Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Peace Corps Guinea Spelling Bee

Thanks to three very hard-working Volunteers: Geoff Delperdang (G22, Télimélé), Liz Chadwick (G20, Boké), and Hannah Koeppl (G24, Kankan), hundreds of Guinean students had the opportunity to participate in spelling bees at the school, regional, and national levels. Each Education Volunteer (and a few Extension Volunteers) held a school spelling bee at their middle school. The top two students from each school then had the chance to compete in a regional bee, with each region holding two bees. From each of these, the top three students moved on to the final round: the national bee in Mamou. In Mamou, before the competition at the hotel ENATEF, we did a variety of team-building activities and games with the students. They and the Volunteers had a lot of fun, and each of the kids made some new friends. The activities also served to loosen the kids up a bit, so that they would not be performing in front of a crowd of complete strangers. The spelling bee competition represented an excellent opportunity to expand the horizons of our young students. First and foremost, it got them about excited about studying French. Second, dozens of students had the opportunity to get out and experience something different from their village, probably many of them for the first time. Finally, for those lucky enough to reach the final round in Mamou, it was a really beautiful thing to watch kids from all across Guinea, with different backgrounds and languages, work together and compete in a spirit of friendly competition. More than the spelling of difficult French words, we hope that is what our students continue to carry with them after this experience. Ryan Plesh

Friday, March 07, 2014

[FOG News] FOG starts blogging from Guinea

Hello Friends of Guinea! I’m a current Peace Corps Guinea Volunteer, and I’ll be blogging for FOG inch’Allah (ideally) twice a month, ostensibly until my COS (Close of Service) in the fall of 2015. I’m an Education Volunteer from the G24 stage, which arrived in Guinea in the fall of 2013. The current stages in Guinea are G22-G25, and we span the sectors of: Education, Public Health, and Agroforestry. Education Volunteers in Guinea teach primarily math, physics, and chemistry, as well as English. My site is in the mountainous Moyenne Guinée (Middle Guinea) region, locally referred to as the “Fouta Djallon.” Currently Volunteers are distributed throughout Moyenne Guinée, Haute Guinée (Upper Guinea), and the Basse Côte (Low Coast) regions. There are approximately 100 total Volunteers in Guinea, although the number is continually in flux with the coming and going of stages and individuals. Roughly 40% of the current Volunteers are teachers, and the other 60% are divided between the two extension sectors: PH and Agfo. This is an important time for Peace Corps Guinea and for the Republic of Guinea as a whole. Peace Corps service here has unfortunately been interrupted several times in the past due to political unrest, most recently in 2009, but for the first time in its history Guinea has a full democracy complete with democratically elected officials in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of its government. Its situation is far from ideal, but the conditions are set for things to continue to improve here into the future. I feel grateful to be a part of that, and I’m happy to be in a position that allows me to communicate the progress that is being made here to new and old friends of Guinea. Thank you for your support. Best, Ryan Plesh FOG Social Media Chair