Archive - 2017

1
RPCV Mike Cox (Malawi) has last word at EPA
2
“An RPCV writes home from China” — Arnold Zeitlin (Ghana)
3
RPCV Gulf Coast, Florida awards Project Light Manatee
4
More background on today’s Peace Corps budget
5
Peace Corps Budget on the Firing Line
6
The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 9
7
From the Atlantic Monthly–James Fallows Remembers Charlie Peters
8
Review: FAMINE, WAR AND LOVE by Stephen C. Joseph (Nepal)
9
“Late Night Conversations with e.e. cummings” by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria)
10
Do you remember this 1984 PCV tragedy? (Togo)

RPCV Mike Cox (Malawi) has last word at EPA

  Thanks to a “heads up” from Catherine Varchaver (APCD Kyrgyzstan 1995-97) about this article.   • EPA Staffer leaves with a bang, blasting agency policies under Trump by Joe Davidson/Columnist Washington Post — April 7 When Mike Cox quit, he did so with gusto. After 25 years, he retired last week from the Environmental Protection Agency with a tough message for the boss, Administrator Scott Pruitt. “I, along with many EPA staff, are becoming increasing alarmed about the direction of EPA under your leadership … ” Cox said in a letter to Pruitt. “The policies this Administration is advancing are contrary to what the majority of the American people, who pay our salaries, want EPA to accomplish, which are to ensure the air their children breath is safe; the land they live, play, and hunt on to be free of toxic chemicals; and the water they drink, the lakes they swim . . .

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“An RPCV writes home from China” — Arnold Zeitlin (Ghana)

  It’s bad enough we have a president who is described as a narcissist but it’s even worse when he is combined with a China policy that is schizophrenic. I was reminded of that condition the other day. I heard Sen. Cory Gardner, a 42-year-old Republican from Colorado, open a think tank’s discussion about China’s “fault lines”…and “instability.” He is chairman of the Senate foreign relations subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and international cybersecurity policy. His remarks swerved from the threatening (“the United States will deploy every economic, diplomatic and, if necessary, every military tool at our disposal to deter Pyongyang and protect our allies”) to the conciliatory, recognizing that China’s rise has taken 500 million people out of poverty and hoping for a peaceful relationship. His talk echoed both the thundering and more reassuring cool breezes coming from on high in the Donald Trump administration. His secretary of . . .

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RPCV Gulf Coast, Florida awards Project Light Manatee

Thanks to a ‘heads up’ from Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) about the RPCV Gulf Coast, Florida group which has made great strides during the past few years fulfilling the Third goal of Peace Corps. The RPCVs have done a number of community projects: box gardens for children at a Sarasota library,  highway clean-up, sharing their Peace Corps experiences with library displays in Manatee and Sarasota Counties, making presentations to schools and colleges in the area, and a radio program of RPCV interviews. Their latest milestone was the presentation of an award of $800 to Project Light Manatee for exemplifying the spirit of the Third Goal, helping people in our community to become full-fledged and thus contributing members of the community.  Project Light teaches English to immigrants, mainly Hispanic and Haitian. It has been providing this important service to thousands of immigrants and others for twenty years or more.  Project Light was extremely . . .

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More background on today’s Peace Corps budget

Bill Moyers tells the story of how when he and Shriver went to talk to Vice President about getting the Peace Corps approved by Congress, LBJ took Moyers aside and told him, “don’t sell the Peace Corps, sell Shriver.” And that’s what Moyers did. Late in the afternoon—after a full day at the Peace Corps Headquarters in the Maiatico Building across from the White House and Lafayette Square –Shriver and Moyers would go downtown and “walk the halls of Congress” peering into open doorways to see who was still working and seek out Congressman and Senators as if they were two Girl Scout girls selling cookies. They’d introduce themselves and talk about the Peace Corps. Or Shriver would talk about what PCVs would do in the Third World and Moyers would “sell” Shriver and what this man could do with this new government diplomacy. Well, as we know, it worked. . . .

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Peace Corps Budget on the Firing Line

Last night on Hard Ball Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968-70) was asking his panel for “something he didn’t know” and one commenter said the Secretary of State had gotten much of AID’s budget restored. Matthews asked immediately, “what about the Peace Corps?” The reply was “I think Peace Corps is okay, the politics behind it are so strong.” The reason that they are strong is that NPCV president Glen Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988-91) led the efforts to generate a record number of signatures from 175 members of Congress to sign a “Dear Colleague Letter” for funding for the Peace Corps at no less than $410m for FY 2018. Also significant was that the Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet spent the last two weeks of her directorship walking the halls of Congress talking to congressmen and senators about supporting for the agency in the upcoming budget. Rumors are that the Senate will also . . .

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The Peace Corps in the Time of Trump, Part 9

Carol Bellamy left the agency on May 1, 1995, and for several weeks it appeared that Harris Wofford (Ethiopia CD 1962-1964), a central figure in the creation of the agency, might become the new director. Clinton, however, had other plans and Wofford was asked by the president to take over and ‘save’ the new National Service Corporation. In August, Mark Gearan, then in the press office of the White House, and a political type, was named the next Peace Corps Director. Gearan was Director until August 1999, a total of four years and proved to be an outstanding director. I am indebted to Mark for taking an idea of mine—the Crisis Corps—and making it a reality. I had previously floated the idea of a “Crisis Corps” in a memo to Carol Bellamy who was intrigued by the idea but she didn’t last long at the agency. However, shortly after Gearan . . .

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From the Atlantic Monthly–James Fallows Remembers Charlie Peters

Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77) How to Reverse the Resentful, Unequal, Uncaring Parts of American Culture—-From the Atlantic Monthly A new book by Charles Peters (PCW/Staff 1961-65) looks to the past to address the problems of the contemporary United States Stories From Another Time, for Our Times: ‘We Dp Our Part’ James Fallows 8:42 AM / April 3, 2017 To the extent I spent any time studying in college, it was to learn about American history. The main impression the lectures and readings left on me was the realization that the country has always had big, serious problems. Slavery, violence, corruption, injustice—things were worst-ever during the Civil War, but if you choose your decade, you can name the corresponding set of failures and crises. As I think back to almost any stage in my own lifetime, I can tick off the emergencies of each . . .

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Review: FAMINE, WAR AND LOVE by Stephen C. Joseph (Nepal)

  Famine, War and Love By Stephen C. Joseph (Nepal Peace Corps Staff 1964-66) Bookbaby March 2017 181 pages $14.99 (paperback), $8.99 (Kindle) Review by Randolph Marcus (PCV/Ethiopia 1966-68) • STEPHEN C. JOSEPH, A PEDIATRICIAN with extensive medical experience in developing countries, has written an historical fiction novel surrounding two unrelated famines in the Netherlands in the last months of World War II and in Ethiopia in the mid-eighties. He brings these seemingly disparate events together in an unusual format: a series of first person essays by members of two families — the Dutch Vermeers and the American Rileys.  In this short but engaging book, Joseph displays a talent for becoming the characters whose voices carry the story forward. Each chapter appears as a journal entry and alternates between generations and the two families.  The story begins with 18-year old Christina Vermeer’s account of her life as a young girl . . .

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“Late Night Conversations with e.e. cummings” by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria)

  After six years in retirement contemplating the “Whys” of life, Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1965-66) has concluded that all the corrupting temptations of 75 years have failed to change him.  He has been honest enough in life to fend off wealth and fame. However, realizing his lack of genius and talent, Tony has achieved just enough in writing and education that he appreciates how remarkable but incomprehensible life is. So in old age, Tony scribbles a poem, now and then, and with great effort plays a tune or two on the saxophone hoping to back up Chuck Berry or Ray Charles in the great hereafter. • Late Night Conversations with e.e. cummings by Tony Zurlo   life is “puddle-wonderful,” e. e., even when city showers linger, we can make up nonsense games, after school in the autumn fog and ignore salespitches for wireless typing machines that double as phones. truth, . . .

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Do you remember this 1984 PCV tragedy? (Togo)

  AN IDEALIST’S SHORT LIFE ENDS IN A KILLING IN A TOGO VILLAGE Published: July 4, 1984 New York Times Twelve months into her tour as a Peace Corps volunteer, Jennifer Lynn Rubin, a 23-year-old from Oneonta, N.Y., seemed finally to have come to terms with the loneliness of being the sole volunteer in the village of Defale, population 500, in the West African country of Togo. Her letters home told of her trouble adjusting to her relocation from upstate New York. In some letters, Miss Rubin repeatedly mentioned a villager she had befriended, a 19-year-old woman named Gieselle who helped her adjust to the culture in northern Togo, a former French colony. On June 11 Miss Rubin was bludgeoned to death in her home, and the police in Togo have charged Gieselle with the murder. The police say they believe Miss Rubin was killed in revenge for telling Gieselle’s . . .

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