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The Prophet’s Camel Bell: A Memoir of Somaliland by Margaret Laurence is both a fascinating account of Somali culture and British colonial characters and a lyrical description of life in the desert.

By Margaret Laurence (Author)

In 1950, as a young bride, Margaret Laurence set out with her engineer husband to what was then Somaliland: a British protectorate in North Africa few Canadians had ever heard of. Her account of this voyage into the desert is full of wit and astonishment.
Laurence honestly portrays the difficulty of colonial relationships and the frustration of trying to get along with Somalis who had no reason to trust outsiders. There are moments of surprise and discovery when Laurence exclaims at the beauty of a flock of birds only to discover that they are locusts, or offers medical help to impoverished neighbors only to be confronted with how little she can help them.
During her stay, Laurence moves past misunderstanding the Somalis and comes to admire memorable individuals: a storyteller, a poet, a camel-herder. The Prophet’s Camel Bell is both a fascinating account of Somali culture and British colonial characters and a lyrical description of life in the desert.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Margaret LaurenceMARGARET LAURENCE (1926–1987) was a Canadian author of short stories and novels. She is best known for The Stone Angel, which was made into an award-winning film in 2007. Other novels in her Manawaka cycle include A Jest of God and The Diviners, both of which won Governor General’s Awards, and The Fire Dwellers. In 1972, Laurence was named a Companion of the Order of Canada. From 1950 until 1957 Laurence lived in Africa, the first two years in what is now Somaliland, the next five in Ghana. During this time she translated Somali poetry and prose and began writing fiction set in colonial Africa. In 1962, Laurence moved to England; she returned to Ontario in 1974 and continued to write reviews, children’s books, and essays.


The Prophet's Camel Bell A Memoir Of Somaliland

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ChapterTitle
1Innocent Voyage
2Footsteps
3House in the Clouds
4Jilal
5Flowering Desert
6Place of Exile
7The Ballehs
8Arrivederci, Italia
9A Teller of Tales
10Mohamed
11Arabetto
12The Old Warrior
13A Tree for Poverty
14The Imperialists
15Nabad Gelyo
Glossary of Somali Words
Acknowledgments
Bibliography
Notes
The Prophet's Camel Bell A Memoir Of Somaliland
Jack, Author, and Gino. Photographer unknown
The Prophet's Camel Bell A Memoir Of Somaliland
This map shows the area of the Haud in Somaliland where Laurence and her husband lived

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