and host (second or third) cultures to create a unique third culture. “Third culture kids” each have their own enriched, complicated story but share a diaspora of the heart and longing for home.

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