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Welcome to Peace Corps Guinea!
Whether you are visiting our site because you’re considering service in Guinea; or because you are already involved in Peace Corps Guinea in some way; or you just landed here by happenstance, we hope that you will find your curiosity piqued and your questions answered!
Peace Corps has been in Guinea since 1962 – practically from the 1961 beginning of Peace Corps itself! Peace Corps Volunteers in Education, Agroforestry, and Public Health work all over the country, mostly in small villages, but also in major towns and cities. Peace Corps Guinea works with a wide variety of government and non-government partners to promote lasting progress in Guinean communities.
Guinea offers what might be called the traditional Peace Corps experience. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, yet it has immense mineral, agricultural, and human potential. It is truly striking, in both needs and geography, with grand mountains, large waterfalls, and sweeping beaches, as well as an undereducated people who, despite their many challenges, are very welcoming and friendly.
Guinea has only recently made a full transition to democratic governance, with Presidential elections in 2010 and Legislative elections in 2013. Indeed, due to periods of civil unrest, Peace Corps Guinea’s program has been interrupted several times since 1962, but always coming back! Due to decades of political uncertainty, international isolation, and inconsistent leadership, the country’s infrastructure is either poor or lacking in many areas -- from roads to schools to hospitals to communications.
Despite its lack of physical infrastructure, Guinea’s social infrastructure is incredibly rich and enduring. Guinea is home to ethnic groups from across West Africa, and therefore is a treasured gem; for its languages and diverse cultures, its geographical variety, its place in West African history, and for its music, dance, literature, and arts. Guineans may laugh or cry at their development challenges, but they are deeply proud of their heritage.
To be honest, Guinea is not one of the easiest places to serve, and on a daily basis. demands equal measures of tenacity and acceptance of life on its own terms -- not to mention a readiness to face the physical challenges of living without running water and electricity.. One moment may bring a soaring sense of connection to others regardless of their religion, culture, language, gender, or race. The next might bring great sadness at the realities of a life lived very close to the bone.
Yet to be a PCV in Guinea often means a lifetime love affair with the country, its people, its traditions, and even its most intractable problems. Former PCVs from Guinea often return over many years, to start or support projects, to visit dear friends and Guinean family, and to revisit the simplicity and authenticity of their service here.
I have never heard a Guinea PCV question whether they have had a “real” Peace Corps experience, or whether they were profoundly changed by being here. As Country Director, I see almost every single PCV grow in strength, patience, maturity, and love. It is a great gift to serve in this country, whether because of its problems or in spite of them.
I greet incoming classes of new Volunteers with reflections on what we (staff and PCVs) most appreciate about this country and its people, so extend this greeting to you as well. If countries have personalities, the Guinean personality is very consonant with the American personality. Guineans are keenly entrepreneurial, hard-working, and appreciative of sacrifice and perseverance in the face of one’s goals. They are religiously and culturally tolerant, and highly curious about other peoples. They love a good joke, and will continue it until it is beyond worn out and has become funny again….and again, and again.
In fact, in many ways, Guinea presents a model of the kind of friendship we Americans seek with the developing world -- mutually respectful, curious and tolerant, appreciative of diversity, and imbued with the sense that we gain was much from the friendship as they do. While we offer technical expertise and other ways of envisioning the world, Guineans offer us their remarkable generosity, humor, spiritual grounding, and sense of community and familial interconnectedness.
Most PCVs across the world walk away feeling they received more than they gave -- no more so than here in Guinea!
Peace Corps Guinea has a very “tight” PCV community, too, because it’s possible to know most other Guinea PCVs. Our Volunteers amaze me every day with how they support and reinforce each other’s efforts, and how they leverage talents across the PCV body to have the greatest impact.
Despite having only reached full program strength in late 2012, Peace Corps Guinea has already distinguished itself among Africa posts in Youth Entrepreneurship, Stomp out Malaria, and Food Security initiatives. It has always been and always will be the PCVs who make Peace Corps brilliant, so please check out the work of our PCVs while you are perusing this site.
Whether you or your loved one is considering service here; are hearing about Guinea for the first time ever; you’ve always been drawn to the sub-region; or you were here years ago through some other capacity; we are here to provide the additional information you need. Please don’t hesitate to ask!
Please take some time to explore our site and do not hesitate to inquire for more information.
Peace Corps Guinea
Country Director Doug Teschner visits a Guinean village.