Archive - July 2009

1
The PCVs Of The DR-Profiles In Courage
2
But We Have No PCVs in Nigeria!
3
What JFK Said About The Postcard At The White House, Part 12
4
Murray Frank Remembers The Postcard Affair, Part 11
5
Nepal RPCV Wins National Press Club Journalism Award
6
Givens Reviews The Mind Dancing, Poems by Tony Zurlo
7
Bachrach Reviews Ethiopian Novel Cutting For Stone
8
Who Stole Marjorie's Postcard? Part 10
9
Who Is Aaron Williams And What Does He Know About The Peace Corps And International Development?
10
Harris Wofford to Introduce Aaron Williams at Senate Hearing on the next Peace Corps Director

The PCVs Of The DR-Profiles In Courage

Beyond the PCVs of Nigeria in the fall of 1961, there are other examples of how PCVs kept the Peace Corps going in the early days of the agency, and there is no better example than what a group of brave Volunteers did in the Dominican Republic in the spring of ’65. Let’s look at how individual PCVs in the field were as important as early Peace Corps Staff in keeping the agency, alive, well, and on its own. We have to remember that regardless of the administrations who are in power, it is Peace Corps Volunteers who are the heart and soul, and the only reason for the agency. Here is the story of the Dominican Republican Volunteers of 1965. Back then the PCVs of the DR were overwhelmingly against the 1963 right-wing military coup that overthrew Juan Bosch’s newly elected, leftist government (which had invited the Peace Corps to . . .

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But We Have No PCVs in Nigeria!

I spotted this article on Nigeria’s “peace corps’ …we’re getting a bad name even when we do have PCVs in country! Now we are truant officers                       Nigeria: Peace Corps Launches Squad to Monitor Students Mustapha Suleiman and Romoke Ahmad 30 July 2009 The Peace Corps of Nigeria recently launched an anti-students loitering squads to monitor loitering among students in various schools in the FCT.The event which held at the Women Development Centre, attracted the Onah of Abaji, Alhaji Baba Yunisa, Abuja Environmental Protection Board’s Director, Engineer Abubakar Shehu Yabo, FCT Director of Basic and Secondary Education Department. AEPB Director Engr. Yabo, lamented over the problems of juvenile delinquencies among youths in the country, despite moral and religious teachings being given to them. “Despite moral and religious teachings, the youths are still swimming in the ocean of destructions by engaging in armed robbery, drug addiction, exam malpractices, bush burning, illegal . . .

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What JFK Said About The Postcard At The White House, Part 12

A police escort with sirens blaring led our dozen Peace Corps buses in one long continuous caravan through every downtown light in Washington, D.C. It was high noon in the District the summer after the famous postcard had been found on the Ibadan campus and we–the 300 Ethiopia-bound Peace Corps Trainees at Georgetown University–were on our way to meet John F. Kennedy at the White House. There were other Peace Corps Trainees meeting the President that afternoon. Peace Corps Trainees at Howard, American, Catholic, George Washington universities, and the University of Maryland, over 600 in all, gathered in the August heat and humidity on the great lawn below the Truman Balcony. Arriving at the White House, I walked with the others up the slope with the Washington Monument behind me and the White House on the slight rise ahead, thinking how small the building was, no bigger than the country . . .

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Murray Frank Remembers The Postcard Affair, Part 11

In the Fall, 1999 issue of the Friends of Nigeria Newsletter, Frank recalls the incident and those early tense days in Ibadan, Nigeria. Murray writes: The Postcard Affair began October 14, 1961. That was the day Peace Corps Nigeria almost came to an end . . . before it started. And I was in the middle of it all. Nigeria I had arrived in Ibadan early in October. Volunteers were settling into dormitories at the University of Ibadan (then a part of the University of London and called University College of Ibadan) where they would continue the training started at Harvard. I was the Western Region Peace Corps Representative. My family and I arrived in September, ahead of any other Regional Representatives and their families. Brent Ashabranner, who left AID to become Nigeria’s first Peace Corps Director, helped us get settled. We had a house in Bodija, a middle-class development between the center of . . .

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Nepal RPCV Wins National Press Club Journalism Award

Marlena Hartz, who served in Nepal, and is a reporter for the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, won this year’s National Press Club’s Dennis Feldman Fellowship for Graduate Studies in Journalism. Marlena Hartz  of Lubbock, Texas, won a $5,000 stipend for graduate school. She is headed to the University of Denver, where she plans to study print and digital journalism. Hartz has previously won awards for stories in competition with much bigger papers. A narrative writer who knows how to tell a good story, she’s found a lot of stories in her small corner of the world. Her articles include the story of a local soldier wounded in Iraq and the revelation that the president of Texas Tech’s medical school spent thousands of dollars of university funds on travel for his wife.  As a Volunteer in Nepal, she said, she met people who she cannot forget and they inspired her to tell stories back home. “The recipe for successful journalism . . .

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Givens Reviews The Mind Dancing, Poems by Tony Zurlo

The Mind Dancing, poems by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1962-64) with Art and Chinese calligraphy by Vivian Lu was published in 2009 by Plain View Press, Austin, Texas, (80 pages, $14.95) This collection of poems is reviewed here by John Givens (Korea 1967-69)  A problem faces the poet who wishes to write about a culture not his own: how fully should you occupy its experiences and expectations? You can accept the advantages and limitations of being an outsider and describe what you observe objectively; or you can attempt to mimic the stance of an insider in order to generate a “truer” sense of what it feels like to be there. When the culture in question is China’s, with its ancient and well-known poetic forms and traditions, the task becomes like that faced by a translator: phrases characteristic of one language won’t have equivalencies in another. You can try for a literal word-for-word  . . .

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Bachrach Reviews Ethiopian Novel Cutting For Stone

John Coyne recently published an interview with Abraham Verghese, whose first novel, Cutting For Stone, was published this past winter. [http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/verghese/]  A well-regarded author of nonfiction and a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Verghese has a day job as a physician and a professor at Stanford University’s medical school.  Much of Cutting For Stone takes place in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, a rare setting for fiction. Verghese brings the unusual perspective of having been born, raised and educated in Addis, even starting his medical training there. He uses his familiarity with Addis life, but it is a rather precious slice of that life.  Verghese was born to Indian parents who taught in the private schools for the prosperous middle class and above, who lived nicely in a city where the vast majority struggled in poverty.  Verghese’s fictional Addis suggests that he didn’t often venture much beyond the circle of expatriates . . .

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Who Stole Marjorie's Postcard? Part 10

In 1965 Bob Gale, then running the Peace Corps Recruitment Office, traveled out to Ibadan, Nigeria, for a COS Conference. Gale had been a vice president at Carlton College and had developed the famous Peace Corps recruitment blitz [the most famous of all was the first in early October 1963 when teams of recruiters hit college campuses; these were mostly non-RPCVs as the first PCVs were just arriving back in the States. These all-out assaults on college campuses were very successful at recruiting Trainees. These early blitz teams were replaced by ’67 with teams of RPCVs working out of regional offices, and HQ non-PCV staff rarely traveled outside of Washington to recruit Volunteers.] Back in Nigeria, Gale arrived late in Ibadan from Washington and met up with a Nigeria APCD and headed for a local bar where he was the only white man having a drink. Then in walked another . . .

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Who Is Aaron Williams And What Does He Know About The Peace Corps And International Development?

 A lot I’d say. Williams is a Chicago kid. He graduated from Chicago State University in 1967 with a B.S. in Education and Geography. Next he was in the DR as a PCV from 1967-70. When he returned home, he worked for the Peace Corps in Chicago and Washington (1970-71) as the Coordinator of Minority Recruitment, then went to the University of Wisconsin for his MBA in Marketing and International Business, graduating in ’73. He is fluent in Spanish and also speaks French. He worked in Minneapolis with General Mills before beginning a long USAID career with various positions and stationed in Honduras, Haiti, Costa Rica, Barbados and South Africa. In 1998, he went to Baltimore as the Executive Vice President of the International Youth Foundation. He has received the USAID Distinguished Career Service Award in 1998, and the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service in 1992 and 1988 for his government service. A board member of . . .

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Harris Wofford to Introduce Aaron Williams at Senate Hearing on the next Peace Corps Director

Former Senator Harris Wofford, a key architect of the Peace Corps in the days of Sarge Shriver, will introduce Aaron William (Dominican Republic 1967-70) to be the next Director of the Peace Corps this Wednesday afternoon in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The Hearing will be held at 2:30 PM in Room 419. Senator Chris Dodd (Dominican Republic 1966-68) will preside over the Hearing. Wofford, who was the CD in Ethiopia (1962-64), then worked in Peace Corps Washington before becoming the founding president of SUNY Old Westbury. From 1970 to 1978 he was president of Bryn Mawr College. Later Wofford chaired the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, and in 1991 he became the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania since 1962. During most of the Clinton years, Harris headed the Corporation for National Service. An early supporter of President Obama, Wofford campaigned for Obama in Pennsylvania, and introduced Obama . . .

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