Archive for May, 2007

Cameroon PCVs’ blogs

May 24th, 2007 by admin

I am sure that most of us never had Internet access during our service; many of us served before Al Gore even invented the Inetrnet, for that matter. But not today–the PCVs have flooded the Internet with blogs, complete with commentary and pictures. Take a look at the link below to read what today’s Volunteers are up to, and imagine yourself in many of the locations they have photographed and written about. Some things never do change.

Some current Cameroon PCV blogs are at:

Bill in Buea

Ally in Kumbo-Nso

Brian in Nanga Eboko

Kelsey in Bafut

Lindsay in Mbengwi

Jessica in Bokito

Michael in Cameroon

To read blogs from other countries, go to this site and make a choice:

Book Project on Peace Corps in Cameroon

May 21st, 2007 by admin

David Tiomajou, PC Cameroon Training Manager, needs your help for a book project on Peace Corps Cameroon. The study will be an analysis of Peace Corps approach to development in Cameroon with a focus on current and returned volunteers’ perceptions of development in each of the PC programs: Education, Agriculture, Community Health and Small Enterprise Development. The study is intended to provide some answers to the questions that many people ask about the role of volunteers in rural communities, their impact on the people they work and live with and vice-versa.

I will be helping David with compiling and analyzing the data from RPCVs who served between 1999-2006. Participation in this study is strongly encouraged and will take a minimal amount of time and effort. Please send me an email stating that you would like to participate. I will then send you an electronic copy of the questionnaire with further directions.

Thanks for all your help and du courage!

Chanda Leckie

Winfield’s Boucher serving in Peace Corps in Cameroon

May 11th, 2007 by admin

Thursday, May 10, 2007

(Editor’s note: Ashley Boucher, 24, of Winfield is a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, in West Africa. Ashley joined the Peace Corps in June 2006 and serves in a small city near the capital, Yaounde. She is a 2001 graduate of Winfield High School (Kansas) and earned a bachelor’s degree at Southwestern College. Her parents are Troy and Michelle Boucher.)

Here are Ashley’s responses to questions in an e-mail interview with the Courier’s Dave Seaton:

QUESTION: Where are you and what is your assignment?

ASHLEY: I am a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon. I’s a country on the west coast of Africa and is called “Africa in miniature” because of the diversity of its people and environment. My post is Bafia (known all over Cameroon for its amazing pineapples!), a town roughly the size of Lawrence, in the central province. I am an English teacher at a government high school, Lycee Classique et Moderne de Bafia.

Cameroon’s two national languages are English and French. I teach in a Francophone area. I teach ages 10-20 and my class size ranges from 33 to 77 – very small for a Cameroonian public school. Some classes at the lycee have more than 100 students.

I also work one-on-one with the principal and vice principal of the school to improve their computer skills. Our school is very fortunate to have two computer teachers as well as a computer lab with about 25 computers. The only problem is that often, especially when it rains, there is no electricity to run the computers.

QUESTION: What is the reaction to you as an American?

ASHLEY: The natural street reaction when I am in Yaounde or during market day in Bafia, is to call me “la blanche” (the white one), especially if someone wants to get my attention or sell me something. But when they stop to talk to me, most people usually assume I’m French, English, German, or some other European nationality – mainly because that’s where most of the white people who visit Cameroon come from.

But people aren’t exactly shocked when I tell them I’m American. The Peace Corps has been in Cameroon since the late ’60s, so a lot of people have encountered a volunteer or two. In fact, there was a business volunteer in Bafia several years ago. As far as Cameroonians’ reactions to America’s current politics, there are people on both sides, just like in the U.S. Some of my students would rather playfully argue with me about George Bush and Saddam Hussein than review active and passive voice. But then there are those who see America as “that great place on top of the hill,” that great dream to reach for, as one of my friends said.

QUESTION: What would you like to accomplish?

ASHLEY: I want to show people that Americans do realize that the rest of the world is out there and that we are in fact interested in helping people and making the lives of others better. By being here and going out and talking to people and teaching my students, I want to show that Americans can be something other than self-absorbed warmongers.

QUESTION: Please describe some of the people with whom you work most closely.

ASHLEY: The people I work most closely with are my colleagues in the English department. Besides me, there are three other teachers in the English Department, including the head of department. One of my colleagues, Robert, spent two years of his teacher training in Scotland, so he likes to talk to me about how things were in Edinburgh. Sometimes he understands my unfamiliar behavior better than those who have never been outside of Cameroon.

Elizabeth, my counterpart, comes from Bamenda in the Anglophone area, where they speak English in school and Pidgin in the market, as well as all of the dialects spoken at home. Pidgin is a language all its own. At first it seemed like a simplified form of English, but I soon found out that when Elizabeth and her Anglophone neighbor spoke Pidgin, I had no idea what they were saying.

I also work rather closely with my principal on the computer. As I have spent time with him, I have realized he is a very respected member of his community and church. He is very enthusiastic about working with me and Peace Corps because back when he was in high school, his English teacher was a Peace Corps volunteer, and they still keep in touch through e-mail.

QUESTION: What lessons have you learned so far: about yourself? About your hosts?

ASHLEY: I feel like I have done all of my growing up in the last 10 months. College was a growing experience, but I was still so sheltered; even a year working in the “real world” didn’t change me so drastically and affect me so positively as this (experience). I can fix my own plumbing now (to an extent), I can kill large spiders with zest, and I’ve learned the satisfaction of eating a chicken that I know had been the one pooping on my porch for three months. These are just a few little things, but they all add up.

The most wonderful thing about this experience is that even when I go back to the United States, I can never be the same as I was before. No one can take away from me the fact that I’ve spent 10 months in Africa. It’s not just that I will know what a luxury it is to have running water every time I turn on the tap or electricity all the time. I’ve experienced another way of living life, another cultural attitude towards the world.

I also know that the lives of those around me will be different because I am here. For example, three of my younger students that live in my neighborhood, Jimmy, Berthold and Stephane, come to see me almost every day. They like to sit and ask me questions or just look through my Newsweeks. I know that as they grow up, they will have a different view of America and Americans because I was their teacher and their friend. Now for them there is something tangible and interactive in a world where there had previously only been Jennifer Lopez and Shakira music videos.

Looking for (R)PCV mapmakers

May 11th, 2007 by admin

Chris Delcher (RPCV El Salvador, 1998-2000) is trying to find the maps and
mapmakers of the Peace Corps. Many Volunteers are trained to make community maps
while in service. These maps range from the hand-drawn variety that live in
tattered journals to very sophisticated maps created with digital Geographic
Information Systems. Chris’ own hand-drawn maps focused on pubic health by
displaying the problem of minimal latrine coverage in his town but volunteers
from all Peace Corps programs are using maps for many reasons. No matter the
size or sophistication, if you have a map (or even a picture of you next to a
map that you have created) from your service or know an RPCV that does, please
contact Chris at

You can visit the growing collection at

Videos from a Cameroon RPCV

May 7th, 2007 by admin

From: Robert Lewis, RPCV

I just thought these might be of interest : )