Sierra Leone

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“Pay The Price” by Robert Gribbin (Kenya)
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Patrick O’Leary (Sierra Leone) — KFAI radio interview 1/24
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Review — THE PEACE CORPS, SIERRA LEONE, AND ME by Norman Tyler (Sierra Leone)
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HuffPost publishes essay by Betsy Small Campbell (Sierra Leone)
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Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) Reviewed In NYTIMES
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RPCV Artists in NYC
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Review in WSJ of Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) Exhibition at Morgan Library
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Bill Fitzpatrick (Sierra Leone 1987-89) Remains Found in West Africa
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Beth Oprisch (Sierra Leone 1984-86)
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Robert Scott Heavner (Sierra Leone 1969-71)

“Pay The Price” by Robert Gribbin (Kenya)

  Pay the Price by Robert Gribbin (Kenya 1968–70) • I WATCHED HIS TWO BROWN FINGERS thump against my arm. “Aha,” he muttered under his breath, then I saw the needle poised slowly before it plunged into the vein. Has it come to this? I thought morosely as I slipped away into somnolence while my blood dripped into the bag. Shortly, I awoke with a start to find Mamadou grinning down at me. “Okay, Jimmie,” he grimaced, “all done.” “You rest until dark, then go. Arrangements are in place. You’ll be safe.” I nodded assent. I was indeed ready to go.   TWO AND A HALF YEARS in Sierra Leone was more than enough. I had dawdled and procrastinated, found myself bound by slippery ties to a place that I didn’t really like and to a culture that I could not fathom. Yet that is partly why I stayed to try . . .

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Patrick O’Leary (Sierra Leone) — KFAI radio interview 1/24

  On Tuesday, Jan 24th, 7pm to 8pm,CST,  KFAI (“Radio without Boundaries”), 90.3FM & 106.7FM from Minneapolis/St. Paul, will interview Patrick O’Leary (Sierra Leone 1966–68) on its show “Write On! Radio”about his Peace Corps memoir From Freeborn to Freetown & Back. KFAI can be heard on the TuneIn app. From Freeborn to Freetown & Back Patrick O’Leary (Sierra Leone 1966–68) Peace Corps Writers September 2016 146 pages $14.95 (paperback), $10.00 (Kindle)

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Review — THE PEACE CORPS, SIERRA LEONE, AND ME by Norman Tyler (Sierra Leone)

  The Peace Corps, Sierra Leone, and Me Norman Tyler (Sierra Leone 1964–66) CreateSpace August 2015 191 pages $12.50 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) • THIS MEMOIR IS ABOUT THE JOURNEY of a naïve 19-year-old who joins the Peace Corps and heads “up-country” to Kenema, Sierra Leone, on the Liberian border, from 1964 to 1966. His trek was about seven years before my PCV experience in Guatemala, after which I eventually arrived in Sierra Leone with my family as the director of an international child care agency. My experience there allowed me to commiserate with much of Norman’s story. Upon my arrival in Sierra Leone, I remember thinking, “And I thought I knew what poverty was — and diseases — lassa fever and green monkey disease — yikes!” (I don’t remember Ebola being mentioned, but you get the picture). I’ve always admired the PCVs who served and were able to survive . . .

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HuffPost publishes essay by Betsy Small Campbell (Sierra Leone)

Huffington Post has published If You Plant Rice, You Get Rice by Betsy Small Campbell (Sierra Leone 1984–87) — an essay about her country of service, the diamond war, and the children of war. She is currently working on a book about her time in the Peace Corps called Before, Before.

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Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) Reviewed In NYTIMES

In the New York Times, on Friday, December 25, 2015, there was an article about Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) and his current art exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum. It was written by Jason Farago. Puryear’s exhibition entitled, “Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions” continues through January 10, 2016 at the Morgan. The exhibition will then travel to Chicago where it was first organized by the Art Institute of Chicago. Later, it will go to Washington and the Smithsonian. Puryear is from Washington, graduated from Catholic University of America, then joined the Peace Corps. In West Africa he drew proficient sketches of local architecture, palm trees and cactuses, and a few Sierra Leoneans he met while teaching English, French and biology. After his tour, he studied printmaking in Sweden and then attended Yale, where he turned to doing sculptures. Puryear is our most famous of RPCV artist and I did . . .

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RPCV Artists in NYC

I heard recently from Dan Ingala, Public Affairs Specialist at the Peace Corps Northeast Office in New York, about the Peace Corps Art Show that has been organized for the last three years by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of New York. Dan connected me to Sarah Porter (Macedonia 2005-07) president of the group and vice president Nicole Ethier (Indonesia 2011-13) Sarah wrote me in an email that the show started in Brooklyn at the co-working space called BrooklynWorks 159, saying, “Some of the art is based on or shaped by the Peace Corps experience – there have been several pieces that were made during the volunteer’s experience – but many pieces are independent of that.” BrooklynWork 159 is owned by an RPCV, Vic Puri (Samoa 2002-04), and as Sarah says, “it is not only beautiful and conducive to becoming an art gallery for an evening, having the exhibition at an RPCV-owned . . .

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Review in WSJ of Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1964-66) Exhibition at Morgan Library

The Wall Street Journal on November 24, 2015, had a review of Martin Puryear‘s : Multiple Dimensions show at The Morgan Library & Museum. Reviewer Lance Esplund writes “The 74-year-old American sculptor Martin Puryearis a consummate craftsman. As a skilled young wood-worker, he made furniture, guitars and canoes. And from an early age, he has been interested in the natural sciences and once considered becoming a wildlife illustrator.” In the Peace Corps (Sierra Leone 1964-66) , he taught  biology, French, English, and art at the secondary school level in a rural Sierra Leone. The village carpenters who made furniture for his classroom impressed him with the level of their craftsmanship. While he studied biology at Catholic University, he took painting classes in his junior year and continued his adolescent interest in nature by making detailed drawings of birds and insects. After the Peace Corps he went to Stockholm and entered . . .

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Bill Fitzpatrick (Sierra Leone 1987-89) Remains Found in West Africa

Bill Fitzpatrick was a Park Ranger and airplane pilot for 25 years transporting people by air, boat and or by motor vehicle from remote locations throughout the US and in two parks in Africa. He responded to emergency law enforcement, search and rescue, medical and fire incidents. He also worked to save wild lands throughout the world by working in a variety of National and International Parks. A husband to Paula, and father of children,  Mary, Matthew and Cody, Bill disappeared on a flight in West Africa on June 22, 2013. This week his remains were found by villagers in Cameroon at a crash site in mountainous terrain where his Cesssna 172 went down. Bill was working as an anti-poaching pilot for one of the largest national wildlife preserves in Africa. Reports are that there was no foul play involving his death. Today his family is just grateful to have answers to . . .

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Beth Oprisch (Sierra Leone 1984-86)

Monday, November 21 7:30 pm MY NAME IS BETH OPRISCH. I live in Toronto, Ohio. I am a residential counselor at a group home for adolescent girls and currently working on my Master’s degree in Counseling. I was a Community Health Volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa from 1984 to 1986. What a difficult task. To talk for three minutes about one event that crystallizes my Peace Corps experience. How to select just one. I went through journals, read old letters, looked at pictures, watched my slides and finally a common theme emerged. That theme was Yeabul Kamara. I knew Yeabul was different from the start. She was spirited, feisty, sarcastic, assertive – not the typical characteristics of the women in the male dominated Sierra Leoneon society. Her firey temperament contradicted her slight, almost frail appearance. I’ll always remember her smile – those incredibly white, straight teeth, highlighted by her . . .

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Robert Scott Heavner (Sierra Leone 1969-71)

Monday, November 21 5:06 pm I WALKED INTO THE VILLAGE beneath an intense West African sun. As I walked along the bush path, the sun trickled through a canopy of oil palm and banana leaves. Soft squawking of distant birds and spider monkeys balanced the mystical silence. Soon an opening revealed a vastness of rice fields stretching beyond a great river to the Guinean mountains forty miles away. My heart was heavy as I walked and read a letter from my friend,,Ira, telling me that he was too ill to continue and was about to return home. It was just the fifth month of my assignment and already three of my six closest friends from training had terminated. I felt alone and abandoned. I continued on to the road and into the village. I sat down on the banks of the Great Scarcies River and felt like Siddhartha as I . . .

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