Cameroon

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Review — OUTPOST by Chris Hill (Cameroon 1974-76)
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“Development Is Down This Road” by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon)
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Development Is Down This Road
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Development is Down This Road

Review — OUTPOST by Chris Hill (Cameroon 1974-76)

Chris Hill (Cameroon 1974-76) begins his new book: Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy by telling his favorite story, his account of how as a PCV in Cameroon he tried to overhaul a corrupt credit union only to have his efforts rejected, largely because he did not understand the community’s internal dynamics and culture. What happened was something like this, Chris discovered that one board of directors had stolen 60 percent of their members’ money. He reported this to the members, who promptly re-elected them because the board reflected carefully balanced tribal interests and it really didn’t matter to the members if the board directors ran a good credit union or not. Hill said the lesson was that “When something’s happened, it’s happened for a reason and you do your best to understand that reason. But don’t necessarily think you can change it.” In his book he then sums up, “Years later, . . .

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“Development Is Down This Road” by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon)

[Winner of the 1992 Peace Corps Experience Award was this excellent essay by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987-90) entitled, “Development Is Down This Road.” Peace Corps writing and remembering doesn’t get much better than this.] • A Writer Writes: Development Is Down This Road by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987-90) FEW RECOGNIZE ME without my trademark Suzuki. Now I have this red Yamaha DT they gave me to replace it. I’m still white, though, or so they keep insisting as I pass by the shouting voices trying to get me to stop to do a favor, chat, or taste the latest in palm wine. I know I have a bike, but how do you say “I’m not a taxi” in the local language? I’m late, I’m in a hurry, I’ve got to help a women’s group plant rows of plantains and pineapple in their community farm. This road could jostle my . . .

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Development Is Down This Road

by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987–1990) This essay won the 1992 Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Short Work about the Peace Corps Experience. • FEW RECOGNIZE ME without my trademark Suzuki. Now I have this red Yamaha DT they gave me to replace it. I’m still white, though, or so they keep insisting as I pass by the shouting voices trying to get me to stop to do a favor, chat, or taste the latest in palm wine. I know I have a bike, but how do you say “I’m not a taxi” in the local language? I’m late, I’m in a hurry, I’ve got to help a women’s group plant rows of plantains and pineapple in their community farm. This road could jostle my insides right out of me. My thighs are sore from being abused as non-stop shock absorbers. Yet, nothing beats a forestial commute: a time to . . .

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Development is Down This Road

Since 1992 Peace Corps Writers has annually recognized the outstanding writing of Peace Corps Volunteers both returned and still in service. One of the awards is the Peace Corps Experience Award given to the writer of a short piece that best captures the experience of being a Peace Corps Volunteer. We will be sharing the past Peace Corps Experience Award winners with our Peace Corps Worldwide readers over the next few weeks and begin with the very first from 1992 by Abigail Calkins Aguirre. • • • Development Is Down This Road by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987–90) FEW RECOGNIZE ME without my trademark Suzuki. Now I have this red Yamaha DT they gave me to replace it. I’m still white, though, or so they keep insisting as I pass by the shouting voices trying to get me to stop to do a favor, chat, or taste the latest in . . .

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