William Sommer’s new book “Foreign Vistas” tells of his experiences in foreign service. Also included are short stories and thoughts about peace and justice and some of his late wife’s artwork (Joan Sommers).
Re: his earlier book “The Pharaoh’s Donkey”
In the early Nineties I worked as a contractor in a substantial local government project in Egypt, financed by the US Government. Joan and I lived there for three years and then went to work in Poland on a series of projects related to local government environmental needs and lived in Krakow, Poland for about 4 years. We were awed and deeply affected by the ancient history and relics of Pharaohnic Egypt. Joan did a bevy of excellent paints on Egypt and I wrote a series of poems on Egypt which were included in a booklet, THE FIVE NAMES OF PHARAOH, published in Cairo in 1992, shortly before we left. However, early in our stay in Egypt I became very interested in the fact that so much of the farming, especially in Upper Egypt, the donkey was the essential beast of burden for so many of the farmers. And so, when ever I had time, I wrote – and re-wrote – this short story of THE PHARAOS’ DONKEY and received many corrections and suggestions from Egyptian friends. When we came to Poland, I kept the short story with me and eventually had it printed in English and Polish in booklet form and I gave the resultant booklets to one of my co-workers whose mother directed a private program focused on cancer detection and cure for you people in Poland – they sold the booklet and used the funds to help their program. It was only recently that I looked over my last copy of this printing and made a small effort with KINKOS to reproduce the booklet in English only. It was not a great occurrence but it does set out my story in English at last. I should note that I have kept up my interest while in retirement and wrote other short stories about Egypt, my two favorites “A Door in Cairo” and “The Melons of Goha.”