I’m personally writing to you about a new and exciting documentary about the Peace Corps, called A Towering Task, which is currently in production. Unlike previous documentaries, A Towering Task will focus on the bigger picture of the agency and tie the threads of the Peace Corps’ history, it’s impact on countries served, and why we need to bring peace to the world through the Peace Corps now more than ever.
You may have seen an email from the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), who has partnered with us to help us fundraise. We are planning a joint-crowdfunding campaign to ignite the entire RPCV/PC community of 220,000.
As a community, we now have the unique opportunity to fund a world-class documentary that will help reignite Peace Corps’s purpose and sense of community, as well as pave the way toward a more peaceful world.
RPCV Benin 2010-2012
RPCV Group Member Outreach for A Towering Task
Why I call myself a Peace Corps Child
By Danielle Green on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
Bill Strassberger and Alphonse in his front yard. Njinikom, 1982
Like millions of people around the world, Chia Tasah encountered a Peace Corps Volunteer and it changed his life. Here, in honor of Peace Corps Week, we share his story.
My autobiography is the story of how I came to call myself a Peace Corps child. It begins in Cameroon 1980 when my life became entangled with a Peace Corps Volunteer and continues until I became a U.S. citizen in 2012.
My story begins with me being unable to continue my secondary education because of my family’s financial situation. At age 14, I was lured into Club 185, a popular bar in Nijinikom, to work as a bartender. It was there that I met Alan Lakomski and Danny Hunter who were serving as Cameroon Peace Corps Volunteers at the time. Lakomski occasionally visited the bar and was appalled at me working a bartender instead of attending school. He offered to sponsor my secondary education and allowed destiny to take its course.
When Lokomski and Hunter left, I was fortunate enough to met Bill Strassberger, another Peace Corps Volunteer, who offered to continue the payment of my school fees. Strassberger instilled a self-reliant spirit in me. He encouraged me to work holiday jobs to support my schooling. Eventually, I was able to receive a tuition scholarship that paid the rest of my school fees until I passed the General Certificate of Education Exam.
The confidence I gained propelled me to the University of Buea, Cameroon. It was here that I met my third Peace Corps mentor, Christine Swanson. She advised me to apply to the Human Resource Development Program at the University of Minnesota. I was admitted and Swanson assisted my visa process.
With only $85 in savings, I arrived in the U.S. to attend university. Swanson provided me temporary lodging in her neighbor’s condo but when money began to run low I fled to a friend’s home for fear of homelessness.
Reconnecting with Volunteers
I decided to reach out to my previous Peace Corps benefactors and Swanson was able to provide me with a contact list of returned Peace Corps Volunteers. I was able to reconnect with Lakomski and Strassberger!
Both of them readily accepted and supported me as they had years ago in Cameroon. Strassberger educated me on American culture and Lakomski forestalled the threat of homelessness by providing me with financial support.
I now hold a Master’s Degree of Education in Human Resource Development and am married with two kids. A world of thanks goes to the Peace Corps Volunteers that helped raise me.
Long live the Peace Corps!
Want to know more?
Currently Chia Tasah works at All World Languages and Cultures, Inc., in Kansas City. Check out his new book, “The Life of An African Peace Corps Child”.
Do you think more people should hear stories like this? Here are two things you can do:
Support NPCA’s National Day of Action for a bigger better Peace Corps.
Ignite our community by supporting the production of A Towering Task: A Peace Corps Documentary.
It is count down to the Pan African Festival popularly known as Panafest. The Month of September is almost over and that cannot happen without this great celebration!!!!
Please join the ACCDF and the Montgomery County’s African Affairs Advisory Group (AAAG) on Saturday September 26, for Panafest 2015 at 1 Veteran Plaza, Silver Spring, MD from 12 noon to 10:00 PM. In keeping with our Theme “We Love African Heritage Unity”, we have a jam packed program this year with performances from over 25 African Countries and Special Guests and Dignitaries from round the globe.
This year, Panafest is honoring our brothers and sisters from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia after the Ebola Crisis. There will be special recognition of Dr. Salia (The Sierra Leonean Doctor who was flown to the U.S. after he contracted the disease and died) and Dr. Khan, the first Doctor who died from Ebola after saving the lives of hundreds of Sierra Leoneans.
We are honored to have the presence of His Excellency Bockari Stevens, the Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the United States. Also present will be representatives from the Guinean and Liberian communities as well as the communities at large.
Among the Performers for this year’s event are presidential Band Dambadjoya all the way from Chad, —– from Ethiopia, Guinean Artist Ramiro Naka from France and the International Acclaimed group Artist with One Voice.
The streets and platform will be loaded with vendors from all over Africa and the Caribbean. Come and experience Africa!!!!! Remember Its September 26, from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM, at 1 Veteran Plaza, Silver Spring, MD.
Have you ever wanted to learn Pidgin English? When I entered Peace Corps in Cameroon, we underwent more than three weeks of introductory Pidgin before we were posted. The manual may have been updated by now, but David Bellama’s team did a great job getting it started. Click the button next to “Have” and download the first six chapters.
Job hunting? RPCVs should go to:
Peace CorpsCareer Fair
RPCV Career Fair: Network Your Way to a Job
You have the skills and knowledge that employers want. Now find out how to make yourself stand out from other job seekers. Network with returned Volunteers who served around the world and meet with 50 employers looking to hire YOU at the East Coast National RPCV Career Conference and Job Fair in Washington, D.C. Register now.
Noncompetitive Eligibility (NCE) Jobs
Education Program Specialist – Dept. of Education – Washington, DC
CIS Clerk – Citizenship and Immigration Services – Anaheim, CA
Passport Specialist – Dept. of State – Detroit, MI
Environmental Protection Specialist – Environmental Protection Agency – Denver, CO
Peace Corps Response and
Global Health Service Partnership Assignments
Climate and Weather Advisor – Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme – Samoa – 12-month commitment
Education Accreditation Specialist – Chuuk State Department of Education – Micronesia and Palau – 12-month commitment
Nurse Educator – Public Sector Academic Medical Institutions – Various Countries – 12-month commitment
Physician Educator – Public Sector Academic Medical Institutions – Various Countries – 12-month commitment
View All PCR / GHSP Assignments
Security Manager – American Bar Association – Tunisia
Principal Technical Advisor – Management Sciences for Health – Uganda
Program Manager – World Learning – Vietnam
Agricultural Research and Development Fellow – Meds & Food for Kids – Haiti
Communications Manager – Harvard University – Cambridge, MA
Caseworker – International Rescue Committee – Glendale, AZ
Health Coordinator – High Country Community Health – Boone, NC
Software Engineer – Kiva Microfunds – San Francisco, CA
Bilingual Housing Specialist (Spanish) – Lakeside Community Development Corporation – Chicago, IL
Virtual Info Session: Careers at the State Department
In case you missed it, we recently heard from a panel of Foreign Service Officers and civil service staff about the many ways to launch a career at the State Department. Watch the virtual info session and get answers to common State Department questions.
Congratulations to the newest group of Education Volunteers who were sworn-in on August 5, 2015 by Matthew Smith, US Embassy Charge d’Affaires in Cameroon. After 10 weeks of intensive pre-service training, the 21 new Volunteers took the Peace Corps oath and pledge with proud and excitement.
The swearing-in ceremony was coupled with the renewal of #PeaceCorpsCameroon MOU with its longest Cameroon Government partner, the Ministry of Secondary Education. Country Director Mark Orlic and Minister Louis Bapes Bapes, on behalf of their respective organizations, reiterated their commitment to support and promote education for all in the country.