Archive - 2018

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Review — WRITING ABROAD: A GUIDE TO TRAVELERS by Peter Chilson (Niger)
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“Fifty Years Fly By” by Ada Jo Mann (Chad)
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Review — FROM FREEBORN TO FREETOWN & BACK by Patrick R. O’Leary (Sierra Leone)
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Review — ONE OF US by Sandi Giver (Uganda)
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Peace Corps lacks certain sexual assault prevention measures says OSC
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Review — MEANDERINGS by Gerald Karey (Turkey)
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Baltimore Sun: Olsen Nomination (Tunisia)
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President Donald J. Trump announces Jody Olsen (Tunisia) to be director of the Peace Corps
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Review: ELEPHANT CAKE WALK by Andrew Oerke (Africa staff)
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RPCV/CO and partners welcome Ashley Bell

Review — WRITING ABROAD: A GUIDE TO TRAVELERS by Peter Chilson (Niger)

  Writing Abroad: A Guide to Travelers By Peter Chilson (Niger (1985-87) & Joanne B. Mulcahy The University of Chicago Press 224 pages $22.50 (paperback), $67.50 (cloth), $13.50 (Kindle) Reviewed by David Arnold (Ethiopia 1964-66) • EDITING THE WORK of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, I have learned that travel writing seems at first to be the easiest form of written narrative. That may be true if only you and your grandchildren are going to read it, but publishable travel writing is hard work. Most readers of a travel story in a magazine, a book or on a blog will not pay the fare and follow that writer’s taken path. They read the story so they won’t have to go, or they use the article to decide whether to go. Usually, they go somewhere else. In the end, the traveler’s tale must be satisfying as a passive reading experience. It takes . . .

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“Fifty Years Fly By” by Ada Jo Mann (Chad)

    Fifty Years Fly By Ada Jo Mann (Chad 1967-69)   Am I still the girl in that photo from Peace Corps training in the Virgin Island of St. Croix full of hope and promise for a world without war where no one goes hungry and women rule from beyond the kitchen where skin color is admired for the beauty of its hue and good deeds trump wealth and greed where science is a weapon against sickness and our past crimes of ignorance? Fifty years fly by and the girl in that photo has become a white-haired woman with the same hopes and dreams but in this present photo a tear glistens on her cheek.   • Ada Jo Mann  began her career in international development and social change as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad from 1967-69. As a partner in Innovation Partners International, she collaborates with clients . . .

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Review — FROM FREEBORN TO FREETOWN & BACK by Patrick R. O’Leary (Sierra Leone)

From Freeborn to Freetown & Back by Patrick R. O’Leary (Sierra Leone 1966–68) Peace Corps Writers September 2016 146 pages $14.95 (paperback), $10.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker  • THIS IS A WELL WRITTEN  that brings back many memories, as I worked in Sierra Leone for three years. When twenty-two year old Patrick O’Leary stepped off the plane in Sierra Leone, West Africa in January 1967, he was dressed for the snow storm he had left in Freeborn County, Minnesota a few days earlier, so it didn’t take long for him to realize his rural Catholic upbringing, training for Tanzania — his original Peace Corps assignment — and an earlier road trip to Key West, Florida — in a Cadillac hearse — would be less than effective in preparing him for a two-year stint in Binkolo, a small village outside of Makeni in western Sierra Leone. One unique aspect of . . .

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Review — ONE OF US by Sandi Giver (Uganda)

  One of Us: Sex, Violence, Injustice.  Resilience, Love, Hope. by Sandi Giver (Uganda 2009–11) Peace Corps Writers June 2017 260 pages $14.95 (paperback) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) •   SANDI GIVER WAS A Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Uganda when she was raped by a member of the United States armed forces. This book is a memoir that started out as a written statement to the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) about her rape. It took incredible courage for the author to tell her story, and she does so with a candor and attention to detail that is remarkable. In addition to the core story of the author’s rape and participation in two military trials, she includes information about her childhood, her work history prior to Peace Corps, being physically assaulted by her landlord in Uganda, and much more. It is a very far-reaching . . .

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Peace Corps lacks certain sexual assault prevention measures says OSC

  Office of Special Counsel Finds Despite Progress, Peace Corps Lacks Certain Sexual Assault Prevention Measures, Encourages Clear Policies to Protect Volunteers FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jill Gerber, (202) 804‐7065; jgerber@osc.gov WASHINGTON, D.C./Jan. 5, 2018 – The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) concluded that despite significant progress, the Peace Corps has failed to implement certain sexual assault prevention measures. OSC also encouraged clearer policies and training to better protect volunteers.  The conclusions came after the Peace Corps completed a report prompted by whistleblower disclosures to OSC. “I have determined that while the report contains the information required by statute, some of the findings are not reasonable,” Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner wrote to President Trump.   “I encourage the Peace Corps to establish clear, consistent, and effective policies to ensure the prevention of sexual assault and other crimes against volunteers, timely responses to safety risks, and the provision of adequate . . .

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Review — MEANDERINGS by Gerald Karey (Turkey)

Meanderings: Inventions, Fripperies, Bits, & Bobs Gerald Karey (Turkey 1965-67) Small Batch Books 116 pages September 2017 $14.95 (paperback}   Reviewed by Will Siegel (Ethiopia  1962-64) • I’ve read that book titles should be ironic so as to provoke a sense of mystery, or perhaps just to turn the reader in the opposite direction of moral authority. Gerald Karey promotes the ironic in the first section of essays in his third volume, Meanderings. The subtitle seems to downplay expectations (Inventions, Fripperies, Bits, & Bobs), or call up the image of an English Squire. The irony here might be the author’s reluctance to take himself seriously, though he’s dedicated the volume to journalists killed in action, which portends a more serious look at the world. But remember we’re dealing here with irony. The first section “Sirens,” in fact, starts with a look back at the atomic bomb scare of many of our . . .

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Baltimore Sun: Olsen Nomination (Tunisia)

  Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Neil Boyer (Ethiopia 1962-64). — JC • Trump to nominate Marylander Josephine Olsen to lead Peace Corps John FritzeContact Reporter The Baltimore Sun   A visiting professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work who is a veteran official at the Peace Corps will be named to lead the organization of global volunteers, the White House said Wednesday. Josephine Olsen of Silver Spring has taught at the University of Maryland, Baltimore for eight years and is the director of the school’s Center for Global Education Initiatives. She served as the Peace Corp’s acting director during the first months of the Obama administration. FROM OUR PARTNERS: The List: The Post predicts what’s in and out for 2018 Her nomination comes at a challenging time for the Peace Corps, created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to promote democracy during the Cold War. . . .

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President Donald J. Trump announces Jody Olsen (Tunisia) to be director of the Peace Corps

President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate Jody Olsen to be next director of the Peace Corps.    Josephine Olsen of Maryland, to be Director of the Peace Corps. Ms. Olsen, Ph.D., is senior lecturer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and has served for the past eight years as a visiting professor at the School of Social Work and Director, Center for Global Education Initiatives. She has taught on issues of international health and social services, and has authored numerous articles and spoken frequently at academic conferences on teaching and studying abroad. Before joining the faculty, Ms. Olsen was Deputy and Acting Director of the Peace Corps from 2001 – 2009. She was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia, a country director, a regional director, and agency chief of staff. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Utah and both her M.S.W. and Ph.D. from . . .

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Review: ELEPHANT CAKE WALK by Andrew Oerke (Africa staff)

  Elephant Cake Walk (Africa Poems) by Andrew Oerke ( (PCstaff: Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Jamaica 1966-71) Poets’ Choice Publishing, 2017 94 pages $19.95 (paperback)   Reviewed by Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79) • I distinctly remember coming home from work especially dispirited one day 15 or so years ago.  As a newly minted associate professor, I was in my “winning tenure, losing the thrill” phase, to quote a headline from The New York Times that stuck with me at the time. Strangely, I began to hear something resembling African percussion as I extricated myself from the car. I glanced up into our maple tree.  There were our two young sons, perched in its branches, sporting an eclectic mix of Senegalese, Ivoirian and Moroccan costume elements from the Peace Corps boxes in our attic, including pointed “el hadji” shoes (which must have substantially ramped up the difficulty of the climb). Somehow, our . . .

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RPCV/CO and partners welcome Ashley Bell

  Ashley Bell, Peace Corps Associate Director of External Affairs and a Trump appointee, visited Colorado at the Invitation of the Global Livingston Insititute and Partnering for Peace. A limited number of RPCVs were invited to hear him speak.  This is the write up of the event by Suzanne Smith, President of RPCVs of Colorado.  http://www.rpcvcolorado.org/index.php/component/k2/item/117-ashleybellvisit “On Thursday, December 8, a reception was held for Ashley Bell, Peace Corps Associate Director of External Affairs. The reception was organized in partnership with the Global Livingston Instituteand Partnering for Peace, the affiliate network group working to strengthen ties between Rotary and Peace Corps. Though Mr. Bell has been to Denver a few times since being named Associate Director of External Affairs, this reception was the first time there has been an opportunity to talk with him about the future of Peace Corps and how to further the partnership between Rotary and Peace . . .

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