Archive - October 2011

1
Lee St. Lawrence as remembered by Joan & Pierre Delva
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Review of Kaye Stone's A Woman's Journey from Orphanage to Peace Corps
3
Review of Heather Andersen's I Never Intended to Be Brave
4
Review of Adventures in Gabon: Peace Corps Stories from the African Rainforest
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What were you reading when you arrived in-country?
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Maureen Orth Launches Interactive Website for the 50th Anniversary
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Review of Timothy Schell's The Memoir of Jake Weedsong
8
A Writer Writes: Experiences from Afar: A Most Delicious Cherry Cake
9
Interview with Darcy Munson Meijer – editor of new book of Gabon stories
10
Review of: Even The Smallest Crab Has Teeth: 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories: Volume Four, Asia & The Pacific

Lee St. Lawrence as remembered by Joan & Pierre Delva

[Back in March I wrote a short blog about Lee St. Lawrence who was one of the first ‘mad men’ of the Peace Corps in early ’61. That blog entry came to the attention of Pierre Delva who wrote me about his connection to St. Lawrence, and also to send me the short book he wrote about St. Lawrence, his friend, who he labeled on the title page, “The Man Behind the Peace Corps.” Why, Lee wasn’t  the man behind’ the agency, he was, nevertheless, an important early figure in the Peace Corps. Pierre and Joan Delva knew Lee most of their adult life, and Pierre and Joan, too, have had an interesting and productive life in England and Canada. As Pierre wrote me, “I was a general practitioner for ten years in London’s east end, emigrated  to Canada, did six years training as a pediatrician, (including two at WRU), became an ‘academic’ at . . .

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Review of Kaye Stone's A Woman's Journey from Orphanage to Peace Corps

A Life In Time: A Woman’s Journey from Orphanage to Peace Corps by Kaye Stone (India 1966-68) The Stone Publishing Group 212 pages $14.95 (paperback) July, 2011 Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) KAYE STONE’S PEACE CORPS MEMOIR is an intriguing personal story by a sheltered young orphan, educated in a Christian college, who served in India during that period when the agency fielded more than 15,000 Volunteers worldwide, and 754 on the Subcontinent. Her account via letters is a reminder of both changing American womanhood and an agency in transition. Raised in an orphanage from the age of six, the author seldom traveled or even dated. Until high school graduation at the orphanage, “Dating was complicated . . . The boy had to ask permission. If the superintendent consented, the girl and boy could sit in the living room of the cottage for several hours on a Sunday . . .

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Review of Heather Andersen's I Never Intended to Be Brave

I Never Intended to Be Brave: A Woman’s Bicycle Journey Through Southern Africa by Heather Andersen (Lesotho 2001–03) Windy City Publishers $14.99 (paperback), $8.99 (kindle) 260 pages October 2011 Reviewed by Barbara E. Joe (Honduras 2000-03) WHEN HEATHER ANDERSEN COMPLETED her Peace Corps tour in tiny land-locked Lesotho, she wasn’t ready to go home right away. A seasoned cyclist who first fell in love with cycling 16 years earlier as a teenager, she had brought along her own knobby-tire mountain bike to ride during her service, and on a later exploration of southern Africa. But leery of standing out as a white woman cycling alone, she tries to assemble a riding group via the internet before embarking on her post-service journey. She finds just one taker, an American from Chicago she calls Paul, whom she first meets at the airport when he arrives, an experienced cyclist bringing his own touring . . .

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Review of Adventures in Gabon: Peace Corps Stories from the African Rainforest

Adventures in Gabon: Peace Corps Stories from the African Rainforest Edited by Darcy Munson Meijer (Gabon 1982–84) A Peace Corps Writers Book 216 pages $15.95 September, 2011 Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975–77) IF YOU SERVED IN GABON as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Adventures in Gabon will be like a yearbook and a reunion all in one. It is a book of anecdotes by more than thirty writers who served between 1962 and 2005. This is the only Peace Corps book I have ever read that included accounts from years covering the entire Peace Corps experience in one nation (the Gabon program closed in 2005). Unlike most Peace Corps anthologies, this one includes contributions by Volunteers who served after 1980. Equally unusual, the name of Sargent Shriver — first director of the Peace Corps — is never mentioned, and President John Kennedy is mentioned only once. Divided into seven . . .

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What were you reading when you arrived in-country?

I spotted a small item in the October 24, 2011, issue of The New Yorker entitled, “Thalia Book Club.” It was about a panel discussion taking place at the wonderful Symphony Space on the Upper West Side of Manhattan focus on Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. The novel was first published fifty years ago this year. Lesley Stahl was the moderator of the panel that included Robert Gottlieb, who edited the novel; writer Christopher Buckley; Mike Nichols, the director of the 1970 film based on the book; and the actor Scott Shepherd who read an excerpt for the book.   I knew Heller (very slightly) as we use to work out at the same West Side YMCA back in the Seventies. And I was also close friends of a close friend of his when I lived on the island of Menorca. My friend, who was a writer, would tell me great stories about Heller. But spotting this panel announcement what I recalled . . .

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Maureen Orth Launches Interactive Website for the 50th Anniversary

SuperVol Maureen Orth (Colombia 1965-67) today launched a new interactive website: www.PeaceCorpsPostcards.com. Maureen, who served in  Medellin, Colombia, is still involved in Colombia with three One Laptop per Child schools through her foundation www..MarinaOrthFoundation.org. To celebrate the Peace Corps 50th anniversary, and to share the stories of amazing volunteers across the globe, with her friend Susan Koch, an award winning filmmaker, Maureen has produced a series of video postcards that feature PCVs and RPCVs. With assistance from American Express and the Bank of America there is a website which allows anyone in the Peace Corps community to post his or her story, picture or blog. Maureen is asking that you share these postcards widely if you like them by sending them out on your lists or tweeting them to your network. New postcards will be added, so visit frequently. Check out these video postcards of Volunteers as we celebrate the Peace Corps 50th anniversary www.peacecorpspostcards.com

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Review of Timothy Schell's The Memoir of Jake Weedsong

The Memoir of Jake Weedsong by Timothy Schell (Central Africa Empire 1978–79) Serving House Books 160 pages $15.00 (paperback), $9.99 (ebook) August 2011 Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) OREGON WRITER TIMOTHY SCHELL’s new novel The Memoir of Jake Weedsong is a meditative book, complex in its construction. A finalist for the AWP Award for the Novel, the story explores bigotry and forgiveness in the Pacific Northwest, where a mixed-race couple is attacked by three young skinheads as they walk through the Parks Block near Portland State University. In court during the skinheads’ sentencing, the eponymous victim’s Japanese wife asks the judge not to send the young men to prison, but rather to a traditional dinner at her home, in which they will be required to wear kimonos. Surrounding this central story is Weedsong’s work on a memoir of his years as an English teacher in an . . .

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A Writer Writes: Experiences from Afar: A Most Delicious Cherry Cake

Peter Drew (Philippines 1977–79) has worked overseas continuous since 1977, first as a PCV, followed by 9 years working in the Indo-Chinese Refugee Program out of Manila. In 1989 he joined the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer. As an FSO, he has served in Ougadougou, Swaziland, Kathmandu, Singapore, Brussels, South Africa, and now he is in his final tour in Bangkok. Recently he sent me this short piece. • Experiences from Afar: A Most Delicious Cherry Cake MANY 3RD WORLD COOKS hired by expatriates or diplomats can be male. They often have hard earned quality repertoires, like French cuisine or what have you, yet as often as not they have at the same time limited menus. For those lucky travelers who’ve had the benefit of being supported by these seasoned hired hands, who likely grew up in the harsh outer lands with no education and worked hard . . .

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Interview with Darcy Munson Meijer – editor of new book of Gabon stories

I FIRST GOT TO KNOW Darcy Munson Meijer (Gabon 1982–84) through her wonderful Friends of Gabon quarterly newsletter, “The Gabon Letter.” Well now she has just edited a new Peace Corps Writers Imprint collection — Adventures in Gabon: Peace Corps Stories from the African Rainforest. It is a pleasure to be involved in a small way with the publication of this book of stories and to be able to preserve the writings by RPCVs that Darcy has lovingly and persistently kept publishing all these years. Here’s what Darcy has to say about herself and the book of stories. Darcy, what did you do in the Peace Corps? I was a TEFL teacher in Gabon from 1982-84. Sadly, PC/Gabon closed in 2005. What are you doing now? I’m in the Middle East. I teach English to Emirati women in the academic bridge program at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, the United . . .

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Review of: Even The Smallest Crab Has Teeth: 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories: Volume Four, Asia & The Pacific

Even The Smallest Crab Has Teeth: 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories: Volume Four, Asia & The Pacific Jane Albritton (India 1967–69), Editor Travelers’ Tales 373 pages $18.95 (paperback) October 2011 Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000–02, Madagascar 2002–03) Even The Smallest Crab Has Teeth: 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories: Volume Four, Asia & The Pacific is the last of a series of four handsome anthologies celebrating and recording Peace Corps’ accomplishments and contributions to the world through its first half century of life. In this final edition, Albritton reserved for herself the daunting task of collecting stories from the most diverse of the four regions: Asia and The Pacific. The wide scope of the book reveals the well-trodden truth that no two Volunteer experiences are alike. Albritton writes, How is it possible to collect stories from countries that fit into a scalene triangle set on . . .

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