Archive Page 2

RPCV Hot Jobs

August 21st, 2015 by bobebill

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
International Jobs
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

Domestic Jobs
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
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.

Newest PCVs For Cameroon Sworn In

August 11th, 2015 by bobebill




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.

“Ngong-out” to new RPCVs

July 10th, 2015 by bobebill

2015 PC 3

On July 9th, Peace Corps/Cameroon bid farewell to 12 of the Education and Agrobusiness/ Ex-CED Volunteers who came to the end of their service in Cameroon.

In ?#?PeaceCorpsCameroon?, they call the farewell ceremony for the departing Volunteers the “ngong-out”. This is in reference to the traditional instrument, the “ngong”, that is used to call staff and all partakers to the ceremony; the same instrument that was used in yesteryears (and may still be used) in Cameroonian villages to call people for gatherings. As a testimonial of their attachment to their respective regions of service, the Volunteers dressed up in traditional attires.

“Ngong-outs are always bittersweet moments because it’s hard to say goodbye to family members. But we know they are off to new and exciting adventures. We also know they will always keep Cameroon in their hearts whenever they go.
” On est ensemble!”

2015 PC 2

Why Cry Die?

July 10th, 2015 by bobebill


The Proliferation of Ancestors: Death Celebrations in the Cameroon Grassfields

Cameroon RPCV Michael Jindra produced one of the best, if not the best, studies on death celebrations in the North West Province as his doctoral thesis. If you ever wondered what was taking place and why, this is a must read.

“This dissertation is a regional study of the mortuary cycle in the Northwest Province of Cameroon, and of transformations in the cycle due to twentieth century historical changes. Mortuary practices are explained, detailed and differentiated across the province, including death, burial and mourning practices. Special attention is paid to the final “death celebration,” the largest, most common, and most important ritual/festival of the region.”

Latest Peace Corps Volunteers heading to Cameroon

May 22nd, 2015 by bobebill

Fort Hays State University graduate joins the Peace Corps
FHSU University Relations

Tre L. Giles, Colorado Springs, Colo., graduate of the 2015 class at Fort Hays State University, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Cameroon May 26 to begin training as a primary education teacher trainer.
“Giles will make a difference by providing formal and informal training and support to elementary school teachers in a co-teaching environment,” said a news release from the Peace Corps Office of Press Relations.
“I have always wanted to join the Peace Corps right after I graduated college, and thankfully the people around me did not let me give that dream up,” said Giles in the Peace Corps news release.
Giles, son of Tammy Giles and a graduate of Widefield High School of Colorado Springs, earned a Bachelor of Arts in organizational leadership.
“Fort Hays State invested in me, and my advisors and mentors kept me motivated to reach my goals and dreams,” Giles told the Peace Corps. “Most majors give you one hard skill, but with the leadership degree, that is not the case. My major has developed my soft skills. I have learned the best ways to motivate people, to conduct relationships and business in an ethical manner, how powerful the follower is, and other simple things like how valuable it is to actually listen to people. These are very transferable skills in any job, but especially for the Peace Corp.”
The Peace Corps said Giles will spend his first three months in the Peace Corps living with a host family to become familiar with the language and culture. Giles will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Cameroon where he will serve for two years, working alongside local teachers and teaching English.
According to the Peace Corps news release, Giles is one of nearly 90 Fort Hays State University alumni who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

Nursing grad goes from commencement to Cameroon
by Kyle Hobstetter Towson University


For as long as she can remember, Caitlin Stephens has felt a calling to serve others. It’s why she studied nursing and will graduate with her bachelor’s degree from Towson University’s College of Health Professions on Friday, May 22 at 10 a.m. But instead of working in a hospital like a lot of her fellow nurses, the Olney, Maryland, native is heading to Cameroon with the Peace Corps.

Initially, she saw herself as an ICU nurse. During her time at Towson, though, Stephens served as a clinical nurse extern at Johns Hopkins Hospital working with many homeless patients. It helped her realize her heart wasn’t in intensive care, but that she still wanted to help patients who were less fortunate.
“I realized this call to serve others was leading me towards serving populations that have unreliable access to healthcare and primary care or those without health insurance and no way to pay for medical treatment,” she said.
Another clinical rotation captured her interest: labor and delivery. Through working with expectant mothers, she “absolutely fell in love with obstetrics and women’s health.”She thought about working on a labor and delivery unit but still didn’t want to be in a traditional hospital setting. Ultimately, she could not ignore the unequal access to preventive healthcare resources and discrepancies in care she saw both locally and globally.
“Through my journeys, I ultimately chose the Peace Corps,” she noted. “There I am able to provide necessary health access and education to populations and geographic locations that do not have the consistent access. The program I am participating in is focused specifically on maternal and child health, which is an area I am very passionate about.”
Stephens feels the past four years have flown by. While at Towson, she was a member of the Honors College, a writing assistant at the campus Writing Center, a peer instructor coach at the IDEA Center in the nursing department and part of the executive board for Towson’s Catholic Campus Ministry.
She feels prepared to start her next phase not only because of her Towson education but also the different extracurricular activities that had an impact on her.
“It really has shaped me as a person and a leader,” she added. “It truly benefited me more in the long run than simply being challenged academically.”
After graduation, she will spend the summer with her family before leaving in early September. While she will miss her family and friends, she is committed to helping those in need.
“I am really excited and really grateful for this opportunity, and I cannot wait to see what the two years have in store for me,” Stephens said. “I am also nervous, as I am walking into many unknowns. However, I feel the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward, and I am very hopeful for a rewarding, albeit challenging, two years.”

Don’t miss out! Register for Peace Corps Connect – Berkeley now!

March 30th, 2015 by bobebill

Early bird registration for Peace Corps Connect- Berkeley ends tomorrow! Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and other prominent leaders among the Peace Corps community. View the full program here ( You will be inspired and motivated.

Peace Corps Connect – Berkeley is an opportunity to engage with your fellow RPCVs and former Peace Corps staff who share the formative foundation of the Peace Corps experience. Join us June 5-6, 2015 for this annual event showcasing our community’s lifelong commitment to Peace Corps ideals. Early bird registration ends tomorrow so register now!

Former Peace Corps volunteer says Cameroon a nation to watch

March 17th, 2015 by bobebill

Joplin PCV 1
By Emily Younker, The Joplin Globe, March 15, 2015

You might hear “Cameroon” and begin picturing glossy magazine images of African tribal people wearing grass skirts and sitting outside mud huts.

Or you might have begun to associate Cameroon with Boko Haram, a central African terrorist group that recently said it joined forces with Islamic extremists from the Middle East.

But for Barrett Browne, neither paints a truly accurate picture of the country. He should know — Cameroon was his home for two years while he served in the Peace Corps.

“Most Americans’ exposure (to African nations) is National Geographic, and that portrayal is really interesting, but it doesn’t really depict actual life,” said Browne, a native of Dallas who grew up spending his summers in Joplin to visit his grandparents.
Browne, 27, joined the Peace Corps in May 2011, shipping out to Cameroon about a week after a massive tornado destroyed much of Joplin. The opportunity to serve in that capacity was a no-brainer for him.

“Having grown up in America, living a relatively privileged, safe life, I knew I wanted to work internationally, and I wanted to get a sense of how people live outside of my bubble,” he said.
Cameroon is located in central Africa, bordering countries including Chad, Nigeria and Republic of the Congo. Official languages for the nation of 23.1 million people are English and French, while 24 major African languages are also spoken. Roughly 40 percent of the population subscribes to aboriginal beliefs, and another 40 percent identify as Christian; the remaining 20 percent adheres to the Islamic faith, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Browne said the country was colonized by Portugal, Germany and France, with each leaving its mark. As a result, much of Cameroon is “copy and pasted” from the European model of society, he said. The town where he lived — a hot, humid, predominantly Christian town called Lolodorf — was built by Europeans. It has all varieties of schools, including multiple high schools and a technical school; a downtown strip with several bars and a hardware store; cellphone, Internet, television and radio access; and residents who “get up and send their kids to school and then come home from work and watch TV,” just as Americans might do, he said.

Joplin PCV 2
This is the town center of Lolodorf, Cameroon. Some of the storefronts are a donut (beignet) shop, general store, barber and a nightclub (called Melrose place, named for the soap opera) at the end of the strip. Courtesy | Barrett Browne

Browne, who taught English and computers at a local high school there, said his daily life was “a lot less African, a lot less wild native” than Americans might expect. He showered (albeit in a bucket) every morning before walking to school, which was filled with regular high school kids filling the same niches that can be found in American high schools: jocks, popular kids, nerds, bullies. Like everyone else, he kept his iPhone in his pocket, and sometimes after school, he would go out for drinks with his co-workers.

As an American, Browne said he was routinely peppered with questions from the locals, who were enthralled with the United States’ culture and ways of life. President Barack Obama was Cameroonians’ biggest celebrity, and the fact that America had its first black president was a point of pride for them, he said.

His students were also enormous fans of the television show “24,” which chronicled days in the life of fictional counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer. In a blog he kept for friends and family that was later turned into a book, Browne told the story of one student who asked a succession of “fringe political” questions: “Do you believe that Osama bin Laden is dead? Is Barack Obama truly going to finish the world in 2012? Is Jack Bauer like a real person?”

“They were really interested in terrorism, and ‘24’ was their image of America,” Browne said. “Their perception of the U.S. is that we’re all actively engaged in the war on terror. I’d say that was the biggest image of the United States; most people wanted to know about our military.”

These days, Cameroon has begun to see terrorism on its home ground as the Nigerian-based terrorist group Boko Haram has extended its central African campaign. Boko Haram fighters shot or burned to death about 90 civilians and wounded 500 last month in the Cameroonian border town of Fotokol near Nigeria, also burning churches and mosques, razing schools and looting livestock and food. The extremists, who kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria last year in an incident that drew international condemnation, also abducted eight Cameroonian girls between the ages of 11 and 14 last month and killed seven hostages after seizing a public bus.

Some of Cameroon’s neighboring countries have begun launching counterattacks against the militants. Cameroon’s minister of defense, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, said last weekend troops from Nigeria and Chad would fight Boko Haram while soldiers from Cameroon and Niger would guard their borders to prevent the militants from escaping. Boko Haram has been using Cameroon as an escape and supply route, and residents in potential conflict zones have been asked to leave.

The United States, Britain, France and the European Union are backing the formation of a multinational force of 8,750 troops led by Nigeria and Chad with contingents from Cameroon, Niger and Benin. Several other countries also have pledged to help.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau reportedly has pledged his group’s allegiance to the Islamic State group that is in control of territory in Iraq and Syria, raising fears that the conflict largely restricted to northeast Nigeria and its neighbors’ borders could be internationalized.

Browne said he was aware of Boko Haram while he was in Cameroon, but at the time, the group was “more subdued” and largely active only in Nigeria. Even today, Cameroon has been fairly insulated from militant activity except in its border towns — even though the country is still somewhat divided between the impoverished Muslim north and the richer, more modern Christian south, he said.

But Browne worries about the future of the country that has become so dear to him. He talks of Meme, one of the villages where he taught; it’s 24 miles from the Nigerian border and Boko Haram territory. He said the area, while safe from the terrorist group, suffers indirectly in other ways. The village has been flooded with refugees, and traveling along the highways that lead out of town can be dangerous, he said. Students, especially girls, are becoming more wary of attending school, he said.

Additionally, since his time there, the Peace Corps has had to pull out of the northern region of Cameroon because of instability, which means that many young Cameroonians who are being raised in educational environments typical of traditional Muslim cultures might not have as many opportunities to be exposed to outside ideas, he said. Even though Boko Haram appears to have lost most Cameroonians’ sympathy because of their violence, those living in the northern region might still be more at risk of “disenchantment” of the Western ideals of secular education and democracy, he said.

Joplin PCV

“Peace Corps teachers are encouragers, trying to get kids to stay in school, and Americans carry a lot of weight just by the nature of who we are,” he said. “The fact that we’re not there in an entire region of the country, I think, over the long term is going to have an impact.”

Browne, who returned from Cameroon in June 2013 and is currently an intern in the Office of African Nations at the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., said Americans should be paying more attention not only to Cameroon, but to all African nations as time progresses. The continent is “growing massively,” both in terms of its economy as its countries modernize and in terms of population, he said.

“Africa will matter more than it ever has before in the next decade,” he said. “We don’t have to be actively engaged with war or allies, but we should be extending friendly relations for the future so we leave a good footprint.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Cameroon’s economy boasts “modest” oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, yet like many underdeveloped countries, it is plagued by stagnant per capita income, inequitable distribution of income and corruption, according to the CIA World Factbook.