Recently, IUP Sociology Alumna, Stephanie Bachman, shared her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia.
Read about her experience HERE
Stephanie was gracious enough to follow-up to her story with a photos of her experience. They are so wonderful they are worth their own post!
This is one of Stephanie’s favorite photos. Here she is walking in her host community during one of her last days before having to return because of Liberia’s banking and economic crisis. She says she has a strong emotional attachment to the photo because she was “walking around telling people I was leaving and the children just wanted to come with me and not leave my side.”
In this photo, her neighbors have gathered around her laptop as she plays a movie for them. She said, “On weekends I played movies and shows for them on my laptop, which was a special event because I could count the number of TV’s in my community on one hand. Tom and Jerry was an instant hit, as well as anything with action, especially martial arts movies such as Karate Kid.” You can read more about this particular experience in her story on Engaged Sociology.
Stephanie served as a teacher in Liberia. In this picture, she stands with her wonderful students. She said of them:
“My 11th graders were special because it was a small class full of amazing women. In Liberia, as students progress throughout school, the boy to girl ratio becomes increasingly disproportionate. More girls drop out than boys and, like America, it is unfortunately common for girls to struggle – especially in STEM classes, where girls were repeatedly told they were incapable. My 11th grade class was a rare exception. Eleven out of my sixteen students were women including all the top students. They were smart, confident, hardworking, and determined women who consistently turned challenges into strengths.”
Stephanie also shared a photo farewell from her farewell ceremony with her principal and fellow teachers. “I miss my students,” Stephanie says. “I returned over ten months ago. Dealing with my emotions, readjusting, and getting used to a faster pace of life was not easy, but time helps. There are days where I want nothing more than to be back in Liberia. Reverse culture shock is real and challenging.”
Disclaimer: The content of this blog post is the opinion of the author’s alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Liberian Government.