Peace Corps Back in Sierra Leone

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, 1974-76, and an important part of my life is to advocate for Sierra Leone and for the continent of Africa.  When I returned to the US no one had a clue where Sierra Leone was and even in the early 90s when the conflict started there was still minimal interest.  I worked with an advocacy group, The Friends of Sierra Leone, to get attention, but it seemed sadly hopeless — until the war came to Freetown where media had easier access. It then landed on the front page of US newspapers pretty much all about brutality.  I won’t go into the many experiences of racism, heartache, and more that happened around me when Sierra Leone came up other than to say we’ve still got a ways to go to even begin to help and understand Africa. Ten years ago one of my fourth grade classes tried to make a difference. They were wonderful.

That is long ago now.  And one of the happiest pieces of news I got this year was that the Peace Corps was returning to Sierra Leone (after leaving in 1994 during the worst of the conflict).  They returned a few months ago and I’ve been following several of the volunteers’ blogs (say this one and this one)  with great interest.  (Some things seem just the same — say the wonderful food —  and others — say having cell phones  and blogging — enormously different.)  Just now I  saw that NBC did a terrific feature on them earlier this month.  Please do check it out here.

7 Comments

Filed under Africa, Sierra Leone

7 responses to “Peace Corps Back in Sierra Leone

  1. Laura

    It’s great to hear that the Peace Corps will be back in Sierra Leone. As a friend of many RPCVs, including some who were evacuated from Ethiopia, I can appreciate how glad you must be that the Peace Corps is returning to your country.

    What’s really brought me to comment is my classroom connection. I taught in an internationally diverse elementary school. Several of my students were refugees or had lived in really awful situations before the came to the US. My most heart-breaking student was from Sierra Leone and lived in a refugee camp for 6 years before finally moving to the DC area. The effects on him and his family were astounding and I think about him quite often. I hope for something better for other children and his home country.

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  2. Kelsi

    So glad to hear Peace Corps is back in Sierra Leone. I’m currently a volunteer in Thailand and love to hear about Peace Corps programs in other countries. Thanks for the links.

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  3. Bob Deen-Kamara

    I am a Sierra Leonean resident in the U.K , England. I would appreciaste very much if you would kindly help me to find a long-time friend American Peace corp called Bruce Shallon. He was a school teacher at the Magruraka Boys Secondary School ib the Northern Province of Sierra Leone since 1973-1975 he was in Sierra Leone.
    We lost contact on bhis returned to the US. Bruce was born in Chicago illinoi state. Very outgoing friendly gentle man .
    Please forward my contact to him. I was a prisons officer when we met and became friends .

    My contact telephone number 044+75342213104

    My Regards.

    Bob Deen-Kamara

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  4. Bob Deen-Kamara

    I am a Sierra Leonean resident in the U.K , England. I would appreciate very much if you would kindly help me to find a long-time friend an American Peace corp volunteer called Bruce Shallon. He was a school teacher at the Magruraka Boys Secondary School in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone since 1973-1975 he was working in Sierra Leone.
    We lost contact with each other on his returned to the US. Bruce was born in Chicago illinoi state. Very outgoing friendly gentle man .
    Please forward my contact to him. I was a prisons officer when we met and became friends .
    Bruce enjoyed his stay in Sierra Leone . He interacted well in local communities and helped alot of school boys to achieve their dreams in secondary school education. Bruce was teaching Economics.
    We used to hang out socializing with other peace corps volunteers and sometimes we do travell to Makeni Town which is about 30 minutes drive.

    Please help to re-establish contact with Bruce.

    My contact telephone number 044+75342213104

    email:savesierraleone@yahoo.com

    My Regards.

    Bob Deen-Kamara

    Like

  5. Mohammed Mimi Gassama

    I am a Sierra Leonean living in Silver Spring Maryland since 1982.
    I have been trying to locate my first Peace Corps Teacher, Mr. George Lavelle, who was one of the first batch of peace corps volunteers that came to teach at The St.Francis Secondary School, Makeni. I happened to be one of his first maths student. We were very closed. He told me that he was from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was told by a friend that he was working as a Dr. at NIH in Bethesda, when I arrived in the US I contacted people who worked at NIH at the time to find out from them if they knew him but I came out with nothiing. Mr Lavelle used to visit us at home at Mc Robert St. We used to socialise togwther with another student he was caring for, Anthony.

    Please help me to know his whereabouts by co ntacring me at 301 962-0132 or email me at m.gassama@hotmail.com

    Best wsishes,

    Mohammed Mimi Gassama

    REPLY.

    Like

  6. Pingback: Learning About Africa: Going Back to Sierra Leone « educating alice

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