I have been writing lately how RPCVs continue to serve the world long after their tours. Here is another example, and another RPCV from Ethiopia, Phil Lilienthal (Ethiopia 1965-67), who returned home and worked for the Peace Corps for five years as a lawyer in the General Counsel Office, then from 1969-74, Phil was a Regional Director and Deputy Director in Thailand.
While a PCV in Ethiopia Phil worked in one of the government ministries and for his ‘second project’ he started a summer camp on the shores of Lake Langano down in the Rift Valley. This was the first such camp started by a PCV in Ethiopia. Camps for kids have always been in Phil’s blood, his family has one in Maine, but about 9 years ago, in retirement, Phil turned the family business over to his son (who was also a PCV) and established a new one, this time in South Africa.
Global Camps Africa today has had 38 camps for 4,600 children in the last decade. There are 3 camps a year with 140 different children at each. Added to that are the Kids Clubs where children, who have come to camp, have a continuing source of support and information after they have attend.
Phil’s camps are designed to provide HIV/AIDS information to the children of Soweto and the Johannesburg area. (South Africa has the most number of HIV infected people, despite its small (under 50 million population) in the world.
Phil’s camp and the clubs are free to the children and over 170 international volunteers have been camp counselors. Today, Phil says, “many PCVs in South Africa also volunteer during their school holiday.”
The counselors at Global Camps Africa are between the ages of 23-31 and work as camp counselors at Camp Sizanani.
Recently, Phil traveled for two weeks with five of his South African counselors who had worked in US camps this past summer. And tomorrow, Friday, September 28, 2012, Global Camps Africa will be featured at 12:35 on the NPR program, “Here and Now.”
One of Phil’s South African counselors, Lindiwe, joins Phil on a program which was taped in Boston. You can hear it live or on line at http://www.wbur.org/listen/live. And see what this RPCV has done with the rest of his life after the Peace Corps. http://www.globalcampsafrica.org/