Archive - 2017

1
“Remembering Joe Kauffman and the Early Days of Peace Corps Training”
2
“The Fabulous Peace Corps Booklocker” by Jack Prebis (Ethiopia)
3
An important message from Glenn Blumhorst, NPCA President
4
“When the Right Hand Washes the Left” by David Schickele (Nigeria)
5
“One Morning in September” by Edwin Jorge (Jamaica)
6
“The Non-Matrixed Wife” by Susan O’Neill (Venezuela)
7
“Back at Site” by Andy Trincia (Romania)
8
If there is a government shut down, here are Peace Corps plans
9
Remembering Roger Landrum (Nigeria)
10
REVIEW — Jesus Was Arrested in Mexico City and Missed the Wedding by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)

“Remembering Joe Kauffman and the Early Days of Peace Corps Training”

  Remembering Joe Kauffman and the Early Days of Peace Corps Training by Ted Vestal (Staff: PC/Washington & Ethiopia APCD 1963–66)   JOSEPH KAUFFMAN, ONE OF THE founding hands of the Peace Corps died September 29, 2006 in Madison, Wisconsin. From 1961–1963, Joe was the first Director of Training at a time when no one knew what a Peace Corps was supposed to be — much less how to train Volunteers. In the old Peace Corps Headquarters at 806 Connecticut Avenue, he ran a respected Division staffed by some well-degreed, experienced former university professors and administrators. They worked on a crash basis primarily with colleges and universities which at the time had not had much experience in training Americans to work overseas. The Training Division’s activities were informed by a series of conferences the Peace Corps had held in 1961 on how to train Volunteers for service in particular nations . . .

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“The Fabulous Peace Corps Booklocker” by Jack Prebis (Ethiopia)

  For a short period of time in the very first years of the Peace Corps all Volunteers were given booklockers by the agency. The lockers were meant to provide leisure reading for the PCVs and then to be left behind in schools, villages, and towns where they served. There is some mystery as to who first thought of the lockers and one story has it that the idea came from Sarge Shriver’s wife, Eunice. From my research, this seems to be a true story.  Also from my research, I learned that the first locker was put together by a young Foreign Service officer. A second selection was done in 1964, and that same year Jack Prebis was made responsible for the 3rd edition of the locker that was assembled in the fall and winter of 1965. Here is Jack’s account of putting together the third edition of the legendary . . .

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An important message from Glenn Blumhorst, NPCA President

Dear Friends: If you’ve been following National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and opening my steady stream of emails, you know that there is an unprecedented sense of urgency to NPCA’s mission. With that in mind, I’m going to ask you to consider making NPCA a priority for your personal philanthropy this giving season. Over the last four years, I’ve had the privilege to lead NPCA through a historic transition from a passive alumni association to a community-driven social impact organization. As we became increasingly cause-oriented, we eliminated membership dues, understanding that our community is less inclined to pay-to-join but deeply committed to engage and invest in the causes that are near and dear to our hearts. It was the right move. Since 2015, the level of Peace Corps community engagement in our three strategic priorities— advocacy, community-building, and development impact — has surged. In the process, we built a better . . .

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“When the Right Hand Washes the Left” by David Schickele (Nigeria)

  David G. Schickele first presented his retrospective view of Volunteer service in a speech given at Swarthmore College in 1963 that was printed in the Swarthmore College Bulletin. At the time, there was great interest on college campuses about the Peace Corps and early RPCVs were frequently asked to write or speak on their college campuses about their experiences. A 1958 graduate of Swarthmore, Schickele worked as a freelance professional violinist before joining the Peace Corps in 1961. After his tour, he would, with Roger Landrum make a documentary film on the Peace Corps in Nigeria called “Give Me A Riddle” that was for Peace Corps recruitment but was never really used by the agency. The film was perhaps too honest a representation of Peace Corps Volunteers life overseas and the agency couldn’t handle it. However, the Peace Corps did pick up Schickele’s essay in the Swarthmore College Bulletin and reprinted it . . .

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“One Morning in September” by Edwin Jorge (Jamaica)

Edwin Jorge was the Regional Manager of the New York Peace Corps Office and at work in Building # 6 of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The building was destroyed when the North Tower collapsed. At a  commemoration service held at Headquarters in Peace Corps/Washington the following year, Edwin spoke about the attack and what happened to the Peace Corps Office. His comments follow. • One Morning in September by Edwin Jorge (Jamaica 1979–81) On the morning of September 11, 2001, I sat down at my office desk and turned on my computer. As the computer booted to life, I glanced up and looked out of the windows of my office on the sixth floor of the Customs House in the heart of the financial district of New York. From where I sat, I could see the corner of Tower One of the World Trade Center. I could . . .

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“The Non-Matrixed Wife” by Susan O’Neill (Venezuela)

When Joseph Blatchford was appointed the director of the Peace Corps in May of 1969 he brought with him a set of “New Directions” to improve the agency. Whether these directives were new or not is endlessly argued, but what was clear was this: Blatchford wanted skilled Volunteers, i.e. “blue-collar workers, experienced teachers, businessman, and farmers.” While the Peace Corps has always found it difficult to recruit large numbers of such “skilled” Volunteers, Blatchford and his staff came up with the idea of recruiting married couples with children. One of the couples would be a Volunteer and the other (usually the wife) would be — in Peace Corps jargon — the “non-matrixed” spouse. The kids would just be kids. It would be in this way, Blatchford thought, that the Peace Corps could recruit older, more mature, experienced, and skilled PCVs. And the Peace Corps would stop being just “BA generalists” . . .

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“Back at Site” by Andy Trincia (Romania)

   Back at Site by Andy Trincia (Romania 2002-2004) In Peace Corps vernacular, it’s called “site.” That’s where you live, your base. It could be a remote village, a crossroads town, even a big city. During two years of service, Peace Corps Volunteers utter that word countless times. “Heading back to site,” we’d say. For some, site was a blip on life’s radar. For me, it became a pivotal place – and a home. Now, 15 years later, I’m once again living in Timișoara, Romania. Back at site. Some cities are great to visit while others just give you a certain feel, a sense of comfort, a vibe that you could live there. That’s how Timișoara (pronounced Tim-ee-shwoara) was for me. I remember the first time I saw Victory Square (Piaţa Victoriei) in the city’s core. Hopping off a train at the drab railway station and walking a mile down . . .

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If there is a government shut down, here are Peace Corps plans

Congress has passed and the President has signed a CR – Continuing Resolution- to fund the federal government until December 22, 2017.  It is hoped that Congress will by that time  have  passed a budget for FY2018 or a CR for a longer period of time.  Peace Corps has, however, issued its plan if there is a government shutdown on December 22, 2017.  Peace Corps plans to keep Volunteers and Trainees in place overseas and fund all those activities necessary to guarantee the health and safety of serving Volunteers and Trainees. Peace Corps will furlough employees involved in non-essential services.  Here is the link to the Peace Corps Plan: https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.peacecorps.gov/documents/open-government/Peace_Corps_Operations_Plan_in_the_Absence_of_Appropriations.pdf   

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Remembering Roger Landrum (Nigeria)

  National Peace Corps Association and the Peace Corps community mourn the passing of Roger Landrum (Nigeria 1961-63), who died early on Saturday, December 9, at his Washington, D.C. home following a brief illness. Roger was a central figure in the creation of what is now the National Peace Corps Association.  In his career in Washington, D.C. Landrum also became a leader in the national service movement, becoming the founding president of Youth Service America and the later Youth Service International. For several decades Roger worked closely with the Ford, Kellogg, and Mott foundations, and other philanthropies that supported non-government movement to offer voluntary community service in programs modeled after the Peace Corps. He worked closely with other champions of national service, including Senator Harris Wofford and Father Theodore Hesburgh. Roger was dedicated to the notion that all young people find their voice, take action, and make an impact on vital community issues. He . . .

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REVIEW — Jesus Was Arrested in Mexico City and Missed the Wedding by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)

Jesus Was Arrest in Mexico City and Missed the Wedding by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) CreateSpace Publisher September 2017 Paperback $13.95 Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1963-65) Chucho, alias Jesus, makes a simple but beautiful wedding into possible jail time in Mexico City…DF to locals. But this isn’t the plot, but the title that grabs you before you know what course to take. I have to admit I couldn’t put  Jesus Was Arrest in Mexico City and Missed the Wedding down. Lawrence had me by the “tostones.” And I don’t mean platanos! I read this awesome little book as an introduction to traditional Mexico, or Mejico…Weddings are extremely important to Mexican women, very! In Mexico, any unmarried female over 30 is considered yesterday’s tortilla! And Mexican traditions are not just this generation, but the time of Pancho Villa, to the Aztecs when they fought Cortez while he and Spain were stealing . . .

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