Review: Better than the Witch Doctor

Mary Cundy is an amazing woman. I have never met her, but after reading her book I feel as if I know her very well. I read this book as background research for my Master of Arts in Creative Writing thesis novel and exegesis essay. Although it did not have a direct bearing on my novel it was fascinating reading and it gave me a good feel for the setting of my novel. In fact, she lived for a time right where my novel is set.

In 1957 Mary Cundy, a young social worker in England, obeyed the call of God on her life and travelled to the mountainous country of Nepal. At this time very few outsiders had ever visited the country, let alone work there as a Christian missionary. For the next 33 years she served in remote parts of the country bringing medical help to the local people, even though she had no training in the field.

Scene from our lodge in Monjo, Nepal

Scene from our lodge in Monjo, Nepal

She lived with the people in their villages in very poor and demanding conditions. She quickly started a dispensary, helping over 100 very ill people daily. She graphically describes the daily lives of the village people and the struggles she had coping with their medical needs, physical needs as well as making small inroads into their spiritual needs. As a Christian missionary, however, her work was frequently hampered by officialdom (it was forbidden at the time to proselytise), suspicion (the local witch doctors were very powerful) and mistrust (she was often the first non-Nepali person locals had seen).

This is a very encouraging book. Not only is it a good read, I found it amazing how God can take ordinary people like Mary, put them in impossible situations, and produce extraordinary lives.

As far as I can determine, this book is sadly no longer in print.


  • Cundy, M 1994, Better than the witch doctor, Monarch Publications, Crowborough, East Sussex.

Further reading:

  • My travels in Nepallinks to my travel blog, includes many photos taken in Nepal.
  • Writing a novela series of articles about how I went about writing my novel for children set in Nepal.
Ama Dablam, Nepal

Ama Dablam, Nepal


Comments are closed.