Dear Friends of Sierra Leone :
As a current Fulbright lecturer at Fourah Bay College , I appreciate the long-term interest many former Peace Corps volunteers to SL have for this country and its people.
Yesterday (March 2, 2009) I had a conversation with the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Jonas Redwood-Sawyerr , who summarized a conversation he had had with some recent graduates. He suggested that some of them consider coming back to FBC to be lecturers. They laughed; they explained they were getting much better salaries in town (supposedly at various NGOs, private businesses, or international organizations) . Dr. Redwood-Sawyerr spoke of commitment and sacrifice. He got no responses. I also spoke with the financial director of the University who made a similar point, Mr. Jacob Tucker.
I have seen faculty working hard for very little. Some have been here for many years; others are newer. But they are dedicated and doing their best to provide quality education at an institution with a history for that. The problem is that there is a severe shortage of full-time faculty. Many, understandably, divide their time between more lucrative city jobs and teach ing. And frankly, the part-time teach ers are not always there when it comes to regular classes and grading.
I suggested to Dr. Redwood-Sawyerr that there is a group of dedicated individuals who five, ten, twenty or more years after serving in Sierra Leone , maintain contact with others who have served: the former PC volunteers. Some of them, I added, might be available and willing to come back for a year (or more) and contribute their skills as teach ers at FBC. He was keenly interested in exploring the idea. I also mention the Schools for SL project that Cindy Nofzinger works on.
So I am copying him and Mr. Tucker and Cindy on this email and putting it to the Friends of SL to see if anything might come of the idea. It probably isn’t a new idea, but given the current very serious needs here, it is timely.
I would be happy to be involved in any discussions arising.
Meanwhile, Betty, who is a photographer, and I, are enjoying our stay here which ends in June. I offered to stay a second year and was invited to do so by the Administration; but my home team at the U of Southern Mississippi has called me back to help fill - “faculty shortages.”
All the best,
Fulbright lecturer and researcher
Fourah Bay College 2008-2009