Peace Corps (Chad) – July 26, 2015


lalay lalay
children greet the teacher
the school in Lai

gas cooled fridge
Coleman lamp and candles
her house in Lai

sitting in the yard
girls singing and sewing
making friends

cooking on charcoal
making peanut butter soup
visitor from Sarh

Peace Corps kids
living rough in Africa
surrounded by love
learning another life
under the Chadian sun

There were very few white people outside the major cities of Chad when I lived there between 1975 and 1979, among them were the Peace Corps kids.  In the villages the government had put at their disposition a house and the elders of the village put up a straw matted fence, for privacy.  They had not generators for electricity like the Protestant and Catholic missionaries or the members of international development organizations, but they did have a gas run refrigerator, which I always found fascinating.  They often didn’t know the local language, though most of them spoke French, but by the time they left the village they spoke it fairly well.

When the Peace Corps workers, or indeed any outsider, rolled into town on a “taxi bruousse*” the kids would jump around shouting “lalay lalay”.  The Peace Corps workers were usually well loved, more than some missionaries I guess because the kids weren’t trying to convert or subvert anyone to their way of thinking, they were there to help out in their small way.  They taught kids how to read, sewing and sometimes they helped dig wells and irrigation ditches.

learning about life
outside their golden palace
Peace Corp workers

© G.s.k. ‘15

* a pickup that travels around the country-side picking up paying customers

Carpe Diem Special #158 Adjei Agyei Baah’s 5th special “Afrikuland”

9 thoughts on “Peace Corps (Chad) – July 26, 2015

  1. Really fascinating post – I do like reading about the good things Peace Corps dop generally as I had a rather negative time with a few individuals in the Peace Corps, including one who stole my girlfriend’s money on the bus, then blamed the local people, so again, I very much like reading good things, and two very good friends were in the Peace Corps after all.
    Bur aside from that, really exotic post.


    • I can imagine that there would be some negative individuals in the Peace Corps as in any organization. I had the good fortune to know a couple of really dedicated people … unfortunately in Africa, often the people who are there to help, are a problem in themselves. But I’m glad you enjoyed the post Hamish … thanks for sharing you’re experience.


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