Archive - 2017

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A Peace Corps Icon – The Baby Snugli
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What our children show us — and the world
3
Review: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND AVOID SACRED COWS by David Macaray (India)
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Bike Trip to Massawa and the Red Sea
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Why preserve the Peace Corps?
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Remember this Peace Corps poster?
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Review: MAIL FROM KYRGYZSTAN by Michael Licwinko (Kyrgyzstan)
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Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia) publishes TALES OF FAMILY TRAVEL with Peace Corps Writers
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Peace Corps staging in Philly
10
Larry Berube (Morocco) publishes NUNS, NAM & HENNA

A Peace Corps Icon – The Baby Snugli

  From a single tooth, an Anthropologist can reconstruct a whole culture, a whole epoch. Watching a single dedicated nun, one can deduct the rules of a whole Order, was the observation in the novel, “A Nun’s Story”. So it is with Peace Corps. The Snugli and the generations of baby carriers it inspired exemplify the Peace Corps mission. If every time, someone saw a baby being carried close to a parent, he or she thought, “Ah, that started with a Peace Corps Volunteer”. If every time, a Mom plunked a crying infant into a baby carrier, close to her heart, and the baby calmed immediately, the Mom said, as I did, “Thank you Peace Corps”, “Thank you Anne Moore” then, maybe we would not have to hear: “Why preserve the Peace Corps when no one cares or has even heard about it?” I think the story of RPCV Ann . . .

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What our children show us — and the world

   Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Jackie Dinneen recently the White House Liaison and also Director of Gifts and Grants Management at the Peace Corps. — JC Note What Our Children Show Us — and the World COMMENTARY From RealClearPolitics By Mark Salter, RCP Contributor February 22, 2017 • Our daughter accepted an assignment as a Peace Corps volunteer yesterday. I’ll leave out the particulars of the job except to note she will be living on the other side of the world in a remote location without electricity or plumbing, and she won’t be home for two years and two months. Her mother and father are experiencing equal measures of pride and dread, and suffering what you might call anticipatory separation anxiety. She won’t leave for several months yet, but I already find myself looking at her picture several times a day. We are going to miss and worry about her constantly. In . . .

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Review: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND AVOID SACRED COWS by David Macaray (India)

    How to Win Friends & Avoid Sacred Cows: Weird Adventures in India: Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims When the Peace Corps was New by David Macaray (India 1967-68) The Ardent Writer Press (Brownsboro, Alabama) December 2016 291 pages $29.95 (hardcover), $19.95 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Kitty Thuermer (PCV/Mali 1977-79) • Every Peace Corps Volunteer has a near-death story. For David Macaray, supplementing his diet of curry and rice with a ball of opium did the trick. But not to worry. Had he died, he wrote, “Our mothers and fathers would have received the obligatory telegram from the State Department: ‘Dear Parent: [stop] Your son ate opium, passed out, and set house on fire. [stop] He is deceased. [stop] Details to follow.” Fifty years later, one wonders if Macaray, in a fit of nostalgia, ingested a bit of opium while organizing this sometimes heartbreaking, but mostly hilarious, book. Because it’s not really . . .

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Bike Trip to Massawa and the Red Sea

My first trip to Massawa, Eritrea, was by bike. In January of 1963, our first group of PCVs to Ethiopia, some 280 + of us, assembled for a conference in Asmara. On Friday, January 11th, between our workshops, four of us: Tim Bodman, Charles Michener, Ernie Fox, and myself, decide to rent bikes for the six hours ride down the mountains, into the Danakil desert, and to the Red Sea. Starting before sunrise we peddled five miles to the edge of the mountains. At that level, we were above the clouds that enclose the valleys and encased the rugged mountains pikes and lay perfectly still, billows of white and gray, with the red sun coming up out of them like a sore thumb. It was cold when we pushed off down the mountain and for a while we were bothered with the wind that froze our fingers to the hand . . .

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Why preserve the Peace Corps?

A good friend recently asked me: “Why preserve the Peace Corps when no one cares or has even heard about it?” In this new administration where there is talk of cutting government departments and programs, many RPCVs are concerned about what will happen to the agency. Once before, under the Nixon Administration, the agency was cut and smothered into ACTION before being rescued by President Carter and returned to its lawful place as a separate agency. I want to write an article about why the Peace Corps is valuable to Americans and the world. I was hoping you might have specific examples to send me and give me permission to quote your name and years and country of service. Send your reply to: jcoyneone@gmail.com Here are some topics I’ve thought about, and you may have other issues and ideas to contribute. Thank you for your help.  Tell me your story. Most . . .

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Remember this Peace Corps poster?

Do you remember this painting by Peter Max Peter Max drew this Peace Corps poster, to the best of my memory, in the late ‘60s and it was using in Peace Corps recruiting on college campuses. For those new to the Peace Corps (or the world of art) Max was a master of Pop Art and the culture of the ‘60s. His work was first associated with the counter culture, neo-expressionism, and psychedelic movements in graphic design during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Max is famous for using American icons and symbols in his artwork. He has created paintings of several presidents, i.e. Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and the Clintons. He often features images of celebrities, politicians, athletes and sporting events and other pop culture subjects in his artwork, and, of course, the Peace Corps!  

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Review: MAIL FROM KYRGYZSTAN by Michael Licwinko (Kyrgyzstan)

  Mail from Kyrgyzstan: My Life as an Over-50 Peace Corps Volunteer Michael Licwinko (Kyrgyzstan (2008–10) Self-Published November 2016 300 pages $15.99 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Catherine Varchaver (PC/HQ 1990–94; Kyrgyzstan APCD 1995–97)   • In this journal-like collection of annotated blogs and emails, Michael Licwinko sketches a lucid, patient portrait of life as an older Peace Corps Volunteer posted in a remote corner of Central Asia. Licwinko takes us from 2008 to 2010 and gives us a glimpse into the culture and people of Kyrgyzstan — and some of the satisfying and shadowy sides of the Peace Corps experience. If you want to take a virtual trip to Kyrgyzstan by reading one man’s observations and stories, this will help you travel Lonely Planet style — on the cheap, with plenty of “local (post-Soviet) color” and details on what to expect. This isn’t about places to visit and cool things to do. This is about local . . .

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Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia) publishes TALES OF FAMILY TRAVEL with Peace Corps Writers

  In Kay Gillies Dixon’s new book, Tales of Family Travel: Bathrooms of the World, she chronicles her family’s globe trotting through Rome, Kenya, Cyprus and parts beyond. Returned Peace Corps Volunteer parents Kevin and Kay Dixon embraced a passion for travel that they hoped to imprint on their four daughters. In the late 1970s, Kevin landed a contract to work in Saudi Arabia. The Dixons could not pack their bags fast enough. This was the opportunity to provide two fundamental values to their children — roots and wings. The author narrates their story with finesse and descriptions that take you along on the journey. Their child-centric exploits lead them to unimaginable experiences that otherwise might have been missed. A day visiting a Maasai settlement nearly takes a deep dive when their precocious toddler wanders away. Determined to go on an elephant safari in Nepal sends them river rafting after their . . .

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Peace Corps staging in Philly

  This is a short essay that appeared on LinkedIn from a woman who calls herself Kewatki2. She says she is a ‘student and childcare’ person from Salisbury, NC and she wrote this on February 3, 2017 as she prepared to leave ‘staging’ and head overseas for Africa and her Peace Corps assignment. I thought you might enjoy reading it and it will also bring back your memories of your time at Staging. JC note. • STAGE ME Friday, February 3, 2017 Whoa. This past year has been long. Each year that goes by makes me less familiar with the Me I was the year before. In March of 2016 I started the journey through my application to serve in the US Peace Corps. Honestly, I didn’t think I would make the cut. I had been filling my mind with reasons why I should wait “a little bit longer” so . . .

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Larry Berube (Morocco) publishes NUNS, NAM & HENNA

  Nuns, Nam & Henna: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose has been published by Larry Berube (Morocco 1977–79). The poems and prose  are recollections from his boyhood experiences at St. Peter’s Orphanage in Manchester, New Hampshire, from the age six to twelve; his time as a young soldier in the U.S. Army with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam; and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco where he worked in small villages of the Middle Atlas Mountain region of Morocco on various water projects. Nuns Nam & Henna is an honest, straightforward — and sometimes heartbreaking — account of the author’s story. Larry says that he “writes with humor when he can, and with an absence of victimhood all the time.” Larry Berube was born in Nashua, New Hampshire. He has a B.A. in Writing and Communications from Rivier College. The author lives in Dunedin, Florida. • Nuns, Nam & Henna: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose . . .

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