The Bush Devil Ate Sam: And Other Tales of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa

The Bush Devil Ate Sam: And Other Tales of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa  (And Other Tales of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa)

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  • Curtis Mekemson
  • English
Scruffy soldiers with guns pointed in all directions were scattered around my yard when I returned from teaching. “What’s up?” I asked in a shaky voice that was supposed to come out calm. Liberian soldiers were scary. “Your dog ate one of the Superintendent’s guinea fowl,” the sergeant growled. The Superintendent, the governor of Bong County, was apparently quite fond of his fowl birds. But Boy, the perpetrator of the crime, didn’t belong to me, and he regarded my cat Rasputin as dinner. “Why don’t you arrest him,” I suggested helpfully, pointing at Boy. “Not him. You!” the sergeant roared. “You are coming with us.” The interview wasn’t going as planned. “I am not going anywhere with you. He is not my dog,” I responded as I disappeared quickly into my house. Yanking a Peace Corps Volunteer out of his home for a dead, want-to-be chicken would have serious repercussions. Or at least I hoped that’s what the sergeant would think. He eventually left. At 4:00 a.m., he was back, pounding on my door with the butt of his rifle. “Your dog ate another one of the Superintendent’s guinea fowl,” Sarge announced with glee at the thought of dragging me off into the dark night. I was beginning to seriously question my decision to join the Peace Corps.Nonetheless, joining was one of the best decisions in my life. The way I was raised and educated, even my DNA, had pointed me in the direction of becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer. But there was more. I grew up in the 60s and was a student at UC Berkeley during the 1964 Free Speech Movement. Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, and the student revolution dramatically affected how I viewed the world. The Bush Devil Ate Sam is story of my experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. When I arrived, descendants of freed slaves from America ruled the country with an iron grip while the tribal people were caught in a struggle between modern culture and ancient Africa. Out in the jungle, the Lightning Man was said to make lightning strike people, and the Sassywood Man determined guilt with a red-hot machete. I quickly discovered that being a Peace Corps Volunteer was anything but dull. Army ants invaded our house. Students strolled into class with cans of squirming termites for breakfast. The young man who worked for me calmly announced that the scars running down his chest were the teeth marks of the Poro Bush Devil. There were enough challenges in my teaching job to fill a lifetime, but there were also rewards. For example: my high school seniors took top national honors in social studies, but the Liberian government determined that a student government I created to teach democracy was a threat to Liberia’s one party state. My students were to be arrested. I was told to pack my bags.These are just a few of the stories you will find in The Bush Devil Ate Sam. I conclude the book with a short epilogue that traces the history of Liberia from the 60s up to the present and a postscript on the recent Ebola crisis. Half of the profits from this book will be donated to Friends of Liberia, a nonprofit organization that has been in existence since 1980 and is made up of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, people who have served on missions in Liberia, experts on international development, and Liberians. The goal of the organization is “to positively affect Liberia by supporting education, social, economic and humanitarian programs.” For more information visit my blog at:
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  • English
  • BookBaby
  • 9781631924941
Publication Date
  • 2014-12-16
File Size
  • 0.72 MB
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