WikiFON History

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The idea for a WikiFON was a collaborative effort. It started as an observation about a long standing issue that generated some dialog by some of the usual contributors to the FON listserv. It is not very diplomatic, but an observation of fact (perhaps a nag, or a complaint) stirred the discussion by some usually on the sidelines to offer partial solutions.


It is mostly Peter's fault

October 24, 2007 Nigeria Peace Corps Community Members:

Four or five years ago I started compiling information on each of the Peace Corps training groups that were sent to Nigeria (30+ depending upon how you count) and a chronology of the Peace Corps staff who served in Lagos as well as the East, West, North and Midwest Regions. For some reason I set the project aside, but I truly believe that it deserves to be written -- but in a more professional and substantial manner. (see attachment)

I would welcome any additions and/or corrections, but I would very much like to recruit someone who would be willing to be the editor of a volume entitled, "The History of the Peace Corps in Nigeria." Individuals, or groups of individuals, from each training group would contribute chapters that the editor would rewrite in a consistent style and format. I envision the chapters as containing not only "the facts" -- places, names, dates, etc. -- but also the delightful anecdotes and Peace Corps lore that we re-tell whenever we come together at reunions and other gatherings. Given the opportunities for self-publication we (FON) could publish the the volume and make it available to our members. It would never make the New York Times or top-10 lists, but who cares.

Any takers?


Peter H Nigeria 27

  • Peter attached a document called History version 1. It has served as the basis for information Groups and staff lists and pages linked to them

Andy responds 6 days later

October 30, 2007 bout 20 years ago my mother presented me with all the letters I had written from Nigeria and Zambia. My reaction was that I didn't really want them but she pointed out that they were not for me but my children and grandchildren. She was giving them to me for safe keeping.Having just finished editing and illustrating letters of my grandparents, I now realize her wisdom.

As the time in Nigeria was so important to so many of us and pivotal in our lives, we/you owe this piece of history to our children (who might like to see all the old When I was in Nigeria stories in print and a bigger picture of what Peace Corps Nigeria was all about and the grandchildren can find the book in the attic and marvel at the strange being we grandparents were when young and wish as I did that I had known my grandparents when they were young as they were really a neat/cool couple.

Just a thought.

Andy P

John gives positive feedback

And what a great thought, Andy... It marks another moment in the transition from PCV to RPCV to AARP to wherever we are headed...

Thanks... I feel the same way about my grandparents...and just hope that our grandson will find us interesting, too, in 20 or 30 years...

John B

Nick jumps in


FON is no different from any other volunteer group. A few do all the work, and the rest of us benefit from it. It's the way of the world.

Just as we won't go on forever, neither will FON. For many of us, the Peace Corps experience was a highlight of our lives. (I've had a hand inked map of Orlu Division on my wall for the past 40 years.) The idea of a PC history of Nigeria would really put a cap on the memories.

I'm not much of an academic, but is there anyway such a history could be combined with a Phd thesis? That might make the editing job productive for someone.

Nick T

Sarah makes an offer

October 29, 2007 Hi, Peter and Mike.

I'm answering this way because although I get all the emails for the group, I wasn't able to post a response. What do I need to do?

Anyway, after I retire sometime next year, I'd be glad to take on shaping the material into a book. I'm a writer and editor, and this sounds like a great retirement project. Until that magic day, however, I won't be able to do much with it.

Sarah M

Which led to Robert V's concept

  • Editor's note, I removed some words from this email. But here is the general concept.

29 Oct 2007 Peter, I suspect that most readers would really be interested in a book organized around each Peace Corps group, which suggests that an ideal book format would be a chapter per group with a separate editor for each chapter recruited from the group. Probably each chapter would have a brief general history of the group and then personal anecdotes that could come from individuals and probably from the Wiki. The chapter editors could work with a standardized format and cannibalize any Wiki materials for their chapter.

A book could be written as a pdf for anyone to download free. We could take orders for a small press run if some people wanted a print copy that they did not print themselves.

The book, as I see it, would need an introductory chapter telling the story of the initiation of Peace Corps and its activities in Nigeria as well as the hiatus. I hope Sarge Shriver's role would be included. I happen to work at a research institute funded by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr Foundation, which Sarge and Eunice have run. Sarge is probably not well enough to play much of a role in the book, but I would like to see his role remembered. Possibly, someone could draft a forward for him to sign.

Was it Sarah who came up with a wiki?

I have to stop this and run to work --Chris C. 07:49, 9 November 2007 (EST)

Then Lucinda started getting technical

Dear All....following occurs to me as I read your responses.....

Could we undertake this 'project' aborning, with the subject matter confined to the period of training, somewhat formatted -- dates, location, director, housing arrangement(s), memorable aspects of the setting (eg. at UCLA for V, we dined at Myra Hersey Hall) or the program (major apprehensions about Sensitivity Training run by UCLA psychiatry residents, learning to make click sounds in language class) or group activities (weekend in mountains at Redland U site, competetive volleyball late afternoons). Any one training group could be provided an e-copy of whatever got assembled for additions or corrections, but there could/should be a limit per group for size (# words) and an expectation of a degree of standardization.

Once training summaries were completed and then compiled, whether "wikied", websited or stored on the web, decisions for print production and distribution could be addressed, either individually or organizationally.

With such an effort behind "us", new writers/editors/contributors might have emerged. At any rate we would have an idea about degree of interest and available energy to pursue the complexities of service experience -- where parameters such as education vs development vs social service or location by region or province would come into play. There is a lot of writing already in print about Nigeria from many angles -- we might be satisfied with a focus on period of training -- or perhaps compile a reading list for the ages.


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