Monday, July 23, 2012

Correction from a Reader of "Our House in Arusha": Kabye, NOT Ewe


A reader of my memoir "Our House in Arusha" has written to point out a factual error that occurs in the section on Togo. I wonder if this would have been caught before publication if I had gone the traditional publishing route. Well, too late for that. My thanks to Emily Gilkinson for noting the mistake and bringing it to my attention, and my apologies to the entire Ewe tribe. Emily wrote to me three weeks ago, and I vowed to make the correction ASAP. With all that's happened in the recent past, the earliest opportunity came later than expected. So today, I will upload new files for the printed volume. I also need to correct the e-book version. Meanwhile, here is the letter from Emily explaining the goof. Pretty mortifying. It's an unfortunate illustration of the Alice-in-Wonderland struggle I had to comprehend what was happening around me in Togo and Tanzania.

Dear Sara,
I recently read your memoir Our House in Arusha. I greatly enjoyed it. I thought it was beautifully written and the content brought back memories of my own. I have been to Arusha twice - once in 2005 when I went on safari and just recently in February 2012 when I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. I've had my own adventures and love affairs with safari and mountain guides. :) Your story became even more exciting to me when the story line included Togo, a country that I deeply love and where I lived for two years. I was a teacher at the American International School of Lome. I was surprised to encounter an error in your description of Togo and felt compelled to write to you so that you could correct it. The Gnassingbe family - former dictator Eyadema and his son, Faure, the current president are from the Kabye tribe,from the north of Togo in the Kara region. The Ewe tribe is in the south of the country and is known specifically for being supportive of the opposition. Togo is divided politically north vs. south along ethnic lines. The north supporting the RPT - the president's party and the military. On behalf of my good Ewe friends, who have been the victims of horrible violence at the hands of the government, I encourage you to make the correction. I'm sure few people would catch this error but anyone with a connection to Togo would be offended by the mis-characterization of the Ewe people. Even the Kabye I'm sure would be disappointed not to get the credit. All you have to do is step foot in Kara and people will proudly tell you that this the home of Papa Eyadema - as if that weren't obvious enough by their t-shirts featuring his picture and the beautiful boulevard and parliament building - investments that rightly should have gone to the capital. Perhaps someone else has already brought this to your attention, but I felt compelled to get in touch with you about it.
 Thank you again for sharing your wonderful story.
 Sincerely,
 Emily Gilkinson

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