Not One, Not Even One: A Memoir of Life-altering Experiences in Sierra Leone, West Africa (Hardcover)
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In 1978, Nancy Edwards left as a CUSO volunteer for Sierra Leone, where she spent three years working as a community health nurse and two years evaluating primary health care programs. Her stories of village life convey the ravages of tuberculosis; threats of witchcraft; and tragedies of deaths related to pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn tetanus. She celebrates local advocates for health improvements-mothers, traditional birth attendants, and village health committees.
Acutely aware of her role as a cultural outsider, the author reveals how she learned about the power of ancestors and the women's Secret Society among the Mende people. Four decades after her arrival in Sierra Leone, Edwards comes to grips with her stance on the cultural practice of female circumcision. She takes us behind-the-scenes, describing how her West African experiences shaped her life and research career.
Though steeped in hardship, tension, and conflict, Not One, Not Even One is buffered by humour, heartened by breakthroughs and shifting perspectives, and propelled by fierce hopes for the future.