Let me introduce Andy Binder, RPCV Cameroon 2003-2005. You may not know Andy, but if you’ve ever looked at this NCPCA website you’ve seen his work; his volunteerism has continued in his work as the NCPCA webmaster for the last several years.
Andy grew up near Milwaukee and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he majored in French, with a minor in African studies. During a semester abroad in France, he visited Morocco, and that prompted thoughts of Peace Corps. He applied, was sent to Cameroon, which is half French-speaking and half English-speaking. He was posted to a village far from the capital– how many of you can name the capital of Cameroon?
His village was very close to the border with the Central African Republic. He taught English in that Francophone part of the country, using a curriculum that was very much like that used in France, with textbooks that were European-slanted. He also taught an HIV & AIDS curriculum, and worked that into English classes, so for example, students had to demonstrate how to put on a condom & explain it in English.
Here are some other photos from his time in Cameroon:
Like many RPCV’s, he found the re-entry process coming home to be tough; he says it was a difficult emotional experience, and took two years. At first not sure what to do, he took a class in the UW program for the Master’s in Life Sciences communication, and then completed that degree in 2007, and went on to a PhD in Communications in 2010.
Andy is settled in Raleigh, recently married & honeymooned in Belize, where they didn’t eat all the wildlife, like they did in Cameroon! He’s Associate Prof in Department of Communication at NCSU. His research interest is how people understand risk in everyday life, how they interpret information about the scientific knowledge they come across. Why do we believe what we do of what we are told? His recent article analyzed US tweets about the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station, and another examines public attitudes toward biofuels. He would like to see NCPCA take on an active or hands-on collaborative project, like supporting work with local victims of human trafficking, or work with recently settled refugees.
He recently completed his first triathlon, and finished in the top half of his age group; he will do the Outer Banks Triathlon in Sept. Go Andy!