Archive - April 26, 2009

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The Original: The First PCVs
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Broken English — a song

The Original: The First PCVs

Credit must be given to those Volunteers who joined the Peace Corps in the early Sixties. They were all kids who had come of age in the final years of the Fifties, schooled in novels like Sloan Wilson, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, published in 1955, and the non-fiction The Organization Man, written by William H. Whyte and published in 1956. These books were underscored by Ayn Rand’s philosophy as articulated in her novel Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957. Every man, philosophized Rand, was an end in himself. He must work for rational self-interest, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. None of us knew in the winter of 1961 if joining the Peace Corps would mark us for life, like being a member of the Communist Party, or worse, a member of the Republican Party (just kidding!). The real heroes were the “Originals,” those PCVS . . .

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Broken English — a song

Since 1992 Peace Corps Writers has annually recognized the outstanding writing of Peace Corps Volunteers both returned and still in service. One of the awards is the Peace Corps Experience Award given to the writer of a short piece that best captures the experience of being a Peace Corps Volunteer. We are sharing the past Peace Corps Experience Award winners with our Peace Corps Worldwide readers. In 1993 the winner was a song by Greg Horn. Broken English — a song by Greg Horn (Papua New Guinea 1991-92) Now your friends have all gone and the parlor is empty ‘cept for me in this chair with a book full of words and your thoughts and your deeds, they all come back to claim you ’cause no one’s understood anything they just heard. So you try to explain in your broken English ’bout the rivers of pain that keep crossing your . . .

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