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1969: Normand Gerard Fortin served in Cameroun in Maroua beginning in 1969
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Normand Gerard Fortin can be contacted at normanddfortinaualbertadca
Country of Service: Cameroun
Training Group: Francophone TEFL -- La Pocatière, Quebec
Cities you served in: Maroua
Arrival Year: 1969
Departure Year: 1971
Work Description: TEFL teacher, Teacher trainer (Taught in French at the Cours Normal)
Other Countries you served in, Training Group Name Arrival Year, Departure Year, Work Description:
I taught TEFL at the Cours Normal, Cours Élémentaire, and École Ménagère in Maroua, Cameroun. I was the first PCV to be placed in Maroua because of my command of French. In order to get placed in Maroua, I had to be assigned to the Cours Normal and had to teach other subjects in French: camerounian history and geography, music, science, penmanship to future primary school teachers who did not have the marks to go on to CEG.
Bring us up to date on your life after the peace corps:
1971-72, I worked in Conakry, Guinea for the World ORT Union based in Geneva. I taught TEFL to Bauxiet Company employees.
I immigrated to Canada in 1974, got a M.Ed from Université de Sherbrooke in 1979. Worked as Educational consultant and Education professor at University of Regina (Saskatchewan)and St Boniface College (Winnipeg). Since 1988, I have been in university administration and have worked in French since I have returned from Africa.
Any thoughts you have now looking back on peace corps days?:
I am thinking very much about my Cameroun experiences these days since I am retyping letters from Cameroun I sent to friends and families asking them to keep and give to me upon my return. I had put them aside in the hopes of doing something with them one day. I am finding out that they are an excellent journal when I type them in chronological order. Events I talk about are so fresh in my mind. It's like they happened just yesterday -- and it has been some 30 years.
Our 1969--TEFL Cameroun group is so close. We have reunited every 10 years and have gone to meeting every 5 years as we get older. The last reunion was last August when some of the group visited me at my summer home in Quebec just 15 minutes away from the college at La Pocatière where we trained. We also have our own Christmas newsletter which was started in 1970. We wonder if there are other PC groups which have remained as good friends and so close.
Anyone you are looking for or would like to hear from?:
Mike Merenda, who trained in La Poc in 69 and I think went to the Ivory Coast. He was an excellent piano player.
Also, any other volunteer who have been posted in Maroua since 1969. As the first volunteer in Maroua, I feel I opened up Northern Cameroun for the Peace Corps -- and broke the ground for the others. I was also the first American Maroua had seen. If anyone is there today, I would love to get pictures of Maroua, especially my house which was in front of the cotton mill on the road into town from the airport. (I realize Maroua might have changed since 71 and the factory might not be there anymore.) I LOVED Maroua even though being so far away from the other PCV's was difficult at first. I'd love to hear from today's PCV in Maroua.
Originally posted: November 23, 2002
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