Archive - October 11, 2016

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Patrick O’Leary (Sierra Leone) publishes FROM FREEBORN TO FREETOWN & BACK
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Remembering “Shriverized” and Shriver

Patrick O’Leary (Sierra Leone) publishes FROM FREEBORN TO FREETOWN & BACK

  Read about Patrick O’Leary’s long history with Sierra Leone in his newly published memoir From Freeborn to Freetown & Back. Patrick was a Minnesota farm kid who grew up in Freeborn County, Minnesota, when he became  a Peace Corp trainee at Syracuse University in 1966 for the Tanzania XIII program. But once training was completed the program was cancelled, and many of the trainees were sent to Sierra Leone, West Africa — including Patrick. He became a agricultural advisor and worked with farmers in an upcountry chiefdom. As a Volunteer Patrick had a number of adventures including being bitten by a poisonous snake, driving over and killing a pregnant cow, and raising chickens that were quickly killed by driver ants. During Patrick’s Peace Corps service he developed a relationship with the village chief that lasted 40 years. He accompanied the chief to Sierra Leone’s diamond mining area, and later was the guest of the chief’ — then a member of Parliament— at the . . .

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Remembering “Shriverized” and Shriver

In the Peace Corps world of the early Sixties, the noun “Shriverized” meant “to enlarge, to speed up, to apply greater imagination.”  As an English major I had never heard of the word, but in the linqua franca world of the new Peace Corps, this ‘noun’ changed my life. I had come of age with the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, and was a small part of the New Frontier as a PCV. I was ‘Shriverized” by the man himself, R. Sargent Shriver. It was as a Trainee for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1962, when I first met President Kennedy, and when I first met Sargent Shriver. I was a “Kennedy’s Kid’ and, yes, I was, like hundreds, and then thousands, of others going to change the world forever in the New Frontier. And, yes, we really, really believed we would. We believed because . . .

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