My time volunteering

I arrived in Liberia in 1988 to carry out business training courses for woman living in remote villages. It was a unique appointment for 2 reasons. 

1) It was the first time (as far as I am aware) has operated outside the commonwealth.

2) I was living directly in the local community i.e in the same style housing as the locals (a mud hut!)

The course objective was to spread a greater knowledge of business practice particularly agmonst the woman villagers to elevate their standing in the village and improve their knowledge to conduct commercial deals.

The German governmental developement agency GTZ invested millions to start up Nimba county rural develepment project and worked with VSO volunteers to train the local people in best business practices so GTZ could ultimately withdraw from Liberia.

We started in Feb 89 on a potential 2 year placement - it was great fun....however in December 1989 trouble arrived with civil breaking out when Charles Taylor invaded from Guinea. I was at home (UK) on Christmas leave and VSO advised us that they would withdraw Volunteers from Liberia. I was then invited to join a United Nations team who would return to Liberia to conduct releif work (this I accepted and return in March 1989 as part of UNDRO which finshed in June due to the intensifying of the Civil war) 


The impact of my placement

With the knowledge gained - considerably better prices where obtained when produce was sold and woman contributed to the benefit of the village.

My unforgettable moments

Having my Suzuki 150 motorbike carried by the villagers because the roads where impassable. Having my washing facilities shared by a cobra! On the brighter side thowing my hat and trying to get children to return to much laughs - I was known as "San Numa" old man from overseas. 

The impact my placement has had on me

Yes it was positive - I could contribute and create positive action and gave me the encouragement to continue these activities throughout the rest of my life (now aged 94 years) Including a further posting as a lecture for VSO in Sierra Leone.


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