Calvin White will deliver a presentation about a year he spent with a Doctors Without Borders team in Central Asia at the Vernon library April 1.

Calvin White will deliver a presentation about a year he spent with a Doctors Without Borders team in Central Asia at the Vernon library April 1.

Author recounts central Asian adventure

Calvin White will speak about his new book, Letters from the Land of Fear at the Vernon library April 1

It promises to be an emotionally engaging and provocative evening at the Vernon library April 1.

Salmon Arm author Calvin White will speak about his new book, Letters from the Land of Fear. The book highlights the year he spent working with a Doctors Without Borders team in central Asia, which includes Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, countries located near Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“All those ‘Stans become a blur,” said White.

“Suffice to say that it’s a region on the other side of the globe from Canada and where the ancient Silk Road stretched between Europe and India, where Genghis Khan once rode with his Mongol armies.”

In 2010, White worked for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) as a mental health specialist. The Nobel Prize-winning aide organization is in western Uzbekistan trying to stem the tide of  multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

White worked as a patient counsellor and trained local counsellors to do the same.

“In order for the patients to be cured, they had to endure for two years, a toxic cocktail of medications that might defeat their disease but almost certainly would put their bodies through hell,” said White.

Throughout the year, White became one with the Uzbek patients and entered a world both totally alien from anything in Canada while at the same time, he says, intimately connected to who all of us are.

This adventure is portrayed in Letters from the Land of Fear, just released by Guernica Editions of Toronto.

Through more than the 300 pages, including 16 pages of photographs, White takes the reader inside the daily heartbeat of the people who call this region home.

The free presentation April 1 will begin in the meeting room at 7 p.m. at the Vernon branch of Okanagan Regional Library.