Archive - January 2015

1
Former Director of Iowa Writers' Workshop Dies
2
Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet in MORE Magazine
3
A letter from Kristi Davis (Ethiopia 1969–72)
4
Posh Corps: Not Just a Film
5
Ping
6
Press News From The Peace Corps
7
To Review and Renew “The Towering Task” – a Peace Corps History Documentary
8
Richard Carroll (C.A.R. 1976-82) publishes 2,000 Miles around the Tree of Life
9
Early Peace Corps Regional Director, Robert White, Dies at 88
10
Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) Publishes Award Winning Short Story Collection

Former Director of Iowa Writers' Workshop Dies

The New York Times this morning ran an Obit on Jack Leggett, long time director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In the obituary, it quotes Leggett saying that when he took over the program in 1970 there were a lot of kids out of the army and the Peace Corps enrolling. “They were an undisciplined lot,” he told the Times in a 1979. “They’d say: ‘Don’t tell me about form.’” Among the RPCVs that I know of who attended the Iowa program (and I know there are many more) are Phil Damon (Ethiopia 1963-65); Kent Haruf (Turkey 1965-67); Richard Wiley (Korea 1967-69);Chuck Lustig (Colombia 1967-68); Bob Shacochis. In the TIMES article, Bob Shacochis is quoted, “If it can be said that any one person was responsible for Iowa City being celebrated as the center of gravity for the workshop culture in the literary life of America, that person was Jack . . .

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Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet in MORE Magazine

MORE, a magazine for women of style and substance, carries a monthly article entitled “Real-Life Reinvention Secrets” and in the February issue Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83) is featured as a  new leader with a new look. Carrie talks about dressing so that today she is “equally comfortable in a boardroom or a mud hut.” Carrie also talks about going from deputy director “where I wore pants, flats and ethnic jackets, with my hair in a ponytail” to meetings on the Hill or with ambassadors, “so I needed a more professional look.” Check it out on page 108 of the current issue of MORE. http://www.more.com/news/personalities/carrie-hessler-radelet-peace-corps-director

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A letter from Kristi Davis (Ethiopia 1969–72)

Kristi Davis was a TESL teacher in Debra Tabor, Ethiopia from 1969–70, and then a game warden at Lakes Shalla and  Abiata from 1970 to 1972. Here is a letter she wrote to her parents from Debra Tabor  Oct. 10, 1969 shortly after she arrived. • It’s more amazing here every day . . . the atmosphere, that is. I look out the window while I’m steaming plum pudding and see men riding by with capes flying back and scarves tied in back that look like white wigs, and I think I’m living in an early American time . . . or I can walk into the living room and it will be the old West with a large fireplace, skin rug, and kerosene lamp . . . or I can pull seeds out of cotton and become a pilgrim beginning to spin, or 1600 Salem and the witch scare when the wizard next door starts . . .

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Posh Corps: Not Just a Film

We heard recently from Alan Toth (South Africa 2010-12) about his new ventures with Posh Corps and I asked him to detail the developments of his very fine film ventures about Peace Corps work. Posh Corps: not just a film anymore Several months ago, Socorra Camposanto (Morocco 2010-12), the audio producer and composer at Posh Corps, Socorra Camposanto first approached me about the idea of doing a regular podcast of Peace Corps  stories. It was a great idea. What many people likely don’t realize, is that the Posh Corps team has shot about 100 interviews with returned volunteers over the last two years, for our web series, Posh Corps Shorts. Due to difficulties getting B-roll, or high quality photos, most of these interviews could not be used. Podcasting has no need for B-roll, so we finally have a forum for these volunteer stories. The next episode will feature interviews with evacuated volunteers from . . .

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Ping

Hubby has a new WhatsApp group – his fourth – five old college classmates. There’s another for his running group, his cycling club and his family. I sense creeping jealousy with every Ping. Is his cell phone getting more of his attention than me? He carries the phone to the table at mealtime. Ping as I serve his salad. Ping while cutting my chicken. His eyes can’t resist checking to identify the sender. He keeps the phone in his pocket – Ping – while we watch “Breaking Bad” on Netflix. Ping. Ping. A few nights ago, he left – Ping – it on his bedside table and went upstairs to his office. I climbed into bed, savoring the cooling touch of sheets and sighing in horizontal contentment, read a while and then turned off the light. Eleven o’clock. Just as I slipped into that cottony twilight zone before sleep takes . . .

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Press News From The Peace Corps

As the Ebola epidemic crept into Liberia in March 2014, a dramatic shift began to take place. In a matter of months, the widespread belief that Ebola didn’t even exist gave way to a gripping fear across Monrovia, the capital city. When the decision was made to evacuate Peace Corps volunteers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone at the end of July, the agency worked quickly to ensure each volunteer returned safely to the United States. This was not an easy operation as logistics and already-challenged roads had deteriorated with the full force of the rainy season. Once we, as American and Liberian Peace Corps staff members, achieved our goal of seeing all volunteers safely back home, we began educating ourselves on the potential impact the Ebola virus could have in Liberia. Click here for full story Virginia is the first state in nation to become employer of national service Augusta . . .

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To Review and Renew “The Towering Task” – a Peace Corps History Documentary

Alana DeJoseph is an RPCV (Mali 1992-1994) and an experienced professional producer of documentaries and is now undertaking the monumental task of creating a documentary on the history of the Peace Corps. The NPCA is supporting her effort, but it is, unfortunately, not an official program of the Peace Corps. To read about her work and make a contribution to support the effort as well as contribute your own memorabilia, here is the link: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/2015/01/a-towering-task-telling-the-peace-corps-story/ In Alana’s own words, from her article: Imagine a thorough, in-depth documentary about the whole history of the Peace Corps – not just the 60s, not just individual Volunteer experiences, but a thoughtful consideration of the agency’s past and its relevance in the future. Think of the discussions in line at the coffee shop going from “Didn’t the Peace Corps have something to do with Kennedy?” to “I understand that the Peace Corps was in Afghanistan, . . .

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Richard Carroll (C.A.R. 1976-82) publishes 2,000 Miles around the Tree of Life

Getting to Where I Am by Richard Carroll (1976–82) I walked the Appalachian Trail in 1975 in a journey that spanned five months and one day. I stepped across an engraved plaque set in stone at Springer Mountain, Georgia marking the southern terminus of the A.T. on April 14th, and climbed Mt. Katahdin, Maine, the northern terminus, on September 15th. I would have completed the climb the day before, but it had snowed on the mountain, and the park service closed the trail, thus I wound up experiencing all four seasons on the Appalachian Trail. That last night I rested in a shelter, let my guard down, and got a commemorative hole in my pack from a mouse rummaging around for the remnants of the food I carried. After five months of hanging my pack, boots, food bag, and anything edible or sweaty in trees to stave off bears, porcupines, . . .

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Early Peace Corps Regional Director, Robert White, Dies at 88

Thanks to Ken Hill (Turkey 1965-67) who brought to my attention the notice of the death of Robert White. As Ken wrote: A career foreign service officer, Bob White was brought to Peace Corps via Jack Vaughn who had also been a career foreign service officer. He was Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and then succeeded Jack Vaughn as Regional Director when Jack was named Peace Corps Director. After the Nixon Administration came to power Bob White was replaced, some say because he complained openly to Congress that the new Administration was ‘politicizing’ the Peace Corps. In 1971, of course, less than a year after Bob White left, the Peace Corps became part of the new ACTION Agency, Nixon’s creature designed to fold several “new frontier” anti-poverty programs into a new entity with the ultimate intent to eliminate them. White joined the Foreign Service in 1955 and served in . . .

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Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) Publishes Award Winning Short Story Collection

This month, Autumn House Press published Mark Brazaitis (1991-93) collection, Truth Poker: Stories that won its 2014 Fiction contest. Of his stories, Mark says, “Truth Poker is a collection of 15 stories whose outcomes hinge on how characters engage with a truth (about a situation, about themselves). In a crucial moment in their lives, will they tell the truth or conceal it? What will the consequences of their decisions be?” In the collection’s title piece, two boys play a real life version of truth poker. When a person loses a hand, he is required to answer his friend’s question. One of the boys, again the story’s main concern, has lost his mother and is living with his father. Through playing the game, he slowly finds connections between his mother’s suicide and his father’s relationship with an Ohio congressman. As it turns out, the boy’s playmate is the congressman’s nephew. Brazaitis’ . . .

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