TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Features

November 28, 2008

African Adventure

Corbin woman reflects on 2-year stay in Africa

By Brad Hicks / Staff Writer

The prospect of a newspaper interview was a nerve-racking experience for Corbin-native Sara White.

This, coming from a girl who recently returned home to Kentucky from a two-year trip in an African village.

White’s African journey began while she was attending school at the University of Kentucky. There, she was working with the International Book Project in Lexington, which gives out books to schools and libraries in developing countries. It was during her stint with this program that White was approached by one of the program’s directors about the Peace Corps and some of the projects being undertaken by the organization. White’s interest was piqued.

“I kind of just wanted to see the other end of it,” she said.

So, White signed up with the Peace Corps and was sent to Philadelphia in July 2006 and then on to the Gambian village of Fulakunda for a three-month training program with “people a little more used to Americans,” White said.

Once their training was completed, the 23 volunteers were dispersed to different villages within Gambia, a small country located in the western part of Africa. Gambia is bordered on the north, east and south by the country of Senegal and bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. So, essentially, Gambia is a country within a country. White said the entire country is five times smaller than the state of Kentucky.

White was sent to the village of Konkuntu, with very little time to adjust to her new surroundings.

“They just drop you off and leave you in the village,” she said. “I guess that’s how you get used to things, to just do it.”

White said Gambia is a far-cry from the bustling streets in the United States. According to her, the country has only two main dirt roads, running horizontally and vertically. Konkuntu is located about 20 minutes off one of the roads. Although she said there were only about 11 families in the village, White guesstimated its population to be between 200 and 300.

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