In September 2006, I left my home of Tucson, Arizona for what would be the most important two years of my life. After 3 days in Philadelphia, I was on a plane to Banjul, The Gambia, a country I had never heard of 10 weeks ago.
I joined the United States Peace Corps with this vague notion of doing good. I really had no idea what I would be doing, or how I would do it. I just knew that
I ended up in a village in the URD called Diabugu. I was Manda Drammeh (unless I was in a few Fulla villages, then I was Manda Sowe), and I…well, I loved it.
I could go on and on about what I did and what I got from it and being as this is Peace Corps Week, maybe I should. But this is really a PBS blog, not a Peace Corps blog, so rather than talk about the Peace Corps, I am going to talk about how PBS led me to the Peace Corps.
It is hard to say when I first decided I wanted to join the Peace Corps. I did an exchange program to Germany in high school, I traveled to Ireland and England. I visited Paris. So, by university, I wasn’t a stranger to foreign travel. But the Peace Corps is completely different than European traveling.
I do know that I have always loved different cultures and religions. I have loved learning about other people. This is a love that has always been fed by PBS. So many great shows that exposed me to foreign ideas. And really, when PBS brings them right into your living room, they aren’t really foreign anymore.
Also, the first time I saw Roots was on PBS. And Kunta Kinte is from The Gambia. THere is even a Roots Festival
There are so many reasons I joined the Peace Corps. PBS is one of them. So, baraka bakeh PBS.