Yesterday we had our formal introduction to the village.
Every village has a small rectangular hut strategically placed near the road and in full view of the entrances to the village. It is called the Corps de Garde and that’s where we met yesterday. (Photo below)
Going back and forth between French and the local language, Fang, Gaston presented the history of the school built by Peace Corps 50 years ago. He introduced the four of us by name and explained our purpose. He asked for help from the village in cleaning up the school site and in taking care of us. The former Deputy of the National Assembly, Ekabane, and the Chef de Canton, also spoke.
John, in his broken French mixed up with remnants of Spanish, gave a little background to Encore de la Paix, saying that Gabon changed our lives 35 years ago and that ever since we left, the country has been in our minds and our hearts. We wanted to do something to say Merci to the people of Gabon. He thanked Bob and Gaston for all their arrangements and he talked about the special connection between the town of Woerden in the Netherlands where Henk is from and Doumandzou. By chance the town next to Doumandzou up the road is called Holland.
Bob also spoke and talked about the original group who built the school mentioning by name Jerry Anderson. Gaston passed out the photos we had brought and one woman wanted to take the one of the young Jerry playing the drum home with her.