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09/22/2008

Author of ''Nine Hills to Nambonkah'' to Visit Winthrop as Part of Orientation

Quick Facts

 Sarah Erdman wrote about her two-year stay in the Ivory Coast.
 The former Peace Corps volunteer will share her experiences during public lectures on Aug. 25 and 26.

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Sarah Erdman
ROCK HILL, S.C. - The author of the 2008 Common Book for Winthrop, "Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village," will visit Winthrop. Sarah Erdman will be on campus on Monday and Tuesday to talk about her experiences in the Peace Corps.

Erdman spent two years as a Peace Corps worker in the small town of Nambonkaha, Ivory Coast, at the end of the last decade. Erdman, who acted as a health-care worker and instructor, is surprised to find herself called upon to help women in labor, surrounded by curious children who want to learn to read, and honored with gifts from the chief.

She also faces the challenge of trying to meld medical knowledge with traditional sorcery, as the village denizens believe most illness and misfortune is caused by witchcraft rather than infection. This is particularly dangerous in regards to AIDS, which arrives in the village in the form of a young widow and her son. With the help of several of the town's residents, including Sidibe, the only nurse in the town, Erdman begins teaching classes and sets up a baby-weighing station in the market. With graceful, thoughtful prose, Erdman ponders the problems the village faces and describes in vivid detail the many people she met there.

Erdman will meet with classes and give two public lectures:

Two Years in the Heart of an African Village: A Discussion of Culture, Writing, and Peace Corps with Sarah Erdman
Monday, Aug. 25, 8 p.m.
Plowden Auditorium

Comparing Notes with the Author
Featuring Sarah Erdman with Special Guest, the Winthrop African Drum Ensemble
Tuesday, Aug. 26, 8 p.m.
Byrnes Auditorium

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