Caroline Kurtz, A Road Called Down on Both Sides: Growing Up in Ethiopia and America
Caroline Kurtz joins us at 7 pm on Wednesday, September 11th, to read from her recently published memoir A Road Called Down on Both Sides: Growing Up in Ethiopia and America, published by Catalyst Press.
From the age of five, Caroline Kurtz grew up in Ethiopia, the child of Presbyterian missionaries. The family lived in the church’s most remote mission station in the mountainous regions of southwestern Ethiopia near the town of Maji. Beginning at the age of ten, Kurtz attended boarding school in Addis Ababa and then in Alexandria, Egypt. She left for college in Illinois at eighteen, totally unprepared for American culture. She eventually married a childhood sweetheart, also the child of American missionaries to Ethiopia, and returned with their family to live and work in Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan.
A Road Called Down on Both Sides explores the unique experiences of children who grow up surrounded by a culture that is different than the culture of their parents – third-culture kids, who never belong in either their parent’s culture or the culture that surrounded and nourished them as children. The memoir also explores universal themes of mother-daughter and sister relationships, examining expectations for women’s behavior that persist well into the present.
She and her sister, the American children’s author Jane Kurtz, recently launched Ready Set Go Books for early Ethiopian readers, with more than 12,000 copies distributed in that country. Now retired, widowed, and living in Oregon, Caroline returns regularly to Ethiopia, where she continues development and consulting work, particularly in the area of solar energy.