Take undersized five-year-old farm girl Elinor, give her the polio that not only cripples her but also nearly kills her, then give her an impossible dream. In her childhood and again as a college student she rebels against the plan. Finally, she embraces the dream, and it leads Elinor to one of the most primitive, rugged places on earth and to a life that brawny international explorers would envy.
For nearly eighteen years Elinor deals with murdering tribal people, a devastating earthquake and the relief efforts that follow, joys, triumphs, depression, peace, life-threatening illnesses, recovery, and friendship with the Kimyal tribal people, whom she comes to deeply respect and love. The Kimyal people give her the name Bad Legs, which to them reflects how her weak body shows them God’s love. Finally, the late effects of Elinor’s original polio force her to leave the place and people that her heart has embraced. She must find a way to say goodbye.
In typical Kimyal fashion, Elinor tells a story to picture a profound truth: our weaknesses can be the conduit of strength beyond our own.