Archive - November 2011

1
PCV Emily Balog from North Carolina killed in Paraguary
2
John Givens Writes From Dublin, Ireland
3
James Jouppi (Thailand 1971-73) weighs in with his memoir!
4
Review — MAYA 2012 by Joshua Berman (Nicaragua)
5
Tony D'Souza on All Things Considered
6
Peter Hessler Checks In From Cairo
7
Tony D'Souza Writes from St. Louis
8
Review of Phillip L. Peters: What Do I Do Now?
9
"Love and the Peace Corps"–PRI's The World Story by Nina Porzucki (Romania 2002-04)
10
John Givens' (Korea 1967-60) famous novel now available as E-book

PCV Emily Balog from North Carolina killed in Paraguary

Emily Balog, 26, a PCV in Paraguay was killed in a car wreck on Sunday, November 27, 2011, according to the Peace Corps. Balog, 26, who is from Burlington, North Carolina, arrived in Paraguay in June 2010 and was expected to COS next August. Balog helped a local women’s cooperative with better business practices, including marketing local goods and improving sales. She also helped create a photography competition for local youth in the community. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill in 2007 with a degree in journalism. As of today, more than 250 Americans serve in the Peace Corps in Paraguay.

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John Givens Writes From Dublin, Ireland

Native Californian John Givens received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has published novels, non-fiction books, and short stories in the US, Japan and Europe. Givens studied art and language in Kyoto for four years. He worked extensively in Tokyo, San Francisco and New York, and took up residence in Ireland a few years ago. Givens currently lives out on the wet and windy Howth peninsula, and he teaches fiction writing in Dublin and wrote recently about the state of the Irish nation. • Dublin: Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei by John Givens (Korea 1967–69) ANYONE NOT LIVING ON MARS in a cave (without broadband) knows that the euro is in a parlous state. Shared by 17 of the 27 EU countries, the single currency is the glue that holds the whole rickety enterprise together. The absence of a monolithic fiscal authority has long . . .

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James Jouppi (Thailand 1971-73) weighs in with his memoir!

War of Hearts and Minds: An American Memoir by James Jouppi (Thailand 1971–73) might not be the best Peace Corps memoir, but it certainly will rank as  the biggest, coming in at 618 pages, which includes a half dozen glossary pages on Thai terminology (for example: kiat — a small white frog considered very tasty by Northeast Thai villagers). Maps. Photographs. Plus a timeline! Jim Jouppi writes that his memoir “offers a compelling look into both the politics of Nixon-era America and that of staunchly anti-communist Thailand as it fought a shadow war adjoining the one that was raging in Vietnam and Laos, before projecting into the present and providing insights for new strategies in the future.” (It’s no wonder that this book is lengthy.) Jim self-published an earlier book with iUniverse, and then combined it with his next one. This new book tell the whole story of being a PCV civil engineer working with Thailand’s Community . . .

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Review — MAYA 2012 by Joshua Berman (Nicaragua)

Maya 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras by Joshua Berman (Nicaragua 1998–2000) Moon Travel Guides 128 pages $7.99 (paperback) October 2011 Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975–77) TRAVELERS WHO PLAN TO EXPLORE the Mayan world this coming year need this book! Even the seasoned trekker with a worn and patched backpack, creased boots, frayed hat and a passport bulging with extra pages will want to buy Maya 2012 before it’s sold out. It has it all: great maps, background information, descriptions of tours, transportation and discount hotels. It also contains conversion tables, an index, Mayan words and phrases, interesting interviews with important Mayan scholars and even a suggested reading list. This ain’t no guide to overpriced hotels and do-dads, but a book written for us serious wayfarers. For those with only a whiff of Mayan history, this book will convince you that the place . . .

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Tony D'Souza on All Things Considered

NPR’s All Things Considered runs a popular program called “Three Books” where authors are asked to describe three worthy books on a single subject that may have been overlooked. This past Friday, Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) contributed, “Three Criminally Good Reads.”  The segment is four minutes long, and you can hear him discuss crime novels by John Dos Passos, Magnus Mills, and Christopher Isherwood. D’Souza is the author of his own crime novel, Mule that recently was sold to the movies. Listen Now: http://www.npr.org/2011/11/25/140804657/black-market-value-three-criminally-good-reads

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Peter Hessler Checks In From Cairo

[In our small attempt to keep everyone abreast of what is happening in cities around the world, via our farflung RPCVs,  Peter Hessler (China 1996-98), one of the recent 22 recipients of the $500,000 ‘genius awards’  given by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and who is now living in Cairo, Egypt with his wife and their twin babies, emailed me this morning:] The fighting has been very, very localized, and now has been stopped for a few days.  Even on the square it’s been basically safe; you just didn’t want to go down the side streets where they were battling the police at the Ministry of Interior.   In my neighborhood, less than a mile and a half away, there was really no sign of it.  People were very friendly to me on the square — there have been some reports of foreigners getting harassed and attacked, but that wasn’t my experience.  But a . . .

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Tony D'Souza Writes from St. Louis

[Taking a hint from  Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) about focusing on what’s happening in America (and around the world) I have emailed a few RPCV writers and asked them to drop me notes from their cities. Paul Eggers (Malaysia 1976-78)  in California commented the other day on the pepper-spray incident at U of Davis. And soon we’ll have reports from Dublin, Switzerland and Cairo. But first Tony D’Souza tells us what is happening in St. Louis, Missouri, where he is encamped for a few years as his wife earns her MFA and he cares for their two young children. Here’s Tony’s take on the gateway city.] St. Louis: Mutual Assured Destruction We’ve had 51 Occupy-related arrests so far here in St. Louis, daily protests outside Bank of America, union-led marches to the MLK Bridge, and the requisite forcible eviction of the tent encampment from the downtown city park. Covering it for the alternative weekly Riverfront . . .

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Review of Phillip L. Peters: What Do I Do Now?

WHAT DO I DO NOW? by Phillip L. Peters (Guatemala 1962–64) and Kathleen Peters National Information Services $16.95 (paperback) 169 pages September 2011 Reviewed by Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia 1962–64) READING What Do I Do Now? is akin to watching one of those 4 am TV shows with a self-made millionaire pitching his plan for how to make a fortune. The pitch always starts by promising that you will make lots of money, and ends with selling you a program or system for selling a product or service. The author tells the story through a character, Luke. based on his personal life starting as a Peace Corps Volunteer through becoming a successful “social entrepreneur” selling “wellness” products. Luke in turn tells the story in the form of reflections on his life as he prepares to go to the Peace Corps’s 50Th Anniversary Celebration in Washington DC this past September. Luke recalls . . .

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"Love and the Peace Corps"–PRI's The World Story by Nina Porzucki (Romania 2002-04)

Love and the Peace Corps By Nina Porzucki ⋅ November 22, 2011 ⋅ THERE’S AN EXPRESSION that was my mantra through college: “Peace Corps, the toughest job you’ll ever love.” The idea was that after graduation I would join the Peace Corps, and do the toughest job I’d ever love. In 2002, I arrived in Washington, DC for orientation to teach in Romania. I sat terrified in a conference room thinking about the next 27 months. The first thing I remember was a guy raising his hand and asking the Peace Corps official, “Is it true that 80 percent of volunteers come back married, engaged or in love?” I was floored. Here I was trying to imagine what Romania looked like and where I’d be living. I had never even considered love. Janice Sims was one of my fellow volunteers in Romania. It turns out she was just as surprised . . .

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John Givens' (Korea 1967-60) famous novel now available as E-book

Concord ePress has republished John Givens (Korea 1967–69) novel,  A Friend in the Police. Originally published in 1980 by Harcourt, Brace, you can now buy the ebook version at Concord ePress: http://www.concordepress.com/a-friend-in-the-police/  Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WOG6DE  The plot goes something like this: A middle-aged American businessman arrives in an unnamed Southeast Asian country to retrieve his wayward son. George Bates finds himself confronted by a climate and culture more bizarre than he could have anticipated, and by the mysterious Detective Sergeant Xlong, whose own background is even more tangled than the Americans and whose fecund language reflects the lush ambiguity of the tropical rain forest. Bates is soon lost in a complex, hallucinatory world that resembles a rewrite of The Heart of Darkness by Franz Kafka. A Friend in the Police is often spoken of by veteran authors as the book they wish they had written. Newly revised by the author, this . . .

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