Archive - August 2014

1
Getting Past August
2
NYTimes Editorial: “Broken Promises on National Service” Peace Corps is not mentioned.
3
Talking with Gary Cornelius, author of Dancing with Gogos
4
President Obama nominates new PC Deputy Director
5
Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-92) To Publish New Novel Next August
6
David Mather (Chile 1968–70) publishes a second novel set in Chile
7
Graffiti
8
Ambassador Christopher Hill (Cameroon 1974–76) to publish memoir
9
Gary Cornelius (South Africa 2012-13) publishes DANCING WITH GOGOS
10
Review: LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64)

Getting Past August

August thirty- first is a day of celebration for many Chilean seniors; small towns and senior clubs throw parties; congratulations are in order; our dinner guests last night joked to each other: “Well, we made it past another August.” The reason? Here in the Southern Hemisphere the worst days of winter are past, and we survived, not succumbing to pneumonia, still alive and kicking! I asked our Chilean friends last night: “Do you know where the saying ‘Pasando Agosto’ comes from? No one knew. Everyone repeats it but has no idea how the custom originated. From Internet this curious gringa investigator learned that the saying originated in colonial times when the Spanish, particularly in Chile’s rainy southern latitudes, faced the severe winter cold and damp with no means, other than fires, for heating their modest homes. For those getting on in years to have survived the winter months was reason . . .

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NYTimes Editorial: “Broken Promises on National Service” Peace Corps is not mentioned.

AmeriCorps celebrates its twenty anniversary on September 12th. The New York Times celebrates the program in an editorial in today’s Sunday edition and urges the administration to expand the program as the President had once promised. Certainly, AmericCorps is an excellent program and deserves the highest praise given in this editorial. To read the editorial, here is the link: http://nyti.ms/1tNoNqi The New York Times editorial is entitled “Broken Promises on National Service.” Peace Corps is not named in the editorial. Yet, the term “National Service” has traditionally included Peace Corps. In speaking of President Obama’s commitment to AmeriCorps, the editorial writer does note the President’s inclusion of “and other national service programs.” Certainly, in speaking of “national service”, Obama did include the Peace Corps: 06/30/2008, Independence, MO, Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: “…We should expand AmeriCorps and grow the Peace Corps. We should encourage national service by making it part of . . .

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Talking with Gary Cornelius, author of Dancing with Gogos

Peace Corps Worldwide interviewed  Gary Cornelius about his Peace Corps service and his new book, Dancing with Gogos: A Peace Corps Memoir [Peace Corps Writers, 2014]. • Gary, where and when did you serve in the Peace Corps? In South Africa, from January 2012 to April 2013. I was “med-sepped” after about 14 months because I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disorder. The symptoms were relatively minor, and still are, so I’ve not started medication. My only treatment thus far is participation in a monthly support group for “early onset” Parkinson’s people. . What was your Peace Corp project assignment? I was a health Volunteer and trained as part of a group of 36 — 30 women and 6 men. The official title was HIV Outreach Worker and we were all part of the Peace Corps South Africa Community HIV/AIDS Outreach Project, or CHOP. There were about 100 health Volunteers in . . .

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President Obama nominates new PC Deputy Director

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts, among them: Carlos Torres, Nominee for Deputy Director, Peace Corps Carlos Torres is the Associate Director for Global Operations at the Peace Corps, a position he has held since 2013. He previously served as Regional Director for Inter-America and Pacific Region at the Peace Corps from 2010 to 2013. He was an independent consultant on international projects from 2000 to 2010. Mr. Torres founded CARANA Corporation in 1984 and served as its President and CEO until 2000. He was a private contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Costa Rica from 1983 to 1984, and from 1976 to 1983 he worked in the Financial Industries Section of Arthur D. Little, Inc. Mr. Torres received a B.S. from Babson College and an M.S.M. from the Arthur D. Little Management Education . . .

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Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-92) To Publish New Novel Next August

Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-92) Ellen Urbani’s (Guatemala 1991-92) memoir, When I Was Elena was published in 2006 by The Permanent Press. It is her Peace Corps story of living in Guatemala. It is also her story of coming of age as young women in the guerrilla-infested mountains of Latin America. Her narrative is interlaced, chapter-by-chapter, with tales told from the perspectives of seven HCN women she meets in her tour. Now Ellen has returned with her second book. Next August, Forest Avenue Press, will publish her  novel, Landfall. It will be released on August 29, 2015, ten years to the day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. A summary of the novel from Forest Avenue Press outlines the plot: In a car laden with supplies intended for hurricane victims, Rose and her mother catapult off the road onto the shoals of the Black Warrior River in Alabama, killing . . .

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David Mather (Chile 1968–70) publishes a second novel set in Chile

After graduating from Bowdoin College in Maine, David Mather served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern Chile from 1968 to 1970. Profoundly influenced by his two years living and working in the campo [countryside], he bought a small piece of land in the woods of New Hampshire where he carved out a simple homestead and has lived a mile off grid for over forty years. He ultimately began and ran a successful specialty lumber company, but being self-employed, he was able to continue to travel a great deal, primarily to Third World Countries. Ten years ago, he began to downsize his business and, with more free time, wrote One For The Road which was published through Peace Corps Writers in 2011 (OnefortheRoad-Mather.com). About a PCV in Chile who falls in love with both the campo and a campesina, it is a mix of fact and fiction, and has been . . .

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Graffiti

The topic came up yesterday as we were heading toward the freeway to visit friends out-of-town. We were passing through one of those grey, seedy neighborhoods. You know the kind surrounding freeway on- and -off ramps. My husband pointed to a long graffiti-covered wall depicting a large, brightly-colored hummingbird sampling a flower as well as a red-headed giant woodpecker, like those found in southern forests here. The artist wasn’t a simple street gang kid. Hubby asked if I’d seen the giant rat painted on a retention wall of the Río Mapocho. He thought it was pretty cool and well-done. From there the conversation turned into a discussion – me defending the artistic value of some graffiti, he claiming all graffiti defaces public and private property, except the rat. I reminded him of the wall murals of Valparaíso, which decorate the stairs climbing the city’s hills – outdoor galleries depicting history, . . .

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Ambassador Christopher Hill (Cameroon 1974–76) to publish memoir

On October 7, Christopher R. Hill (Cameroon 1974–76) will publish Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy (Simon & Schuster), a memoir of his years with the State Department. To quote the S&S website: Hill was on the front lines in the Balkans at the breakup of Yugoslavia. He takes us from one-on-one meetings with the dictator Milosevic, to Bosnia and Kosovo, to the Dayton conference, where a truce was brokered. Hill draws upon lessons learned as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon early on in his career and details his prodigious experience as a US ambassador. He was the first American Ambassador to Macedonia; Ambassador to Poland, where he also served in the depth of the cold war; Ambassador to South Korea and chief disarmament negotiator in North Korea; and Hillary Clinton’s hand-picked Ambassador to Iraq. The book can be preorder now at Amazon.com. Outpost: Life on the . . .

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Gary Cornelius (South Africa 2012-13) publishes DANCING WITH GOGOS

Dancing with Gogos is the story of one man’s effort to make a difference in a collection of Zulu villages in rural South Africa, while fulfilling a life-long dream of serving in the United States Peace Corps. It’s the story of learning a new language, of immersing oneself in a different culture, of leaving a love 15,000 kilometers behind and discovering the unexpected chance to find a new one half a world away. It’s the story of South Africa’s history of apartheid and the effects of that sorry legacy on tens of millions of black Africans who to this day struggle to leave behind 500 years of oppression. • Gary Cornelius was nearly 55 when he realized that he was weeks away from being the age at which Oregon public employees could retire early and get a modest pension, so the month he turned 55 he retired  — after a . . .

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Review: LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64)

Long Ago And Far Away by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64) A Peace Corps Writers Book 342 pages July 2014 $18.00 (paperback); $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Kathleen Croskran (Ethiopia 1965–67) Long Ago and Far Away by John Coyne, an ambitious novel spanning time and place, connects the disparate worlds of Parker Bishop, a former CIA agent who retreated to safety and anonymity as a proprietor of a second hand book store in Westchester County, New York — thus masking his undercover past with respectability that included a beloved wife and two daughters. Bishop’s wife Sara has just died of cancer when the great love of his youth, the beautiful Irish McCann, reappears unexpectedly, first in the form of her travel guide to Ethiopia, and eventually in person. Irish also has cancer, but is not dying, not yet, not until she — and Parker Bishop — confront their murky history and forty-year-old . . .

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