Archive - October 2012

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RPCV Film maker Jack Niedenthal (Marshall Islands 1981-84)
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Review of John Guy LaPlante's (Ukraine 2007-09) 27 Months in the Peace Corps: My Story, Unvarnished
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Note If You Haven't Seen It From Acting PC/D Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Samoa 1981-83)
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Jack Vaughn, Terminally Ill
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Gypsy Gina
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Review of Julie R. Dargis (Morocco 1984-87) Seven Sonnets
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Eye On The Sixties: Rowland Scherman–The Kid With The Camera
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Stephanie Gorin (Morocco 1993-95) International Fiber Artist
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New Books by Peace Corps Writers — September 2012
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Orth and McCaskey Talk It Up in Chicago

RPCV Film maker Jack Niedenthal (Marshall Islands 1981-84)

[Jack Niedenthal’s first six years in the Marshall Islands were all spent in the isolated jungles of the outer islands. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer on Namu Atoll from 1981 to 1984. He then contracted to work with the Bikini Council on Kili Island from 1984 through late 1986 teaching English to the adults, teaching in the elementary school and working with the Kili/Bikini/Ejit Local Government Council.  In 1987 he assumed the duties of the Trust Liaison for the People of Bikini, which includes the management and coordination of the funds allocated by the United States government to compensate the Bikinians for their suffering and to facilitate the radiological cleanup of Bikini Atoll. He acts as a liaison for the Council to the media, the U.S. government and its various agencies, the scientists who work on Bikini, the Bikini Council’s attorney, trustees, money managers, construction companies, engineers, project managers, . . .

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Review of John Guy LaPlante's (Ukraine 2007-09) 27 Months in the Peace Corps: My Story, Unvarnished

27 Months in the Peace Corps: My Story, Unvarnished John Guy LaPlante (Ukraine 2007-09) 559 pages Infinity Publishing, $24.95 (Available as an ebook) 2012   Reviewed by Darcy Munson Meijer (Gabon 1982-84) I’ve just finished John Guy LaPlante’s book about his stint with the Peace Corps in Ukraine 27 Months in the Peace Corps: My Story, Unvarnished. LaPlante is a fluid writer, and I learned quite a bit, but at 559 pages, the book is way too long. At age 78, LaPlante became a Peace Corps Volunteer and served from 2007-2009 as an English instructor in Chernihiv. He was the oldest Volunteer serving in the world in Ukraine. LaPlante is a real trooper, a man of heart and goodwill who, in joining the Peace Corps, fulfilled a longtime personal desire to serve the U.S. In addition to his recounting of daily trials and small victories, he frequently asks himself whether the . . .

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Note If You Haven't Seen It From Acting PC/D Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Samoa 1981-83)

Below is a message that Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Acting Peace Corps Director asked us to pass along in response to the petition “Honor RPCV Ambassador Chris Stevens” ———————————————————— Thank you all for your outpouring of support and concern for honoring U.S. Ambassador and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) Chris Stevens.  You have reminded me of how close a family we are at the Peace Corps.  We have informed the Stevens family that hundreds of you (more than 888!) share their loss and are interested in honoring Ambassador Stevens — and they were very touched. The tragic death of Ambassador Stevens was a tremendous loss for our nation, and a loss that was keenly felt within the Peace Corps community.  After extending our condolences to the Stevens family, we contacted them to begin a conversation on the most appropriate manner to honor the life and memory of Ambassador Stevens.  There are a . . .

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Jack Vaughn, Terminally Ill

 This is from John Turnbull: Leveo Sanchez of Santa Fe has notified me that Jack Vaughn, the second Director of the Peace Corps,  has been taken ill at age 92 with terminal metastatic cancer, and has only days or weeks left. Jack is now in Hospice care at their home in Tucson, Arizona.  He would head the Peace Corps following Sargent Shriver’s appointment to head the domestic Poverty Program under the LBJ Administration, His service with the Peace Corps was a highlight of a distinguished foreign service career.  For that reason, I hope that many of us RPCVs can send an e-mail, via his wife, Leftie, acknowledging and thanking him for all that he did during those early years. Back then, the Peace Corps was not to be taken for granted, and excelled because of people like Jack Vaughn, and Sargent Shriver before him. It wasn’t long ago we assembled to say “good bye” to . . .

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Gypsy Gina

Leita Kaldi Davis worked for the United Nations and UNESCO, for Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard University. She worked with Roma (Gypsies) for fifteen years, became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal at the age of 55, then went to work for the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti for five years. She retired in Florida in 2002. She wrote a memoir of Senegal, Roller Skating in the Desert, and is working on a memoir of Haiti. • GYPSY GINA by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) GINA LEANS into the corner of the tenement kitchen, trying to stay out of the way. She’s only nine years old and doesn’t take up much space, pushing close up against the walls.  She idly stretches out a finger and runs it down the yellowed, chipped paint, and puts her finger into her mouth.  Streaks of dirt mark her cheeks; . . .

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Review of Julie R. Dargis (Morocco 1984-87) Seven Sonnets

Seven Sonnets by Julie R. Dargis (Morocco 1984-87) $5.99 16 pages 2012 Reviewed by Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79) As a girl growing up in New England, I visited many colonial houses-the Paul Revere house on the Freedom Trail in Boston, the birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams in what is now Adams National Historic Park just south of Boston, the houses at Old Sturbridge Village in central Massachusetts and Historic Deerfield in western Massachusetts where the famous massacre took place. Framed on the walls of these houses, the cross-stitch sampler proved an ubiquitous artifact. Its (often wobbly) stitches testified to the progress a young girl had made in acquiring elemental skills in needlework. Seven Sonnets, a new chapbook by Julie R. Dargis, qualifies as the poetic version of such a sampler. It serves at once as affirmation of Dargis’s painstaking attention to the sonnet form and as indication . . .

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Eye On The Sixties: Rowland Scherman–The Kid With The Camera

In late 1962 a guy from Peace Corps Washington arrived in Addis Ababa to visit the first PCVs in-country. We Volunteers were getting a lot of ‘official’ visitors in Ethiopia then. I mean, Shriver came to Ethiopia, came right into my classroom at the Commercial School in Addis Ababa with a big grin and a handshake and said, “Hi, I’m Sarge Shriver.” I remember responding with something stupid, like, “No, kidding!” But this other guy was different. First, he was young. He was our age.  He had a camera.  And he had a real professional job.  He was travelling all over the world for the Peace Corps.  He was the official Peace Corps photographer….Wow! But I want you to know, we treated him like, well, you know how we treated him. He hung around for weeks in Addis Ababa, eating our food, drinking our beer, telling great stories. And then he went all over the Empire, just another guy taking photographs of PCVs doing what we all . . .

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Stephanie Gorin (Morocco 1993-95) International Fiber Artist

While we focus mostly on Peace Corps writers, those who tell the tales of their overseas experiences, we also like to write about other RPCVs of talent: artists, scholars, film makers like Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone 1963-65 ) who just finished a wonderful film on RPCVs entitled, Waging Peace, and those who realize their secret passion and follow their dreams and continue to make a difference in the world. I especially like to draw attention to the artists who work as crafts people. Having edited a few books on crafts in my writing lifetime, I am partial to artists/crafts  people who work with their hands. One such person is a dear friend of mine, a woman who was with me a decade or so ago at the New York Peace Corps Recruitment Office. She was the Recruitment Coordinator and an RPCV from Morocco. She left Peace Corps Recruiting to earn a masters in education . . .

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New Books by Peace Corps Writers — September 2012

To order books whose titles are in blue from Amazon, click on the title or book cover — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that will help support our annual writers’ awards. • The Incurables: Stories by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991–93) Univerisity of Notre Dame Press $20.00 248 pages August, 2012 • What The Zhang Boys Know: A Novel in Stories by Clifford Garstang (South Korea 1976-77) Press 53 $17.95 (paperback), $7.99 (Kindle) 201 pages 2012 • The Springs of Namje: A Ten-Year Journey from the Villages of Nepal to the Halls of Congress by Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001–03) Beacon Press $24.95 (hardcover), $13.72 (Kindle) 214 pages September 2012 • The Land of the Four Rivers (Poems) by Matthew A. Hamilton (Armenia 2006-08, Philippines 2008-10) Cervena Barva Press (thelostbookshelf.com) $7.00 42 pages July 2012 • 27 Months in the Peace Corps: My Story, Unvarnished . . .

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Orth and McCaskey Talk It Up in Chicago

The Chicago Humanities Festival began in 1989 by a group of Chicago’s cultural leaders eager to extend the riches of the humanities in the Mid West and around the world. Under the aegis of the Illinois Humanities Council the notion of a humanities day was proposed and then expanded into a festival. The first Chicago Humanities Festival, a one-day affair, was held on November 11, 1990 at the Art Institute of Chicago and Orchestra Hall before an audience of 3,500 people and included a memorable keynote address by playwright Arthur Miller, and inaugurated one of Chicago’s most culturally rich annual events. Founding co-sponsor institutions included the Art Institute, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Chicago, and the University of Chicago. Since that first year, some of the world’s most interesting thinkers, artists and performers have come to Chicago each fall for a festival that celebrates ideas in the context of . . .

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