Archive - May 25, 2016

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Franklin Rothman (Brazil) publishes BROOKLYN, NY to BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL
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Review — LEARNING TO LOVE KIMCHI by Carol MacGregor Cissel (Korea)
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Review — AMERICAN SAHIB by Eddie James Girdner (India)
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“Peace Corps Accomplishment” by James Wolter (Malaysia)

Franklin Rothman (Brazil) publishes BROOKLYN, NY to BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL

  IN JUNE 1969, just three months prior to his Peace Corps project termination conference in Brazil, Frank meets a young Brazilian girl with beautiful blue eyes at a James Bond movie, and twelve days later he asks her to marry him. • Brooklyn, NY to Bocaiúva, Brazil tells the story of the unlikely chain of circumstances which led to Frank meeting Lena. The author traces these circumstances all the way back to his childhood in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he experiences the closeness of his extended Jewish family and the warmth of Puerto Ricans with whom his father came into contact. A homestay with a family in Mexico, in 1964 as part of his undergraduate major in Spanish, heightens his fascination with Latin American culture. Frank tells in a lighthearted manner of his adventures and blunders while hitching rides around Europe in the summer of 1966 . . .

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Review — LEARNING TO LOVE KIMCHI by Carol MacGregor Cissel (Korea)

  Learning to Love Kimchi: Letters Home from a Peace Corps Volunteer Carol MacGregor Cissel (Korea 1973–75) CreateSpace May 2016 274 pages $10.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976–77) • CAROL CISSEL EMBARKED on her Peace Corps odyssey in December, 1973. “We’re in Korea!” she writes home to her mother upon arrival after a journey through Honolulu and Tokyo with her service group. This exclamation forms the opening of Cissel’s memoir, Learning to Love Kimchi. What follows are all the letters she wrote to her mother over the course of her two years working in Korea as an education Volunteer and the months spent touring Southeast Asia after the completion of her service. My own Peace Corps/Korea experience began just a few days after Cissel left the country, so I read these letters with considerable fondness and nostalgia, remembering my own first taste of kimchi, my own . . .

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Review — AMERICAN SAHIB by Eddie James Girdner (India)

  American Sahib (novel) Eddie James Girdner (India 1968–70) CreateSpace March 2016 420 pages $14.90 (paperback) Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) • ONE OF THE GREAT liberties of the on-going tidal wave of self-publishing is that an author can go on as long as he wants. No longer do fussy editors slash and burn their way through your manuscript, no nitpicking gatekeepers naysay your style or plotting, or even the basic value of the endeavor at all. Turn the coin over, however, and the drawbacks are those same things. If engineers were allowed equal liberties, the landscape would be littered with deathtrap bridges. If ballerinas were so free, most would be falling down. In the back jacket copy to Eddie James Girdner’s overlong and plodding American Sahib, someone has lauded the book as, “The only novel ever written about the American Peace Corps experience in rural . . .

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“Peace Corps Accomplishment” by James Wolter (Malaysia)

  A Writer Writes:   Peace Corps Accomplishment by Jim Wolter (Malaysia 1962-66) • Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School had no biology or senior math teacher, no library and a floundering boy scout troop before I arrived. Within weeks my biology and math students were making significant progress, I started a library using my own books and revived the scout troop. So I couldn’t understand why I was being replaced by a new PCV and transferred to Tengku Bariah Secondary School (TBSS). I suggested that the Peace Corps assign the new PCV to TBSS, but was told the Ministry of Education’s decision was final and not open for discussion. Worse, upon reporting to TBSS, I was assigned to teach Islamic Studies to students preparing to sit for the Lower Certificate of Education (LCE). I told the Headmaster I knew nothing about Islam and couldn’t possibly teach it. He said that if . . .

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