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|−|== The Gist == |+|
|−|Teaching English as a foreign language at the C. E.G. in M'Biakro, Côte d'Ivoire (AKA Ivory Coast) was a pivotal experience of my life. Most of us were fresh from college and delighted to have an alternative to participating in a war which seemed contrary to American values, American interests, and American honor. From the deal, Côte d'Ivoire got an inexpensive and reasonably competent English teacher who could model some of democracy's higher ideals. The volunteer, myself, got a great adventure, a ''real'' education, and experiences to treasure for a lifetime. |+|
|−|== Thinking Back == |+|
|−|Rumor had it, back then, that about a quarter of Côte d'Ivoire's national budget was devoted to education. One can only imagine where the United States would be today if it had the same priorities. Côte d'Ivoire had been independent for a decade, but still enjoyed considerable economic support from France, the former colonizing power. Coffee, cocoa, and cotton, if memory serves, were exports that France could exploit. While former African colonies were expelling nationals of the colonizing powers, Côte d'Ivoire's President Felix Houphouët-Boigny proclaimed that all were welcome in his country who wanted to help build it. While in neighboring countries the infrastructures began to crumble, in Côte d'Ivoire they were well maintained (by African standards) and the economy boomed (again by African standards). As an American, I was a welcome guest where ever I went. |+|
|−|Many factors have altered the reputation of The United States and eroded the good will once enjoyed. Restoring the ideals and honor of what it meant to be an American is a tall but worthy order for current and future volunteers. Step one, obviously, is to admit to America's failings. The welcomed received around the world by Barak Obama, I expect (in 2009) could be a taste of things to come. |+|
|−|== Stories To Be Told == |+|
|−|While I was there, Pat Nixon, wife of the American President, paid a visit. I expect to write more about that here as well. |+|
Latest revision as of 02:52, 28 August 2015
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