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In the Shadow of the Volcano: One Ex-Intelligence Official's Journey through Slums, Prisons, and Leper Colonies to the Heart of Latin America
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In the Shadow of the Volcano: One Ex-Intelligence Official's Journey through Slums, Prisons, and Leper Colonies to the Heart of Latin America

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  38 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In a memoir that is at once heart-breaking and hilarious, former U.S. intelligence analyst Maureen Klovers embarks on a year-long quest to understand why so many Latin Americans are willing to risk their lives to come to America. She moves into a convent with a rogue American priest, two nuns, and dormitory full of volunteers, and begins teaching children from the poorest ...more
Paperback, 194 pages
Published March 23rd 2012 by Chesapeake Books (first published January 5th 2012)
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Maria Sutton
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Before reading Maureen Klovers’ book, In the Shadow of the Volcano, I thought I knew what a developing, struggling Democracy in Latin America would look like. We’ve all seen the TV advertisements asking us to sponsor the brown-eyed, hungry child, barefoot, wearing tattered clothes, living in squalor. Maureen’s memoir takes us into their world, in vivid detail, as we learn of their struggles to overcome insurmountable odds in their quest to make a better life for themselves. As a volunteer teache ...more
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a personal account of the author's experiences as an former American intelligence analyst who travels to Quito, Ecuador in order to teach poor children from the slums. Maureen Klovers details the difficulties in reaching the unruly students. They come from a culture affected by extreme poverty, corruption, physical abuse, alcoholism and sexism. Upon graduating from the ninth grade the most any of them can hope for are careers as mechanics, carpenters or beauticians. During her time in Ec ...more
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-read
In my opinion, there are two types of travel books. One that gives you a brief glorified version of the country that is featured, or one that tells you the truth, good or bad. In The Shadow Of The Volcano is the latter of the two. In this book, Maureen Klovers doesn't sugarcoat the abuse, violence, and extreme poverty she encounters while teaching in Quito, Ecuador. She also doesn't hide the happiness her students express at the prospect of a Valentine's Day dance, or a class trip to McDonald's. ...more
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Maureeen Klovers studied Latin America language and culture in school, and spent years employed in public policy using her knowledge to promote international relations. In this story she chose to go and live there to experience the culture and conditions first hand. She arrived in the context of a one year teaching mission.

Her arrival collided with the poverty-stricken kids who have minimal interest in school and minimal opportunities in life. Furthermore, many adults are in the customs office t
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I won this through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was interested in this book because for me, Latin America is completely nebulous in terms of what life is like there. Klovers did an excellent job of capturing this. When she describes her first few months in Ecuador, it was pretty depressing; by the end, however, you definitely get a sense of hope (and perspective!), which I really appreciate in these kinds of books.

The book starts off with her deciding to live in Latin America because, whi
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Maureen Klovers has produced a produced a fine work that is part memoir, part social commentary, and part a philosophical rumination. Written with vivid, dynamic prose, In the Shadow of the Volcano captures both the stunning beauty of the Ecuadorian countryside and the bleak, harsh, and often ugly reality of life in the shantytowns of Quito. Klovers introduces readers to the political, social, and economic upheavals that have plagued Ecuador, but she does so by weaving this commentary throughout ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
A young boy was left to die in the hospital waiting room while the doctors watched a fútbol game, a nun was robbed by four men, children are beaten with father's belt for misbehaving, the narrator's students wanted to go on field trip to McDonald's instead of a museum or planetarium, these are the stories that the author shares. These stories are both heart-wrenching and almost inconceivable to me.

The author goes to Ecuador because she wants to understand why someone would cram themselves in th
Jill Dobbe
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this read about living and volunteer teaching in Ecuador. The author writes about the culture shock along with the dangers and the poverty of Ecuador, as she lives alongside the local population. As an overseas educator living and working in Honduras, I was able to relate to many of her experiences and couldn't agree more, the students and the humbleness of the locals really do have a way of getting under your skin and staying there.

A memoir written with humor and honesty. Just my
A.K. Frailey
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was impressed with this book. It was a very honest look at a young woman's experiences while teaching as a missionary in Latin America. Since I have worked as a volunteer also, in the USA and in the Philippines, I could relate to her reactions to extreme poverty and the violence that often attends it. Her hopeful ending brought the book to a profitable end and I was glad that she was able to relate both the positive as well as the negative sides to working in poverty stricken areas. Excellent ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Klovers' book, In The Shadow of the Volcano: One Ex-Intelligence Official's Journey through Slums, Prisons, and Leper Colonies to the Heart of Latin America, is more than just a great travel log on Ecuador. It's a compelling memoir, at times hilarious and heartwrenching, that blends insightful social commentary that makes us reflect on our own US struggle with poverty, inequality, corruption and an unengaged citizenry. Ms. Klovers perspective as both a teacher and public servant is very refr ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I love this book which I was fortunate to receive through the generosity of Goodread's first reads. The author, Maureen Klovers, weaves an enchanting narrative of her experiences working at a slum school in Quito,Ecuador. I found the book full of fascinating characters, knowledge, and insight. Chapter 6 is my favorite chapter in the book, 6th grade girls,McDonald's and the mystery of an escalator. I strongly recommend this book, you'll approach topics such as poverty, family violence, and Ecuado ...more
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderfully well-written book. The trials and joys of a year of volunteering in Ecuador are presented in this book. The author also adds some thoughts of social justice and wonders during her writings if the US is really all that different than Ecuador. I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway and thoroughly enjoyed every page.
Heidi Thibodeau
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book! It provided me a great insight into a new part of the world I'd never visited. It's a must read for anyone considering a volunteer semester abroad!
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Maureen Klovers has held numerous positions in government, including a stint as a U.S. intelligence officer, and was a political commentator on DC 101's talk radio show "Neighborhood Stuff." Ms. Klovers has traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, China, India, and Latin America. She's hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, been escorted through a Bolivian prison by a German narco-traffic ...more
More about Maureen Klovers...