Peace Corps Training
Seventy-three prospective volunteers first met in Philadelphia, Pa. on December 12, 1975. After two days of inoculations an some cultural awareness training, we departed for Liberia. The Pan Am jet landed in the middle of the following day, and as I stepped off the plane my glassed fogged up from the heat and humidity.
We spent several days in Monrovia, and I didn't sleep for two days because the hotel I was staying at did not have very good air conditioners or beds. We continued with training during the mornings learning about the school system and culture. We had most of the afternoons off, or we could go on "field trips" to various interesting sites.
I then packed up and headed to Buchanan in Bassa Co. where I would be teaching after training. The host family was Mr. and Mrs. Campbell. I found where the PCV's were living, and made arrangements to rent one of the houses of a volunteer who was terminating shortly. My first experiences of a bucket baths turned out to be quite humorous.
Several days later, I traveled to Zorzor Teaching Institute, which took about 16 hours, where we spent three weeks learning about teaching in Liberia and language training. Spent Christmas day in town where we sang Christmas Carols at the hospital and for the some government officials. The people celebrated by dancing.
We also had weekends off so we had the opportunity to go on several bush hikes. We went to one village where the natives had rarely encountered white people.
When the group completed the training a Zorzor, we divided into groups of 10 or 12 to go to various sites throughout Liberia to teach in summer schools. I traveled to Sanniquillie, in Nimba Country. Summer school, like in America, allowed students who failed in one or more subjects to get promoted provided they passed in the six weeks summer school. After three week I was the first volunteer of our group to get malaria. After one week, and 10 less pounds, I started to feel OK again.
Sanniquillie was about 20 miles south of an iron ore consession, LAMCO, own jointly by a Swedish company, Bethlaham Steel, and the Liberian government. The ore was mined and shipped by train to Buchanan for refining. We travel the LAMCO several times to see how most "expatriates" lived in Liberia. We also had our houseboys take us on several bush hikes.
When summer school was over, the groups re-joined in Monrovia, and 62 volunteers (11 returned to U.S.) swore-in as Peace Corps Volunteers.