The Ruby: A re-entry survival story

For many overseas workers, re-entry is the hardest part...

Suzanne Johnson and her family live in an orphanage in Mozambique. They face a difficult decision: to stay or to return to the UK. This is the story of their last months in Africa, followed by a journey across continents: through depression and broken relationships to reconciliation, healing and hope.
“The Ruby” is ultimately a testimony of the healing power of God’s love.

Many text books describe “how to re-enter well” but a story can be more powerful than a manual, touching the heart as well as the head. Suzanne Johnson has written her story in the hope that it will touch the hearts of those struggling with transition. Her experience as a clinical psychologist gives her a unique perspective.

All proceeds will be donated to the Zimpeto Children’s Centre. (

Extract from

There are  few books written on the subject of repatriation and reverse culture shock, and the ones I’ve found most useful have been written as personal stories rather than the earnest “how to manual’ approach.

Her biggest challenge was re-integrating into her church community, perhaps a more tight-knit community than many of us come from, but the issues she faced are common to all repatriates – grief and loss for the friends and life left behind, identity crisis, values which no longer align with friends and family and no one who understands the pain you’re experiencing.  I found I related strongly to the emotions she describes, although I have to admit I was left wondering whether her faith was as much a hindrance as a help in her gradual readjustment.

Repatriation is still a topic most expatriates don’t talk about much.  It’s almost like death; in fact many would describe it as the death of a way of life.  But it is a transition you get through eventually.  Books like The Ruby are valuable for anyone in the midst of this difficult and often lengthy process.  Knowing that your feelings are not unique, that others have struggled with similar issues and resolved them, one way or another, is sustaining.

Suzanne Johnson, 18/01/2014
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