Toto’s ‘Africa,’ Karaoke, and My Return to the U.S. from Peace Corps Guinea

One of the first events I attended when I got back from serving in the Peace Corps in Guinea was a wedding. Karaoke was the main activity featured at the reception. No one was singing, so the karaoke DJ was having to wing it. Playing questionable music and trying to get people up on stage to get involved. I wanted this wedding to be successful, so I signed up.

I looked through the book and thought I stumbled across the perfect song for me: Toto’s “Africa” (affiliate link). Most everyone at the wedding knew I had just arrived from Africa. The song gave me a connection to Guinea, a place I was missing in spite of the hardships I went through. I think I’m a decent singer, but I knew my voice would get lower as the evening wore on. I thought I could start with Toto, move to Elvis, and maybe finish with a little Satchmo. I was wrong.

I got on stage. The music came up, the words came on the screen, and I screeched my way through Toto’s “Africa.” It was bad, and I could hear it. There just wasn’t anything I could do about it. The song was way out of my range, but I couldn’t quit. I sang all the way to the end.

When the last note squeaked out of my mouth, I took a deep breath and said, “I love singing. If no one else signs up for karaoke, I’ll sing all night.” Five people immediately got out of their seats and ran to the sign-up table. I’d like to think that I redeemed myself later in the evening when I was finally able to get on the waiting list, but that would be for the others at the wedding to say for sure.

Get ‘My Life in the Peace Corps’

While the above is a memory from after I left the Peace Corps, “My Life in the Peace Corps: Letters from Guinea, West Africa” is directly from my time as a PCV. There is no reconstruction, so you get the information as I lived it and as I sent it home to family and friends. The book will be released on Dec. 28, 2020 in eBook format on Amazon. I will try to publish the paperback on Amazon about that same time. If you want to get it quickly, watch my Facebook page for a link. If you want an autograph, you can pre-order the paperback on As soon as I get some copies, I will sign them and send them out. This process will take longer than ordering directly from Amazon because I cannot order them ahead of time.