Nine Hills to Nambonkaha by Sarah Erdman
Two Years in the Heart of an African Village

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A portrait of a resilient African village, ruled until recently by magic and tradition, now facing modern problems and responding, often triumphantly, to change

When Sarah Erdman, a Peace Corps volunteer, arrived in Nambonkaha, she became the first Caucasian to venture there since the French colonialists. But even though she was thousands of miles away from the United States, completely on her own in this tiny village in the West African nation of Côte d'Ivoire, she did not feel like a stranger for long.

As her vivid narrative unfolds, Erdman draws us into the changing world of the village that became her home. Here is a place where electricity is expected but never arrives, where sorcerers still conjure magic, where the tok-tok sound of women grinding corn with pestles rings out in the mornings like church bells. Rare rains provoke bathing in the streets and the most coveted fashion trend is fabric with illustrations of Western cell phones. Yet Nambonkaha is also a place where AIDS threatens and poverty is constant, where women suffer the indignities of patriarchal customs, where children work like adults while still managing to dream.

Lyrical and topical, Erdman's beautiful debut captures the astonishing spirit of an unforgettable community.


About Sarah Erdman

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A graduate of Middlebury College, Sarah Erdman still works for the Peace Corps and lives in Washington, D.C. The child of parents who spent their entire careers in the Foreign Service, she lived in eight countries while growing up.
Published July 16, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.. 333 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

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Look, there are its little teeth!” There are plenty of serious moments, though, as when Erdman ponders the astonishing corruption that keeps the Côte d’Ivoire, with an economy that is the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa, impoverished and struggling;

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Publishers Weekly

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In the end, she understands the village world view so well, she can imagine better ways to deal with certain issues, like promoting condom usage: what if international health organizations had depicted AIDS as a sorcery problem and "introduced condoms, with the help of chiefs and fetisheurs, as t...

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