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First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God

Chivvis Moore

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  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.25" x 8.00"
  • ISBN: 978-1-63413-953-3
  • North Loop Books

Availability: In stock

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Paperback$17.99

First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God

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On a fateful evening in 1978, Chivvis Moore, living as a carpenter in California, stops by the house of an architect friend. “What if I wrote to Hassan Fathy?” Chivvis suggests, eager to meet the Egyptian author of the influential Architecture for the Poor. Less than three months later, Chivvis arrives in Cairo knowing virtually nothing about the culture and religion of the predominantly Muslim Middle East. 

What begins as a trip to meet Hassan Fathy becomes a 16-year odyssey that stretches from a year working in the shop of a master carpenter in Egypt to fraught years teaching English in Palestine.

Offering a portrait of a land and a people not found in newspaper headlines or on television screens, First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God humanizes the misunderstandings, misconceptions, and tragedies that arise when we fail to appreciate the humanity at the core of us all.


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“I have been reading your beautiful, sad, and deeply moving story, learning a lot of disturbing history about something I thought I knew about but never saw in such depth or personal detail. This is an important memoir that needs to be read and can have a powerful impact. It’s timely, original, and written with a painful authenticity. It evokes tears and also some laughter, with a great sense of compassion and empathy. I suspect I'll carry your story in my head and heart henceforward, as so many events of the world today continue.” -- Alan Rinzler, former editor, Simon & Schuster


“I cried all the way through reading First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God. The tone, the genuine and honest description of reactions and feelings about the experiences enabled me to truly understand for the first why, as a Palestinian living in the West Bank, I always feel so upset and physically ill.” -- Muna Giacaman, Instructor, Department of Languages and Translation, Birzeit University, Birzeit, West Bank


“Chivvis Moore has written an insightful and refreshingly modest and respectful account of her 16-year sojourn in Arab lands, principally in Egypt and Palestine. There she experienced the effects of the Israeli occupation on her own life, and served as witness to its impact upon Palestinian friends, colleagues and neighbors. Her account is as fair and accurate as it is detailed, not dispassionate but tempered always by the human and humane aspects of her experience. Anyone who wishes to better understand Arab culture as well as the experience of the Israeli occupation of Palestine should read this account of Moore’s sojourn and acceptance into a culture very foreign to, and misunderstood by the majority of Westerners.” -- Marcia Freedman, Former Member of Knesset and Founding President, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom (The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace)


“Reading this book was like being able to pass through one of the arched doorways into another world.” -- Terry Greenblatt, Advisor, Middle East Children’s Alliance


“Chivvis Moore takes us on a striking journey, one that is fascinating, eye-opening, and ultimately heart-breaking -- initially as a fresh-eyed newcomer working in a 1970’s community in Cairo that most Americans have never seen -- to life in occupied Palestine, before and after the 2nd intifada. Living in the latter for eleven years, though always an outsider, Chivvis leads from the heart -- earning hard-won bonds of respect from Palestinian neighbors, students, colleagues. Honest, unassuming, and vulnerable, she asks the hard questions.” --Penny Rosenwasser, author of Hope into Practice, Jewish women choosing justice despite our fears


First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God is an at times delightful and at times distressing narrative full of insight, humor, wisdom, lament and challenge. Chivvis helps us explore the ways human beings can at once be strangers and allies, students and teachers, guests and guides.” -- Pastor Jim Hopkins, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland, CA

Chivvis Moore

Chivvis Moore has earned her living as a journalist, carpenter, editor, and teacher. She is fluent in Arabic, having lived 16 years in Arab countries, returning to the US in 2008. She now works with Zawaya, a nonprofit organization that seeks to contribute to the multicultural discourse of the Bay Area with the Arab arts. She lives in Oakland, CA, with her partner.