Archive - 2018

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Buck Humphrey speaks at Peace Corps marker dedication in Plainview MN
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First ever Peace Corps marker dedicated in Plainview MN
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President signs H.R. 2259 to Improve Health Care for PCVs and RPCVs
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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff (Part Two)
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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff
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New books by Peace Corps writers — September 2018
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Tanganyika’s First Peace Corps Staff
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Review — A DANCER’S GUIDE TO AFRICA by Terez Mertes Rose (Gabon)
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Where is Elaine Chao? Not Working, I’d Say
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Should Cold Hard Cash $$$ Replace PCVs?

Buck Humphrey speaks at Peace Corps marker dedication in Plainview MN

  Thank you, Ken, and thank all of you for being here today in Plainview Minnesota to celebrate and honor the 50+ year history you have with the United States Peace Corps. Before I go any further I want you to know I bring greetings from my father, Skip Humphrey and all the Humphrey family. I also want to recognize and thank my uncle, Judge William Howard for joining me here today. Bill’s mother and Hubert Humphrey’s sister, Frances Humphrey Howard was instrumental in many aspects of my grandfather’s life, but especially foreign affairs, the State Department, the Foreign Service and the Peace Corps, so thank you Bill for being her today. When Ken called me up and asked if I would come down to help commemorate the placing of a historical marker to honor and celebrate the founding of the US Peace Corps and the very real connection Plainview . . .

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First ever Peace Corps marker dedicated in Plainview MN

Ken Fliés of Eagan, MN was one of the first Peace Corps Volunteers, and the youngest when he began his service in Brazil in 1961. Fliés, now 75, grew up on a dairy farm near Plainview, MN, and was just 19 when he answered President John F. Kennedy’s call to find “what you can do for your country.” He chose to represent the U.S. as a PCV in Correntina, in rural Brazil, where he would use his mechanical and agricultural skills to help fix a dam and improve the town’s farming skills. Fliés understood hard work and how to make things work when times were tough, and these were the character strengths he would draw on during his 21-month tour in what proved to be a very unorganized inaugural launch of the Peace Corps. “It was pretty chaotic,” he said. “We were spread out over 15,000 square miles of the São Francisco Valley. . . .

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President signs H.R. 2259 to Improve Health Care for PCVs and RPCVs

  https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/new-law-strengthens-health-and-safety-peace-corps-volunteers/ October 10, 2018 President Donald J. Trump signed into law new legislation that seeks to improve access to medical care for Peace Corps volunteers, strengthen accountability and oversight and enhance procedures to reduce the risk of crime in the countries where volunteers serve. The bill was passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate on September 24 after passing the House on July 10. “We are deeply grateful to all those who have championed this important legislation – from the family of Nick Castle to leaders in the U.S. Congress, including Senator Bob Corker, Senator Johnny Isakson, Congressman Ted Poe and Congressman Joe Kennedy III,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “Their leadership has made a positive impact on the Peace Corps by helping institutionalize higher standards for volunteer health, safety and security. This bill will codify best practices to help keep volunteers safe and hold the agency accountable to . . .

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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff (Part Two)

Peru was tantamount to a second home for William Mangin who happened to have been born and raised in Syracuse, N.Y. After one year at Syracuse University, he joined the Navy V-12 program, was sent to St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., then to Cornell Midshipman’s School where he was commissioned an Ensign. Assigned to amphibious forces, he was sent to the Pacific and participated in the Marshall Islands invasions. Discharged in 1946, he returned to Syracuse for a degree in anthropology and mathematics, then went on to Yale for an M.A. in anthropology. In 1951, he went to Peru with a grant from the Social Science Research Council to study drinking practices among Quechua speakers in the high Andes. His report, eventually published, showed that a society could contain heavy drinking patterns (corn beer, super cane rum) and yet very little alcoholism. The next year, he operated the Vicos . . .

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Peru’s First Peace Corps Staff

Frank Mankiewicz was born in New York City into a family whose members are importantly involved in the American cinema. His father, Herman J. Mankiewicz was an Academy Award winner for the screen play, “Citizen Kane;” his brother, Don, wrote the prize novel, “Trial;” and the film version of “I want to Live;” and his uncle, Joseph, directed “Cleopatra” in the Elizabeth Taylor version, as well as, “All About Eve.” Frank got in one year at Haverford College before both World War II and his 18th birthday came along. He enlisted as a private and was sent to the Army Special Training Program, “because, I assume, I spoke French. Anyway, the Army had a rule—if you knew one language, you had to learn another, and when I arrived at City College of New York for ASTP, they assigned me to a Spanish class. I studied Spanish seven hours a day . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — September 2018

  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 Marian at peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions.   Notes from the Bottom of the World: A Life in Chile Suzanne  Adam (Colombia 1964–66) She Writes Press November, 2018 240 pages $16.95 (paperback), $9.95 (Kindle) [This book can be pre-ordered in either format.] In this heartfelt collection of . . .

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Tanganyika’s First Peace Corps Staff

  Lee St. Lawrence,* later to be Peace Corps Regional Director for the Far East, was the first person in the agency to conduct program negotiations overseas. This was in Tanganyika [renamed Tanzania in 1964] in March, 1961. The negotiations resulted in a program in which 30 Volunteer surveyors, geologists and engineers, went into training at Texas Western University in El Paso, inaugurated Peace Corps’ own Outward Bound site, Camp Crozier, in Puerto Rico, and climbed off a plane in Dar es Salaam on September 27, 1961.   Robert Hellawell Several months before the Volunteers arrived in tanganyika, Sargent Shriver had a discussion with Associate General Counsel Robert Hellawell about the problems of getting first-rate people to run the programs overseas. Hellawell asked, “Would you consider me?” Shriver later reported, “I was amazed. There was Bob, a competent, dedicated lawyer, and he wanted to go to Africa for the Peace Corps. This . . .

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Review — A DANCER’S GUIDE TO AFRICA by Terez Mertes Rose (Gabon)

  A Dancer’s Guide to Africa by Terez Mertes Rose (Gabon 1985-87) Classical Girl Press 375 pages September 2018 $12.99 (paperback). $0.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Bonnie Lee Black (Gabon 1996-98) • It is March 1988 and Fiona Garvey, 22, of Omaha, Nebraska, has just received her letter of acceptance into the Peace Corps. Fiona is a tall, lithe, recent college graduate and ballet dancer, who is anxious to run away from home – and from a failed romance — to seek “true adventure, with soul.” So she gladly accepts the challenge of teaching English as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in the tiny, equatorial country of Gabon, Central Africa. Thus begins Terez Mertes Rose’s newly published novel, A Dancer’s Guide to Africa, which perfectly evokes the Gabon she and I knew when we both served as PCVs (at different times, at different ages, in different towns, and . . .

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Where is Elaine Chao? Not Working, I’d Say

Elaine Chao was briefly the Peace Corps Director, from October 1991 to November 1992. She was appointed by Bush and held the position for about 14 months. She is famous for saying, when visiting a PCV in West Africa in the woman’s village, and seeing her mud hut, “Does your mother know how you’re living?” Chao was also well known for scheduling daily hair appointments frequently when overseas, and for breaking down in tears when describing the conditions that PCVs lived in as Volunteers. It got so embarrassing for RPCVs listening to her lament, that they began laughing at her when she started crying. Thanks for the heads-up on this article in Politics from Dale Gilles (Liberia 1964–67) POLITICS Where is Elaine Chao? ‘Private’ time fills long stretches of the Transportation secretary’s daily calendar, according to POLITICO’s review of 14 months of records. By Tanya Snyder, Kathryn A. Wolfe, Beatrice Jin Transportation Secretary . . .

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Should Cold Hard Cash $$$ Replace PCVs?

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65) Foreign aid as a cash-only transaction? It’s worth a try. By Christine Emba Columnist September 26 Washington Post “The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid,” said President Trump during his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. Unlike some other claims he made during that speech, this happens to be true. In 2018, the United States budgeted nearly $40 billion for foreign aid, for interventions ranging from global health initiatives to disaster relief. But trumpeting — or, in Trump’s case, complaining about — the big numbers leaves an essential question unanswered: Are we giving our money well ? This month, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released the results of a landmark study on the best strategies for poverty reduction. Past evaluations relied on comparing aid recipients with control groups that received no aid. The ones who were given aid tended to . . .

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