King Peggy : An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman
I recently attended the Bay Path Women’s Leadership Conference, BE BOLD, which gave me the opportunity to hear the inspiring words of many accomplished women. Each of these women had an amazing story to tell and advised those of us in the audience to travel the paths we desire with confidence and empowerment. I loved listening to each of these speakers, but the one woman who stood out in my mind, whose story I can’t stop thinking about, is Peggielene Bartels. She is a native of Ghana who moved to America to study, and became a secretary in Washington at the Ghanaian embassy. One night, quite unexpectedly, she received a phone call from Ghana informing her that her uncle, the King of Otuam, had passed away and that she would be his successor. This book chronicles her journey from a secretary to the first female king of Otuam, an impoverished and isolated African village. Her story is one of transformation – both personal and social. In her work as King, Bartels addresses gender discrimination, political and financial corruption, and domestic violence. She fights tradition while simultaneously working to maintain heritage. She battles to end poverty, to provide clean drinking water, and to ensure effective healthcare and education for the people in her community. The book highlights so many social issues the people of Otuam face, but it does so in an uplifting and empowering way. The real power behind the book is in the people and culture it portrays. Although a bit slow to start, once I delved into its pages I could not put down this story. Much like the woman in person, this story of King Peggy is inspiring, bold, and truly beautiful.