Cover image for Land of a thousand hills : my life in Rwanda
Land of a thousand hills : my life in Rwanda
Carr, Rosamond Halsey.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Viking, 1999.
Physical Description:
viii, 248 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DT450.427.C37 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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When Rosamond Halsey Carr first arrived in Africa, she didn't realize she would spend the rest of her life there. As a young fashion illustrator living in New York City in the 1940s, she seemed the least likely candidate for such a life of adventure. But marriage to a hunter-explorer took her to what was then the Belgian Congo, and divorce left her determined to stay on, in neighboring Rwanda, as the manager of a flower plantation. In the ensuing half century she witnessed the decline and fall of colonialism, the wars for independence, the loss of her friend Dian Fossey and the relentless clashes of the Hutus and Tutsis. And, finally, 1994's horrific genocide--of which she provides a personal, first-hand account that is unparalleled and underscores her continued devotion to the country by her decision to care for more than one hundred of its orphaned children.Land of a Thousand Hills unfolds against the backdrop of Rwanda's history from the royal Tutsi dynasty to the present, a landscape whose magic is aptly evoked. It is the epic story of a woman alone in an exotic land, struggling to survive untold hardships only to emerge with an extraordinary love for her adopted country and its people.

Author Notes

Rosamond Halsey Carr is the last of the foreign plantation owners in Rwanda, where she now runs a children's orphanage. She has been featured on television programs from The Today Show to CNN to the BBC.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Carr has lived an extraordinary life. And, she still does; at the age of 86, she runs an orphanage in Rwanda, taking in children who have lost their families in the 1994 war between the Hutus and the Tutsis that tore the country apart. For 50 years, Rwanda has been Carr's home, where she managed and eventually bought a flower plantation. While fellow American and European landowners fled the country during Rwanda's war of Independence in 1959, Carr stayed, refusing to leave her beloved home and country. Carr did flee during Rwanda's brutal 1994 civil war, but only when Belgian UN soldiers were on her doorstep, ordering her out of the country. Some might think of her determination as foolish, because no one was safe anywhere in Rwanda at that time; but this is "a love affair between a woman and a country," a woman who has faced war, bankruptcy, heartache, and stampeding elephants. She has also experienced firsthand the rich culture of the Rwandans and their beautiful and lush countryside. Carr and her niece Ann Howard Halsey elegantly and objectively write of the royal Rwandan ceremonies, the weddings and tribal dances, as well as Carr's associations with European diplomats and ambassadors and the "high society" of wealthy landowners. Her descriptions of the day-to-day life at the plantation allow the reader to learn about the lives of the Hutus that worked for her and the neighboring Tutsis whose cattle grazed close by. Serial rights sold to Vogue. --Michelle Kaske

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fifty years ago, New Jersey socialite and fashion designer Rosamond Halsey Carr sailed from Brooklyn Harbor with four new cotton dresses, a lifelong supply of cold cream and hopes of injecting passion into her marriage with British big-game hunter Kenneth Carr. Although conjugal bliss eluded her, the hills of central Africa captured her heart, and she passed up safety, security and marriage with a later love to stay in Rwanda. Carr saw at close handÄlong before the genocide of 1994Äthe warfare between Hutu and Tutsi in 1959, violence spilling over from the Congo during the 1960s and independence for RwandaÄon four days' noticeÄin 1962. Rich in details about elephants, marriage customs and the author's flower plantation, this charming memoir transports readers to the land where Dian Fossey (whom Carr knew and profiles here) studied her gorillas. The horror of 1994 forced Carr off her plantation and out of the country for a few months, but she is now back, running an orphanage for victims' children she started in an old barn. By today's confessional standards, Carr, who is 86, is reticent about her personal life. Literary flourishes are few here; rather, along with her niece, Halsey, she writes simply and evocatively, entertaining readers with vignettes about her European, African and American acquaintances. Money did not come easily to Carr, but out of Africa has come an abundance of spirit. First serial to Vogue. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is an excellent book. Carr, then a young New York fashion illustrator, moved to Africa with her hunter husband in 1954. After their divorce, she took a job as a plantation manager and eventually became a plantation ownerÄthe last foreign owner in Rwanda. In her 45 years in the Congo and Rwanda, she saw the fight for independence and then the rise of ethnic unrest and genocidal conflict in the 1990s. She now runs an orphanage on her plantation. Carr speaks with personal knowledge of both rulers and locals, including Dian Fossey, a neighbor and friend. Her brief account of ethnic and national differences can certainly be understood by the average reader. Those frustrated by Philip Gourevitch's We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families (LJ 9/1/98) may find this book by a resident Rwandan more interesting. Those who enjoy travel, history, biography, women's studies, or just a fascinating read will want it as well.ÄJulie Still, Rutgers Univ., Camden, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. 3
1. Kennethp. 9
2. The Journeyp. 16
3. The Kivup. 22
4. Buniolep. 27
5. The Overseerp. 36
6. Return to Buniolep. 43
7. The Europeansp. 51
8. Cecilp. 56
9. Turning Pointp. 63
10. Mugongop. 69
11. Banyaruandap. 77
12. Elephantsp. 84
13. Life in Muturap. 90
14. Sembagarep. 96
15. A Well-Inhabited Gardenp. 101
16. A Feudal Kingdomp. 109
17. Jubileep. 115
18. Revoltp. 120
19. Congo Independencep. 126
20. Transitionsp. 135
21. An Independent Republicp. 140
22. Alyettep. 149
23. Dian--the Early Yearsp. 154
24. The Palm Beach Hotelp. 162
25. Dian--the Later Yearsp. 168
26. Visitors to the Farmp. 178
27. The Potato Projectp. 184
28. The 1980sp. 188
29. The Warp. 199
30. Genocidep. 206
31. Return to Rwandap. 213
32. Imbabazip. 222
Epiloguep. 229
Acknowledgmentsp. 237
Editorial Notep. 239
Glossaryp. 241
Indexp. 243