Archive - 2018

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Review — DREAM OF ANOTHER AMERICA by Tyler McMahon (El Salvador)
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Review — A SILHOUETTE OF LIBERIA by Michael Lee (Liberia)
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Globetrotting for Good with Next Step Travel and the NPCA
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Jimmy Kimmel, PCV
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Review — WHY TRAVEL MATTERS by Craig Storti (Morocco)
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Many fans, friends and family of Jody Olsen attend her swearing-in at the Peace Corps Office
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Review of Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit by Chris Matthews (Swaziland)
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Write Your Peace Corps Book Online
9
Jody Olsen (Tunisia) sworn in (again) as Director of the Peace Corps
10
Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers posts new request

Review — DREAM OF ANOTHER AMERICA by Tyler McMahon (El Salvador)

    Dream of Another America by Tyler McMahon (El Salvador 1999-02) Gival Press February 2018 373 pages $20.00 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Clifford Garstang (South Korea 1976-77) • WITH THE EXCEPTION, perhaps, of Peace Corps Volunteers, most Americans have little understanding of the hardships faced by the poor in developing and underdeveloped countries. Without that understanding, it is easy to demonize those who choose to come to the United States—often illegally—in search of a better future. Certainly President Trump has taken that route, even raising the possibility of deploying troops along the border with Mexico to stop migrants, despite the absence of evidence that there is a growing immigrant threat. Clearly a gap exists between reality and the fear-mongering of some of our political leaders. Dream of Another America by Tyler McMahon (El Salvador 1999-02) may help fill that gap. In this gripping novel, McMahon introduces us to . . .

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Review — A SILHOUETTE OF LIBERIA by Michael Lee (Liberia)

  A Silhouette of Liberia — Photographs: 1974-1977 by Michael H.  Lee (Liberia 1974–76) Michael H. Lee August 2017 136 pages $59.99 (hardcover)   Reviewed by: Danielle Yoder (Panama 2012-2014) • A Silhouette of Liberia Photographs: 1974–1977 exhibits beautiful photography of Liberia’s landscape, architecture and people from a time when very little has been preserved. Mr. Lee walks us through his experience living, serving and working in Liberia. Through his lens he is able to capture what one might see in an ordinary day in Liberia, as well as intimate settings such as illusive secret societies and their traditions. Mr. Lee begins by providing some history of the country that informs both the conditions of the photographs shown from the mid-70s and also alludes to the impending civil war period. These shots show mostly friendly faces as well as typical living conditions and hardships born by denizens. I was surprised how . . .

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Globetrotting for Good with Next Step Travel and the NPCA

  Let me recommend the National Peace Corps Association’s Next Step Travel program. I was on the first trip to Cuba this program had, and let me tell you, if you want to travel with anyone, you want to travel with RPCVs. RPCVs “get it” — especially when traveling to places like Cuba, Colombia, or anywhere else the NPCA goes. You can’t surprise RPCVs with what is waiting once they debark. I had a terrific time in Cuba, as I am sure all of our small group did, even though we had some of the usual incidents you’d expect touring a (still) developing country. (Like, make sure you bring toilet paper with you when leaving the hotel!) Plus, traveling with RPCVs,  you have the opportunity to share those familiar tales that always begin, “One time when I was in  _____ (fill in your site). Next Step Travel/NPCA is well worth the . . .

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Jimmy Kimmel, PCV

  Thanks to a ‘heads up’ from David Jarmul who writes Not Exactly Retired — JCoyne •   Jimmy Kimmel, PCV by djarmul Should Jimmy Kimmel join the Peace Corps? That’s what Rep. Joe Kennedy III jokingly encouraged on Wednesday when he appeared as a guest on the comedian’s late-night show. The exchange was light-hearted but highlighted how little many Americans know about the Peace Corps, and how even fewer regard it as something they might do themselves. Kimmel opened by asking Kennedy about his famous relatives, then switched to his volunteer service in the Dominican Republic. “What goes on in the Peace Corps?” Kimmel asked with a smile. “Do they come to your house and they take you to another country?” “No, you actually have to get on a plane,” replied Kennedy. “That’s the ‘volunteer’ part.” The Massachusetts Democrat went on to describe the Peace Corps as “an organization close to my heart [that] . . .

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Review — WHY TRAVEL MATTERS by Craig Storti (Morocco)

  Why Travel Matters: A Guide to the Life-Changing Effects of Travel by Craig Storti (Morocco 1970- 72) Nicholas Brealey Publisher April, 2018 202 pages $24.95 (hardcover), $13.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) • Most RPCV think of themselves as seasoned travelers. (Well, maybe only me.) Still, after my first trip anywhere in 1962 as a PCV to Ethiopia, I did travel to Europe, lived for several months on one of the Balearic Islands and later spent ten months hitch hiking through twenty-seven countries in Africa. After that, as a travel writer for Travel & Leisure, Diversion, and LuxuryWeb Magazine, I went in 1979 to China, and on dozens of assignments to Europe, Central America, and Brazil. Recently I was on the first NPCA tour to Cuba. I like to think of myself as someone who knows his way around the world. Or, at least as I boast, “I . . .

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Many fans, friends and family of Jody Olsen attend her swearing-in at the Peace Corps Office

On March 30, 2018, Dr. Josephine (Jody) Olsen took the oath of office to become the 20thDirector of the Peace Corps. The oath was administered by Acting Director of Human Resource Management Tina Williams. Jody was accompanied by her daughter Kirsten Andersen.  Olsen has previously served the agency in various capacities, including as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia from 1966-1968.

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Review of Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit by Chris Matthews (Swaziland)

Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit By Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968-70) Simon & Schuster October 2017 426 pages Hardback $16.41, paperback $14.54, Kindle $14.99 Reviewed by David Arnold (Ethiopia 1964-66) Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968-70) was in Canada when he heard the news of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assassination at a Los Angeles hotel just hours after the 42-year-old candidate won California’s Democratic primary. Matthews had gone to Canada for a few days with a graduate school friend who was looking for a job and a way to avoid the draft. Matthews’ own options weren’t looking so good, either. His graduate school deferment to study economics at North Carolina University in Chapel Hill was running out. In his recently published Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, Matthews says the breaking news on the radio that Wednesday sounded like a reprise of Dallas and the day Bobby’s brother Jack, the President of the United . . .

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Write Your Peace Corps Book Online

Want to write a book about your Peace Corps experience? I will lead a two-month seminar beginning this June for RPCVs interested in writing their own Peace Corps memoir or novel. The online weekly seminar will feature videos, online classes and discussions, and individual phone conversations. The seminar will be limited to ten students and have a flexible schedule. Besides writing, the seminar will also focus on ways to publish and promote a finished manuscript. The cost for the two-month seminar is $200. Interested RPCVs should contact me at jcoyneone@gmail.com by May 1, 2018 to secure a spot in the seminar.

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Jody Olsen (Tunisia) sworn in (again) as Director of the Peace Corps

  WASHINGTON – Dr. Josephine (Jody) K. Olsen was sworn in as the 20th Director of the Peace Corps this week. Olsen has previously served the agency in various capacities. Jody, who has made her career at the Peace Corps, having defied the Peace Corps Five-Year-Rule of  going “In, Up and Out” was a PCV in Tunisia (1966-68), Chief of Staff at HQ, Regional Director  and then Deputy and Acting Director of the Peace Corps from 2001 – 2009. In her ‘accepting’ of the position, she misspoke by saying, “It is an absolute honor to begin my service as Director of the Peace Corps.  I’m grateful to President Trump for his trust and confidence.” (Hello! Jody, you been to HQ. You know where the coffee machine is located.) The Peace Corps Press announcement went onto say: “Olsen is committed to leading a Peace Corps that remains the world’s preeminent volunteer agency, offering . . .

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Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers posts new request

Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers advocates for serving Volunteers and RPCVs. The group has been successful in bringing attention to the serious health related problems serving Volunteers may have incountry as well as the problems facing RPCVs with service connected medical conditions. Members have worked, not only with Peace Corps, but  also Congress seeking solutions. Both the pending Sam Farr Peace Corps Enchancement Act HR2259, which HJPCV has specifically worked for as well as the pending  Nick Castle Reform Act of 2018, S2286, reflect the attention they have brought to these important issues Now, a serving Volunteer wishes to gain support to ask Peace Corps to change existing STI testing guides. HJPCV supports her efforts:  From the HJPCV Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Health-Justice-for-Peace-Corps-Volunteers-252575374823790/ “A currently serving Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon is reaching out to PCVs and RPCVs to bring the attention of the Peace Corps to an important health issue . . .

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