Love in the driest season

A family memoir

Neely Tucker



In 1997 foreign correspondent Neely Tucker and his wife, Vita, arrived in Zimbabwe. After witnessing the devastating consequences of AIDS and economic disaster on the country’s children, the couple started volunteering at an orphanage where a critically ill infant, abandoned in a field on the day she was born, was trusted to their care. Within weeks, Chipo, the baby girl whose name means “gift,” would come to mean everything to them. Their decision to adopt her, however, would challenge an unspoken social norm: that foreigners should never adopt Zimbabwean children. Against a background of war, terrorism, disease, and unbearable uncertainty about the future, Chipo’s true story emerges as an inspiring testament to the miracles that love—and dogged determination—can sometimes achieve.


This is the riveting account of how two Mississippians, newspaper reporter Tucker, who is white, and his African-American wife, Vita, adopted a baby. - Penny Stevens


Neely Tucker is a journalist at The Washington Post. He previously worked as a foreign correspondent in Zimbabwe.