Kids can Discover Compassion and Empathy by Exploring a World Outside their Own

Are you looking for ways to help your children grow in understanding those who experience very different lives and challenges? If yes, check out this series of magical realism tales set in Africa. Fueled by a growing desire to share her experiences in Africa to foster compassion and empathy, JA Myhre, a missionary doctor serving with Serge in East Africa, wrote The Rwendigo Tales, an African adventure series for children and teens. The four-book series aims to show young readers that fighting for justice and triumphing over evil—even in the midst of great loss and hardship—is an adventure worth having.

In A Fever, a Flight, and a Fight for the World, a doctor volunteering in a village plagued by a mysterious virus wakes up on a deserted island injured, sick, and near death—with no memory of how he got there. As Dr. Mujuni slowly regains his memory, he pieces together the horrific reality of what happened to the community he had been serving. Along with a young girl named Kygala who nurses him back to health, they embark on a journey to go back to the mainland, but what they discover on the way is even more dangerous than they could ever imagine. 

This page-turning story of finding hope in the midst of loss will inspire readers of all ages to fight for justice, battle real-life issues in which we must overcome evil, and foster empathy and an interest in global human concerns. Throughout this fictional tale, children and teens are faced with the heart of God, who cares for his people and has overcome evil to rescue them.

We’d like to share a little bit of the book with you here to give you a taste of the story.

Chapter 1: Fire and Freeze

Before the man opened his eyes, he heard a gentle rattling rustle, and a rhythmic background murmur, but he could not quite focus long enough to connect those sounds with their source. The effort of opening his eyes seemed too great, so he fell back into a deep and dreamless sleep.

Hours later, the man surfaced into consciousness again. His limbs felt unaccountably heavy, but this time he managed to open

his eyes. Above him, palm fronds scraped and whispered together in a breath of wind, causing the rustling sound that drew him

from the darkness of sleep. But now the world was dark, the palms silhouetted against moon-tinged clouds. He felt thirsty, but soon sleep pulled him back into forgetfulness.

This time he dreamed, and in his dream, he heard a lullaby from his childhood, and saw a dragon falling through stars. As he watched the dragon fall, it opened its mouth and the sweetness of the song was lost in a horrible screech when the dragon suddenly turned toward him. He threw up an arm to protect his face and woke up.

There was no dragon, only cawing crows, three black ones perched on the palm fronds above him. It was light again, the dim light of dawn, though it could also have been dusk. The rhythmic murmur he had noticed earlier was louder, more insistent, pulsating. He blinked and looked around. Sand had been scooped over his body and fell into disordered piles around him when he sat up. He had been lying beneath palms in a small clearing, and beside his head, he saw a fibrous brown husk filled with water. He rubbed his eyes, but instead of providing relief, his sandy hands scratched his face. He could not remember anything of how he came to be in this place. Only thirst and weariness.

The man picked up the husk and sniffed the water; it was odorless. He held the husk to his lips and dampened them. It tasted

woody but pure. He took a sip, and then forgot all caution in his thirst. He drained the crude cup and lay back down. I should get up and look for more water, he thought vaguely, but it seemed impossibly difficult to move. Just a little rest first. The sand, the palms, the constant rising and falling sound . . . the sea, he thought, I’m near the sea. Then he slept again.

The next time he woke up shivering, impossibly cold, emerging from a dream of distant snows and swirling lostness. He opened his eyes only a sliver, and saw that the sand had been piled back onto his limbs. Did I do that? His shivering shook the sand, sifting it down from his chest. I should get more sand; the air is too cold. But he didn’t. He slept again, until the aching cold melted into fire.

This time he woke from thirst. He must have thrashed about in his sleep so that the sand no longer covered him, but even without the warmth from the sand, he was damp with perspiration. The crows had flown away. The shell was full of water again. Had it rained? The ground looked dry. He downed the water, gulping. As he drank, he thought he heard a different rustle coming from somewhere other than the palms, and caught a flicker of motion in the periphery of the clearing. But by the time he focused his aching gaze to the right, he saw only the irregular bob of bushy branches moving in the breeze, and the flash of an orange butterfly. The sun was strong now, and he rallied the strength to push himself back toward the closest palm, into the shade. The man sat leaning against the palm, squinting in the bright light. He could now make out the dull green of shallow water through the trees, which reminded him of his thirst. It hurt to think. He looked at the cup-like husk in his hand and recognized a coconut shell.

Now the absence of sounds caught his attention. Besides the wind and the waves, the caw of the crows and the chirp of hidden

birds in the bush, he heard nothing. No people. No children, no vehicles, no goats, no bustle. The man slowly realized that he was alone. He tried to remember where he was, or more importantly, who he was, but the sound of the surf and the clicking palms lulled him into the blissful forgetfulness of sleep.

When he next woke, it was night, and his mind felt clearer. Instinctively he looked for the coconut shell, and was relieved to find it once again full of drinkable water. Beside it lay a papaya. He looked up, expecting to see the broad, scalloped leaves of the papaya tree from which this fruit had fallen. However, he saw only the fringed outlines of palms in the moonlight. Beside the papaya was a sharp clamshell. He picked it up without thinking and used it to cut the fruit in half. He scooped the fleshy balls of dark seeds aside with his fingers and then used the shell once again to carve out soft orange sweet lumps of the fruit. He could not remember anything tasting so perfect before. The juice dribbled down his chin as he sucked every last fibrous shred of fruit from the thin rind.

Holding on to the firm pole of the palm trunk, he now managed to stand. The fruit and water had given him enough energy to pick his way slowly in the moonlight toward the sea. The tide was rising, with gentle waves breaking on the sand. He waded out and felt the tepid salty water washing away the sweat and grime of his sandy sleep. He lay on his back in the water, rising and falling with the swell of the waves. The moon was ascending over the water, which meant his shore faced east. He could see the tiniest sliver of brightness against the shadow of the full orb, and above him, the constellations blinked in the swath of stars that he had learned in school was called the Milky Way. School . . . he suddenly had a flash of memory, a class of students under a tree, a teacher writing on a board. Was that a dream or an earlier part of his life?

As the warm ocean washed over his aching limbs, he tried to reconstruct how he came to be alone with the waves on this deserted shore.


In the exciting fourth and final book in The Rwendigo Tales series, readers will be inspired by ordinary people who make the extraordinary choice to stand against great evil. In A Fever, a Flight, and a Fight for the World, A doctor volunteering in a village plagued by a mysterious virus wakes up on a deserted island injured, sick, and near death—with no memory of how he got there.

start from the beginning of The Rwendigo Tales with A Chameleon, a Boy and A Quest

About the author

J.A. Myhre

J. A. Myhre serves as a doctor with Serge in East Africa where she has worked for over two decades. She is passionate about health care for the poor, training local doctors and nurses, promoting childhood nutrition and development, and being the hands of Jesus in the hardest places. She is married to her best friend and colleague Scott, and together they have raised four children for whom The Rwendigo Tales books were written as Christmas presents. Jennifer is the author of A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest; A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue; A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star; and A Fever, a Flight, and a Fight for the World.


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