September 14, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Florence Patterson at Goree Island in Senegal

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Senegal: Peace Corps Senegal : The Peace Corps in Senegal: September 14, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Florence Patterson at Goree Island in Senegal

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 1:58 pm: Edit Post

Florence Patterson at Goree Island in Senegal

Florence Patterson at Goree Island in Senegal

Name (Florence Patterson) Salimata Ba

E- mail:

Telephone #: 221 821.50.14

Division of Peace Corps

"Small Enterprise Development", SED



So glad you have come to visit. Let me first say welcome and share why I am here on Goree Island at this time. The Peace Corps was the vehicle of the spirit that drew me here. Therefore, I would like to share two excerpts from my Aspiration Statement which I wrote in September 2000 and faxed to Peace Corps office in Senegal.

"My expectation of Peace Corps service is to truly promote and address improvement of the life style of a people that would not in any way diminish their self esteem, pride or culture. I feel that the contribution I would make would be to share valuable information with small business owners and potential owners within a community, as to how to obtain the degree of success they aspire to, without disturbing the uniqueness of the culture of the people of Senegal. I see myself first listening to where they are in the knowledge of the business they wish to pursue and to see where they would like to be. I will give guidance along the way as needed. With the information I received, I will work with them to prepare the steps as to "how to get there." If they do not have any ideas of their own, I will assist by providing a few examples, after I learn of their talent and gifts."

"My personal and professional goals are quite intertwined for the Peace Corps service, as my desires personally run on a

professional societal plane. My goals are to improve the quality of life for those I work with, wherever possible, while respecting the values and basic knowledge of those who possess divine wisdom. To put their desires and aspirations into a well thought out "Plan" with contingencies in place. Addressing the financial, marketing, and people power required to carry out these plans. Looking at the short-range goals and the long-term goals that will be viable for years to come without causing social problems for future generations, and to look at the impact of the business for the good of all. I would like to share my business experiences with them and to see community able to function with the young and the elders working together on projects that would enhance their understanding of our way life. (Projects that would enable them to remain intact culturally where they presently reside.) One of my long range goals would be to design a plan for future living and working quarters would not waste energy or the natural resources on the land. I would like to encourage business designs for the young that keep them happily in the interiors or villages, with customers coming to them rather than them migrating to the city and allowing communities to die"

These were my thoughts as I prepared myself for places unknown to both me and the Peace Corps staff at that time. We both knew the country, but not the site. At this point I must share with you a vision which came to me in October of 1999. "When I closed my eyes, I would always see a small island with me on it and a dear friend along with the children of the island"

Near the end of my intense, but wonderful training period with the most intelligent, generous and talented staff, in Thies, Senegal, it was about three weeks of cross cultural, language and technical training, I was mystically assigned to Goree. (I say it was mystical because of the vision I had reoccurring in my daily life since October 1999..(Which at this point, I must apologize, I knew nothing about Goree.) "Shame on me" But, please read on as you'll see how this story unfolds. I emerged myself immediately into my work on day one. I arrived at approximately 1:30 P.M. and was busy working at a meeting by 2:45 P.M. with the youth organization, Action Assistance Développement, ACAD and a newly desired service business, in its early enfant stage, called, Agence Senegalaise Artisanle, Culturelle, et Tourstique, ASPACT,of which I inherited from the former volunteer. Just a few days later, I met with various officers of the Goree Institute and reestablished our partnership.

It was not very long before, they too wanted to know about my aspirations, but particularly related to Goree. Giving myself a little time to study the situation there, as I continue to meet with my new found family members on Goree and the officials of the Senegalese government, I manage to prepare a statement in February 2001. This is what I observed after two month on the island:

After living on Goree since December 23, 2000, my aspirations for Goree has grown into not only a focus of business but also a keen sense of responsibility to each of the 1,200 people.

I want to listen to what the people have to say and to learn their languages, while sharing my knowledge of business with them. To focus on "Tourism as the main economy and to look for ways to improve and develop new businesses. To help them understand fully the way the western world does business, in order to be able to operate on the level playing field.

Once I have learned of their capabilities and desires, I will assist them with direction and workshops to enhance their knowledge.

Diversification is a must at Goree. "Demand and Supply" are the ingredients of business they must become aware of. Collaboration is essential for the rich and the poor, the experience and inexperience person to work together for the good of all, Goree.

I plan to meet with each citizen at Goree before my assigned time here is up. I will give guidance as needed. With the information and from the observation obtained, I plan to prepare steps for them, as to how to reach the desired level of business. I will aide, by providing them with a few examples of different businesses not presently on Goree, (after learning of their talent, gifts and capabilities), that will not effect their culture negatively. As a volunteer of the Peace Corps, I plan to carryout the duties requested of me that will leave this country's culture intact.

I want to be as open as possible, keeping with the concept of total community involvement in mind. To continue to listen very carefully to their desires, and their aspirations throughout my stay.

Building tourism of the African American to this historic site is one of my targets for Goree. I will continue to work with the directors of ministry of Tourism, Culture, U.S. Embassy, NGO groups and other agencies that will be necessary for complete success.

Working with established groups such as the Goree Institute to help bridge the gap which exist presently at Goree between those that have and those that do not, by training, marketing and assisting with the development of quality products for their businesses will hopefully change the image of the people of Goree. To diminish overly aggressive selling, begging and having non-quality products. I will continue to look and address the causes for such situations collectively with the help of individuals, groups, and government for successful completion

Form my professional background and knowledge of western culture and ways of doing business, I plan to share truth of outcomes that did not and don't work for the good of society. Integrity, honesty, quality and cooperation are essential for development of a desired tourist place to visit again and again''.

During my stay thus far, we have worked together on Goree to develop several family businesses, improved many Artists and entrepreneurs understanding inventorying, marketing their works, and to budget their personal finances, separately from their business. Right now, we are in the very early stages of developing printing, photography and unique tailoring businesses.

The community project we are presently working on is "The Family Reunion at Goree", which will take place, December 7 through 17, 2002.

We welcome you to take an active part in anyway you can. Please check out the pages on Family Reunion.

Some of the ways we plan to do this is by having formal and informal seminars, as well as a major project, which will give opportunity to the entire community to be recipients of the benefits from the Family Reunion event. This all inclusive Family Reunion project, addresses many issues that the community felt needed to be addressed, from working together to developing businesses and partnerships in order to reach their "VISION", while not forgetting our history, and why people of all nations come to Goree. Many who come here, want to connect with their ancestors, and others to learn about what actually took place on Goree during the period of the Slave Trade.

I, personally welcome you to join us on Goree then and now, with a special invitation extended to descendants of slavery all over the world. (For greater detail, please visit the Family Reunion pages)

I, am delighted that the USA has such an agency as the Peace Corps, that cares about the social plane of all people in the world. And gives those that truly desire to help where ever possible an opportunity to give service.

Well, let's stop here, for I could go on, and on, and on ...............

Our story, on Goree, to be continued throughout the year.

(April 4, 2002)





Aspiration Statement February 27, 2001 Goree

My work as a SED volunteer is interesting, challenging and above all, rewarding, as I attempt to share the positive ways of capitalism of the western world, which will enable the Senegalese to do business on a level playing field. While at the same time, assisting and hoping that the Goreen youth recapture their sense of morality, while regaining human dignity and respect for others when pursuing their livelihood.


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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Senegal; PCVs in the Field - Senegal



By b cauvin ( - on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 5:15 am: Edit Post

o you your family's origin?
I am french, but my ancestors were living at Gorée. My mother's name is Patterson.
It is funny but al the Patterson came from St Louis Sénegal and Gorée. But before I don't know from where the Patterson came from.

By Florence Patterson ( - on Saturday, December 17, 2005 - 7:01 am: Edit Post

Gee! i am so sorry that i have never responded to the question asked by the writer in 2003. i just happen to put my name on the search engine (Dec. 17, 2005) to see if the web-site, developed for the people of Goree when i was there would tie in to my name. My maiden name is Ghoram, married into the Pattersons. However, all of our names come from the Slave Masters. So, who am i?????

i have no idea of where i come from being Africa/America. However, this siuation is not unusual. Isn't that a SHAME? One day perhaps we will all have more info. about our ancestors as others do. i do feel there is a movement that is growing that will take us back home soon. i learned alot while in the motherland. i enjoyed the people, the food, weather and the peace that we are yet to have here in America.

i've come back to a country that has lost its way unfortunately. Living in fear coupled with hate and that seemingly those that are in power, want everyone to feel the same. i pray for the day of enlightment of all of our leaders and others who may not fully understand this journey of LIFE.

Presently, my work is with The St. Lawrence Office of the Aging and the with Pamoja International Cultural Exchange, Inc. (PICEI) the very positive culural organization which recognizes that we are all connected and plan to help that become more evident by the Mosaic Family Reunion Cruise scheduled for August 2007. Their web-site will soon be updated with more info.

Florenc Ghoram Patterson age 69. i was 67 when Prsident Bush visited Goree in 2003,not 57. But who is counting which of our ages are being reflected (Smile)

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