Archive - 2017

1
John Ashford’s (Botswana) DUSTY LAND published by Peace Corps Writers
2
PCV Accused of Murdering His Wife (Tanzania)
3
Stop! Do Not Toss or Shred, SAVE
4
Review — CRESCENT BEACH by David Mather (Chile)
5
First Volunteers to Ethiopia in 1962 sing Christmas carols for the Emperor
6
JFK Sends a Message of Peace Across Time For the Ages
7
Send Me A Christmas Tale From Your Peace Corps Days
8
Another RPCV achieves another first (Kenya)
9
Doing the Blitz by Hal Fleming (Washington, D.C.)
10
“Tequila and Temblors“ by John Krauskopf (Iran)

John Ashford’s (Botswana) DUSTY LAND published by Peace Corps Writers

  IT WAS A GREAT RELIEF for John Ashford to realize that he was going to do something new in his life. In his mid-fifties and happily married to his second wife, Gen, John wanted to feel as passionate about work and life as he had felt when he started teaching thirty years earlier — and he was going to be a Peace Corps Volunteer! With some convincing, and a short stint volunteering with him in a refugee camp in Thailand, Gen agreed to be John’s fellow adventurer and join the Peace Corps to serve in Botswana in southern Africa. Once in Botswana,  John began taking notes about his “new” life with an inkling that he would publish a book about his experiences. He kept a journal of conversations, cultural differences, people and their idiosyncrasies, and what it was like being a middle-aged Westerner in Africa. When the Ashford’s two years . . .

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PCV Accused of Murdering His Wife (Tanzania)

PCV Accused of Murdering His Wife in Tanzania by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64; APCD Ethiopia 1965-67; PC/W & NY 1995-2000) OVER THE FORTY YEARS OF THE PEACE CORPS more than one PCV has slipped a thick blank-paged journal into their luggage, ready to record their experience while on this great new adventure. Many, of course, think that perhaps someday they’ll turn all the notes into a novel or a memoir. Paul Theroux, for example, used his journals in writing his 1989 novel, My Secret History, which is set partly in Malawi and Uganda. Mike Tidwell turned to his journals when he wrote The Ponds of Kalamabayi about his time in Zaire. And Kathleen Coskran used the journals she kept in Ethiopia for several of her stories in her prize-winning collection, The High Price of Everything. But it was the journal of another PCV, William Kinsey, which first brought Peace Corps writers into international . . .

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Stop! Do Not Toss or Shred, SAVE

  Peace Corps history is written in the memories and hearts of the people we served as Peace Corps Volunteers. It is contained in the stories we tell each other and the books written by RPCVs. There is another critically important source for Peace Corps history. It is in the letters, the reports, the photos, and the videos from your Peace Corps service. Now as Peace Corps, the agency, reduces its historical footprint, your memorabilia must be preserved.  Peace Corps has not had an in-house library for over fifteen years. It does not accept any donations from RPCVs to archive. The National Archives and Record Administration archives federal records from federal agencies, not individuals. We are in process of asking if they would accept documents from RPCVs.  However, right now, there are three archives, which are currently accepting personal memorabilia from RPCVs.  Please consider donating your items. Here are the . . .

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Review — CRESCENT BEACH by David Mather (Chile)

  Crescent Beach by David J. Mather (Chile 1968–70) Peace Corps Writers March 2016 426 pages $14.95 (paperback), $7.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976-77)   • THIS WELL-WRITTEN NOVEL with a unique setting and very interesting, well developed characters who the author treats sympathetically. Author David Mather holds our interest by mixing background about Florida’s rural “Big Bend” region on the Gulf Coast and each character into the ongoing action of the story. It is a page-turner that is difficult to put down. The characters support each other and care for each other in heart-warming ways. By the end of the book, readers feel like they know these people and would be happy to have them for neighbors. The dialog is peppered with colorful, often humorous, local expressions. The author’s use of multiple narrators enhances the readers’ understanding of the different characters by allowing . . .

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Send Me A Christmas Tale From Your Peace Corps Days

Coyne Babbles On About Christmas In Ethiopia Doug Kiker was from Griffin, Georgia and had early success as a short story writer while still a student at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, majoring in English. There’s a story about how he wanted to get published and he picked up Martha Foley’s short stories collection, went to the rear of the book and found the list of short-story publishers, closed his eyes and punched in the dark. He hit the Yale Review, to which he promptly submitted a short story. And they accepted his story. While still in college he worked as a reporter, covering the Senate race between Strom Thurmond and Olin Johnston. After college he joined the navy and was commissioned an Ensign, serving in Korean War. Discharged, he returned to Atlanta and worked at the Atlanta Journal and covered the first sit-ins at lunch counters in North Carolina. Out of . . .

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Another RPCV achieves another first (Kenya)

Kristen Roupenian (Kenya 2003-05) is the author of the short story “Cat Person”  which became a viral phenomenon after appearing in The New Yorker this month. She just received a seven-figure book deal that  Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker’s fiction editor, commented, “We have not seen anything like that with fiction.” The story in The New Yorker, has become the magazine’s second most-read article in 2017.  Kristen’s collection, You Know You Want This is the first of a two-book deal that includes an untitled novel. In an interview on The New Yorker website, Kristen says, “I always wanted to be a writer, but I spent most of my twenties doing anything and everything else. I did the Peace Corps in Kenya, and I was a nanny for a while, and then I spent a long time in graduate school, studying African literature. It’s only in the past five years that I’ve really . . .

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Doing the Blitz by Hal Fleming (Washington, D.C.)

Doing the Blitz Peace Corps Recruitment in the ’60s by Hal Fleming (Staff: PC/W 1966–68; CD Cote d’Ivoire 1968–72) IN 1966, I CAME DOWN TO WASHINGTON from New York. It was a time in our country when the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War divided the nation. I had been tapped to work as a staff member in the Public Affairs and Recruiting office for the Peace Corps. On my very first work day in Peace Corps/Washington, I was told to join Warren Wiggins, the Deputy Director of the Agency, in his government car for a one-hour ride to a conference for new campus recruiters at Tidewater Inn in Easton, Maryland. Wiggins, preoccupied with his opening speech to the conclave, said very little to me except to read out a phrase or two of buzz-word laden prose, mostly unintelligible to me as the new guy, and ask for my . . .

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“Tequila and Temblors“ by John Krauskopf (Iran)

  Tequila and Temblors by John Krauskopf (Iran 1965–67) PEACE CORPS TRAINING was intensive and stressful. Superficially, it seemed a lot like the college culture most of us had recently left. Walking around the University of Texas campus in Austin had a familiar feel since we lived in a dorm and attended classes much like any other students. However, the regimentation of fourteen-hour days was an unwelcome novelty. Back at the University of Michigan, when I put in a fourteen-hour day or pulled an all-nighter, I had arranged that torture for myself. In the Peace Corps training program, we surrendered complete control of our waking hours. Classes started at 7:00 am, and every minute was programmed until at least 9:00 pm. In the third week, there was a mini-revolt over the lack of time to go to the store or take care of personal business. The staff seemed to be . . .

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