Archive - March 2017

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Review: AIN’T NO ELEPHANTS IN TIMBUCKTU by John H. Sime (Mali)
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New books by Peace Corps writers — February 2017
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Dr. Brendan Goff speaks on the Peace Corps: The New Frontier in Action
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Review: DRUMS FOR A LOST SONG, translated by Rob Gunther (Ecuador)
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Senator Tim Kaine Writes RPCV Dan Campbell (El Salvador)
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Regional Meeting by Anson K. Lihosit (Panama)
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Looking for an Editor to Help You Write Your Book? Check Out RPCV Chuck Lustig!
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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 8
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The first class of MFA Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs at National University begins on April 10, 2017.
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Talking with Sabra Moore (Guinea)

Review: AIN’T NO ELEPHANTS IN TIMBUCKTU by John H. Sime (Mali)

  Ain’t No Elephants in Timbucktu: Prose and Poetry of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali by John H. Sime (Mail 1976-78) CreateSpace February 2017 208 pages $16.95 (paperback) Reviewed by Kitty Thuermer (PCV/Mali 1977-79) • IN 1975, WHEN MY SISTER finished her Peace Corps/Zaire service — she left her journal behind. On purpose. Two years later, when she stepped outside her New York City walk up — there it was, peeking out of a shredded package — haunting her. How many of us would share our Peace Corps journal with friends — much less publish it? John Sime would. He has opened up his heart — and excerpts of his journal — for all the world to see. If you wonder why Volunteers keep journals (aside from the obvious therapeutic value), John has an answer:  “One thing about this journal writing business — it makes me a character in a continuing book. . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — February 2017

  To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com — Click on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? — Send a note to peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. • Nuns, Nam & Henna: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose Larry Berube (Morocco 1977–79) Peace Corps Writers January, 2017 68 pages $5.95 (paperback), $1.99 (Kindle) • Nurse Patch-It’s Diary: The Diary of a Public School Nurse & Clown (Peace Corps memoir) Barbara  Kaare-Lopez (Honduras 1978–80) Outskirts Press August 2016 428 pages $19.95 (paperback) • One Man’s Maine: Essays on a Love Affair Jim  Krosschell (Korea 1975–77) Brattleboro, VT: Green Writers Press May . . .

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Dr. Brendan Goff speaks on the Peace Corps: The New Frontier in Action

  Dr. Brendan Goff of New College of Florida met Harris Wofford for the first time when Harris was a senator in Washington. It was then that Goff learned of the role Wofford played in the creation of the Peace Corps. Speaking recently at a meeting of the Gulf Coast RPCVs group, he gave his perspective on the creation of the agency. He has kindly agreed to let me republish his presentation to the RPVCs about his studies. Footnotes to this academic article were removed. If interested in Dr. Goff’s writings email him at New College of Florida — bgoff@ncf.edu. • The Peace Corps:  The New Frontier in Action In the fall of 1991, I worked as an intern in the office of Senator Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania. I chose to do my internship with Senator Wofford because of his strong stance on the need for health care reform.  But I was soon . . .

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Review: DRUMS FOR A LOST SONG, translated by Rob Gunther (Ecuador)

  Drums for a Lost Song (novel) by Jorge Velasco Mackenzie Rob Gunther (Ecuador 2009–2002) (Translator) Hanging Loose Press 200 pages March 2017 $18.00 (paperback) Reviewed by Jim Criste (PC Staff/Ecuador 1999-02) • Ecuador is an incredibly diverse country in so many ways. Jorge Velasco Mackenzie takes us on a journey through one part of that diverse country, the western lowlands along the Pacific Coast, to places both known and unknown, real and imagined. Drums for a Lost Song seems to be the literary equivalent of a school of painting in Ecuador known as “Magical Realism.” This is pointed out clearly by the translator in his afterword where he cites, “One of Velasco’s themes is the slippery nature of what we call “facts” or “truth. . .,” which just shows that Velasco was ahead of his time in the use of “alternate facts.” The reader is challenged not only to sort out what may . . .

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Senator Tim Kaine Writes RPCV Dan Campbell (El Salvador)

Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77) wrote a letter to his senator– Tim Kaine–asking for support for the Peace Corps in the upcoming budget. I thought we would all like to read it and asked Dan if I might share it with you. Thanks, Dan. Dear Mr. Campbell: Thank you for contacting me about the Peace Corps.  I appreciate hearing from you. Since 1961, the Peace Corps has challenged nearly 220,000 Americans to serve in over 140 countries and to help people in need.  In the process, Peace Corps volunteers have helped develop hundreds of communities around the world while promoting a better understanding of the American people.  Currently, about 6,800 volunteers, including over 200 Virginians, serve in 64 countries, mostly in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  I strongly believe that this service helps advance the national interests of the United States. I understand the value of serving . . .

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Regional Meeting by Anson K. Lihosit (Panama)

  Regional Meeting by Anson K. Lihosit (Panama, 2015-17) • At breakfast, the family I stayed with told me that the goat was already tied up outside. They gave me an extra plate of rice and a bucket. “Now that it is here, you’ll have to feed it and give it water twice a day,” they said as they glanced at each other, grinning. I walked up the hill in between my host family’s home and their son’s home.  As I approached, the goat ran as far as the short leash permitted trying to avoid me. I got as close as possible, dumped the rice and left the bucket of water. The goat, tied to a tree in a strange place with strangers, kept jerking that rope. The next morning, three American friends awaited me at my host family’s restaurant. After breakfast, we lugged wooden tables, chairs and cooking utensils . . .

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Looking for an Editor to Help You Write Your Book? Check Out RPCV Chuck Lustig!

Chuck Lustig (Colombia, 1967-68) novelist, editor and an Iowa Writers’ Workshop MFA graduate. Some of his instructors at Iowa: John Irving, John Leggett and Gail Godwin. Currently finishing part one of his four-part Peace Corps hero saga entitled Charging the Jaguar (the story of a PCV turned Colombian drug lord), Chuck Lustig is available for: Writer’s coach therapy sessions by telephone or Skype: Tell me your writing challenges; let me listen and only then suggest possible options/solutions; Line-by-line edits of manuscripts; and Editorial critiques of Peace Corps novels and memoirs. Your immediate opportunity: Subscribe to Chuck Lustig’s monthly ExcitingWriting Advisory. Cost: Gratis. (Chuck has been bringing out a new issue of his newsletter every month for the past 15 years. Content also appears as a blog. For a number of years now, Chuck has been reviewing a different book about writing every month. For sample content, visit my blog at . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 8

Carol Bellamy was nominated to be Peace Corps Director by Bill Clinton. The Senate confirmed her for the position on October 7, 1993. Leaving Bears Steams, where she was managing director, she was Peace Corps Director until May 1, 1995. President Clinton then nominated her to be head of UNICEF. One of Carol’s many claims to fame is that she is the first RPCV (Guatemala 1963-65) to be Director of the agency. How she got the appointing is an interesting and typical Washington story of how people get jobs in D.C. Maureen Orth (Columbia 1964-66) attending a Georgetown party shortly after Clinton was elected mentioned to the president-elect that the Peace Corps never had an RPCV director. Maureen told me, “Clinton’s eyes widened, hearing that news.” It was clear he understood he could be the one to nominate a ‘first” for the job.   Clinton also would nominate Chuck Baquet (Somalia 1965-67) . . .

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The first class of MFA Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs at National University begins on April 10, 2017.

The first class of MFA Creative Writing for PCVs and RPCVs at National University begins on April 10, 2017. This total online graduate degree program will begin with a seminar in Creative Nonfiction. Students write and critique each others’ original work in an online workshop-style format. Through presentation and critique of published and student-generated work, students will advance their understanding of the genre’s many forms, including memoir, autobiography, nature writing, literary journalism, and the personal essay. The course is being taught by novelist and nonfiction writer John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64). If interested in enrolling in this special MFA program, contact John Coyne at jcoyneone@gmail.com, or Frank Montesonti, Lead Faculty at National University at fmontesonti@nu.edu.

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Talking with Sabra Moore (Guinea)

Sabra Moore (Guinea 1964-66) an artist and activist before, during, and after her Peace Corps years has just published her memoir of twenty-two years in New York working as an artist and freelance photo editor. The book is entitled, Openings: A Memoir from the Women’s Art Movement, New York City 1970-1992. Her book also goes back to her Peace Corps years and her childhood in east Texas. I recently interviewed Sabra about her career, in and out of the Peace Corps, and her current life in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Sabra, what was your background before the Peace Corps?  I grew up in east Texas- my grandparents were farmers, my father organized for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and was a railroad engineer for the Cotton Belt and my mother was a dedicated first-grade school teacher. I graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a BA cum laude and studied in the liberal . . .

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