After graduating high school in the Seattle, Washington area and being given an academic scholarship to attend the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Jacob Argue – being a young man who loved the outdoors – accepted the opportunity and in 2019 graduated from the U of U with a degree in Economics and Mathematics.
It’s what came next in Argue’s life that for some might have stunned, yet for others given hope for generations to come… with what needs to be remembered, his decision came long before the words Covid-19 were verbalized and cities burned.
Upon graduation from university, Argue joined the Peace Corps and made his way in July 2019 to a remote village, Kilso, Morogoro in central Tanzania where he alone was teaching 450 students in Swahili at a secondary school.
“The writing on the blackboard is in English,” said Argue, the North Carolina Take Back Our Republic Coordinator. “And then the explanation is in Swahili. I would teach different subjects on the different days of the week. For them going to the school was like going to college for us. I was very lucky to have a great above average group of students.”
He said the students and schools were still established and set up on the old colonial British system where he explained there is Form 1-A, or Top students, all the way down to Form 1-D. Each of these were set up so he would teach 90 students at a time.
Argue had spent three months with 50 other Peace Corps volunteers in, as he puts it, “Learning Swahili and how to stay healthy.” Before he boarded a bus and traveled seven hours to the village/town of Kilso – Morogoro, central Tanzania where he was set to be “It. Alone.” For at least the next year in his duties as a teacher.
“You begin to think of distance as in the time of bus rides,” he said. “In how long it takes to get from place to place. And no, I was never on a bus with goats, but yes, I did end up riding a lot of buses with a lot of chickens.”
There were two Peace Corps members in Kilso when Argue arrived as they were the ones who had established the school. They got on the bus Argue got off and it was his job to educate the 450 students of Kilso. First issue he faced though was finding a place to sleep that first night and thereafter.
“I didn’t have a place to lay my head because the little house that was mine – the teacher’s. It didn’t have a back door and they wouldn’t let me stay there because of security issues,” Argue said. “For the first two weeks I stayed with the ‘Incu’ – the headmaster. It was a constant battle to get little things done on the house. It was exciting though because it kept me on my toes.”
Argue said he was pleased with the choice he’d made in joining the Peace Corps and in being in Tanzania and working with the students and people of that nation. “Honestly I can’t remember when we first started hearing about Covid,” he said. “It apparently had shown up in a couple of the country’s tourist spots, but not out among the people. And really, you see a lot worse things there every day than Covid.”
It was March 2020 when as Argue puts it, “They jerked us out of there because of Covid-19 and we all came home. And at first, I thought it would be something where I might be home for a month and then able to go back, but we’ve all seen that’s not been the case.”
Argue has been accepted as a Master of Public Policy Candidate at Duke University in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area.
“That’s how I got involved with Take Back Our Republic,” he said. “I believe in election reform and all other things will fall into place. Democracy needs to be fixed first. You cannot affect change without being the face of it.”
And yes, Argue does plan on going back to Africa and specifically Tanzania. He in fact has applied for a place at the American embassy there and if nothing else he said, “I’ll be a tourist.” He keeps up on Swahili with Zoom calls to friends in the US and in Africa.
You can reach Argue and Take Back Our Republic by going to TakeBack.org or call 334-329-7258.