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Proverbial Laughter of the World: Afghanistan to Zimbabwe
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Review of David L. Koren’s In the Sky Far Away: A Memoir of the Biafran Airlift (Nigeria)
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Steve Murphy reading at University of Washington book store
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Which Way Peace Corps?
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Musings in the Morning
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Review: SHOULD I STILL WISH by John W. Evans (Bangladesh)
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Former Peace Corps Director Elaine Chao new Transportation Secretary
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# 28 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bob Gale (Washington, D.C.)
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Review: KINGDOMS IN THE AIR by Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean)
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#27 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bill Moyers (Washington, D.C.)

Proverbial Laughter of the World: Afghanistan to Zimbabwe

Nicholas Hoesl is an RPCV from Afghanistan 1965-67, a community pharmacist, toastmaster, national keynote speaker, columnist, broadcaster, lecturer, and global volunteer. He has just published his fourth book which is about host country saying. One page is devoted to Ethiopia. The book is entitled: Proverbial Laughter of the World: Afghanistan to Zimbabwe On his website he writes: Laughter is the universal language. For thousands of years proverbs with laughter have remained a joyful part of communication. From countries all over the globe, including the rich cultures of Africa, Arabia, Persia and Native America, “Proverbial Laughter” takes popular proverbs and turns them into tidbits of contemporary wit, wisdom and laughter. All the world’s a stage. Western culture says, “Know yourself.” The Eastern says, “Become yourself.” The world is ready for a meeting of these two in “Proverbial Laughter of the World.”   

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Review of David L. Koren’s In the Sky Far Away: A Memoir of the Biafran Airlift (Nigeria)

In the Sky Far Away: A Memoir of the Biafran Airlift David L. Koren (Nigeria 1964-67) First Peace Corps Writers Edition, June 19, 2016 346 pages $18.85 (paperback) Reviewed by Roger Landrum (Nigeria 1961-63) The Biafran war for independence from Nigeria ended 47 years ago (1970), yet the horrors that occurred before and during the civil war linger. So does the idea of Biafra: an independent African state created by Africans, not by a European colonial power drawing the boundaries, a modern state with an efficient and productive democratic government. They seem to have a life of their own. One of the reasons for this was a dramatic humanitarian airlift operated from the remote island of Sao Tome to shuttle food and medical supplies into Biafra for a civilian population being deliberately starved into submission. The airlift was organized by a hodgepodge of church and humanitarian organizations, contracted planes and pilots, . . .

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Steve Murphy reading at University of Washington book store

  Reading & Book Signing Steve Murphy, who worked briefly as a Republican political appointee (Schedule C) at the Peace Corps as Regional Director for the Inter-Americas Region (2002-2003), will do a reading and signing of his book at the University of Washington bookstore this week. Murphy’s On the Edge: An Odyssey is a memoir of his life working in Rio de Janeiro as an international banker and at Hollywood studios, to be a political employee in both Bush administrations. He will talk about how he kept his composure and helped others. Murphy is  a University of Washington graduate. University Bookstore’s Author’s Showcase is this Tuesday, Dec. 6, 6-8pm – parking is free in bookstore lot.: Check out the website for more information.

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Which Way Peace Corps?

On January 20, 2017, 30 Schedule Cs (Political Appointees) will walk out the door of the agency. They have already submitted their letters of resignation to the White House. In their place, civil servants, not connected to anyone’s campaign, past or present, will take over running the agency. It could be months before the new administration gets around to appointing a new corps of 30 Schedule Cs to run the agency. One thing we can be pretty sure of, none of them will come from the ranks of RPCVs. The question remains: will there be a Peace Corps in the Age of Trump? The word from Washington is that the Peace Corps has a good deal of support on both sides of the aisle and that it even might grow in the years ahead. Some conservative Republican congressmen and senators, I’m told, would like to dismantle certain agencies and give that . . .

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Musings in the Morning

  pity this busy monster, manunkind, not. Progress is a comfortable disease: your victim (death and life safely beyond)                                                                                                     e.e. cummings Trump is riding a fresh wave of success for getting Carrier to keep 1,000 factory jobs in Indiana. He said he would bring back work to America and he has brought back 1,000 even before being sworn into office. Now, he hasn’t brought back ‘all jobs’ but Carrier does a lot of government work that is ‘signed off’ by the Executive Office in the White House so the company knows when to ‘fish and cut bait.’ According to Mohan Tatikonda, . . .

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Review: SHOULD I STILL WISH by John W. Evans (Bangladesh)

  Should I Still Wish: A Memoir John W. Evans (Bangladesh 1999–01) University of Nebraska Press January 2017 $16.00 (paperback), $15.20 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) John Evans’ moving memoir reads like a Greek tragedy with deep Peace Corps roots. Should I Still Wish is the second of his books to tell a story in Bangladesh where he served with his wife, Katie, as well as his second wife, Cate, all of whom were part of the “Peace Corps Tribe.” The first book, Young Widower tells a dreadful tale of his wife being mauled to death by a brown bear in the Carpathian Mountains while they were working for a year in Romania. The unfairness of this loss and the brutality of nature would impact him for much of his life after this violent event. In his second memoir, the author uses dreams, memories and a series of compelling . . .

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Former Peace Corps Director Elaine Chao new Transportation Secretary

Donald Trump has chosen Elaine Chao, the former Labor Secretary, Peace Corps Director, and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to be Transportation Secretary, an official briefed on the matter told CNN on Tuesday. The announcement is expected to come this afternoon. RPCVs will remember how Chao would burst into tears when talking about meeting PCVs overseas. It became a joke with them; they would laugh at the woman who couldn’t believe Americans would “volunteer” to live in the developing world. (She wouldn’t, of course.) She also earned the reputation of scheduling hair appointments every day while traveling in the developing world, and for not meeting with government officials but rather spend her time, when she could, playing volleyball with Volunteers. Back in DC, she was famous for her ‘little bell’ that she kept on her desk so she could summon her secretary from the outer office when she . . .

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# 28 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bob Gale (Washington, D.C.)

Regardless of what else might be said about the “Gale Method” it established two important elements for the Peace Corps. HQ staff now understood how recruitment was done, and had acquired the skills that would make them effective recruiters. More importantly was that within the first years, the Peace Corps was established as part of campus life. Peace Corps Recruiters would be invited back every year, and would be welcomed, often with the same deference and cooperation shown in 1963. By now, and this was early in 1965, the Peace Corps was starting the “In, Up & Out” policy that Robert Textor had crafted in a memo for the agency, and Bob Gale was thinking of leaving. He didn’t want to be Director of Recruiting for Life, as Shriver had declared at the senior staff meeting in March 1963. Gale wanted to leave when the going was good. In the academic year 1963-64, his recruiting techniques had bought in thirty-six . . .

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Review: KINGDOMS IN THE AIR by Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean)

  Kingdoms in the Air: Dispatches from the Far Away by Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) Grove Atlantic June 2016 383 pages $26.00 (hardback) $14.04 (Kindle) Reviewed by Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963-65) Travels abroad tend to inspire Peace Corps Volunteers, some (many) of whom have gone on to become noted writers. You can count National Book Award winner Bob Shacochis among them. He started out in the 1970s posted in the Caribbean (Grenada), and since then he has crisscrossed the globe seeking challenging stories to write — fiction and non-fiction, novels and essays, praiseworthy literary reportage, and adventurous travelers’ tales. The first story in Kingdoms in the Air: Dispatches from the Far Away takes up almost half the book. It is set in the Land of Lo (Lo-Manthang to its inhabitants), the high, uppermost part of Mustang District in north-central Nepal, crammed right up next to Tibet (China’s Xizang) on the . . .

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#27 Mad Men At The Peace Corps: Bill Moyers (Washington, D.C.)

Bob Gale was apprehensive being called into Moyers’s office. It wasn’t Moyers’s way to have a tete-a-tete. Moyers was edgy standing behind his desk, and while only about 27 at the time, he appeared “fatherly,” thought Bob. There had been “talk,” Bill told Gale. Talk of ‘after-hour’ antics on the California advance trip. Moyers told Gale that as the head of Recruitment it was his responsibility to behave himself and to see that others did at well. They (the recruiters) had no right to ‘party on a business trip at government expense.’ He told Gale that his ‘antics’ could bring shame to the Peace Corps. “He was being very‘Baptist’ with me,” Gale recalled. Moyers had also been “thoroughly informed” as to all of their doings in California and had exaggerated them in his mind, or his informer had exaggerated them to the Deputy Director of the Peace Corps. Moyers told Gale that it was dangerous to cavort into . . .

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