Growing Mangos in the Desert transports readers to a profoundly different culture to leave a message about human experience and the deep inequalities that mark our lives.

“Katie Baird’s moving memoir…brought me to tears. It reminded me how much our Peace Corps experiences made us citizens of the world.”

Donna Shalala, former Secretary of US Department of Health and Human Services, and former member of the US Congress

“Katie Baird’s story would have been gripping enough on plot alone, but add to that her lyrical, beautifully-crafted prose and her deeply-attuned ability to report what she learns in a fascinating country, makes Growing Mangos in the Desert a memoir not to be missed.” 

Rachael Herron, bestselling memoirist

“Baird is a spellbinding storyteller…. Her globalization of the heart is an inspiring antidote to polarization and parochialism.”

— Samuel Bowles, Santa Fe Institute, and author of The Moral Economy

This is the story of an extraordinary collaboration….Read it with hope and heartbreak, and finish it with a renewed sense of the possible.” 

— Lesley Hazleton, author of ‘After the Prophet’ and ‘The First Muslim’

Having joined the Peace Corps in 1984, the author winds up in the Mauritanian village of Civé during a catastrophic drought. She forms an unusual partnership with a farmer from the slave caste, Mamadou Konaté. Together the two bring astonishing change — most of which has little hope of lasting.

Spanning four decades, this vivid and poignant memoir is filled with humor, unforgettable characters, gripping narrative, and political intrigue. Baird’s superbly crafted storytelling illuminates how the unique features of place shape the common human experience.

Katie Baird is a Professor of Economics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Author of the book Trapped in Mediocrity (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012), she specializes in public economics and public policy. For three years she wrote bi-weekly columns on public affairs for Washington State’s second largest newspaper, and also held an elected office in Pierce County. Katie lives in Tacoma with her husband Dave and dog Kea.

Katie Baird
Author - Katie Baird