|By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, July 03, 2001 - 9:05 pm: Edit Post|
Alison Graham's PCV Gabon Web Page
Alison Graham's PCV Gabon Web Page
Two Years in Gabon
In January 1999, we were sent to our new villages. I was given Mouila Pouvi, in south-eastern Gabon, 40 km from Koulamoutou, the provincial capital, and a good 7 hours plus from Libreville by the good old "Bongo Express", Gabon's national train. The majority of the people were Bavove, from the Okande group.
Mouila Pouvi was the most beautiful village I have even seen and I feel I was the luckiest volunteer. Maybe 300 people, a school, a little boutique that sells the very basics (candles, beer, tomato sauce, spaghetti, candy, coffee, concentrated sugar milk...), and a clinic with an on-again off-again nurse and no medicine. I was well-received and quickly found two mamans who cared for me as another daughter-how many people can claim that? Oh, my mamans, I miss them terribly and would so love to go back and give them humongous, completely enwrapping hugs.
I worked with two fish farmers weekly and five others at their leisure (PHOTOS). Being placed in a village which makes sufficient money from bush meat sales didn't offer me much work in fish culture-but, you know what? Living in a glass box, with a completely alien life no matter how I try to integrate, is in itself a 24-7 job. Often I closed my door from noon to three p.m. so I could eat and read without the eyes following me. Or I would close my door to scream at the world. Yet the anger and exhaustion always cleared by the night or next day. I would remind myself (very frequently) of a saying I heard when I first applied to Peace Corps, "The highest highs and the lowest lows". The friends I made in my village and in Koulamoutou were some of the most patient, honest, beautiful people I have had the pleasure of knowing. At my worst moments when I could have ripped the head off of anyone who breathed wrong, my greatest saviour was an innocent girl's smile, a quiet moment with a maman, a peaceful walk in the forest.
So, somehow November 2000 rolled around and I looked at what I've done and thought, shouldn't there have been more? But there was! I will never forget the friends I have made in Gabon, and they, for better or worse, will not forget me and the work I've done with them (PHOTOS).
I realize that you might have been expecting more than four paragraphs on my second year in Gabon and I am quite capable of writing more than four paragraphs, but that will come with time. I apogize but it will happen. I hope you come visit me again!!
Hey, if you're interested in reading more about Central Africa, some books I suggest:
The Poisonwood Bible by Margaret Kingsolver-The conditions experienced in this book are much rougher than mine, but an excellent book.
The Rainbird: A Central African Journey by Jan Brokken, translated by Sam Garrett from the Lonely Planet series-Depending on who you ask, the lengthy descriptions and historical accounts are annoying and boring or intriguing and exciting. It described the travels of the author through Gabon in the 1990s. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder throughout but the historical accounts are great!
One Dry Season: In The Footsteps of Mary Kingsley by Caroline Alexander (Vintage Departures editor New York: Knopf 1990), distributed by Random House-It described the travels of the author through Gabon in the late 1980s. She shows such love for the people she meets and the places she visits, I believe searching for this book is well worth the trouble. She includes historical facts on the explorer, Ms. Kingsley.
The Village of Waiting by George Packer-Actually about a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa.
|By Dawn Kousheh (host84-191.hc-dhcp.uiowa.edu - 188.8.131.52) on Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 10:41 am: Edit Post|
I am trying to reach Kristin Snyder. I went to the University of Iowa with her. firstname.lastname@example.org