Listen: Neely Tucker Reads from his Book, <I>Love in the Driest Season</I>
For years Neely Tucker was a foreign correspondent covering the world's most dangerous hot spots — Sarajevo, Nairobi, Kinshasa. In 1997 he was based in Zimbabwe. At that time, the country was the epicenter of the AIDS crisis in Africa.
Unable to have children of their own, Tucker and his wife, Vita, threw themselves into volunteer work at a local orphanage filled with sick infants whose parents had died or had simply abandoned them. It was there they met a baby girl named Chipo. In the Shona language, her name means "gift." Like thousands of children in Zimbabwe, she had been abandoned at birth and left for dead.
In a new book, Love in the Driest Season, Neely Tucker writes about the struggle to keep Chipo alive, and then the long journey through Zimbabwe's bureaucratic maze to make the child a permanent part of the family.
Neely Tucker now writes for The Washington Post, and he and his family live in a Washington, D.C., home filled with artwork, masks and sculpture from Africa. NPR's Michele Norris, host of All Things Considered met with the Tuckers, and five-year-old Chipo, to talk about their experience.