Archive - March 2016

1
Telling the world our story: Time to support A TOWERING TASK: A PEACE CORPS DOCUMENTARY
2
Review — GAINING GROUND by Joan Velasquez (Bolivia)
3
RPCV Breast Cancer Research Update
4
Water by Rachel Schneller (Mali)
5
Going to the Movies
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Sargent Shriver and Richard Lipez (Ethiopia) on the Peace Corps
7
David Mather (Chile) publishes CRESCENT BEACH
8
Peace Corps mourns the loss of Volunteer Andrew Farr
9
Wish Senator Wofford a Happy 90th Birthday – Shhhhhh… this part is a surprise
10
Paul Theroux (Malawi) On Donald Trump

Telling the world our story: Time to support A TOWERING TASK: A PEACE CORPS DOCUMENTARY

36 Hours Left To Help Help fund a once-in-a-generation documentary about the Peace Corps for wide release in 2017! We surpassed 435 donors in honor of Sargent Shriver and received an anonymous $5,000 donation! Now we’re over $77,000 closer to our $100,000 goal. It’s time we are able to capture 55 years worth of history, trials and triumphs told from these remarkable individuals all in A Towering Task: A Peace Corps Documentary. THANK YOU for Your Story of the Peace Corps! Many Peace Corps documentaries tell the story of a single volunteer and how their experience changes their life and the lives of others. Our documentary is a rallying call for the Peace Corps Community to UNITE and tell its story. The real version—not the echo chamber. Time is of the essence. Memories fade. The architects and pioneering volunteers of Peace Corps pass away. $5 $25? $50? $100? What’s Peace Corps worth . . .

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Review — GAINING GROUND by Joan Velasquez (Bolivia)

Gaining Ground: A Blueprint for Community-Based International Development by Joan Velásquez (Bolivia 1965–67) Beaver’s Pond Press 2014 $24.95 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964–66, 2011–13) • This is an awesome “how to” book, not a novel with only love and excitement . . . but a beautiful and exciting manual on how to create and develop  a non-profit agency in Bolivia from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, a distance of 4,623 miles. In 1965 Joan Velásquez, a Peace Corps Volunteer, is sent to Cochabamba, a remote community in the Andean mountains of Bolivia. There she meets her future husband and NGO partner Segundo and his family, the Velázquez clan . . . all Quechua speaking indigenous people of the Inca Empire. Joan discovers that the community may not have much, it is extremely poor, but it is rich in cultural values that have been handed down for generations . . . primarily that family members help one another during difficult times. . . .

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RPCV Breast Cancer Research Update

The three year RPCV Breast Cancer Research Study conducted by Baylor University is completed and evidently was unable to collect sufficient data. The study was examining the possibility that women who took chloroquine (Aralen) as an anti-malaria drug had a reduced risk of breast cancer over their lifetimes. Chloroquine has been used in conjunction with chemotherapy in some breast cancer patients. Animal studies conducted at Baylor suggested that the drug may also reduce the breast cancer risk.The plan was to study a human female population that had taken chloroquine to determine if the population had a reduced risk of breast cancer. This drug, commercial name Aralen, had been given to Peace Corps Volunteers in malaria areas from 1961 to about 1990. It was discontinued as it was no longer effective against malaria. Peace Corps women were not the only population that was given this drug. The US Military also prescribed . . .

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Water by Rachel Schneller (Mali)

With all this talk of toxic water in Flint, and elsewhere, I thought of one of the loveliest pieces of writing by an RPCV that we published years ago. If you didn’t read it then, here is Rachel’s short essay. • Water Rachel Schneller (Mali 1996–98) 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 . . .

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Going to the Movies

I’ve asked my three granddaughters to reserve a day for me this week, their last week of summer vacation. “We can do whatever you want.” They decide on a movie and an ice cream afterwards. “What movie?” “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” Oh. We go to the multicine at the mall and stand in the line to buy tickets and another snail-slow line to buy Combo #3 – a giant bag of popcorn, drinks and candy. The movie has already started. We grope our way to our numbered seats and settle down to distribute the goodies. I try to ignore the fact that my sandals stick to the floor. I love looking at the girls’ entranced faces while they watch the movie. It’s a happy, funny film with singing and dancing. I even manage to stay awake. When it ends, Colomba says. “That was so short.” We file out with smiles . . .

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Sargent Shriver and Richard Lipez (Ethiopia) on the Peace Corps

I spent the weekend going through files to find documents on the history of the Peace Corps that I might donate to American University and their collection of Peace Corps material. In the process I came across the address made by Sargent Shriver, first Director of the Peace Corps, at the One Hundred Sixty-fifth Annual Commencement of Georgetown University on June 8, 1964. I want to quote from the opening of Sarge’s talk as it focuses on two items that are important: one is on Ethiopia One PCVs in Ethiopia, and two is on Sarge’s vision of why the Peace Corps is important to all of us. • It is embarrassing for me today to confess that I remember only one quotatin from St. Ignatius. Fortunately it is only one word: “magis!“— “more.” The watchword of the Jesuit order has always been: Ad majorem Dei gloriam. But Ignatius was a man of action. . . .

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David Mather (Chile) publishes CRESCENT BEACH

About the suspense novel Crescent Beach just published by David Mather (Chile 1968–70): Cardboard-wrapped, forty-pound bales of marijuana called “square grouper” are flooding Florida’s Gulf Coast. Undercover State Trooper Rusty McMillan is sent into the fishing village of Crescent Beach to bust a key operator in the drug trade, and stem the area’s rampant smuggling. Expecting to deal with trailer trash, Rusty instead discovers the town is a hardworking community from an earlier era when life was simple and straightforward. He becomes immersed in the everyday life of shrimping, crabbing, and fishing, while at night he drinks beer, arm wrestles, and plays poker with the locals who become his friends. Rusty eventually gets the evidence he needs, but can he make the arrest? Either way he’s a traitor: to his job or to the community. But, before he can decide, the town is slammed by unexpected hurricane force winds and a . . .

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Peace Corps mourns the loss of Volunteer Andrew Farr

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 25, 2016 – Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet is saddened to confirm the death of Peace Corps volunteer Andrew Jennings Farr. Andrew, 25, passed away in an automobile accident in Mozambique on March 25, 2016. “Andrew was passionate about learning as much as possible from his Mozambican community members and dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others,” Director Hessler-Radelet said. “He was respected by his fellow teachers and a wonderful role model for his students. We are devastated by this tragic loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Farr family during this difficult time.” A native of Irmo, South Carolina, Andrew served as an education volunteer in Mozambique, where he taught secondary school physics in the village of Chitima, Tete Province. In his Peace Corps application, Andrew wrote that in order to adapt to the Mozambican culture, he planned to “simply listen, . . .

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Wish Senator Wofford a Happy 90th Birthday – Shhhhhh… this part is a surprise

While most people know Harris Wofford for his work on civil rights and his time as a U.S. Senator (D-PA), he is known best in the Peace Corps as a special assistant to President John F. Kennedy, close friend of Sargent Shriver, and a key person with Shriver in creating the Peace Corps.  Harris will celebrate his 90th birthday on April 9 and the NPCA is preparing a proclamation from the Peace Corps community to honor  to honor Senator Wofford on his birthday. The NPCA is inviting all RPCVs to send along letters, cards, and gifts which they will deliver to Harris along with the proclamation. Please send along anything you’d like to include to their office to arrive no later than Friday, April 8.  Address cards,letters and gifts to: Senator Harris Wofford c/o National Peace Corps Association 1900 L Street NW, Suite 610 Washington, DC 20036  

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Paul Theroux (Malawi) On Donald Trump

  Why is Donald Trump popular? Travelling around America’s south for his most recent book Deep South, the writer Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) got some ideas. “It’s the gun show guys,” he says, sitting in his Hawaii home. “Virtually everything Donald Trump says, you can find on a gun show bumper sticker. Anti-Obama stuff, anti-Muslim stuff, anti-Mexican stuff, anti-immigrant stuff.” The 74-year-old warms to his theme. “Gun shows are about hating and distrusting the government … people who have been oppressed by a bad economy, by outsourcing. They have a lot of legitimate grievances and a lot of imagined grievances. There is this paranoid notion that Washington is trying to take their guns away, take their manhood away, take this symbol of independence away. They feel defeated. They hate the Republican party, too. They feel very isolated.” Alexander Bisley writing in The Guardian interviewed Theroux about his new book. Read the article . . .

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