November 19, 2003 - Florida Times-Union: John Eaves says Sierra Leone grateful to Americans

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Sierra Leone: Peace Corps Sierra Leone : The Peace Corps in Sierra Leone: November 19, 2003 - Florida Times-Union: John Eaves says Sierra Leone grateful to Americans

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 11:37 pm: Edit Post

John Eaves says Sierra Leone grateful to Americans

John Eaves says Sierra Leone grateful to Americans

PEACE CORPS: Sierra Leone grateful to Americans

One of America's best foreign policy initiatives has been the people who have served in the Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps was established by an executive order of President Kennedy on May 1, 1961, as a way to eradicate world poverty through friendship and goodwill.

Since its inception, over 170,000 Americans have devoted two years of service to developing countries around the world.

Peace Corps volunteers immerse themselves in the local culture by learning the local languages, respecting the local traditions, abiding by the local customs, respecting the local citizens, living in the local villages and collaborating on sustainable development projects in various communities.

Among the 134 nations that Peace Corps has served in its 42-year history is Sierra Leone. The Peace Corps entered Sierra Leone in 1963 and volunteers served as teachers, health care providers, agricultural workers and carpenters over a 30-year period until 1994, when a civil war caused the suspension of Peace Corps service.

The ensuing civil war devastated Sierra Leone. The country's economy and infrastructure have been severely damaged. Today, Sierra Leone has the highest infant mortality rate of any country in the world. With an average per-capita income of only $140 a year, it is the world's poorest country.

However, following the end of the civil war in 2002, calm and order are returning to Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone government has invited the Peace Corps to return its operations in that country.

I was a member of a delegation to assess the feasibility of the Peace Corps' return.

Over an 11-day period, I had the opportunity to tour the country and meet with ministry officials and local citizens.

Many Sierra Leonians recounted fond experiences of Peace Corps volunteers who lived in their communities and had an extraordinary impact on the local citizens.

I marveled at how Sierra Leonians remembered the names of Peace Corps volunteers who served as far back as 40 years ago and how these volunteers taught them English, constructed buildings and assisted with agricultural projects.

While there is much resentment around the world about what America has done, there is stronger appreciation in Sierra Leone for America as a result of the Peace Corps.

regional manager, Peace Corps, Atlanta, Ga.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Florida Times-Union

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Sierra Leone



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.