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A Special Message to our Peace Corps Mali Friends

Dear Peace Corps Mali Friends,

Those of you whose daily lives have been directly impacted by the suspension of Peace Corps Mali, our thoughts are with you. Our names are Colleen and Scott, and we are both Mali RPCVs who experienced sudden, chaotic disruptions to our Mali PC service (Colleen was evacuated in the 2012 evacuation of Mali PCVs, and Scott was medically evacuated, hospitalized, and subsequently medically separated way back in 1994). Nonetheless, we've found ways to sustain and build on our Malian friendships through modest initiatives that enrich lives on both sides of the Atlantic. Specifically, we are the directors of a small, volunteer-led NGO, named African Sky—you may have heard of us through our sponsorship of any one of dozens of Mali PCV projects—including that amazing bike tour project that a large group of you organized just over a month ago.

We write to you today for few reasons. First, we want to thank you for your Peace Corps Mali service. Whether you are a volunteer, a language instructor, an administrator, or any other member of the PC Mali family, everyone in the African Sky community admires and appreciates dearly the work you do to foster enduring Mali-US friendships and initiatives. Your efforts make the world a more peaceful and loving place.

    To those of you immediately impacted by the suspension of PC Mali (PCVs)
    The second reason we are reaching out to you is to ask if we may be of any service in support of your personal and collective transitions. Regrettably, African Sky’s shoestring budget can’t provide significant financial support for large-scale projects, but maybe we can brainstorm with you about dealing with any unfinished business or new ideas. We can’t get volunteers back to Mali, but we do have people who can help facilitate your continued engagement with your project partners and host communities. Additionally, consider us at your service if and when you might want to talk about Mali, the evacuation, or even your hopes and ideas for the future (e.g. graduate study, working in international development, returning to a previous career, or joining a rock band for that matter). You are not alone.

    To the remarkable staff and administrators of Mali PC
    Please be in touch. We may not know exactly how the suspension will impact all of you who make PC Mali work, but we do know that you have a couple thousand Mali RPCVs who remain grateful to this day for the formative guidance and generous support you shared with us during our training and service. As directors of African Sky, we understand that our limited budget is in no position to offset the enormous impact of the suspension of PC Mali. That said, as members of the African Sky team, and as Mali RPCVs, we are part of a strong family of people devoted to sustaining decades of Mali-US friendship through Peace Corps. We will continue our efforts. We stand with you.

    To ALL Mali RPCVs (regardless of when you served)
    Let’s take this moment to shine a light on the generous people of Mali who have transformed our lives and inspired us as global citizens. Please share a quick memory of how a PC Mali staffer, teacher/trainer, administrator, or host family enriched your service or life. Post a picture, if you have one. For people who never had a ja-tigi or an APCD in Mali, let’s let them see the deep roots of our solidarity with the people of Mali. Share that memory at #PCMaliForever, and please encourage your stage-mates to do the same.

Ala ka here di Mali ma. Ala ka nyogonye nogoya.

Spread Love,
-Scott & Colleen

#PCMaliForever

Scott Lacy, solo@africansky.org
Colleen Naughton, ccnaughton@gmail.com


A closing note from Colleen...
When I was evacuated under similar circumstances to the current PC-Mali evacuation, I found myself both depressed and confused for a long time. I would say that I know what you are all going through, but of the over 150 of us that were evacuated in 2012, I remember that we all dealt with the grief and disruption in different ways. Just know that you are not alone and your time in Mali is not at an end but the beginning of lasting friendship and family. Through African Sky and my research, I have been able to stay connected with my former site and continue to help them with small projects. I’ve realized that all of my close connections in Mali really want is a phone call with a short greeting that means more than projects and money. Please feel free to contact me (ccnaughton@gmail.com) if you would like to talk or just someone to listen via e-mail, facebook messenger, phone, text, skype, etc. I know this is a tough time, but we can all get through it together. #PCMaliForever #SpreadLove