Archive - 2017

1
Review — IN THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING by Alan Howard
2
6th Annual RPCV Story Slam on Saturday, June 24th in NYC!
3
Review — DEAD COW ROAD by Mark Wentling (Honduras, Togo)
4
New website of Health Justice For Peace Corps Volunteers
5
Novels nominated for Maria Thomas Fiction Award — 2016
6
Thursday, June 22 is Action Day for Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers
7
The Primary Achievement of the 25th Anniversary Conference
8
Laurette Bennhold-Samaan in Samos, Greece: Working with Refugees
9
A Weekend of Deep Nostalgia, the 25th Anniversary Conference
10
Bill Moyers Says It All At The 25th Anniversary Conference

Review — IN THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING by Alan Howard

  In the Land of Eternal Spring by Alan Howard Harvard Square Editions June 2017 305 pages $22.95 (paperback) Reviewed by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala, 1991-93) • If Ernest Hemingway had written a novel about the Guatemalan civil war — or la violencia, as it’s sometimes called — it might well have looked like In the Land of Eternal Spring. Alan Howard’s debut novel features an idealistic hero with a fondness for the ladies, Peter Franklin, and an alluring, brave, but dangerously naïve heroine, Laura Jenson. If you close your eyes slightly as you’re reading Howard’s book, you might think you’ve been transported to the Spain of the 1930s and into Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. Robert Jordan, meet Peter Franklin — you’re soul brothers. Howard’s prose, sometimes effectively functional, often quietly poetic, is reminiscent of Hemingway’s. So, too, is his melancholic tone. This is all a compliment. Howard’s novel . . .

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6th Annual RPCV Story Slam on Saturday, June 24th in NYC!

Join New York RPCVs for the 6th Annual Story Slam on Saturday, June 24th in NYC Got a medical horror story? Can’t stop talking about your digestive track? Did you ever rescue a dog from a latrine? If so, you may have been a Peace Corps Volunteer! Come hear true tales of adventure told LIVE on stage about what it was really like to have the toughest job you’ll ever love. Join us for our 6th Annual Returned Peace Corps Story Slam! As we all know, Peace Corps is 27 months of continuous funny, poignant, and amazing stories. When RPCVs tell stories, they humanize and illuminate places and people with that unique, grassroots, Peace Corps perspective. We’ll have a brand new batch of stories this year, all sure to make you laugh, cringe, and maybe even cry. Suggested contribution of $5 for entry and drinks also available for a donation. Proceeds will support . . .

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Review — DEAD COW ROAD by Mark Wentling (Honduras, Togo)

  Dead Cow Road: Life on the Front Lines of an International Crisis by Mark Wentling (Honduras 1967–69, Togo 1970–73; PC Staff: Togo, Gabon, Niger 1973–77) Page Publishing March 2017 506 pages $24.93 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bob Criso (Nigeria 1966-67, Somalia 1967-68) • Dead Cow Road is an ambitious work of historical fiction told through the eyes of a Foreign Service worker assigned to Somalia during the political struggles and famine crisis in 1992. Mark Wentling combines real and fictional events with real and fictional characters to weave an engrossing and complex tale unfolding during a chaotic time in a desperate country. With over 45 years experience living and working in Africa with the Peace Corps, USAID, US Foreign Service, Care and World Vision, Wentling is well-equipped to be writing about it. He has the rare distinction of having lived or worked in all fifty-four African countries. Ray Read . . .

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New website of Health Justice For Peace Corps Volunteers

Greetings friend of HJPCV – We have some exciting news to share! Thanks to the help of many dedicated and talented individuals we’ve launched a new and improved website – HealthJusticeforPeaceCorpsVolunteers.org As you can see from the link, the website is still at the same address as it has always been – – the only thing that has changed is the more intuitive and user-friendly design of the site. HJPCV’s new website also comes with a more modern email and membership management platform “behind the scenes,” allowing the HJPCV team to better serve our critical mission – helping hurt and injured Volunteers get connected with the resources and information they need to heal and become whole again. A quick technical note – As Google and Microsoft and other internet search companies index our website along with the millions of other websites out there, the new website might bring up a warning message depending on what browser . . .

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Novels nominated for Maria Thomas Fiction Award — 2016

  Novels published in 2016 THE MARIA THOMAS FICTION AWARD, first presented in 1990, is named after the novelist Maria Thomas [Roberta Worrick (Ethiopia 1971–73)] who was the author of the well-reviewed novel Antonia Saw the Oryx First, and two collections of short stories, Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage: And Other Stories and African Visas: A Novella and Stories, all set in Africa. Roberta lost her life in August 1989, while working in Ethiopia for a relief agency. She went down in the plane crash that also killed her husband, Thomas Worrick (Ethiopia 1971–73), and Congressman Mickey Leland of Texas These novels have been nominated for the 2016 Award. If you know of a book that you wish to nominated — published in 2016 — and written by an RPCV or Peace Corps Staff, please let me know: jcoyneone@gmail.com The nominees: The Girl in the Glyphs: A Novel David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) A Peace . . .

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Thursday, June 22 is Action Day for Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers

  NPCA will be in the Halls of Congress to advocate for HR 2259, A.K.A. The Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act, June 22.  NPCA gives eight reasons why we should support this important bill.  If the links within the article do not work, as it is copied and pasted here, then use this link to go directly to the NPCA website.  If you are going to be in the Washington DC area, you can sign up to walk the Halls with other RPCVS.  If that is not an option, then use the link to contact your Congressional Representative. Here is the article: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/articles/eight-reasons-you-should-support-peace-corps-health-legislation “As the Peace Corps community prepares for our 3rd annual Health Justice Awareness Day on June 22nd, here are eight reasons why you should join us on Capitol Hill or make plans to take action to advance Peace Corps health legislation in the House of Representatives (HR 2259, A.K.A. The Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act). The . . .

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The Primary Achievement of the 25th Anniversary Conference

As president of the RPCV of Washington, D.C., Roger Landrum (Nigeria 1961-63) was the major force in creating the 25th Anniversary Conference. I asked Roger to write from his perspective about the event, and I am pleased to publish his comments here. Thank you, Roger. Note JC The Primary Achievement of the 25th Anniversary Conference The most enduring impact of the 25th anniversary conference was engaging the growing number of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer as an organized force supporting the three goals of the Peace Corps. Those of us who initiated and organized the anniversary conference were determined to build more effective RPCV organizations.  The group of Iowa RPCVs who created the National Council of RPCVs (now the NPCA) made an important breakthrough in 1979 by establishing a framework for an independent national alumni organization, but that organization had only a small membership and lacked momentum. The 1986 anniversary conference, . . .

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Laurette Bennhold-Samaan in Samos, Greece: Working with Refugees

Laurette Bennhold-Samaan started working at the Peace Corps in 1995 as the first Cross-Cultural  Specialist with the Peace Corps and pioneered mandatory state-of-the-art cross-cultural training for all Volunteers and Staff in more than 90 countries. After her Peace Corps years, she went to work for the World Bank, and then for several cross-cultural firms until very recently when she found herself out-of-work. This is Laurette’s very new blog that is telling us what she is doing now, and I thought you might all find it interesting. Note: JC Your job is over…. But your work has just begun Hearing the words, “your job is over” from my current employer went over like a lead balloon. Then, after 3 long and arduous months of job searching, I realized that I needed to change directions. I needed to take advantage of the time “off” in between jobs and do something that I have always wanted . . .

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A Weekend of Deep Nostalgia, the 25th Anniversary Conference

Many RPCVs had traveled to the conference primarily to be united with old friends. Friday evening, they were involved in hundreds of parties around the city. One street was cordoned off in the Adams Morgan area of D.C. for dancing and food. The restaurants of that area—Meskerem, the Red Sea, The Manilla, and others—were filled with RPCVs. Loret Miller Ruppe got her family to donate Miller beer for an international festival on the Mall that Sunday afternoon. There was a Caribbean band, I recall, plus the Izalco and Asian dance troupe, and the Kankouran, an African dance troupe, which had hundreds of volunteers up and dancing to African drums. “You could tell the volunteers from Africa by how they danced,” said Mark Hallett (Philippines 1983-85). Paul Wood (Nepal 1965-67) wrote in the Sebastapol Times and News of his time in D.C., “We could be free with each other in ways . . .

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Bill Moyers Says It All At The 25th Anniversary Conference

What most of us remember of the weekend were Sargent Shriver’s comments under the big tent on the Mall and Bill Moyers’ speech in Arlington National Cemetery Ampitheatre. A ‘heads’ up’ to Sally Collier (Ethiopia 1962-64) for reminding me that Moyers’ talk should be published and shared with all the RPCVs and Staff who were not in Washington that bright September Sunday morning in 1986, or who joined the Peace Corps in the years since our 25th Anniversary Celebration. Remarks by Bill Moyers At the Peace Corps’ 25th Anniversary Memorial Service September 21,1986 Those men and women whose memory we honor today—volunteers and staff—would not wish us to be sentimental, to make heroic their living or to bestow martyrdom on their dying. I never met a volunteer who did not wince at the tales of idealism and sacrifice spun by Peace Corps/Washington in the cause of plump budgets and rave . . .

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