Archive - August 2017

1
What is wrong with the Office of Third Goal in the Peace Corps? (Washington, D.C.)
2
Goodreads singles out B.A. East (Malawi) and TWO PUMPS FOR THE BODY MAN
3
Peace Corps to cut 20% of its workforce
4
So well remembered — Judith & Michael Jerald (Turkey)
5
Reviews — MOLP and KMEDJZIK by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan)
6
Elaine Chao Stands By Her Man (Not Her Husband)
7
Review — TALES OF FAMILY TRAVEL by Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia)
8
Yes, Virginia, there are RPCVs who support Trump
9
New book by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey (Ethiopia)
10
Review — LEARNING TO SEE by Gary Engelberg (Senegal)

What is wrong with the Office of Third Goal in the Peace Corps? (Washington, D.C.)

  The DC Office of the Third Goal has 16 employees — yes, 16 employees. I wonder what do they do all day? After five months of asking by Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65), they still have not listed any books written by RPCVs or Peace Corps staff on their webpage. The ‘official’ Mission Statement of the Peace Corps states:. The Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services (3GL) engages the Peace Corps community to further intercultural understanding and supports Volunteers through career transitions. Is there any better way for Americans of all ages to learn about the developing world than to read the prose and poetry of RPCVs? Com’on Peace Corps turn to former Volunteers to tell the world about living and life overseas. They know the story and they have written brilliantly about their experiences for 56 years. Wise up and use their books.  Office of Third Goal (3GL)* Mission . . .

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Goodreads singles out B.A. East (Malawi) and TWO PUMPS FOR THE BODY MAN

  Goodreads.com published the following review. • Two Pumps for the Body Man by B.A. East (Goodreads Author) 4.44 [out of 5 starts]·  9 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews Jeff Mutton walks the diplomatic beat protecting American officials in Saudi Arabia. An expert with guns, knives, grenades, and rockets, he’s survived assaults and sieges, stabbings and chokeholds, car bombs, carjackings, criminal hits, and countless other enemy threats. But instinct tells Mutton the menace he now faces dwarfs all these killers combined. The fool-his foot fetish has him in hot water again! Part soft-boiled noir, part literary satire, Two Pumps for the Body Man is an unserious look at a serious situation, a grim reminder that no matter how high the barricade, how sharp the razor wire, there is no front line to the War on Terror. And the enemy is everywhere, even within. Website — https://beneastbooks.com Twitter —hBenEast Genre: Fiction, Humor and Comedy Member of Goodread since: January 2014 B.A. East taught English . . .

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Peace Corps to cut 20% of its workforce

  Thanks to a ‘head up’ from John Pettit (Ethiopia 1965-67). • Peace Corps to Cut 20 Percent of Its Workforce By Eric Katz August 16, 2017 — GovExec.com   The Peace Corps is eliminating more than 20 percent of its workforce, the agency announced to employees earlier this month, in an effort to meet the demands in an executive order from President Trump. The agency is not planning at this point to lay off any of its employees, according to internal documents obtained by Government Executive, though it has not ruled out the possibility. Peace Corps employees working domestically serve on five-year term limits and must depart the agency at the expiration of that period. It is now “sunsetting” about 200 of its roughly 900 stateside workers, meaning when those employees hit their “not to exceed” dates they will depart the agency and their positions will not be filled. If the employees . . .

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So well remembered — Judith & Michael Jerald (Turkey)

I received a note from Ken Hill (Turkey 1965-67) about the Instagram message from Judith Jerald (Turkey 1965-67) that he received and I contacted Judith who wrote back, “There are not many people who would be interested in this, but since many of you may have had similar experiences, I am sending it along to you.  It touched my heart and confirmed for me, once again, that although we were ( mostly) very young Volunteers, we perhaps had more of an impact on our students and neighbors than we thought at the time. It has been 50 years since we left Turkey, so I find this pretty amazing. Meral found me on Instagram, and the conversation we had is below.” • Hi Dear Judith this is Meral from Kozan.  | If you are my teacher I will be very happy to find you. Because you have affected very much to our life . . .

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Reviews — MOLP and KMEDJZIK by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan)

  MOLP: Charles & Louise, Book 1 by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan 2004–06) Birch Tree Books November 2016 (2nd edition) 264 pages $11.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle), $14.95 (Audible)   KMEDJZIK: Charles & Louise, Book 2 by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan 2004–06) Birch Tree Books November 2016 229 pages $11.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963–65) • EVERY PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER returns from abroad with rich knowledge of a place and its people, with new and insightful cultural perspectives, and often with enough story material in head and heart to write a novel, or two . . . or more. Author Woody Starkweather is a case in point. He and his wife Janet Givens taught English in Central Asia and are now using their international experience for writing. Janet does memoirs, Woody does novels. The novels reviewed here are the first two in a series. They are entitled MOLP and KMEDJZIK, but I . . .

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Elaine Chao Stands By Her Man (Not Her Husband)

Former (and briefly) Peace Corps Director Elaine Chao (1991-92) looks on lovingly as President  Trump defended those gathered in a Charlottesville park to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”

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Review — TALES OF FAMILY TRAVEL by Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia)

  Tales of Family Travel: Bathrooms of the World by Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962–64) Peace Corps Writers October 2016 230 pages $12.00 (paperback), $4.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964–66) • “Mom . . . I have to go and now!” Anyone with children or even grandchildren knows that “potty time” comes fast and often, especially when you are getting ready to leave to go shopping or visit the doctor. I have not stopped laughing as each page shows the beauty of the Dixon clan . . . Mom, Dad, and four young ladies. All six members of the Dixon family are K’s . . . Kay, Kevin, Kristi, Karol, Kimberly, and Kandice. You just know this Travel . . . with the Dixon’s is going to be exciting and never a dull moment. Hard to put down and not want to read over each chapter again and again. What would we do without our children? . . .

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Yes, Virginia, there are RPCVs who support Trump

  As I have mentioned a few times, with my long experience with the agency, I have come to the conclusion that Peace Corps Volunteers reflect our society. So, we do have Trump supporters. Here is a thoughtful comment from a thoughtful woman who was an older PCV serving from 2013 to 2015 in Eastern Europe. JC • I appreciate your comments, John, because they show me a side of our president that I would have no way of knowing otherwise. As far as his morality issues, and they are legion because his past is far from stellar, my hope is he is today a better person. I am impressed that he seems to have surrounded himself with wise counsel — people who know and love God, Bible studies in the WH, etc. I believe he truly has a heart for this country, the military, veterans, and the American people as . . .

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New book by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey (Ethiopia)

  Religions and mythologies from around the world teach that God or gods created humans. Atheist, humanist, and materialist critics, meanwhile, have attempted to turn theology on its head, claiming that religion is a human invention. In Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods, E. Fuller Torrey (PC Doctor/Ethiopia 1964-66) draws on cutting-edge neuroscience research to propose a startling answer to the ultimate question.  It locates the origin of gods within the human brain, arguing that religious belief is a by-product of evolution. Based on an idea originally proposed by Charles Darwin, Torrey marshals evidence that the emergence of gods was an incidental consequence of several evolutionary factors. Using data ranging from ancient skulls and artifacts to brain imaging, primatology, and child development studies, this book traces how new cognitive abilities gave rise to new behaviors. For instance, autobiographical memory, the ability to project ourselves backward and forward in time, gave Homo sapiens a competitive advantage. . . .

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Review — LEARNING TO SEE by Gary Engelberg (Senegal)

  Learning to See and Other Short Stories and Memoirs from Senegal by Gary  Engelberg (Senegal 1965–67; staff/APCD Senegal 1967–69; Regional Training Officer/west and central Africa 1969–72) BookBaby September, 2017 164 pages $25.19 (paperback) [pre-order now] Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) • GARY ENGELBERG HAS LIVED in Senegal, West Africa for over fifty years. He is co-founder, along with Lillian Baer, former Director and current Board Chairman of Africa Consultants International (ACI), a non-governmental organization that promotes cross-cultural communication, American Study Abroad programs, health and social justice, including LGBTI rights. It’s otherwise known as The Baobab Center in Dakar. I became acquainted with Gary, Lillian and ACI when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Sine-Saloum region of Senegal from1993 to 1996. I have cherished their friendship and that of the staff at ACI that has become almost entirely Senegalese since Gary’s retirement a few years ago. Reading . . .

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