Special to The Record
The launch of Ray Garford’s memoir, “Two Goats, One Wife” will take place at the Courtenay Library at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17. Garford will read from the book and signed copies will be available for purchase.
Why the title? “That’s easy,” Ray says, “that’s how much I paid for my wife. I got a good deal.”
In 1985 Garford volunteered to go to the newly liberated Zimbabwe to teach in a country that had suddenly expanded the number of schools to accommodate over a million new students. Under the Smith regime the government had spent 34 times as much on educating minority white children, but in 1980 that all changed. CIDA’s Lois Perinbaum negotiated for Canada to send teachers, technical instructors and others on fixed-term contracts to help the fledgling democracy. Garford responded to a notice in the Canada Manpower office in Vancouver, and went under the auspices of the World University Services of Canada (WUSC).
Rural Zimbabwe was not only a long way away from home in terms of miles; his posting among the farms and mud huts was just as far in terms of comfort and familiarity. He had to hire a maid: it wasn’t optional, it was expected! It was a challenge to wash clothing for a variety of reasons, including insect life, so he began a journey into the lives of not only his colleagues and students but also his neighbours.
Nine years later Garford returned to the Canadian west coast, and settled in the Comox Valley where he raised his two children. Garford was familiar to hundreds of Valley students as “the substitute teacher who told really good stories about snakes.”
The Comox Valley Writers Society invites the public to meet the author at the launch of this unique memoir.