Archive - July 2017

1
Review — DIFFERENT LATITUDES by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala)
2
Third Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Of That Wide Water, Inescapable” by Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde)
3
Peace Corps Writers: Sell Your Books at NPCA Conference This August
4
Second Prize Peace Corps Fund Awards: “Samarkand Calling” by Beatrice Hogan (Uzbekistan)
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Review — GOING TO MEXICO: STORIES OF MY PEACE CORPS SERVICE by David H. Greegor (Mexico)
6
“How Trump Is Transforming Rural America” by Peter Heller (China)
7
First Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: Penye Nia, Pana Njia by Kristen Grauer-Gray (Tanzania)
8
First Peace Corps Fund Writing Award Winners
9
More funding for civic service programs?
10
Michael Meyer’s (China) new book coming In October

Review — DIFFERENT LATITUDES by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala)

  Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) Peace Corps Writers April, 2017 332 pages $18.00 (paperback), $5.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by John Holley (Colombia 1968–70) • I WAS ASKED to review this book because my life’s work parallels Mr. Walkers in many ways: we both got our start in the Peace Corps, and worked in international development. Furthermore, the Walkers have a strong tie with Guatemala where I attempted to make it my permanent home but failed. Furthermore, having moved around a lot and worked in 50 countries, I have lived a similar family life, and could easily relate to Mr. Walker’s experience. My work, however, was very different from Mark’s: I worked in mainstream development, improving health care systems and programs, hired at one time or another by most of the major donors, such as the World Bank, various UN agencies, USAID . . .

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Third Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Of That Wide Water, Inescapable” by Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde)

  Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde 1998-2000) is the author of two books of poems, Bartram’s Garden and The Book of Sleep (both from Carnegie Mellon University Press). Her  poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, and many others. Eleanor’s Peace Corps memoir, História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands, received the 2014 Peace Corps Writers Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award. She was a 2014/2016 Fulbright fellow to Brazil, where she researched and wrote about traditional midwifery. She lives now in the Philadelphia area. • Of That Wide Water, Inescapable • We live in an old chaos of the sun, Or old dependency of day and night, Or island solitude, unsponsored, free, Of that wide water, inescapable. from “Sunday Morning,” Wallace Stevens • MY HOUSE ON THE ISLAND of Fogo was built into the side of the volcano. When I moved in, Gustinha . . .

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Second Prize Peace Corps Fund Awards: “Samarkand Calling” by Beatrice Hogan (Uzbekistan)

  Beatrice Hogan served in the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in Uzbekistan (1992-94), and in 2001, returned to the region as an International Reporting Project (IRP) Fellow. She’s worked as a book editor, a radio reporter, and a magazine researcher, and her work has appeared in More, Business 2.0 and Marie Claire, among other publications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown and a master’s in international affairs from Columbia. • Samarkand Calling WE WERE IN UZBEKISTAN, heading for Bukhara, an historic city about four hours outside Samarkand, when a soldier flagged down our car with a white baton. My husband and I stared at each other nervously as our driver pulled into the checkpoint. I was in Central Asia on a month-long journalism fellowship; Kevin had come along as my photographer. The soldier demanded our passports and disappeared into a roadside shack. I realized that . . .

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Review — GOING TO MEXICO: STORIES OF MY PEACE CORPS SERVICE by David H. Greegor (Mexico)

    Going To Mexico: Stories of My Peace Corps Service by David H. Greegor (Mexico 2007-11) CreateSpace Publisher April 2017 132 pages $14.99 (paperback), $6.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bob Criso (Nigeria 1966-67, Somalia 1967-68) • DAVID H. GREEGOR’S Going To Mexico is a short, light and breezy collection of anecdotes and vignettes that illustrate various aspects of rural Mexican culture during the author’s Peace Corps service. Mr. Greegor and his wife Sonya, both older PCVs, lived in Queretaro, Mexico from 2007 to 2010 and worked as environmental advisors in nearby pueblos. David worked on deforestation and erosion while Sonya promoted environmental education. Having lived in Tuscon, Arizona, they had been to Mexico many times, but it was their adventures in the small pueblos that revealed a different, more indigenous, Mexico to them and became their most memorable experiences. More like a diary or a journal than a memoir, Going To Mexico . . .

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“How Trump Is Transforming Rural America” by Peter Heller (China)

  This is a brilliant article by Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) in the current issue of The New Yorker. My only regret is that in the bio about Peter they never mention his Peace Corps service. It’s as if he never served in the army, was a Boy Scout, or was a bed wetter as a child. Nevertheless, we PCVs will prevail. — JC ♦ How Trump Is Transforming Rural America In Colorado, the President’s tone has started rubbing off on residents. By Peter Hessler When Karen Kulp was a child, she believed that the United States of America as she knew it was going to end on June 6, 1966. Her parents were from the South, and they had migrated to Colorado, where Kulp’s father was involved in mining operations and various entrepreneurial activities. In terms of ideology, her parents had started with the John Birch Society, and then they became more . . .

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First Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: Penye Nia, Pana Njia by Kristen Grauer-Gray (Tanzania)

  Kristen Grauer-Gray served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Karatu District, Tanzania from 2007 to 2010. She taught chemistry and biology at a rural secondary school, managed the school science lab, and contributed to a manual for Peace Corps Volunteers on how to conduct experiments using cheap, local materials. She is serving now as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Liberia, where she is teaching chemistry and education classes at a community college. The following is a true story from her service in Tanzania. Some names have been changed, but all events are true to the best of her memory. •   Penye Nia, Pana Njia [Where there’s a goal, the road is wide. — Swahili proverb]   “I’D LOVE FOR HER to continue with her education,” Rehema’s mother says. “But there’s the problem of the cow.” I’m sitting in the house where Rehema grew up. The dirt floor is . . .

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First Peace Corps Fund Writing Award Winners

First Peace Corps Fund Writing Award Winners The Peace Corps Fund announces its first 2017 writing contest winners. Prizes range from First Prize of $1000, Second Prize $750. Third Prize $500 and numerous Honorable Mentions. Top prizes will be published on the Peace Corps Worldwide website and promoted throughout the Peace Corps community. Eligible for these writing awards were Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Former Peace Corps Staff. Submissions were judged on how well they advanced the Third Goal of the Peace Corps Act: To increase the understanding of the peoples served on the part of Americans Founded in 2003, the Peace Corps Fund is an independent, 501-c-3 nonprofit organization founded by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to support and advance the Third Goal of the Peace Corps. Congratulations to everyone who submitted an essay or poem. The winners are! First Prize–$1,000 Penye Nia, Pana Njia by Kristen Grauer-Gray (Tanzania 2007-10 . . .

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More funding for civic service programs?

  Representative Jared Huffman (D.CA) has introduced legislation that would provide more funding for Peace Corps as well as other service programs.  I would think that there is little chance of the legislation passing.  However, it is comprehensive;  provides incentatives for serving; and, may provide a great model for some future Congress. — JR Read article here. • Huffman seeks more funding for civic service programs by Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal POSTED: 07/10/17, 5:59 PM PDT | 4 COMMENTS   Rep. Jared Huffman has introduced a bill that calls for increased funding for the Peace Corps and similar domestic service programs such as VISTA and AmeriCorps. The International and National Service Promotion to Ignite Renewed Engagement (INSPIRE) Act would provide a new education grant to Peace Corps volunteers and would increase an existing education grant for domestic service volunteers. The bill would also increase loan forgiveness for volunteer teachers . . .

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Michael Meyer’s (China) new book coming In October

  In 1995, at the age of twenty-three, Michael Meyer, after rejecting offers to go to seven other countries, was selected for the new China program and sent to a tiny town in Sichuan, China. Going there, he wrote Chinese words up and down his arms so he could hold conversations, and per a Communist dean’s orders, jumped into explaining to his students the Enlightenment, the stock market, and Beatles lyrics. Thus began his impassioned immersion into Chinese life. Michael has spent most of the last twenty years living and working on China’s urban and rural halves, learning to understand its people, culture, and conflicts as very few from the West ever have. His new book The Road to Sleeping Dragon chronicles the journey that he made to understand China. As he has done with his other books, Michael puts readers in his novice shoes, introducing them to a fascinating cast . . .

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