Archive - February 25, 2010

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Rowland Scherman's First Famous Photo
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Spotted On The Web: What To Do In Iowa City On Peace Corps Day!
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Helen Hildebrandt (Tunisia 1966–68, Senegal 1973–75)
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Robert Warren Hugins (Nepal 1984-86)
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Ruth Hirsch (Niger 1976–78)
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Pamela Kosswig Juhl (Malaysia 1966-69)
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Lynn Ralph Juhl (Malaysia 1966-69)
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Journals of Peace — Dennis L. Kaltreider
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Karen Joan Keefer (Nigeria 1966-68)
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Robert Scott Heavner (Sierra Leone 1969-71)

Rowland Scherman's First Famous Photo

On Monday, I sent around Rowland Scherman’s recollections of his first days with the Peace Corps as the agency’s first photographer. Missing was the famous photo he took at a Congressional Hearing of Shriver and young Bill Moyers. At the time, I believe, Moyers was 26 or 27. Here’s the photo and part of Rowland’s comments: So I showed up the next day [at the Peace Corps] and hung around. The press and the photographers had all disappeared, of course, as there was nothing to photograph or write about as the Peace Corps didn’t really yet exist: there was Shriver and some tables and chairs, and that was it. As luck would have it, the next day her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands showed up unexpectedly and requested to have her photograph made with Sarge. The Office of Public Information was frantic.  There were no photographers anywhere!  “Where’s that kid with the camera?” . . .

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Spotted On The Web: What To Do In Iowa City On Peace Corps Day!

You got to love this. The International Mondays seminar series–sponsored by The University of Iowa International Programs and the Iowa City Public Library–is having this coming Monday, March 1, i.e, Peace Corps Day! A  forum on the Peace Corps that will feature RPCVs. It’s called : Life is Calling: Examining the Peace Corps after 49 Years And at noon, for an hour. They are meeting in Room A, but the  best is that the contact desk is the “Fiction Desk!” The forum is open to the public.Call  Carly Andrews for details. Her email is:  carly-andrews@uiowa.edu  The panelists, all Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, will discuss their specific experiences in the Peace Corps as well as examine the history and politics of the institution and its work around the globe. Panelists: Carly Andrews, facilitator, International Programs Outreach Coordinator Fran Boyken, moderator, RPCV Philippines and UI Peace Corps Campus Representative Rebecca Arnold, RPCV Madagascar . . .

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Helen Hildebrandt (Tunisia 1966–68, Senegal 1973–75)

Monday, November 21 6:18 pm MY NAME IS Helen Hildebrandt. I am from Wheat Ridge and Lakewood, Colorado. I was a kindergarten teacher in Sidi Amor Bou Hadjla, Tunisia and an English teacher in Bizerte, Tunisia from 1966 to 1968, and an English teacher in Ziguinchor, Senegal from 1973 to 1975. I have many vivid memories of my Peace Corps experiences. I can still see the Bizerte children happily playing barefooted at the community water faucet. I remember the frail Tunisian man who carried our two beds on his head all the way across the capital city of Tunis. I recall the 14-year-old Senegalese student who implored me to accept his homework paper in spite of the burnt fringes explaining that his young sister had knocked over the candle while he was studying and he couldn’t spare another sheet of paper. And I reflect on the Senegalese man who walked . . .

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Robert Warren Hugins (Nepal 1984-86)

Monday, November 21 6:00 pm THIS IS AN EXCERPT from a letter home. I am living with Ram Krishna Shrestha, his wife and three sons. As usual, I’ve been up since 5 a.m. when Aamaa (the mother) woke me yelling for her boys to get up. I heated a kettle of water on my kerosene hot plate and had coffee with a snack of glucose biscuits and peanut butter, which will keep me going until I have daalbhaat (lentials and rice) with the family at 9 a.m. Since my Nepali language is pretty bad, I have been asking the students to read the explanations in the textbook before I show them how to do the problems on the blackboard. I’d tell them, “Timiharu, yaha bistaari parda,” which means, “Children, slowly read this.” There would be tittering and bad smells. They read loudly because they don’t know how to read in . . .

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Ruth Hirsch (Niger 1976–78)

Monday, November 21 3:36 pm HOW TO PUT INTO WORDS an experience that profoundly affected my outlook on life, my core values, my “spirit”? I began my Peace Corps service at 22 years of age, bringing with me a middle class background, a belief that life held much suffering, and a strong desire to work to alleviate suffering. For 2 years I set up maternal-infant preventive health programs in several villages. I conducted well-baby exams and prenatal exams; nutrition education programs; training for indigenous midwives; evaluations of the relationship between the season of the year and nutritional status. I lived in small villages, along side the people that I’d come to work for and with. In retrospect, while my work was not insignificant, its importance to my personal growth seems minor in comparison to what I learned about my African co-workers, patients, and medical trainees. It’s been 10 years now . . .

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Pamela Kosswig Juhl (Malaysia 1966-69)

Monday, November 21 9:21 pm When the first Peace Corps Volunteers left for their overseas assignments, I was a senior in high school. I was so excited about this new program, created by President John F. Kennedy, and remember hoping that this opportunity to live with people of another culture would still be available when I finished college. I am so thankful that it was. It was at a time of growing concern with military involvements, mass demonstrations, the escalation of the cold war, and the negative impact of the ugly American image. The Peace Corps program presented a different image. Working side by side with men and women and children from another country gave Peace Corps Volunteers the chance to know them not as demographic data or vague stereotypes, but rather as human beings no so different from ourselves in many ways. They became our friends. I found that . . .

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Lynn Ralph Juhl (Malaysia 1966-69)

Monday, November 21 9:24 pm MALAYSIA, 1967 Tom, the Peace Corps Regional Representative, had delivered several of us to our sites that day. I was last, the end of the line, the ulu, “in the sticks,” “up river.” Well, Iowa, my home, was ulu in the U.S. too, I thought. It was dusk, “Tom, why not stay here for the night?” “Nope, gotta get back to town,” as he climbed back in the Land Rover. Evening. Might as well take a stroll. “Duduk demana?” Oh, Jeez, I know the words (Where do you sit?), but not the meaning! And that was the first day. Total immersion in a new culture. Ever an outsider, but not quite alien. The only white man some had seen up close – are you healthy? Why is your skin so pale? Why do the little hairs grow on your skin, as little children sometimes tried . . .

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Journals of Peace — Dennis L. Kaltreider

Journals of Peace Dennis L. Kaltreider (Colombia 1964–66) Monday, November 21 4:24 pm • DURING MY SECOND YEAR in Colombia, South America, I worked with the Peace Corps and Laubach Literacy Foundation’s campaign for adult literacy. Perhaps more than any other, one item stands out from the thousands of recollections stored in my bank of memories. That is a letter I received just prior to my returning home. I treasure the letter which reads in part, Estimado Senor Kaltreider, This is the first letter that I write in my life. I send it to you to thank you for your help in teaching me to read and to write. I am 65 years old and never think that I would be able to do what I am doing now. God bless you with good health and in your work for peace. Signed, Guillermo Calderon Dear Mom and Dad, I’m enclosing . . .

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Karen Joan Keefer (Nigeria 1966-68)

Monday, November 21 6:45 pm MY SINGULAR, most meaning-ful experience in life occurred in my Peace Corps service. Before the Peace Corps …I was not. During my service……I emerged and became. Ever since…………I have been and am. Today, I thank all who let me be. Thank you John F. Kennedy, for being you and opening doors for others to be. Thank you America, my native land, for having freedoms that let us be. Thank you Peace Corps, for supporting us in a framework in which we can come to be. Thank you Nigeria, my homeland, for teaching me what being is and helping me become. Thank you my family in Offa, for bearing me and for bearing up with me and loving me in my becoming. Thank you my Peace Corps family, in knowing the importance of being through you own experience making explanations unnecessary. Thank you all citizens of . . .

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Robert Scott Heavner (Sierra Leone 1969-71)

Monday, November 21 5:06 pm I WALKED INTO THE VILLAGE beneath an intense West African sun. As I walked along the bush path, the sun trickled through a canopy of oil palm and banana leaves. Soft squawking of distant birds and spider monkeys balanced the mystical silence. Soon an opening revealed a vastness of rice fields stretching beyond a great river to the Guinean mountains forty miles away. My heart was heavy as I walked and read a letter from my friend,,Ira, telling me that he was too ill to continue and was about to return home. It was just the fifth month of my assignment and already three of my six closest friends from training had terminated. I felt alone and abandoned. I continued on to the road and into the village. I sat down on the banks of the Great Scarcies River and felt like Siddhartha as I . . .

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