Archive - 2017

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Talking with Sandi Giver (Uganda), author of ONE OF US
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Third Goal Initiative–Peace Corps Writers
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Is there still a Peace Corps?
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RESOURCES – Unofficial guide to Peace Corps and its history
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Review — EVOLVING BRAINS, EMERGING GODS by Fuller Torrey (Ethiopia)
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The Under-Assistant West Coast Promotion Man by Bill Barich (Nigeria)
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Review: THE ART OF COMING HOME by Craig Storti (Morocco)
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Peace Corps’ early days: The day the FBI came knocking
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Review — BOLIVIA 30 by Frank Darmiento (Bolivia)
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Cambodia PM calls on U.S. to withdraw Peace Corps volunteers

Talking with Sandi Giver (Uganda), author of ONE OF US

In June 2017 Sandi Giver published One of Us: Sex, Violence, Injustice.  Resilience, Love, Hope with Peace Corps Writers. She describes the book this way: It is “a book with a mission, challenging societal perceptions, and a community of love :-).” Here Sandi answers some questions put to her by Peace Corps Worldwide. • Where and when did you serve in the Peace Corps? In Pader, Uganda from 2009 to 2011. What was your Peace Corp project assignment? I was a Community Health/Youth Development Specialist. Tell us about where you lived and worked. Pader  is a small village with one main road linking the simple market and small stores. It is a former internally-displaced-persons [IDP] camp established during the 21+ years of conflict by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) with the Ugandan government. Originally, I lived on a compound in a thatch-roof hut. Due to the potential safety risk that a villager might . . .

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Third Goal Initiative–Peace Corps Writers

In April, 1989, Marian Haley Beil and I published a 4-page newsletter entitled RPCV Writers. I had — as a writer — been tracking other Peace Corps writers, and had already organized a panel discussion about Peace Corps books for the 25th Anniversary Conference in 1986. Marian Haley Beil, also an Ethiopia One Volunteer, agreed to help me. She designed, published and circulated the quarterly newsletter We saw our publication as a way of sharing information about publications, readings, writing grants, and teaching positions for RPCVs. To recognize and promote Peace Corps writers, in 1990, we established annual awards for outstanding writing in a variety of genre. We funded the award prizes ourselves and have (so far) given out 143. In July of 1991 we changed the publication’s name to RPCV Writers & Readers and increased the number of issues to six a year. In November 1998, we published our . . .

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Is there still a Peace Corps?

  This is data from the Peace Corps Performance Report for FY2016. Thanks  to the “heads up” from Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65). — J.C. • FY 2016 Progress Update: In FY 2016, the Peace Corps saw its second-highest number of applications for the two-year Volunteer program in 40 years—21,600 applications for Volunteer service (23,987 applications total, when including Peace Corps Response applications). This is only 6 percent less than the record-breaking 22,956 applications (24,848 total, including Peace Corps Response applications) in FY 2015. The dramatic influx of high-quality applications over the past three years indicates a strong desire among Americans to volunteer for service abroad. ”

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RESOURCES – Unofficial guide to Peace Corps and its history

  RESOURCES An unofficial guide to the locations of resources describing the Peace Corps, and its history.  This list is a cooperative effort with Alana deJoseph, producer of the documentary in progress, A Towering Task, her team and the many archivists and librarians at the places cited. Thank you to all .   Peace Corps is a federal agency staffed by civilian service employees, who may or may not have served in the Peace Corps and who are responsible for managing the agency. Peace Corps Volunteers are private citizens serving in a public capacity in foreign countries and doing the actual work of the Peace Corps. That work is in pursuit of the Three Goals: To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served. To help promote a . . .

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Review — EVOLVING BRAINS, EMERGING GODS by Fuller Torrey (Ethiopia)

  Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods: Early Humans and the Origins of Religion E. Fuller Torrey (Staff/MD Ethiopia 1964–66) Columbia University Press September 2017 312 pages $35.00 (hardcover), $33.25 (Kindle) By Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru 1962-64) • “The gods were born following a pregnancy lasting approximately two million years. It took that long for hominin brains to evolve structurally and functionally from being primate-like brains to being brains that possessed the cognitive faculties of modern Homo sapiens.” Thus begins E. Fuller Torrey’s masterful book on the evolution of religion. He has reviewed, compiled, and applied the pertinent fields of paleontology, anthropology, archaeology, anatomy, brain science, psycholinguistics, and social science that contribute to his theme. Torrey had been “looking for God,” since he was a child. As an undergraduate, he majored in religious studies; as a graduate student, in anthropology. He went on to become a physician and psychiatrist who has published . . .

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The Under-Assistant West Coast Promotion Man by Bill Barich (Nigeria)

This appeared recently in Narrative, a digital magazine dedicated to advancing literature. A MEMOIR By Bill Barich (Nigeria 1964-66) IN MY YOUTH I was chronically underemployed, always casting my lot with risky enterprises destined to fail, so when the illustrious firm of Alfred A. Knopf hired me as a book publicist, I thought my troubles were over. I had no idea how difficult writers can be. I imagined lofty literary chats with John Updike when he came to town, but I wound up steering hard-drinking authors away from bars and even rescuing one from an East Bay ashram. Updike I met only once by chance on the Sausalito ferry, and I was too tongue-tied to speak. The job came about by accident. An editor friend at Knopf hoped to open an office in San Francisco, but his wife chose to go to law school at Yale. Given my editorial experience at . . .

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Review: THE ART OF COMING HOME by Craig Storti (Morocco)

  The Art of Coming Home by Craig  Storti (Morocco 1970-72, PC/W 1973-79) Nicholas Brealey, publisher 2001 (revised edition) 229 pages $22.95 (paperback), $12.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1963–64) • Culture Shock in Reverse Culture Shock, a noun . . . “the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.” — Google   IF YOU HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED IT, returning home after spending months or years overseas in a different culture, with different standards and perhaps another language, can be a challenge. American Peace Corps Volunteers, Japanese Volunteers or United Nation Volunteers in Latin America bring back their experiences and new found memories that have changed their person. And it isn’t just volunteers who experience these changes, military families, students, missionaries, and business executives do as well. Coming home is a challenge with special benefits that remain with us. . . .

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Peace Corps’ early days: The day the FBI came knocking

I have a minor disagreement with one comment in this entertaining recollection by John Long. He writes that Kennedy’s idea for a Peace Corps came in a “bull session” at the University of Michigan. It was far from that. I was on campus that long ago night in 1960 covering the event for a Kalamazoo radio station, my parttime job during my graduate school years when thousands of Michigan students cheered Kennedy call to do something for their country. It wasn’t a “bull session.” It was a significant moment in the JFK’s presidency and in the lives all of us who responded to Kennedy’s challenge to make a difference in the world. JC Note. Peace Corps’ early days: The day the FBI came knocking by John C. Long Courier Journal Published Sept. 14, 2017 John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps shortly after his inauguration to fulfill a promise he’d made to . . .

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Review — BOLIVIA 30 by Frank Darmiento (Bolivia)

  Bolivia 30: Life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the 1960s Frank T. Darmiento (Bolivia ), author and editor CreateSpace April 2015 172 pages $24.99 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) • Frank Darmiento, the author of Bolivia 30 provides a unique perspective of life in the Peace Corps in Bolivia by sharing in great detail his own story of the training process in the U.S. as well as when serving in Bolivia with his young wife. His book also includes dozen stories of others who were in his training group, which added to the texture and broadened the diversity of perspectives. Twenty four photos, most of them in color, greatly enhance the stories of places and circumstances we could not imagine. Darmiento provides a detailed description of the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in a very isolated part of South America. I commiserated . . .

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Cambodia PM calls on U.S. to withdraw Peace Corps volunteers

  Thanks to RPCV Alan Toth for this”heads up” on his facebook page. — JR Reuters reports the following: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cambodia-usa/cambodia-pm-calls-on-u-s-to-withdraw-peace-corps-volunteers-idUSKCN1BQ0DB PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called on the United States on Friday to withdraw Peace Corps volunteers in an escalating row over accusations that U.S. agents conspired with an opposition leader to plot treason. Hun Sen was responding after the U.S. embassy in Phnom Penh issued a travel warning that urged citizens to show caution amid “anti-American rhetoric by officials”. “Are you scaring Cambodians?” Hun Sen said of the United States in an address to garment workers at factories which export much of their production to the United States. “Are you prepared to invade Cambodia and that’s why you told Americans to be careful? It’s good if you pull out the Peace Corps,” Hun Sen said. The U.S. embassy declined to comment. It has previously dismissed . . .

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