Black Volunteer, a Poem

To celebrate Black History Month and the diversity of the Peace Corps Volunteer community, we asked PCVs of color to write about their personal experiences as Volunteers in Jamaica. The following poem was written by Group 86 PCV Aboubakar (Abu) Bodi.

Black Volunteer

America is a melting pot
Don’t be caught
In what is called bigotry
That still exist in that country

There are differences in people
There is no surprise to find mixed couple
We differ in character and color
And we serve our country with honor

Peace Corps reflects that diversity
All volunteers have attended university
Many people have accent
That’s what happened to me in recent

I was sent to Jamaica as a volunteer
I nearly broke into tears
They used to see only whites faces over the years
I know I have to change things right here

I may have accent, but I am American
My accent leads to my origin as African
My partners were expecting to see a white man
They were surprised to see a black man

Our first encounter their first surprise
Where is the Peace Corps?
That touched my bones to the core
But my hope did not meet its tragic demise

Out of fear some people run away
As they see me as CIA agent coming their way
Some have forgotten who sent me to Jamaica
They always see me as coming from Africa

The “African” has become my name
Nobody is to blame
Patience is the game
Being Black is not a shame

I have no gold
My heart was bold
To have moved hearts away from cold
People have changed from what they’ve been told

My origin has paved my way into the hearts
Some have not forgotten the hurts
When their great great parents were enslaved
We have to change minds so we can be saved


St. Mary, Jamaica, 2/5/2017


One thought on “Black Volunteer, a Poem

  1. grace

    Wow!! I needed to know your experience…thanks for sharing such a powerful message through this poem…they are really going to be caught off guard when an “old Black woman” show up…


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