Archive - 2017

1
Yes, Virginia, there are RPCVs who support Trump
2
New book by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey (Ethiopia)
3
Review — LEARNING TO SEE by Gary Engelberg (Senegal)
4
Random comments from 1965 Peace Corps Conference (Washington, D.C.)
5
Niki Tsongas, wife Of Paul Tsongas (Ethiopia) retiring From Congress
6
First Peace Corps Conference: RPCVs on the Couch (Washington, D.C.)
7
The First RPCV Conference, March 1965 (Washington, D.C.)
8
The Legend of Kennedy, King, and Harris Wofford (Ethiopia)
9
New books by Peace Corps writers — June & July 2017
10
Review — PORTRAITS OF INNOCENCE & SKETCHES OF JOY from Bie Bostrom (Kenya)

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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Random comments from 1965 Peace Corps Conference (Washington, D.C.)

“One businessman conducted a market survey among the returned Volunteers to find out if it was really true that Peace Corps members preferred beer to whiskey. His conclusion is that this is a misguided myth of the past.” Newton Minnow Former Director of the Federal Communications Commission.   • “My definition of a coward is a Volunteer who returns from work overseas and then goes to work for Peace Corps, Washington.” Dick Irish (Philippines 1962-64) Dick worked at the Peace Corps in the Office of Volunteers Support. • “I was one of those white Southerners that had to go out of the country to really become enlightened on the problems of race in the South and so I feel that it is my obligation to go back to the South and do something about it.” Don Boucher (Chile 1962-64) • “A special participant said he was pleased with the showing of former . . .

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Niki Tsongas, wife Of Paul Tsongas (Ethiopia) retiring From Congress

   Congresswoman Niki Tsongas announces she will not run for reelection  by the Boston Herald’s Chris Villani Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who has represented Lowell [MA] for nearly a decade, announced today that she will not run for reelection, citing a desire to spend more time with her family. Tsongas’s statement: I have learned in life that there is a time for endings and for new beginnings. After much thought, I have decided that this is one of those times. The time feels right most especially because of my desire to spend more time enjoying and celebrating my wonderful and growing family. Her late husband, Paul Tsongas (Ethiopia 1962-64), was a Democratic Congressman, and served as a Senator from Massachusetts. He made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1992 as Bill Clinton captured the party nomination on the way to winning two terms in the White House. Paul Tsongas died . . .

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First Peace Corps Conference: RPCVs on the Couch (Washington, D.C.)

Before the first Conference for Returned PCVs, the Peace Corps sent out 3300 questionnaires and 2300 were returned. Gary Bergthold (Ethiopia 1962-64) who was in 1965 working in the Peace Corps Medical Division, and chairman of the conference committee that read and tabulated the questionnaires told the opening session, “Elmo Roper, the American pollster, couldn’t believe it. This tremendous response, plus the fact that 90 per cent of those who replied said they wanted to attend this conference.” He went on to say. “The first thing that becomes clear is the remarkable diversity of opinion among returned Volunteers. The greatest agreement on any one question was less than 15 per cent.”   This was most obvious at the plenary session when Sargent Shriver called to the podium Ruth Whitney (Ghana 1962-64) and let her have her say as the Peace Corp Volunteer reported in its April 1965 Volunteer Magazine. Ruth, . . .

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The First RPCV Conference, March 1965 (Washington, D.C.)

The recent successful NPCA Conference in Denver got me thinking about the first RPCV Conference held at the State Department on March 5-7, 1965. Over 1,000 RPCVs attended, of the approximately 3,000 plus PCVs who had returned home. By the time the conference ended, as reported in the Saturday Review, “it was beginning to dawn on even the most grudging onlooker that the Peace Corps veterans–who should number at least 50,000 by 1970–are going to be an inspiring force in our national life.” (It turned out to be closer to 75,000 RPCVs). The article goes onto say that the “atmosphere in the State Department auditorium was one of verve, confidence, and high good humor. In fact, the witty opening speeches by Corps director Sargent Shriver and Vice President Humphrey evoked such volleys of laughter that one middle-aged journalist expressed fear for the building safety, on the grounds that State Department auditoriums are . . .

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The Legend of Kennedy, King, and Harris Wofford (Ethiopia)

I have been reading a massive book by Steven Levingston entitled Kennedy and King: The President, The Pastor, and the Battle Over Civil Rights. Levingston is the nonfiction editor of the Washington Post. My primary interest, of course, is what he had to say about Harris Wofford and Sargent Shriver and their role in the famous phone call to Coretta King after her husband had been jailed in Georgia during the 1960 presidential campaign. Levingston details all the events (political and otherwise) that led to JFK’s spontaneous call to Coretta from his hotel room at the O’Hara Airport. Years ago, back in 1980, Farrar Straus Giroux would publish Wofford’s own book entitled Of Kennedys & Kings: Making Sense of the Sixties that also detailed the events surrounding the famous phone call. It was first thought by the political insiders that the ‘call’ would cost Kennedy the election. As Levingston writes, “King’s . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — June & July 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.   • India-40 and the Circle of Demons: A Memoir of Death, Sickness, Love, Friendship, Corruption, Political Fanatics, Drugs, Thugs, Psychosis, and Illumination in the Us Peace Corps Peter S. Adler (India 1966–68) Xlibris June 2017 406 pages $23.99 . . .

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Review — PORTRAITS OF INNOCENCE & SKETCHES OF JOY from Bie Bostrom (Kenya)

  Portraits of Innocence: The Children of Ahero Photographs by Bie E. Bostrom (Kenya  2004–06) CreateSpace May 2017 42 pages $20.00* (paperback)   Sketches of Joy: Drawings by the Children of Ahero, Kenya Collected by Bie E. Bostrom (Kenya 2004–06) CreateSpace September 2014 114 pages $25.00*  (paperback)   Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) • Born in 1941, Bie Bostrom was raised in a family of nine children in Antwerp, Belgium. She trained as a nurse, but she fell in love with photography after her father gave her a camera as a graduation gift. She took a five-year course in photography at an art school in The Netherlands, then went to London for her practical year, where she lived and worked for eight years. In 1977, Bie arrived in San Francisco where she met her husband while looking for a work studio. In 1980 the couple moved to New York and opened . . .

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