The Tin Can Crucible

In 1994, a Peace Corps Volunteer named Christopher Davenport travels to Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands region to live with a group of subsistence farmers.

He settles into village life, begins learning the language and develops a strong sense of connection with his inherited family.

One day, following the death of a venerated elder, the people of the village kidnap, torture, and ultimately kill a local woman accused of practising sorcery.

Devastated, Christopher tries desperately to reconcile this unspeakable act with the welcoming and nurturing community he has come to love. But in trying to comprehend what he has witnessed through the lens of Western sensibilities, Christopher is unable to find the answers he seeks.

Instead, he is left with one universal question: How do we continue to love someone who has done the unthinkable?

About the author

Christopher Davenport is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He has served tours in Vietnam, Guatemala, Washington DC, Tajikistan, and the Eastern European nation of Georgia. He has also worked in Albania, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. His first international experience was as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea from 1994 to 1996. His time living in a village of subsistence farmers in the Papua New Guinean Highlands forms the basis of his memoir, The Tin Can Crucible. He and his wife have two daughters and an assortment of pets they have collected from around the world.

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Why We Like It

  • Fascinating first-hand account
  • Thoughtful takes on cultural issues
  • An encapsulating moral dilemma

Christopher Davenport is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He has served tours in Vietnam, Guatemala, Washington DC, Tajikistan, and the Eastern European nation of Georgia. He has also worked in Albania, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. His first international experience was as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea from 1994 to 1996. His time living in a village of subsistence farmers in the Papua New Guinean Highlands forms the basis of his memoir, The Tin Can Crucible. He and his wife have two daughters and an assortment of pets they have collected from around the world.

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