Archive - July 2017

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Sixth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: Discovering Bhagawan by Sara Wagner (Nepal)
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RPCV lobbying the White House for Peace Corps directorship
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Sixth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Hyena Man” by Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia)
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Sixth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Honey for the Heart” by Brian Minalga (Niger)
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Review — SEASONED by Tom Zink (Micronesia)
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Fifth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Where Carbs Mean Friendship” by Lucas Gosdin (Peru)
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Trump, Lies, and the Peace Corps
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Fifth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “The Stories We Tell” by GraceAnne Heater (Rwanda)
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Fourth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: Peace Corps Poems by Earl Huband (Oman)
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More “Fall Out” from Hessler’s Letter From Colorado (Spain)

Sixth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: Discovering Bhagawan by Sara Wagner (Nepal)

Sara Wagner (Nepal 1996-98) left the United States for the first time on the cusp of her 24th birthday, to become a Community Health Volunteer Coordinator with the Peace Corps. Upon returning Stateside, she delved into public health on the country’s largest tribal nation, with the Navajo Area Indian Health Service. She has lived in Northern Arizona for the past 18 years yet still feels an affinity for distant Himals rising in the north, foothills and river valleys cascading down from every direction, flowing to India, to everywhere – for taking a step back in time, as if into a storybook, to a simpler time and place, awakened her heart. While it sometimes feels like this experience never happened, something, or someone, always comes along to remind her that she did not imagine it, that these people who embody love are real.   Discovering Bhagawan By Sara Wagner A magnificent sunset engulfed . . .

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RPCV lobbying the White House for Peace Corps directorship

I had a long conversation this morning with an RPCV who is lobbying the White House to be the next director of the Peace Corps. (Yes, Virginia, there are Republican RPCVs). The candidate wants to be Director to improve the agency and the role of PCVs overseas. This former Volunteer served for three years in the Peace Corps, in Africa, and in the early ’70s.  A successful business person who wants to improve the agency, the candidate is seeking ‘your ideas’ to take to any forthcoming meetings with the Trump Administration.  You can post your opinions and ideas on the site now and I’ll see that the RPCV candidate receives the information. This RPCV candidate for Director will also be attending the NPCA Conference next week in Colorado. The candidate will send me the time and location where you can talk personally in Denver and share your ideas. I’ll post the information . . .

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Sixth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Hyena Man” by Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia)

  Jeanne D’Haem, Ph.D. (Somalia 1968-70) is currently an associate professor of Special Education and Counselling at William Paterson University in New Jersey. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia. She served as an English and math teacher in Arabsiyo and Hargeisa, and taught adult education classes and sponsored the first Girl Guide troop in Hargeisa. Jeanne was a director of special services and a special education teacher for over thirty years. As a writer, she has published two prize-winning books and numerous journal articles. The Last Camel, (1997) published by The Red Sea Press won the Peace Corps Paul Cowan Peace Corps Writers Award for nonfiction. Desert Dawn with Waris Dirie (2001) has been translated into more than twenty languages. It was on the best seller list in Germany for over a year where it was awarded the Corine Prize for nonfiction. Her most recent book is Inclusion: The Dream . . .

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Sixth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Honey for the Heart” by Brian Minalga (Niger)

  Brian Minalga (Niger 2008-10, Namibia 2010-12) served as an educator in the Peace Corps in Niger and Namibia. He then was a Peace Corps Recruiter from 2013-2014. Brian also completed a Master of Social Work degree as a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow. He now lives in Seattle where he works nationally to advance justice for historically underrepresented communities in HIV clinical and behavioral research. •   Honey for the Heart by Brian Minalga   A ga kanu ay se.  It is sweet to me.   THIS IS HOW YOU SAY that you like something in a dusty town called Dosso in Niger, West Africa. The language is called Zarma, and Zarmaphones are very interested in what’s sweet to you: Dunguri nda mo, a ga kanu ni se? (Beans and rice, is it sweet to you?) Kaidiya wate, a ga kanu ni se? (Rainy season, is it sweet to you?) . . .

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Review — SEASONED by Tom Zink (Micronesia)

  Seasoned: A Memoir of Grief and Grace by Tom Zink (Micronesia 1968–70) An Off The Common Book 2017 238 pages $20.00 (paperback) Reviewed by Michael Varga (Chad 1977–79)  • THE DEATH OF Tom Zink’s older brother, Steve, at age 16 is a traumatic event in the life of the Zink family. Conservative Lutherans, the Zinks adhere to a gospel where a death is God’s will, unfolding, in all of its mystery. Tom is only 14 when he loses his brother as they are delivering newspapers and Steve is hit by a car. Tom relies on the adults around him to make sense of this tragic event. But the adults are grieving in their own solitary way and offer little help to the young Tom. He divides people into those who knew about Steve (the “before people”) and those who didn’t (the “after people”). And since so many of those Tom . . .

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Fifth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Where Carbs Mean Friendship” by Lucas Gosdin (Peru)

    Lucas Gosdin (Peru 2013-15) served as a community health volunteer in Peru where he had two host families and lots of friends. He loves to visit them and communicate with them through WhatsApp. Lucas never learned how to make good ceviche, but he can make a lot of delicious dishes you have never heard of. Lucas is a doctoral student studying maternal and child nutrition at Emory University. He also conducts research in Peru.   •   Where Carbs Mean Friendship by Lucas Gosdin EVERY GUEST KNOWS that refusing food might be considered rude. Now imagine being in a place where friendship is measured in food. After hugging me and calling me her new son, the first question my host mother, Teo, asked was, “Qué no te gusta comer?” — what don’t you like to eat? After living in Peru for a few months of training, I knew the connotation . . .

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Trump, Lies, and the Peace Corps

 Op-Ed in The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina, July 21, 2017 (Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bea Hogan (Uzbekistan 1992-94) • Trump, lies, and the Peace Corps BY GENE NICHOL Contributing columnist Gene Nichol is Boyd Tinsley distinguished professor of law at the University of North Carolina. His daughter in a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia. She would be unaffected by Trumps proposals. Several times each week, Americans are pressed with an odd question – how did we come to this? Who would have thought it possible, for example, that when the presidents of the United States and Russia give conflicting accounts of their joint discussions, most of us would assume that a murderous, dictatorial KGB operative was closer to the truth. Even Republicans seemed to wince: “It’s certainly conceivable Putin is lying, but we know Trump lies constantly – all day, every day, whether he . . .

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Fifth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “The Stories We Tell” by GraceAnne Heater (Rwanda)

  GraceAnne Heater (Rwanda 2014-16) served in Peace Corps Rwanda as an ESL high school teacher. She has won many contests, including a pie eating contest at age 10, a cow milking contest at age 17, and a peeps diorama competition at age 28. She is an avid reader and a passionate but undisciplined writer. She currently resides in Philadelphia with her husband and their adopted Rwandan cat.       • The Stories We Tell by GraceAnne Heater   MURUNDA, MY VILLAGE, was in the only district in Rwanda without a paved road. It was remote, poor, and nearly inaccessible during the rainy season. It was an hour and a half away from the main road, a motorcycle ride that stopped my heart and took my breath, nothing but steep mountains, sharp curves, uneven roads, and views of Lake Kivu with the DRC looming in the distance. Murunda was home . . .

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Fourth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: Peace Corps Poems by Earl Huband (Oman)

  Earl Huband (Oman 1975-78) worked for the Oman Ministry of Education. During his first two years, Earl taught 1st – 6th year English 4th–9th grade) in Bukha, a small Musandam fishing village in the northern part of Oman, near the mouth of the Persian Gulf. During his third year, Earl worked in Salalah, the capital of Oman’s southern district, splitting his time between teaching English and serving as assistant to that region’s Chief English Inspector. The following are a few of the 28 poems he submitted. • The Journey from the Interior Airborne over the Batinah plain, we skirt the coast en route to Bukha, a small Musandam fishing village near the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Arabian — not Persian — Gulf: these Arabs never say Persian. This Sky Van, this bumblebee of planes, this flying buzzsaw bears the number nine — one — one emblazoned . . .

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More “Fall Out” from Hessler’s Letter From Colorado (Spain)

If you read Peter’s letter about “How residents of a rural area started copying the President” you might have been surprised when you read these two paragraphs. “In Grand Junction, I learned to suspend any customary assumptions regarding political identity. I encountered countless strong working women, some of whom believed in abortion rights, who had voted for Trump. Cultural cues could be misleading: I interviewed one gentle, hippieish Trump voter who wore his gray hair in a ponytail. An experience like leaving a small town for an Ivy League college, which might lead some people to embrace more liberal ideas, could inspire in others a deeper conservatism. And so I wasn’t entirely surprised to learn that Tyler Riehl, like me, was a former Peace Corps volunteer. “He had served in Slovakia. “Every time you get to look at how somebody else lives, it gives you perspective that’s useful,” Riehl told . . .

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