Archive - October 2017

1
Tyler McMahon Wins 2016 Gival Press Novel Award (El Salvador)
2
Review — PATCHWORKS by B.A. East (Malawi)
3
What has happened to our Peace Corps?
4
Review — IF YOU ARE RETIRING, YOU MIGHT JOIN THE PEACE CORPS! by Sally Jo Nelson Botzler (Mexico)
5
WRITING ABROAD by Peter Chilson (Niger) published by University of Chicago Press
6
New book on Bobby Kennedy by Chris Matthews (Swaziland)
7
The Peace Corps lives on in name only — in Mali
8
New books by Peace Corps writers — September 2017
9
Peace Corps press release on deployment of HQ staff to FEMA
10
OUR SOULS AT NIGHT by Kent Haruf (Turkey) now a film

Tyler McMahon Wins 2016 Gival Press Novel Award (El Salvador)

Gival Press has announced that Tyler McMahon of Honolulu, Hawai’i has won the 2016 Gival Press Novel Award for his novel Dream of Another America. McMahon will receive a cash prize of $3,000. The novel will be  published in the spring of 2018. Advance Praise “So gritty about every least detail, so frank about its people’s needs, Dream of Another America might at first seem the furthest thing from a dream. Yet Tyler McMahon has worked this desperate material into a headlong tumble of jeopardy and escape, sweeping up a remarkable array of souls—mostly Central American—in a spell so vivid it seems straight out of the deepest recesses of the unconscious. As his protagonist Jacinto makes his way north to Los United, McMahon puts the reader too up against the worst monsters of that odyssey, now baking in the desert, now clinging to a train. The novel’s likewise unsparing about the burdens on . . .

Read More

Review — PATCHWORKS by B.A. East (Malawi)

  Patchworks (mystery) by B.A. East (Malawi 1996-98) Moonshine Cove Press September 2017 259 pages $13.99 paperback, $6.99 Kindle Reviewed by Peter Van Deekle (Iran, 1968-70) • B.A. East brings to his latest and timely novel a refined skill for realistic dialog and a  first-hand experience of the federal bureaucracy. This reviewer received his copy of Patchworks on the morning after the Las Vegas massacre in October 2017 with the prophetic statement on its back cover: “America’s next gun massacre is inevitable …” The 20013 shootings at the Navy Yard facility in Washington, D.C. provide a credible context for this novel’s heightened anxiety over safety and security. Within that anxiety, East gives readers an engaging narrative centered on two of the novel’s central characters, Gabriel Dunne and Manny Teague.  Dunne’s internship in the fictitious Bureau of Government Intelligence and Execution involves him in an investigation of gun violence in America.  Gabriel’s academic . . .

Read More

What has happened to our Peace Corps?

  This is the language (and tone) of rejection letters being sent to would-be candidates for Peace Corps positions. In this case, it took a year for the rejection letter to arrive. Where is the human agency that we once worked for in DC and overseas? If this is the way the current Peace Corps Agency treats staff, how do they respond to PCVs? And they didn’t even have the decency to add the name of the person sending the letter! Well, maybe it’s Alexa who is now sending out the Need Not Apply letters from Peace Corps Washington. — JC • This is in regards to your application for the position of Country Director: Your application for the subject position has been reviewed and evaluated. We regret to inform you that after a thorough review of your application and supporting documents, your application does not show possession of the . . .

Read More

Review — IF YOU ARE RETIRING, YOU MIGHT JOIN THE PEACE CORPS! by Sally Jo Nelson Botzler (Mexico)

  If You Are Retiring, You Might Join the Peace Corps! by Sally Jo Nelson Botzler (Mexico 2009–11) WestBowPress July 2017 122 pages $16.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964—66) • WAKE UP RETIREES, life is just beginning . . . Sally and Rick Botzler did it and so can you! After a successful career teaching, raising a family, and involvement with their communities . . . they became Peace Corps Volunteers assigned to Mexico. Twenty-four months as Volunteers, and three months as Trainees, and their lives will never be the same. Peace Corps does something to you no matter where you serve in over 70 countries  — with Vietnam being the newest. Sally takes us thru the application process, and having kept a log (great idea) she tells us what training was like — the excellent and friendly host family they lived with, and Peace Corps Mexico (PC/M) staff and . . .

Read More

WRITING ABROAD by Peter Chilson (Niger) published by University of Chicago Press

  “Tell me all about your trip!” It’s a request that follows travelers as they head out into the world, and one of the first things they hear when they return. When we leave our homes to explore the wider world, we feel compelled to capture the experiences and bring the story home. But for those who don’t think of themselves as writers, putting experiences into words can be more stressful than inspirational. Writing Abroad: A Guide for Travelers is meant for travelers of all backgrounds and writing levels: a student embarking on overseas study; a retiree realizing a dream of seeing China; a Peace Corps worker in Kenya. All can benefit from documenting their adventures, whether on paper or online. Through practical advice and adaptable exercises, this guide will help travelers hone their observational skills, conduct research and interviews, choose an appropriate literary form, and incorporate photos and videos into . . .

Read More

New book on Bobby Kennedy by Chris Matthews (Swaziland)

  Amazon Has This To Say: With his bestselling biography Jack Kennedy, Chris Matthews shared a new look of one of America’s most beloved Presidents and the patriotic spirit that defined him. Now, with Bobby, Matthews returns with a gripping, in-depth, behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the great figures of the American twentieth century. Overlooked by his father, and overshadowed by his war-hero brother, Bobby Kennedy was the perpetual underdog. When he had the chance to become a naval officer like Jack, Bobby turned it down, choosing instead to join the Navy as a common sailor. It was a life-changing experience that led him to connect with voters from all walks of life: young or old, black or white, rich or poor. They were the people who turned out for him in his 1968 campaign. RFK would prove himself to be the rarest of politicians — both a pragmatist who knew how . . .

Read More

The Peace Corps lives on in name only — in Mali

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Mark Wentling (Honduras 1967–69, Togo 1970–73; PC Staff: Togo, Gabon, Niger 1973–77) “Near where I now live in Bamako is where the old Peace Corps/Mali office was. The sign still hangs on the front wall of this office. Security concerns forced Peace Corps Mali to close its operations in late 2015. For the same reasons, Peace Corps Niger closed in 2011, and last month Peace Corps Burkina Faso closed. There are now no Peace Corps Volunteers in the inland Sahel Region in Africa. Really sad for me as these are some of my favorite Peace Corps countries. These three countries were among the oldest Peace Corps programs, having existed 45 years or more ”

Read More

New books by Peace Corps writers — September 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 from your purchase that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards.   We are now including a one-sentence description — provided by the author — for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order the book and 2) to volunteer to review it. 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. • It Depends: A Guide to Peace Corps by Kelly  Branyik (China 2014–2016) Write With Light Publications LLC August 2017 116 pages $14.95 (paperback), $7.99 (Kindle) With advice, tips and stories from past Volunteers, this guide contains everything you need to make . . .

Read More

Peace Corps press release on deployment of HQ staff to FEMA

Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65) A small but mighty team of staff members have answered the call to serve as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Surge Capacity Force to support communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Front: Jason Steele; Middle: Tiffany Tai, Elyssa Musaraca, Angela Hamilton, Lori Frola, Ashanty Cruz; Back: Bhoj Rai, Nicholas Leichliter, Dylan Bilbao, Sarah Timpy, Stephanie Wade On September 9, the Department of Homeland Security requested assistance from all federal agencies in the activation of DHS’s Surge Capacity Force. The Peace Corps was asked to send volunteers from among our employees to mobilize immediately and serve for 45 days in hurricane affected areas. The agency moved swiftly and eleven individuals were identified and mobilized immediately.  Four more volunteers from headquarters — Melissa Howe-Boudrye, Thomas Geraghty, Colin Jones, and Rachel Teter — are expected to deploy in the . . .

Read More

OUR SOULS AT NIGHT by Kent Haruf (Turkey) now a film

Review by Xan Brooks The Guardian September 1, 2017 Adapted from the Kent Haruf novel, Our Souls at Night is your classic Hollywood weepie, so immaculately played that it confounds crass preconceptions. It arrived in Venice saddled with a premise that could hardly sound more cloying, together with an unfortunate title that has had hardened British hacks giggling like schoolboys at the back of the class. Critics get their first sniff of Our Souls at Night! Two thumbs up: Our Souls at Night! But Ritesh Batra’s film comes cynic-proofed. It won me over from the very first scene. Louis (Robert Redford) is a widower who lives on the sleepy fringes of small-town Colorado, where he is unable to get much shut-eye of his own. He’s always up before the sun comes up, with the radio on and the newspaper open, just another lonesome old man living an Edward Hopper existence. . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2016. Peace Corps Worldwide.