Ella Harvey (CA)

A Time of Light and Shadow

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An inspiring travel adventure memoir that explores a young woman’s quest to live life on the front lines, chasing adventure, and confronting the harsh realities of crisis work in Asia and Africa.

In 1975, a time of new freedom for women, Ella Harvey lived in Paris, worked as a nurse in war-torn Lebanon, and fell in love in Istanbul. Jostled between cultures, between love and loss, she found her way home. A year later, restless once again, she set off alone for India, a land of unsettling contradictions. A solo trek in the Himalayas completed that Asian journey.

By 1980 Ella was working for the International Red Cross, immersed in the heart-wrenching tragedy of a Cambodian refugee camp, and later that same year with the nomadic Issa in the drought-ridden desert of Djibouti, Africa. Faced with the immensity of poverty and suffering, her commitment to service was shaken.

Four decades later, in 2019, Ella returned to India, asking herself as an older woman, “Would I dare do now what I readily did then?” A Time of Light and Shadow explores one woman’s complicity in privilege, a troubled past with her mother, and reflections on solitude and friendship, youth and aging, longing and belonging.