One for the Road: The Unheard

A few weeks ago I heard Josh Swiller speak about his new memoir on NPR, and I’ve been meaning to mention it ever since. The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa is Swiller’s account of his experiences as a hearing-impaired American serving in the Peace Corps in Zambia. Sick of feeling like an outsider as a deaf man in the U.S., Swiller headed to Africa, where he was placed in the remote village of Mununga. He was the first white man to live in the impoverished community, and also the first person there with a hearing aid.

Swiller’s travels to Africa was much more than a do-good trip. His true journey was an inner one, during which he learned “just to be grateful for each moment.” His primary assignment to dig wells soon became secondary to more pressing needs of the village that he called home for two years. Swiller has received much praise for his debut memoir, a gripping account of an experience that was much more than cultural immersion. You can read one review here, from our friends at World Hum.