What is it like to live and work in a remote corner of the world and befriend a courageous midwife breaking traditional roles? MONIQUE AND THE MANGO RAINS is the compelling story of the author’s decade-long friendship with Monique Dembele, an accidental midwife who became a legend. Monique saved lives and dispensed hope every day in a place where childbirth is a life-and-death matter. Monique has an unquenchable passion for a better life in the face of poverty, an arranged marriage, and endless backbreaking work. In the course of this deeply personal narrative, as readers immerse themselves in the rhythms of village life, they come to know her as a friend, as a mother and as an inspired woman striving to find her place in a changing world.

From witnessing her first village birth to the night of Monique’s tragic death, the author draws on her first-person experiences in Mali, her graduate studies in maternal and child health, medical and clinic records, letters and journals, as well as conversations with Monique, her family, friends and colleagues, to give readers a unique view—and a friend in West Africa.


Kris Holloway served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa from 1989-1991, where she met her husband John Bidwell. She holds a MPH from the University of Michigan and works in writing and development for non-profit organizations. She lives in Northampton, MA with John and their two children.