This quarter freshmen will be reading two memoirs written by victims of a civil war that took place in Sierra Leone in 1991. But where is Sierra Leone? Is it as cold and snowy as Chicago? The best way to find the answers to these questions and visualize what the authors write about is to travel there yourself. So Clemente’s freshmen took virtual field trips to Sierra Leone using Google Earth.
Through this application students were able to “fly” from Clemente’s campus to the West African county. While there, students explored urban life in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, and saw images of urban streets, busy market places, beautiful cathedrals, and amazing mosques. Then students traveled to Sierra Leone’s breathtaking Atlantic shore where they saw fishermen working on their boats and lounge chairs resting on the sandy beaches before heading west to the countryside. There, students looked at images of rural villages, grassy forests, hills, and mountains. The lasting effects of a long and brutal civil war were obvious in both the busy urban center and the vast countryside. Finally, students returned to Clemente to reflect on and discuss what life is like in a country very different from our own.
With this new experience, students will be better able to visualize and explore the events of a civil war and the effects that war had on those in its path.