Footprints in the Dust by Roberta Gately

by Roberta Gately
Genres: Diary, Memoir
Format: Hard Cover, Kindle

Alt="Footprints in the Dust"Footprints in the Dust: Nursing, Survival, Compassion, and Hope with Refugees Around the World by Roberta Gately


The acclaimed author of Lipstick in Afghanistan weaves together the unforgettable stories of the people she helped heal in some of the most troubled places on Earth in a gripping memoir that celebrates our shared humanity.

Roberta Gately is a nurse and humanitarian aid worker who has served in war zones ranging from Africa to Afghanistan aiding refugees.  Just the word refugee sparks conversation and fuel emotion. There are more than twenty-two million refugees worldwide and another sixty-five million who have been forcibly displaced. But who are these people? Images filter into our consciousness via dramatic photographs—but these photos only offer a glimpse into their stories. Footprints in the Dust aims to share the real stories of refugees around the world in hopes of revealing the truth about their experience.

As a young ER nurse in Boston, Roberta was stopped cold by stark images of big-bellied babies with empty haunting stares in the news. She called the aid organization featured in the news story and within two months, she was on her way. Roberta would soon learn that world into which millions of children around the globe were born was fraught with unspeakable horrors.  The only certainties for so many of these children were, and remain to this day—disease and devastating injury.

Footprints in the Dust reveals the humanity behind the headlines, beginning where the newscasters end their reports. The people we meet within this riveting book are neither all saints nor all sinners—and impossible to forget.


Footprints in the Dust: Nursing, Survival, Compassion, and Hope with Refugees Around the World written by Roberta Gately takes the reader on an inspiring journey travelled by the author herself. Roberta Gately, an ER nurse in Boston, has volunteered over the last three decades in some of the world’s grittiest spots where she delivered medical care to refugees caught in the crosshairs of war and misery.

In Footprints in the Dust, we follow along from Afghanistan, where it was necessary to hide her American identity and assume the role of an Irish aid worker, to Iraq and the Balkans, and to the refugee camps of Africa where, in addition to diseases such as typhoid and cholera and meningitis, there were the physical injuries caused by landmines and the emotional injuries of families being ripped apart by the ravages of war, displacement, and the constant struggle to just get home, “ to fight against the odds to live simple lives of dignity and grace….”

The accounts of the struggles, pain and suffering, grief and deaths related in this book are heart-wrenching but it is the refugees’ resilience and kindness that you will remember once you have turned the last page. At once a gripping story, it is also a reminder that we are all more alike than we realize.

As Roberta Gately noted, there are varying views of refugees and much misunderstanding, but she is successful in portraying a different view: that is, the consequences of war on the innocent. This is a book that will make you pause in your comfortable western life and consider the lives of others, to have sympathy for those unwittingly caught up in conflict, and most of all, to be thankful for our own safety and peaceful life.

Footprints in the Dust is a very inspiring account of one woman’s journey to help heal others and it ultimately reveals the hope, kindness and resilience of refugees around the world. Roberta Gately’s diary reveals not only the sadness and unfairness, but also the promise of a better world. A touching and warm-hearted book that will have readers discerning the tenderness displayed by Roberta Gately towards the people she cared for. I was filled with feelings of gratitude and warmth. This is one book that everyone should read and consider, it is very thought provoking, compelling and encouraging.

Footprints is undoubtedly a compelling read that is told with compassion and competence. The author is clearly an extremely accomplished writer who wears her heart on her sleeve and can truly say that she has made a difference. Chick Lit Cafe highly recommends Footprints in the Dust: Nursing, Survival, Compassion, and Hope with Refugees Around the World.
Reviewed by Jane Finch for Chick Lit Cafe

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