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Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the…
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Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village (edition 2004)

by Sarah Erdman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2791067,176 (3.98)8
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 Cote 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.… (more)
Member:gregvogl
Title:Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village
Authors:Sarah Erdman
Info:Picador (2004), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
Tags:africa, memoir, Ivory Coast, volunteers

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

  1. 00
    Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: Both books are humanitarian in nature, and both offer glimpses of Non-Western cultures.
Africa (551)
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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
It started out slowly and I began to wonder what exactly her Peace Corp mission was but it did take shape and I enjoyed her voice of living in this small village and becoming part of it. My main problem was her romanitizing of the traditional ways. "They have electric lights but I prefer the stars." "I missed the tik tok of the mortar and pestle." She was happy to fight local traditions for the health outcomes but seemed blind to other advantages. However, her great love of the people and the village really shone through and it was a very enjoyable read.
  amyem58 | Mar 24, 2020 |
This is a wonderful account of Erdman's two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small village in the Ivory Coast in the late 1990's.

Even though I'm a bit skeptical of such glowing accounts, especially when they make the author look good, I just could not help but cheer at the love and respect that seemed to go both ways between the author and the villagers.

I loved this book in spite of my skepticism. ( )
1 vote bookwoman247 | May 25, 2012 |
Erdman relates the stories of the two years she spent as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small village in the Ivory Coast in Africa in the late 1990’s. I had to look up the copyright date after I started the book; was the book taking place in the 1990’s or the 1890’s? It could have been either based on the lives of the villagers. No running water, no electricity. Mothers didn’t know the birthdates or even the ages of their children. Very little reading or writing. No knowledge of birth control or ways to combat disease. Little knowledge of the outside world. Where should Erdman, assigned to the little village as a health care worker, start? She begins to teach the mothers about their babies, how to help them gain weight, getting them immunized, and gradually begins to help them learn about ways to avoid getting AIDS and about birth control. In the end, she feels a deep sense of accomplishment in her work in the village.My new favorite travel story. ( )
  debnance | Jan 29, 2010 |
Well-written, vivid account of life in small village in Cote d'Ivoire.
  Whitcarr | Nov 8, 2009 |
I loved this book. A beautifully written account of peace corp experience. Sarah Erdman was able to share her heart, joy, frustrations and hope. She pulled me into the experience so well that I felt I was watching the weighing of babies. I read a lot of books like this and it has been a long time since I read one that touched me to my core. I was so touched that I sent a note to Ms. Erdman. I was overjoyed when she responded. She was able to return to Nambonkaha in 2007 for the opening of the Maternity clinic started while she was there. She also was reunited with her kids who were all taller than she. Sidibe finally passed his test and is now in a larger city working as an anesthesiologist. The best news of all was that her work is being continued in the village by a large group of health workers. ( )
  traczy555 | May 2, 2009 |
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