Archive - October 14, 2013

1
Water
2
Thirty Years Later
3
Second Time Around
4
The Last Ride
5
Maid in Morocco
6
The Things I Gave Her
7
When Will The Peace Corps Do Something New?

Water

by Rachel Schneller (Mali 1996-98) This essay was the 1998 Moritz Thomsen Award winner. • WHEN A WOMAN CARRIES WATER on her head, you see her neck bend outward behind her like a crossbow. Ten liters of water weighs twenty-two pounds, a fifth of a woman’s body weight, and I’ve seen women carry at least twenty liters in aluminum pots large enough to hold a television set. To get the water from the cement floor surrounding the outdoor hand pump to the top of your head, you need help from the other women. You and another woman grab the pot’s edges and lift it straight up between you. When you get it to head height, you duck underneath the pot and place it on the wad of rolled up cloth you always wear there when fetching water. This is the cushion between your skull and the metal pot full of . . .

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Thirty Years Later

by Barbara Carey (India 1966-68) This essay was originally published July 2001 on PeaceCorpsWriters.org, and received the Moritz Thomsen Award in 2002. • “I DON’T UNDERSTAND what is ‘first class’” about this train car, my husband said. I looked around at the dirty, rusty old car, with bent bars on the open window, red betel juice stains on the walls, and the single hard seat in the small cabin. I looked through the bars to the bustling train station, with hawkers, beggars, food and magazine stalls, travelers, crying children, hungry dogs, and all the noise that went along with the bustling activity in the humid Bombay afternoon. I could smell the pungent odor that is always present in India — a combination of rotting garbage, sweaty bodies, and smoke from dung fires. The sights, sounds and smells were coming back to me after thirty years of being away. I suddenly . . .

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Second Time Around

by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia 1965–67) The following essay was published in September, 2007 at PeaceCorpsWriters.org, and in 2008 received the Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Short Work about the Peace Corps Experience • I JOINED THE PEACE CORPS at 21 because I was restless for adventure and after two years in Ethiopia, discovered that true adventure lies in the relationships and routines of daily life. I was delighted to live in a tiny mud house with the tin roof, thought the sound of roosters in the morning and the whoop of the hyenas at night exotic, learned to prefer fiery food that made me sweat and cry, but the surprise was my students. I fell in love with them — 75 kids in an unlit classroom with mud walls and a tin roof, 75 kids who walked an hour or more to get to school, kids whose parents I never . . .

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The Last Ride

by Elise Annunziata (Senegal 1996–99) The following work was first published at PeaceCorpsWriters.org in November, 2002. In 2003 it was the winner of the Moritz Thomsen Award for Peace Corps Experience Award. • I HAD SAID SO OFTEN that leaving my Senegalese village, Keur Madiabel, would the most difficult part of my three-year Peace Corps service. Every time a farewell scene crept into my mind, I banished it quickly and vowed to think about it later. But, before I accepted the reality of my departure, “later” was looming over my head and it was time to drive — for the last time — from my village to the regional capital, with a fraction of my original possessions thrown into the backseat of a Peace Corps vehicle. o My last full day Most of the afternoon on my last day in Keur Madiabel, I spent talking with my adoptive family, Ousmane . . .

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Maid in Morocco

by Orin Hargraves (Morocco 1980–83) First published at PeaceCorpsWriters.org in March of 2006, this essay was the winner of the 2007 Moritz Thomsen Experience Award • I LEARNED A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO of the death Fatima Meskina, on January 9, 2006. I’m sure that no obituary appeared in any newspaper, and that her death and burial were modest and attended only by a few. But for me — and I expect for a handful of others — her death marked the passing of a legend: in the three years I spent in Morocco she was the most helpful, sometimes the most difficult, the most vivid, and for me personally the most influential person I met. Fatima worked as a maid for a succession of Volunteers in various programs in the middle Atlas town of Azrou. She signed on with Volunteer Jeanne Spoeri in 1977 and got passed down, like . . .

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The Things I Gave Her

by Lisa Kahn Schnell (Ghana 1998–00) The following work was first published at PeaceCorpsWriters.org in January, 2004. In 2005 it was the winner of the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award. • THE FIRST THING I GAVE GENVIEVE was a pile of my clothes to wash. The shirts and trousers were red with dust from day-long bus rides and bike rides, and from nine weeks of my swirl-and-rinse washing. I gave her my full attention as she showed me how to wash thoroughly, with merciless, strong arms, two basins of water and a small bar of soap. She returned my clothes to their normal color and left them smelling only of wind. Once I had more than just a mug to eat out of, once I cleaned the lizard poop off my bed and chased the scream-sized flat spiders from behind the kitchen shelves, I gave Genevieve my trust. She . . .

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When Will The Peace Corps Do Something New?

When Will The Peace Corps Do Something New? Here’s an idea! If you read the NYTIMES Sunday Reviews on October 13, 2013, you might have read how a high school in Detroit is flipping the classroom. They started three years ago with one class and now the whole high school has flipped. What in the world is a Flipped Classroom, you ask. It is this: students watch videos of teachers’ lectures at home, or on their smartphones or computers, or if they lack the technology, at school in the tech lab. Then the next day in class they do what we would call “homework”–projects, worksheets or exercises in small groups, while the teacher is a resource in the room. Online education is sweeping the country, mostly at the college level, via MOOCs. If you haven’t heard, MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses education, available to anyone with Web access. . . .

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