Archive - March 2010

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Review: The Long Trip Home by Brian D. Wyllie (Brazil, 1969-71)
2
Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Five
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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Four
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Be Part Of New Film About The Peace Corps
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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Three
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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Two
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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris
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The Peace Corps' Indiana Jones:Lee St. Lawrence
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The Peace Corps: Where The Jobs Are!
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March Books By RPCVs

Review: The Long Trip Home by Brian D. Wyllie (Brazil, 1969-71)

Aside from Peace Corps service in Honduras and years studying and working in Mexico, reviewer Lawrence F. Lihosit lived in a remote Alaskan fishing village for eighteen months. He has self-published seven books and as many pamphlets. Most recently, he partnered with iUniverse to publish Whispering Campaign; Stories from Mesoamerica and an expanded South  of the Frontera; A Peace Corps Memoir. The Long Trip Home By Brian D. Wyllie (Brazil, 1969-71) iUniverse, $12.95 99 pages January, 2009 Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras, 1975-77) Brian D. Wyllie offers a travelogue which portrays his youthful quest to see some of the world.  In so doing, he opens a peephole to an age when Americans were welcomed abroad and travel was possible for working men and women. We are also treated to a description of a world two generations ago: a classic example of witness literature. He also begins with introductory comments about . . .

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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Five

Betty had put Shriver on the spot by forcing the issue of whether married Volunteers could give birth while serving overseas. She did it with this, the last of her MOM and POP memos: “Look Sarge. The Peace Corps is probably the most progressive organization in America. It’s what America claims to be all about: equality. In the Peace Corps, blacks have equality. Women have equality. Our female Volunteers are paid the same living allowances as the male Volunteers. They have the same responsibilities, the same physical hardships. We have said, in effect, that the rules are no different in the Peace Corps; the same goes for both sexes. So to suddenly say that a female Peace Corps Volunteer is too fragile, too fine, and too clean to have a baby in the Third World country, especially if she is game to do this, is to go back on our . . .

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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Four

Reading the Eyes Only memo from the Medical Division to Sarge in her recently commandeered fifth floor office, Betty Harris went ballistic and then she charged into Shriver’s office. “The memo raised the question: What if a married Volunteer got pregnant by her own husband? Oh, no!,” said Betty, remember. ” What if one of our precious, upper-middle-class American flowers got pregnant in one of those dirty, backwater countries? Surely, the Peace Corps would bring the couple home. A nice American couple couldn’t risk having a baby in a country where women squat to deliver a child. “I went in screaming over this one. I screamed to everyone. I could scream to, including Sarge, saying that the one thing that all women in all countries have in common was childbirth, and if we really want to insult these countries-to say, in effect, that your country’s so dirty that this healthy, . . .

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Be Part Of New Film About The Peace Corps

Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone 1963-65) for the last 40 years has been a documentary filmmaker working in both commercial and public television although for the past 30 years, with his wife Cynthia, they have worked as independent filmmakers producing and distributing documentary and educational films (www.mediaprojects.org). He is now working on a documentary about the Peace Corps experience, telling the story of PCVs through letters, diaries and journals written while overseas. “What I want,” he wrote me, “is writing that is  honest, personal, revealing and surprising. I also want it to be about people who went crazy from the boredom, about people caught up in revolutions, about people who got angry and lashed out, about harsh disappointments, about people who almost died of dysentery, about people who did die because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, about people trying desperately to cope with the day-to-day problems of . . .

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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Three

At the emergency Saturday morning meeting to determine the fate of this pregnant unmarried PCV, Betty Harris, for the first time, realized there was a problem with the Mad Men of the Peace Corps. “….The thought began to occur to these grown men that possibly the pregnant Volunteer had got herself in the ‘family way’ by means of intimate contact with a national,” Betty recalled. “Oh. God! Well, the guys were just falling apart. A Peace Corps woman is pregnant and she’s not married to anybody! And who’s the father? And what happens now? Do we bring her home? Do we inform her parents? Do we throw her out of the Peace Corps? One fool present at this meeting actually suggested that we ‘can’ women Volunteers altogether. No one ever suggested that our male Volunteers might be shacking up with female ‘nationals,’ getting them pregnant, or what the implications of that . . .

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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Two

Why didn’t Betty Harris become the head of the first Women’s Division in the Peace Corps? What Betty found out later was that Paul Geren, Sarge’s first and short-lived Deputy Director, killed the idea of her being in charge of women Volunteers. “I knew Paul from Dallas,” Betty recalled in Coates Redmon’s  book. “Sarge told Geren that he was thinking of bringing me up from Texas to deal with women’s issues and Geren replied–or so the story went–‘That’s like putting Marilyn Monroe in charge of the Boy Scouts!’ Apparently, Paul thought I was too wild for his type of southern Baptist upbringing, and his objection had short-circuited my appointment. But I thought the comparison to Marilyn Monroe was the best compliment I’d ever had.” When Betty did arrive in D.C. she was given a desk and told to read up on early Peace Corps documents until some job was found for . . .

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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris

Betty Harris was what we used to call a ‘a piece of work.’ She was thirty-nine-years old in 1961 and had been a political organizer and a public relations executive in Dallas, Texas, before arriving in D.C. She had also been a pioneering journalist in New York City before women had such jobs, working with among others, Newsweek and NBC. When she arrived at the Peace Corps in 1961 she had just gone through a bitter divorce with Leon Harris, the son of man whose department store in Dallas that became the model of Neiman-Marcus. Betty always, in fact, looked as if she had just stepped out of the pages of a Neiman-Marcus catalog. ‘Chic’ is the term that Coates Redmon uses to describe Betty in Come As You Are. Betty Harris knew Shriver longer than anyone else at the Peace Corps, having first met the man in the 1940s when they both . . .

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The Peace Corps' Indiana Jones:Lee St. Lawrence

Lee St. Lawrence might very well been the prototype of who Shriver had in mind when it came to picking his Peace Corps staff. First, Lee had a great name. Second, he had a great personal story. And, third, there were his dashing and dark and slightly romantic looks. I didn’t know Lee St. Lawrence in those first days of the agency, when he was one of the Mad Men of the Peace Corps, but I knew all about him. Going into  WW II as a teenager,  St. Lawrence of Brockton, Mass, was sent into combat duty in Europe. He stayed overseas for 17 years after the fighting stopped.  St. Lawrence (even with that name!) wasn’t one of Shriver’s ‘rich kids.” He had worked his way through high school as a gandy dancer on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. He studied Greek and Latin at a Catholic Redemptorist Fathers junior college in Pennsylvania, then . . .

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The Peace Corps: Where The Jobs Are!

When I was managing the Peace Corps Office in New York back in the mid-90s, I use to tell applicants that the Peace Corps was the #2, employer of college graduates, right after Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Well, things are getting tougher; the Peace Corps has fallen to #3, following Enterprise (still # 1!) and VerizonWireless, #2. Of the top 100 Employers for the Class of 2010 (according to Phil Gardner, Director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State), the Peace Corps ‘hired’ 5230 people in 2010 with Bachelor’s Degrees, and another 743 with Masters, for a total of 5973; the agency recruited on 600 campuses. Enterprise, however, went to 800 campuses; they had zero grads with masters. (I was told when I was with the Peace Corps  that Enterprise only wanted employees with C grade averages. I guess a “C” is all it takes to fill out those forms!) The Peace Corps, by the way, has more master’s level Volunteers than Verizon; they hired just 500 . . .

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March Books By RPCVs

South Pacific Survivor: In Samoa by Kevin Daley (1986–89) Novel Plus $16.95 440 pages December 2009 • When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter’s Tale by Matthew Davis (Mongolia 2000–02) St. Martins Press $26.99 301 pages February 2010 • The Blind Visionary: Practical Lessons for Meeting Challenges on the Way to a More Fulfilling Life and Career by Doug Eadie (Ethiopia 1964–67) and Virginia Jacko Governance Edge $19.95 168 pages January 2010 • The Plum Rains and Other Stories by John Givens (Korea 1967-69) The Liffey Press $26.75 248 pages March 2010 • Peace Corps Syndrome by Ron Horton (Brazil 1966-68) Happenstance Books $15.00 180 pages 2007 • Stronghold (Young Adult) by Terri [Stephens] McIntyre (Pakistan 1963-65) Self Published $12.50 259 pages October 2009 • Click on the book cover or the bold book title to order from Amazon and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small . . .

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