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Cote d'Ivoire : Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village
Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village

More by user: esmith
Created: 23rd Jul 2008
Modified: 23rd Jul 2008
Cote d'Ivoire
Cote d'Ivoire
Sarah Erdman
Erdman, who now works for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., spent two years in Nambonkaha, a northern Ivory Coast village, starting in 1998. As a culturally sensitive community development volunteer it took her time finding her place in a culture so outside her own. She started working on maternal and child health by introducing the regular weighing of babies, as a means of monitoring malnutrition and as a way of opening the door to essential health-care. Without funds or equipment, she only has access to rudimentary first aid: cleaning and bandaging wounds, cooling down a fever or recognizing malaria and going to the nurse for pills. By the end of Erdman's stay, with the support of the village, she'd moved on,  to birth control and AIDS prevention education. Erdman focuses on the story behind the story: how she learned local ways, how she gained the confidence and friendship of assorted villagers and even how she felt helpless in dealing with issues, like female genital mutilation. In the end, she understands the village world view so well, she can imagine better ways to deal with certain issues. This is an engrossing, well-told tale certain to appeal to armchair travelers and to anyone-especially women-considering international volunteer work.

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