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Adventures in Gabon: Peace Corps Stories from the African Rainforest Paperback – September 14, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Peace Corps Writers (September 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935925105
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935925101
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,309,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence F. Lihosit on October 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
IF YOU SERVED IN GABON as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Adventures in Gabon will be like a yearbook and a reunion all in one. It is a book of anecdotes by more than thirty writers who served between 1962 and 2005. This is the only Peace Corps book I have ever read that included accounts from years covering the entire Peace Corps experience in one nation (the Gabon program closed in 2005). Unlike most Peace Corps anthologies, this one includes contributions by Volunteers who served after 1980. Equally unusual, the name of Sargent Shriver -- first director of the Peace Corps -- is never mentioned, and President John Kennedy is mentioned only once.

Divided into seven sections (Joining the Peace Corps, Not in Ohio Anymore, Health and Safety, Impressive People, Magic and Belief, Lessons in Culture, and Fiction), the book notes each author's name, dates of service and job. However, the anecdotes are actually answers to questions posed over the years by the editor of the Friends of Gabon quarterly newsletter called The Gabon Letter. Since they are answers to questions (What was the dumbest thing you did? What language mistakes did you make? Were you ever sick? etc.), they are generally very short, and often filled with Peace Corps jargon (PCV, COS, TEFL, PCVL, CIRMF, STDs). There are many exact dates, times and names in these answers that gives the reader the strange feeling that we are in the middle of a high school reunion -- "Remember when . . .?" and hee-haws.

There are exceptions. Charlie Lafave's description of his Martin Luther King Jr. lesson plan is touching. He skillfully describes how he engaged his students with a discussion about inter-tribal marriage and helped students imagine the African-American experience.
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I can recommend this book for those interested in lifestyles of Peace Corps Volunteers in Gabon, Africa.
I learned about the experiences of other PCVs.
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Format: Paperback
As the son of the first American ambassador to Gabon, I visited the country twice, in 1962 and 1964, when the Peace Corps program program there was just starting. The anecdotes and stories that this volume recounts bring back many memories of my time and travels in Gabon, even though I was admittedly living much more comfortably than were the PCV's. This collection is uneven in content, ranging from brief excerpts from letters to longer, well-told short stories of indelible experiences, but I found this unevenness added to the volume's attraction for me, as it conveyed the richness of life all these Volunteers spent in the brousse, recollections spanning many years. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in West and Equatorial Africa, and particularly to anyone with an interest in what makes the Peace Corps such an incredible institution.
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