Ex-Peace Corps volunteer reunites with Central African Republic friend
NATHAN "HALE" SARGENT,
of the Peace Corps S.F. Regional Office, sends word that an e-mail popped into the in-boxes of former Peace Corps volunteers in Hawaii saying its writer, Frederic Damoura
, would like to contact Glenn Nochi
, a former Peace Corps volunteer from Honolulu who served in the Central African Republic from 1988 to 1990. Nochi served in a small village called Bea Nana. "I would be very grateful if you help me get in touch with this friend I love so much," Damoura wrote.
COURTESY GLENN NOCHI
A 1989 photo shows Peace Corps volunteer Glenn Nochi, left, and Frederic Damoura in the Central African Republic. Nochi is now a University of Hawaii at Manoa assistant specialist. CLICK FOR LARGE
THE E-MAIL was sent from an Internet terminal somewhere in the Central African Republic. Among those who received it was Nochi, 40, now an assistant specialist for UH, who served in a CAR village in 1989-91 and remembered Frederic as the only person in the village who spoke English. They were only a few years apart in age and became close friends. "He got to improve his English and I, my Sango," Glenn said. "More than language, we got to learn about all the cool, neat stuff like politics, village personalities and cultural-social differences and similarities. In many ways, the village vibe in CAR was very similar to life and friends in Hawaii. There was a lot of down time in the village, especially during the dry season. Lots of time to just hang out and 'talk story.' I remember we'd listen to Bob Marley
E-MAIL ARRIVED 10 YEARS LATER
AFTER RETURNING to Hawaii in '91, Glenn said he had received just two letters from the CAR sent by a village teacher. He believes only one of his letters got there. "It's been about 10 years since I got that last letter. Then, lo and behold, I get that e-mail message! Amazing, e-mail has gotten to the CAR!" Since then, Frederic and Glenn have been catching up. They are both married with children. "He was able to study in Cameroon and is doing quite well working as a labor officer in the Ministry of Public Service," Glenn said. Right now he isn't in the capital city so there is only one Internet source and it is quite expensive so logging on isn't something done on a daily basis. Nevertheless, I've gotten three messages from him so far. I know this story isn't unique, but from a personal perspective, it's as good as it gets ... It's a blessing" ...
, who sold the Star-Bulletin in the streets of downtown Honolulu during World War II, writes of people, places and things in our Hawaii. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org