Archive - May 23, 2009

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Better Remember This
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The Ballroom

Better Remember This

The 1995 recipient of the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award presented by PEACE CORPS WRITERS for the best short description of life in the Peace Corps. • Better Remember This by Meg Sullivan (Kenya 1992–94) YOU’D BETTER REMEMBER THIS. Because people will ask you. Whether you want them to or not, they’ll ask you how Africa was. And though you won’t know where to start, you’re going to have to have something to tell them. A shrug of the shoulders and “Good” won’t be enough. So you’d better remember this. Open the parts of your mind you need, and work them over until you’ve got them just right. Then put what you know in a place the will be easy for you to get to. Deep, but not too deep. Just enough so that even though no one else can see it, you know it’s there, and you can . . .

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The Ballroom

The 1994 recipient of the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award presented by PEACE CORPS WRITERS for the best short description of life in the Peace Corps. • The Ballroom by Christopher Conlon (Botswana 1988-90) Southern Africa, Kalahari Desert She is the perfect image of a rag doll I saw when I was a child, in a trash can, dirty, ripped abandoned: here in the Kalahari is that same doll, maybe five, eyes huge, legs white with desert dust. Ke Kopa madi, sir, ke kopa madi. Money: I shake my head no, no madi: try to move on. But she stares at me, suddenly transfixed. No longer begging. Her eyes wider than before. My sunglasses: I crouch down, she approaches me, nose to nose, tattered, filthy, she stares at me, at herself. Then her hand moves to her chin and she says Oh, in a tiny, surprised voice. She rubs . . .

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