Archive - October 14, 2015

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More About Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65)
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Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) "The Mending Fields"

More About Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65)

(This is a short essay I wrote years ago about Theroux and his ‘Peace Corps Experience’  and I am reposting it now to continue the discussion of his latest book.) Living on the Edge: Paul Theroux • He went — in the way the Peace Corps rolls the dice of our lives – to Africa as a teacher. “My schoolroom is on the Great Rift, and in this schoolroom there is a line of children, heads shaved liked prisoners, muscles showing through their rags,” he wrote home in 1964. “These children appear in the morning out of the slowly drifting hoops of fog-wisp. It is chilly, almost cold. There is no visibility at six in the morning; only a fierce white-out where earth is the patch of dirt under their bare feet, a platform, and the sky is everything else.” How many of us stood in front of similar classrooms . . .

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Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) "The Mending Fields"

This is one of my favorite short pieces written by an RPCV….a wonderful writer, Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76)!  He wrote this piece years ago for an NPR “All Things Considered” segment I managed to arrange to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Peace Corps. • I was assigned to the Island of Saint Kit in the West Indies. Once on an inter-island plane I sat across the aisle from one of my new colleagues, an unfriendly, over-serious young woman. She was twenty-four, twenty-five . . . we were all twenty-four, twenty-five. I didn’t know her much or like her. As the plane banked over the island, she pressed against the window, staring down at the landscape. I couldn’t see much of her face, just enough really to recognize an expression of pain. Below us spread an endless manicured lawn, bright green and lush of sugarcane, the island’s main source of income. . . .

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