Archive - March 2017

1
“On the Merits of Eating Raw Goat Spleens” by Justin Parmenter (Albania)
2
Charlie Peters remembers Appalachia in NYTIMES, Sunday Review
3
“An Unexpected Love Story: The Women of Bati” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)
4
Project Concern International celebrates the Peace Corps, March 1 Anniversary, and RPCV employees
5
RPCV Charles Murray (Thailand 1965-67) shouted down at Middlebury College
6
The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 4
7
Acquital in the Trial of Accused Murderers of PCV Kate Puzey
8
The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 3

“On the Merits of Eating Raw Goat Spleens” by Justin Parmenter (Albania)

  On the Merits of Eating Raw Goat Spleens by Justin Parmenter (Albania 1995–97) • YESTERDAY I WALKED TO KUTAL, a nearby village, with my friend Ali. There we sat for a time with a friend of his, knocked back a few rakis and talked goats. Cute little animals, they are. So much cleaner than sheep and, though it may seem a strange word to describe them, so much more intellectual. I love animals, and it pains me to see the malicious way in which they are sometimes treated here. But for some reason, I thought of these goats as Albanians do. As a luxury. After all, May 1st only happens once a year.  That little black goat I carried back to Permet was Ali’s Dom Perignon, if you know what I mean. When we arrived back in Permet, we found an expert knife wielder who agreed to do the . . .

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Charlie Peters remembers Appalachia in NYTIMES, Sunday Review

  I Remember When Appalachia Wasn’t Trump Country By CHARLES PETERS MARCH 4, 2017 New York Times Sunday Review • I am a liberal from West Virginia. That didn’t used to be unusual. I remember when the people of the state were liberal, and what liberalism meant for their lives. In 2016 a majority of West Virginia’s voters supported Donald J. Trump, and many expressed outright hatred of Barack Obama. But when I was last active in the state’s politics, in 1960, the state was a leader in desegregating schools in response to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. John F. Kennedy won the state by a wide margin, and I was one of an overwhelming majority of Democrats elected to the state’s House of Delegates — along with a handful of Republicans. Today that tiny minority is the majority. So how did we get from there to here? The . . .

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“An Unexpected Love Story: The Women of Bati” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)

  An Unexpected Love Story: The Women of Bati   by John Coyne If the reader prefers, this may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a piece of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.                                                                   Ernest Hemingway A Moveable Feast • AT AN ELEVATION OF 4,000 FEET,  the town of Bati, Ethiopia, off the Dessie Road, is the last highland location before the Danakil Depression. A hard day’s drive from the Red Sea, it’s famous only for its Monday market days when the Afar women of the Danakil Depression walk up the “Great Escarpment” to trade with the Oromo tribe on the plateau. These tribeswomen arrive late on . . .

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Project Concern International celebrates the Peace Corps, March 1 Anniversary, and RPCV employees

(l to r) Mark O’Donnell (Honduras  ) PCI COO; PCDirector Carrie Hessler-Radelet; Gaddie Vasquez (PCDirector 2002-06) never a PCV, Board of PCI; Bob Sullivan (Ethiopia 1968-70) Board PCI Former Peace Corps Director takes helm of International Development Organization SAN DIEGO—Carrie Hessler-Radelet was selected as the new President & CEO of Project Concern International (PCI) by its Board of Directors on February 3. Hessler-Radelet will lead PCI’s efforts working with families and communities in 16 countries to enhance health, end hunger, and overcome hardship. It was 56-years-ago today that President Kennedy established the Peace Corps and began a legacy of Americans serving abroad. Over the years, the Peace Corps has attracted more than 225,000 motivated changemakers to promote world peace and friendship in 141 countries across the globe. The international development community is full of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), and that is especially true here at PCI. While we have . . .

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RPCV Charles Murray (Thailand 1965-67) shouted down at Middlebury College

  Middlebury students chant and shout to prevent Charles Murray from speaking. He later is led to a private location, where a discussion with a professor is live streamed. By Scott Jaschik   March 3, 2017 Students at Middlebury College on Thursday chanted and shouted at Charles Murray, the controversial writer whom many accuse of espousing racist ideas, preventing him from giving a public lecture at the college. Murray had been invited by Middlebury’s student group affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank at which Murray is a scholar. Many of his writings are controversial, but perhaps none more than The Bell Curve, a book that linked intelligence and race and that has been widely condemned by many social scientists (even as Murray has been supported by others). Prior to the point when Murray was introduced, several Middlebury officials reminded students that they were allowed to protest but not to . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 4

The 70s decade produced a series of ETDs — Early Termination Directors. These were Directors who couldn’t hold the position for as long as a PCV’s tour of service. They came and they went from the agency, then they used the ‘good name’ of the Peace Corps as a reference to further their own careers. Most of these Directors had no idea what it meant to be a PCV. The Peace Corps was just another government paycheck to them. The ‘70s had begun with high hopes—at the time, some people thought Nixon ‘liked’ the Peace Corps. There was even a ‘breakfast at the White House with the President that David Searles (Philippines & HQ 1971-76) details in his fine book on the decade, The Peace Corps Experience: Challenge & Change 1969-1976, where Nixon was “talkative” and even posed with the staff for photos. Unfortunately, writes Searles, “the CRV, having learned . . .

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Acquital in the Trial of Accused Murderers of PCV Kate Puzey

Peace Corps has issued the following statement: “The trial in the matter of the 2009 homicide of Peace Corps volunteer Kate Puzey concluded in Benin on February 25, 2017. “Along with her family and friends, we continue to mourn the loss of Kate and we offer them our deepest sympathies during this difficult time. Today and every day, we honor Kate, whose memory is never far from our minds as we continue to build a stronger, more effective Peace Corps. We remain steadfast in our commitment to a Peace Corps that is worthy of Kate’s legacy. The Peace Corps and the Peace Corps Office of Inspector General appreciate the support of the State Department, Justice Department, FBI and the Government of Benin. “https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/peace-corps-statement-conclusion-trial-2009-“homicide-peace-corps-benin-volunteer-kate-puzey/ The official statement makes no mention on the outcome. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports there was an acquittal in the conclusion of the trial.  Read the article . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 3

Why did the Peace Corps suffering such a decline in interest in the early ’70s, especially from younger potential PCVs? Why did the agency begin to ‘disappear’ after the assassination of JFK? Was it the focus of New Directions on ‘experienced’ and skilled volunteers? The War in Vietnam? Or did the ‘married couples with families’ change the image of the Peace Corps? (The ‘new and very brief and unsuccessful focus on married couples did give the agency our famous writer Maria Thomas (Ethiopia 1971-73) who served with her husband and young son and that experience produced some wonderful Peace Corps stories, including, Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage.) With the decline in interest in the Peace Corps, one might ask: why was it so initially successful? Here’s one reason why. The central image of the Peace Corps in the Sixties was captured and promoted ‘free’ on radio and television thanks . . .

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