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Somalia was the toughest country assignment in Africa, if not the world. Most volunteers were teachers, but there were school builders and health volunteers. In 1968 there were around 100 volunteers in country. While there were in country success and lasting friendships made, around half the Volunteers did not finish their two years of service. Isolation, both culturally and physical distance, separated most volunteers. Despite training, many were unprepared to deal with Somalia's level of in-country stresses.

On the lighter side, Volunteers developed the sport of "Tortahzing", an almost mythical beach sport. Required a rope, a land rover, a (empty) Tortoise shell and one of Somali's lovely long beaches. The idea was to skim over the wet sand, avoiding the surf while holding on for dear life. Another activity was Duning. Only done on a full moon. A gaggle of PCVs (usually well fortified with liquid) would arrive at the large sand dunes. There a series of mini games would commence. Hide and Seek, watch the bats, and how far can you roll were typical amusements.

Map of Somalia cira 2008

The most unusual assignment was probably being a roadie for a traveling Peace Corp Band, called "The Many Mushrooms". The band featured a young Somali drummer and a volunteer who sang popular Somali love ballads. He got standing ovations from Borama to Galcaio. 3 other versitle muscians rounded out the core group. For a while the Many Mushrooms rehearsed and traveled with the Radio Hargesia Players, a state sponsored band. The Many Mushrooms also played rock and roll tunes, some of their own composition, at their concerts. These took place in towns including Borama, Hargesia, Berbra, Burao, Galcaio, and a few other towns before the band settled into the Mogadishu night club circuit (earnings went to charity projects).

The Many Mushrooms was not the first traveling entertaining group in Peace Corp Somalia. The United States' Ambassador had also sponsored one or two traveling group of Peace Corp thespians in previous years.

The Somali land has a beauty, similar to the Southwest portions of the United States.

Sector Assignment Beg. Yr End. Yr
Agriculture Crop Extension 1965 1968
Education Secondary-Ed Math 1965 1965
UNV United Nations Volunteer 1978 1986

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