Archive for November, 2012

Were You a Physician in the Peace Corps in the 60s?

November 30th, 2012 by admin

I am an RPCV from Cote d’Ivoire (2002) and Madagascar (2003). I now represent the interests of U.S. Public Health Service officers. Our PHS Commissioned Officers Foundation is seeking USPHS physicians who worked for the Peace Corps in the 1960s. We want to gather stories about their experience and the partnership between the Public Health Service and Peace Corps.

Please contact me for more information.

John E. McElligott, MPH, CPH

Celebrating 50yrs of service to Cameroon

November 12th, 2012 by bobebill

Celebrating 50yrs of service to Cameroon

Peace Corps Cameroon
Greetings RPCVs!
Its a hot and sunny afternoon in Yaoundé Cameroon as the Peace Corps family busily prepares for the upcoming milestone celebration, 50 yrs of Peace Corps serving in Cameroon! On November 21st 2012, in the Palais de Congres atop Nkol-Nyada, a freshly trained group of volunteers will swear-in before Mme Chantel Biya, Mr le Prime Ministre, US Ambassador Robert Jackson, Country Director Jacquelyn Sesonga, Peace Corps Staff, and the hundreds of active volunteers and counterparts that will come together for the milestone ceremony.

This historic and important event cannot be complete without your participation and support! Following the swearing-in ceremony we will put Peace Corps on display to the Cameroonian public in an open forum themed, “Focusing our efforts to meet Cameroon’s needs”. Because this event is as much about celebrating your contributions to Cameroon and the Peace Corps community as it is about looking toward the future, we want to do everything to include your experiences in the story we tell on this day.

You can contribute:

Visit our facebook page
· Identify old photos we have found, scanned, and uploaded
· Learn about the milestone event as it unfolds
· Share your stories, photos, and videos with current PCVs and fellow RPCVs

Make a Donation
· Make a Donation to support a volunteer and counterpart attending the event. Email for instructions
· Donate to a volunteer project here:

Tell your story!
· Email your photos, videos, and stories to

Send us items we can use as a gift to Mme Chantal Biya’s foundation or to the Prime Minister
· Corps de la Paix, BP 215 Yaounde Cameroun

As a current PCV I am proud to carry on the deep tradition of service in Cameroon. It is an honor to work with the RPCV community to share your story with Cameroon and the current Volunteers at the 50th anniversary celebration!


Joe Cooper
Health NGO Developer
Ambam, Vallee du Ntem, Sud

Cameroon RPCV loses charitable materials in fire

November 8th, 2012 by bobebill

(Tara Smith was previously profiled on the FOC site for her work with Cameroonian women. Scroll down.)

Posted on November 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM
Updated yesterday at 2:58 PM

IRVING – An Irving woman escaped a fire in her home but lost a major charity project meant to help impoverished African women.

Tara Smith awoke to the sound of her smoke alarm at her house on Proctor Street Wednesday morning. She found flames shooting through a vent in her living room, which quickly spread through the home.

Smith heads a nonprofit and had just returned from Cameroon, Africa with thousands of dollars worth of lingerie handmade by villagers. She was going to sell the clothing and donate the money to them.

The inventory was all destroyed.

“I just flew in today with all of the merchandise,” Smith said outside her home. “We’ve been working for over a year to get here, to make reality.”

Investigators have ruled the fire accidental. The Irving Fire Department says combustibles were kept too close to the floor furnace.

‘Cherie Amie’ Fair Trade Lingerie Company To Fight Poverty In Africa

November 7th, 2012 by bobebill

Huffington Post
08/03/2012 2:29 pm

One Texas woman wants you to be able to fight poverty before you even put any clothes on.

When Tara Smith came home from volunteering with the Peace Corps, she hoped to continue empowering the women she had been working with in Cameroon, West Africa. So, the 26-year-old went on to co-found Cherie Amie, a fair trade lingerie company whose profits will be used to bring microloans to women in the region.

“Why can’t women look sexy to help other women?” she asks in a press release.

To help get her do-gooder project off of the ground, Smith has set up an indiegogo campaign to raise $15,000 by Aug. 31.

If the project proves to be successful, ladies will be able give both their partners and African women something to get excited about.

Since it is a Good Returns company, 100 percent of profits will go toward giving charitable organizations the chance to grant interest-free microloans to African women. Some money will also benefit Smith’s other benevolent venture, Peace Tree Africa, a nonprofit that supports sustainable development projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

But Smith is just one of a number entrepreneurs using a fair-trade model to change the lives of struggling women.

After leaving the corporate world behind, Ed Edmundson founded Earth Divas, a business that imports handmade goods made mostly by women living in Nepal, Potomac Patch reports.

Edmundson carries bags, hats and wallets, returns 100 percent of profits to the craftswomen and doesn’t take a salary, according to the news outlet. He’s that determined to adequately compensate his craftswomen.

“Once I started doing this, it was like this is not going to be anything that’s ever going to make me rich, and I can’t take money,” he told Potomac Patch. “I don’t want to be 65-70 years old…and look back a say that I didn’t do anything worth while in my life.”

As for Smith, who has raised $2,825 so far, she sees her business endeavor as a way to pay it forward.

“The women I met in Cameroon changed my life forever,” she said in a press release. “I want to change theirs with decent wages and the market access their lingerie products deserve.”

Feeling inspired? Find out how you can donate to the Cherie Amie campaign here.


Startup Spotlight: Hungry Globetrotter turns home cooks into masters of global cuisine

November 5th, 2012 by bobebill

Peace Corps Volunteers and entrepreneurs have a lot in common. To be successful, both must be idealistic, motivated, adventurous, resourceful, and adaptable. Both groups pinpoint needs and endeavor to address them, and both are no strangers to bad food.

Vijay Rajendran served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon from 2002 to 2004. Now a decade later, he has formed a startup called Hungry Globetrotter that gives people the opportunity to create authentic, delicious, ethnic meals in their own homes.

Hungry Globetrotter is a subscription service for food items that highlights an international destination every month. Users receive boxes designed around specific cuisines, with boutique ingredients that can be used to prepare home-cooked dinners. The packages come with recipes for a well-rounded meal, as well as a regional guide the tells the story behind the area and the products.

The first subscription box was called the South Indian Sampler. It contained a bottle of curry sauce and organic spices, among other things, that could be turned into a feast of madras curry, garam masala rice with vegetables and yogurt raita. Users must buy their own perishable items. October’s theme was Argentina, and included Gaucho Ranch Chimichurri sauce, balsamic pecan vinegar, paprika finishing salt, and gourmet quinoa.

“I am someone who has lived my life pursuing good food everywhere,” Rajendran said. “I want to introduce people to new brands, cuisines, flavors and cultures that they can experience through food. Culinary tourism is something people may only do a few times in their life and I want to empower them to have these experiences at home.”

After a youth spent living abroad, a stint as a venture capital consultant in New York, and a Peace Corps Volunteer specializing in micro finance in West Africa, Rajendran is trying to combat the standardization he sees in the American food industry. Most mainstream grocery stores are saturated with mediocre international options, while world food stores are few and far between outside of metropolitan areas,an can be overwhelming and expensive.

Another issue is a lack of knowledge. A home cook may want to create a Moroccan repast, but have no idea what ingredients to buy. The process of researching, purchasing, and preparing is time-consuming for a casual dinner in, and amateurs may be deterred from experimenting with cuisines they know nothing about. Rajendran said Hungry Globetrotter’s vision is about more than just foreign flavors. By encouraging people to roll up their sleeves and cook, it creates a global context and communal experience surrounding the food.

“When I was in Cameroon, I was thrown into a culture and a cuisine that I knew nothing about,” he said. “I became a part of the community through the people I connected with over meals. We would eat together and I would learn about traditions, rituals, festivals, agriculture, family life and so forth. Food became a medium for me to gather, socialize, and share. It gave me a way to genuinely explore their history and grasp a broader sense of culture.”

To this end, Hungry Globetrotter emphasizes content in addition to product. There is a smörgåsbord of food subsciprition services in the e-commerce space, such as Foodzie, Love With Food, Culture Kitchen, Global Grub, and GrubKit. Many of these sell international snacks and artisanal samples, or cater to niche markets. They are not geared towards full meal preparation which can potentially have an impact beyond exposure to new tastes.

“In American food culture, there is the over-communization of certain foods, people often don’t prepare foods at home, and obesity as an epidemic is troubling” he said. “There are studies that show that children who eat dinner at home eat more fruits and vegetables. We are not trying to be a health food company, but we know that something positive starts when people cook at home, and when that process is not a chore, but rather something exciting. The experience of preparing and enjoying home-cooked meals can address many elements of the food system that are broken today.

Hungry Globetrotter sent out its first box in September and is based in San Francisco. The November box will focus on Morocco and December will have a Japanese izakaya theme.

(From “”)

Searching for Barry C. Hall

November 5th, 2012 by bobebill

The following request was received by FOC:

Hello Sir,
Good day. Hope you re having a great day. I’m really sorry to disturb you with this but I will be most greatful if you can help me with any information you might have that can help me to contact Mr Barry C. Hall who was working in Bambili, Bamenda,North West Province, Cameroon, on the Fish Culture Program there in 1972. He also later cordinated an Inland fisheries feasibility survey in bandundu region, republic of zaire which was done with oxfarm in 1973. I met him while he was in Cameroon in 1972.
Any information that can help me find him will be most appreciated.
God bless you.
Barry Luke