In the 1962, in a college anthropology class, John Ashford was introduced to the San people—the mysterious Kalahari Bushmen. Their peaceful way of life—and John's childhood memories of listening to field recordings of chants by indigenous cultures—resulted in a life-long fascination. In the 1990s, John and his wife, Gen, found themselves in Botswana as Peace Corps Volunteers and middle-aged adventurers.
John thought that meeting Morris would be the culmination of his journey. Instead, Morris referred him to John Hardbattle, a prominent activist on behalf of the Bushmen. Thus began a whirlwind education about the Kalahari Bushmen in the modern world. Meeting the Mantis is the story of their journey, interwoven with encounters with locals and with African wildlife.
John Ashford grew up in Seattle, Washington and graduated from the University of Washington. After a lengthy career in teaching and then as the director of a library he began looking for a change. In 1990, he and his wife, Genevieve, went to Botswana with the Peace Corps and both worked as teachers. Returning to Seattle, he taught at Seattle Community College as a part-time instructor until retirement. His articles and stories have appeared in an anthology of Peace Corps writing, in Silk Road Review, and in Seattle area newspapers.
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Published: Peace Corps Writers - August 13th, 2015