Group XVI description

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Nigeria group XVI
Group description: Ag/RD
Service years: 1965-67
Number of volunteers : 60
Trained at : MSU & St. Croix
Arrived before 1st coup, left before Eastern Region evacuation .

70 Volunteers, Ag/Rd Group. In-country service September. 1965 through June 1967 (or so).” (Mike Goodkind, 23 Mar 2000)



“We trained at Michigan State U in East Lansing.” (Mike Goodkind, 26 Mar 2000) "We spent 8 weeks there and started training in July? We had the use of bicycles. An all male group, we lived in a dorm, studied language, culture, community development, how to raise pigs, chickens, listened to descriptions of palm trees and yams and took care of Carl Sandburg goats among other things. I learned that volunteers were 'deselected'", rather than "Let go" or "fired". I think we were out of our dorm rooms at MSU before the students arrived. --Rcollman 20:51, 31 October 2007 (EST)

We were so YOUNG: Nigeria 16 Training Directory.

St. Croix

"We went to St. Croix in the US Virgins for 4 or 5 weeks of training. We lived at and did construction at a camp (boy scouts?) on the dry side of the island. Some of us worked really hard. I remember claiming that my own work was hurricane proof, by the time a hurricane came it would be long gone. Half of us would ride in the "stake truck" over the mountains into Christiansted every night." --Rcollman 20:51, 31 October 2007 (EST)

We got a fun lesson in economics at the old hotel bar we frequented in C-sted. Local rum was 35 cents a drink. Rum and coke was a buck or $1.50. Shipping in coke bottles and making ice cubes (we learned in Nigeria they were ice blocks) was really expensive on an island. (User:emgoodkind 11/9)

Our main task was to build toilet seats. I think my job was to cut the holes in the middle and sand down the edges, which was really important.(User:emgoodkind 11/9)

We went to Montserrat in groups of 8 or so for 3 days. We assigned separate families who were scattered all over the island. Here I learned all about how wonderful mangos were to eat and that too much of mango could act like a powerful laxative in the middle of the night. While my group was there a jet thought it was landing at Antigua, crashed into the volcano on the southern end of the Montserrat. After training my flight number from San Juan to JFK was the one that had crashed. And of course there was a mechanical problem with one of the flaps which cause the plane to fly just slightly off kilter the whole trip. --Rcollman 20:51, 31 October 2007 (EST)

After our initial 8 weeks of training at MSU and about 4 weeks in St. Croix, we went home on leave to pack. I am guessing this was at least 3 weeks long. Many of us flew into NYC and even the country boys managed to find a 'the house' via bus and trains, where we took a bus to JFK and flew to Lagos.--Rcollman 20:51, 31 October 2007 (EST)

In Country

"My passport says I entered Lagos Nov 6, 1965"

"I guess we had an in country briefing. Our group divided into regions and mine flew into Enugu. Part of our training was to go on tour of the region. I don't recall staff telling us who would be going where. I do remember Jacob Agwu (Perm Sec of the Ministry of Rural Development) turning to me while on tour and telling me I would see lots of raffia in Ikot Ekpene. That is how I knew I might be in 'he caught a penny'." --Chris Collman 13:58, 10 July 2008 (CDT)


Nigeria XVI was an Ag Rd group. Each region was slightly different, and each volunteer's situation was different.

Eastern Region

Nigeria XVI volunteers were assigned to positions in the new Ministry of Rural Development and the equally new Division of Rural Development. We were paid 50 Nigerian Pounds a month. With the military coup, the civil service essentially ran the administrative areas. A typical volunteer might live in government housing and report to both the Divisional Officer who in tern would report to the Ministry of Rural Development. Jacob Agwu was Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development and joined us while we were on tour.

Job situations varied because of many factors. Just to name a few, the attitude of the local civil servants, receptiveness of villagers, ability of the volunteers and just plain chance. I think the Honda Motorcycles were not an option for our group. Most of us had Mini-Mokes and some of us were upgraded with Land Rovers after a year.

End of Service

Most of Nigeria XVI left just before fighting actually broke out in the Nigerian/Biafrian civil war.

See also

Group XVI stories

Group XVI bios

Group XVI Photos

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