Did you recognize anyone in the photo?
We asked our readers to send in their best guesses about this photo and received an overwhelming response: Susan (Wofraim) Beayni: Nigeria 1977
I am in the photo at the bottom of the page 15 in The Catalyst. I am the 5th person from the right sitting on the ground. David Caplan (who was the Field Supervisor in Nigeria at the time) is sitting to the left of me, and he is looking my way.
From 1977–1979, I was in Keffi, Plateau State Nigeria where I was the head of the science department. I also trained teachers at the Government Teacher's College in Keffi.
While living in Keffi, I met Simon, my husband of 36 years. Originally from Lebanon, Simon worked for a construction company building army barracks.
When my CUSO contract finished, Simon and I married and we were transferred to Lagos where I taught in a local high school. For a number of reasons, Simon and I moved to live with Simon’s family in Lebanon for four years. It was during the most horrific part of the 15 year war in Lebanon. I often taught English informally amidst the bombing. Our eldest daughter (who is now 33) was born in Lebanon. She was born with a disability so when we returned home to Toronto, I spent my time advocating for people who are marginalized due to disability.
As one of the founders of Partners for Planning (www.partnersforplanning.ca), I have continued to advocate for peace and justice for all. Since teaching in Nigeria, I have returned to Africa to visit Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana and the Kalahari Desert. It was great fun seeing this old photo with myself in it. Thank you for all the work you do. Blessed Be in the spirit of Ubuntu Richard Fanning: Nigeria 1977–1979
I have added names for the few people whom I recall to the photo published in The Catalyst. I am guessing that this photograph may have been taken at an in-county orientation in Nigeria, or a country meeting that took place between August and November 1979. It must have been after I left Nigeria in July 1979, and before Ron Martens left in November 1979.
Ron and I were stationed at GSS Potiskum, which is in Potiskum, Borno State. Potiskum is now in Yobe State. I believe that the school is now referred to as a technical or science secondary school, and was the target of a Boko Haram bombing last fall. It was quite stressful to think that the assembly square upon which we used to meet was the scene of a horrible, murderous attack. I hoped that none of the children of my former students were victims.
Media available Frank Marshall: Nigeria 1978–1980
Regarding the photo on page 15 of the Spring 2016 issue of The Catalyst. A few of us from the CUSO Nigeria 1978 contingent have compiled the following list of cooperants we remember from the photo. We hope our findings help you fill in the record! Best Wishes! Dianne Elliott, Frank Marshall, Eva Murray, Ken Setterington CUSO Nigeria Cooperants, August 1978, at Kano Teachers' College
Row 1: x, x, x, x, Cornelius McIntyre, Martin Maloney, Jerry, x, Barbara Kincaid, Ron(?), Gerry Caplan, x, x, Colleen DeMoissiac, x, x
Row 2: George Potvin (?), x, x, Ann Ladouceur, Barbara Switocz, x, Karen Diver, x, x, Bev (?), Rick Day, x, Patsy Coleman, x, x, x Row 3: Greg Pelchat, Eva Murray, Dianne Elliott
Row 4: Don Fisher, x, x, Chris McCall, Robin Stadnyk, June Waddell, Gary Marshall, Janet St. Clair, Jamie MacKinnon, x, x, x, x, Janet MacBeth, Peter Herd, Danny Clapin, x, Barry McPhail, Ken Setterington, x, x, x, Kay Oswald, x
Row 5: Ian Filewad, Sasha Lebedeff, x, Jesse Wheatley(?), Peter Monahan, Charmaine Nelles, Toni Chester, Brian Beaton, Donna Small, David Murphy(?), x, Anita Marshall, John Daly, Frank Marshall, Marilyn Fox, Alan Mills, x, David Ozolua, FSO Kaduna. Laura Johnston: Nigeria 1977–1979
In response to your request for information on the above-referenced photo: it is Kano, Nigeria, August 1978, the orientation for the 78-80 volunteers. I am standing on the far right in the sleeveless dress with the short brown hair. I was a 1977-79 volunteer, and was asked to help at the orientation. I don't remember very many names although I recognize a number of the faces. I'd have to go into my old letters to figure out names.
Gerry Caplan (with the dark beard) is sitting on the ground six over from the right. Beside him, with the balding blond hair (7th from the right) is Ron Davis. Gerry was the overall Nigeria coordinator, and Ron was one of the area coordinators. The dark haired woman right beside Ron also was one of the area coordinators. I believe her name was Barbara Melnyck. I hope that helps. Linda Costain: Nigeria 1978–1980
It was indeed a flashback to see this photo of all these people in their 60s, just as I remember them! It must have been taken in September 1978 in Kano, Nigeria when most of these people arrived from Canada for in-country orientation. My partner, Colleen de Moissac, was there as a Voice of Experience, having arrived the year before.
Ron Martens is standing at the far left beside Don Fisher. Don's partner in Bama, Jamie MacKinnon, is in there, as well as Ian. Peter Herd is in the third row towards the right, tallest in a white shirt. My partner at Mubi TC, Colleen, is sitting in the front row third from the right with her arm around Diane Elliott, Toni Chester, John and Leslie Doty. This group visited us in Mubi on weekends, and we visited them too!
At Christmas, the turkey traveled from Potiskum and had a holiday before meeting its end in Mubi. We finished with a flaming Christmas pudding, made in a pressure cooker over a kerosene stove.
It was a hopeful time in Nigeria: little schools all over the country were pursuing the goal of universal primary education by 1980. CUSO volunteers were going straight from university to secondary schools.
Our students got a long summer vacation that year because the military was handing over to a democracy and our students, being literate, were required as polling clerks in their home villages.
I had a happy 2 ½ years in Mubi. My cross-cultural experience got me hired in the Northwest Territories in the 1980s and in Haida Gwaii in the 1990s. And now here I am, happily retired.
As my Nigerian students would have written: Greet all known faces for me! Linda Costain Lynda Karn: Nigeria 1979–1981
On page 15, I see three people in the 1978 Kano Nigeria photo that I can identify. Frank Marshall is fifth from right in the back row. Martin Maloney is sixth from left in the front row. And Ken Setterington is in the second row. Barbara Kincaid-Moore: Ghana 1967–1970
If this alumni flashback photo was taken in Kano, Nigeria in 1977–1979, then I think I am in the front middle with FSO Ron Davie on my left and Gerry Caplan is beside him. In the back right is David Ozoluwa (staff member and later FSO) and below him our Hausa language teacher, Mallum Banu. If I am correct, perhaps other names may float to the surface as well. If I am mistaken, I am losing it more than I thought! Can you please confirm? Thanks for this engaging magazine. It whets the appetite. Daniel Clapin: Nigeria 1978–1980
The photo was taken during our in-country orientation near the end of August 1978. I have the 1979 in-country orientation photo as well. The photo was taken in Kano, Northern Nigeria at the Government Girls Secondary School in Kano.
Seeing the photo brought back lots of memories of my CUSO experience in Darazo, Bauchi State, Nigeria from 1978–1980. The CUSO experience was a seminal event in my life and continues to shape my everyday life now, nearly 40 years later.
When I look at the photo I am flooded with memories, names and places from the past. I had the great delight of attending the 50th Anniversary of CUSO not so long ago; what a treat it was to see some old friends. In those days, we were all fairly young; in our 20s or early 30s at most. The CUSO experience was life changing for all of us. It was a grand adventure that would last a lifetime for the short investment of two years. We were mostly young university graduates, few of us were actually formed as teachers. I had to work very hard at being a good teacher and was fortunate enough to be mentored by a Nigerian colleague who knew what he was doing. In year two of my posting, I was much more effective as a teacher.
During my stay in Nigeria, I was able to travel extensively, visiting almost every state and several countries surrounding Nigeria. What a thrill! Despite taking quinine tablets and being careful, I ended up getting malaria, which was not very pleasant. Other memories include being stung between the toes by a scorpion, as well as raising chickens and goats in the small compound at the back of my house. During tremendous sand storms blowing in from the desert, I woke up with sand in my mouth, ears and eyes. I also witnessed some tremendous rain storms during the monsoon season. In 1979, I drove my VW bug down to Lagos to pick up a turkey that was to be the guest of honour at a CUSO volunteer gathering at Christmas in Maiduguri. I coached our school basketball team and we won the Bauchi Stage secondary cup but lost in the finals in Lagos. At 5’7”, I knew nothing about basketball! My mom sent me about a dozen runners and singlets for the players on my team. During my placement, I wrote long letters home and received many back from friends and family. I remember drinking Star beer in open air mud-hut bars in villages, large and small. My fellow CUSO volunteers and I danced to Nigerian music and partied together at house parties across Nigeria. I ate a lot of rice and magi, hot chicken cooked over open fire pits, and skewered beef and goat meat with hot pepper flecked all over it. Throughout my placement, I ate many strange new things and loved it all. I learned a great deal about a people and a place that have become emblazoned as warm memories in my very soul.
I am grateful for the experience. I’m also a monthly donor and would invite others to do the same. If you recognize yourself in that long ago black and white photo, then I challenge you to become a monthly donor and give that life-changing experience to the next generation of volunteers. Thank you.