Author - Marian Haley Beil

1
Review — ON THE WIDE AFRICAN PLAIN by Richard Fordyce (Ghana)
2
Review — DIFFERENT LATITUDES by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala)
3
Review — THE EMPEROR AND THE ELEPHANTS by Richard Carroll (CAR)
4
Talking with Mary Dana Marks (Iran), author of WALLED IN, WALLED OUT
5
Talking with Mark Walker (Guatemala)
6
New books by Peace Corps Writers — May 2017
7
Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala) at HP – not Hewlett/Packard!
8
Review — SPIES AND DESERTERS by Martin Ganzglass (Somalia)
9
“Nebaj Notes: Revisiting Peace Corps Guatemala” by Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala)
10
WALLED IN, WALLED OUT published by Mary Dana Marks (Iran)

Review — ON THE WIDE AFRICAN PLAIN by Richard Fordyce (Ghana)

  On the Wide African Plain — And Other Stories of Africa Rick Fordyce (Ghana 1978—80) Merrimack Media August 2016 175 page $14.00 (paperback) Reviewed by Geraldine Kennedy (Liberia 1962–64) • IN THIS SOMETIMES MOVING, sometimes amusing collection of short stories by Rick Fordyce, snapshots of Ghana in the late 1970s play out for the fly-on-the-wall reader. You can look, but only so far. No touching, no asking questions. Fordyce doesn’t often give much context. No wide-angle shots from him. No detailed backstories. We are dropped into the close-ups, bystanders rafting down the blood stream of the body Africa with our faces in the capillaries and platelets. In the opening, “Away,“ (unfortunately launched with a paragraph that is a long, meandering sentence — 7 “ands,” 5 commas, 2 semi-colons), the white teacher suffers the same deprivations as the villagers. Food is randomly available and there is never enough. He looks at . . .

Read More

Review — DIFFERENT LATITUDES by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala)

  Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) Peace Corps Writers April, 2017 332 pages $18.00 (paperback), $5.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by John Holley (Colombia 1968–70) • I WAS ASKED to review this book because my life’s work parallels Mr. Walkers in many ways: we both got our start in the Peace Corps, and worked in international development. Furthermore, the Walkers have a strong tie with Guatemala where I attempted to make it my permanent home but failed. Furthermore, having moved around a lot and worked in 50 countries, I have lived a similar family life, and could easily relate to Mr. Walker’s experience. My work, however, was very different from Mark’s: I worked in mainstream development, improving health care systems and programs, hired at one time or another by most of the major donors, such as the World Bank, various UN agencies, USAID . . .

Read More

Review — THE EMPEROR AND THE ELEPHANTS by Richard Carroll (CAR)

  The Emperor and the Elephants: A Peace Corps Volunteer’s Story of Life during the Late 1970s in the Central African Empire Richard W. Carroll (Central Africa Republic 1976–82) Peace Corps Writers May 2016 186 pages $15.00 (paperback); $3.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark T. Jacobs (Paraguay 1978–80) • A LONG-TIME WILDLIFE CONSERVATIONIST, Richard Carroll began his engagement with Africa as a Volunteer in the Central African Republic in the late 1970s. His memoir spans the decades that have come and gone since then while emphasizing the early years. Although the natural world is the focus of the book, Carroll draws a human frame around his observations of animals, plants, terrain, and the weather. He does this two ways. Both of them enrich the narrative, leaving the reader with an appreciation of the complex interactions of humankind with the planet we inhabit, along with a heightened awareness of the threat to the . . .

Read More

Talking with Mary Dana Marks (Iran), author of WALLED IN, WALLED OUT

  In April, Mary Dana Marks published Walled In, Walled Out: A Young American Woman in Iran with Peace Corps Writers. She describes her book this way: “A young American woman comes of age in Iran, threading her way through the venerable history and culture of this ancient, proud Muslim land to find her own unique role.” Here she talks of her Peace Corps experience, her career, and how she came to write Walled In, Walled Out. • Where and when did you serve in the Peace Corps? I was a Volunteer in Iran from 1964 to 1966. What was your Peace Corp project assignment? I was part of a large TEFL group, Iran 4, which trained at the University of Michigan during the summer of 1964. We studied Farsi, of course, and Iranian history and culture. Working with U of M’s summer English Language Institute students, we trained to be teachers . . .

Read More

Talking with Mark Walker (Guatemala)

  Mark Walker recently published Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond with Peace Corps Writers. Read more about Mark,  his writing and his book. • Mark, where and when did you serve in the Peace Corps? I served in Guatemala from 1971 to 1973. What was your Peace Corps project assignment? My Peace Corps program was a soil fertilization project that operated under the auspices of the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with the University of North Carolina through a contract with USAID. We inventoried soil productivity in our site by taking soil samples and sending them to UNC for analysis. We also tested the productivity of new seed varieties (corn, wheat, beans and potatoes) which were treated with different types of fertilizers. Tell us about where you lived and worked in-country. Initially, I was sent to one of the highest points in Central America, Ixchiguan, in the highlands . . .

Read More

New books by Peace Corps Writers — May 2017

  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 peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. • Portraits of Innocence: The Children of Ahero Photos Bie  Bostrom (Kenya  2004–06) CreateSpace May, 2017 42 pages $20.00 (paperback) Here are African children in their daily activities: balancing pails of water on their heads; watching after younger siblings; toting twigs . . .

Read More

Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala) at HP – not Hewlett/Packard!

  Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala 2006–08) is a freelance writer and contributor to HuffPost (nee Huffington Post). He recently posted a quick piece on Trump, the Peace Corps and soft power. You can: read Taylor’s article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-doesnt-understand-american-soft-power_us_5934a189e4b0649fff211a96 access all his HP articles at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/taylor-dibbert   and follow him on Twitter @taylordibbert.

Read More

Review — SPIES AND DESERTERS by Martin Ganzglass (Somalia)

  Spies and Deserters: A Novel of American Revolution by Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966-68) Peace Corps Writers Books April 2016 378 pages $14.95 (paperback) Reviewed by William Seraile (Ethiopia 1963–65) • MARTIN GANZGLASS, AN ACCOMPLISHED NOVELIST, has crafted a well-researched and easy-to-read novel about the American war for independence. Unlike the traditional story of freedom loving Americans chafing under the rule of the British crown, Ganzglass shows that the struggle for independence was a war of brutality, deprivation and hypocrisy. The combatants were not all white: Five thousand freed and enslaved persons of color sided with the rebels. Another four thousand served in the navy and militias acting as spies, cooks and servants in aiding the American cause. Crispus Attucks, a man of color, died in the 1770 Boston Massacre. Both Peter Salem and Salem Poor were at the Battle of Bunker Hill with the latter responsible for the death of . . .

Read More

“Nebaj Notes: Revisiting Peace Corps Guatemala” by Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala)

  Nebaj Notes: Revisiting Peace Corps Guatemala Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala 2006–08) — freelance writer • I RECENTLY DID ONE OF THOSE “security clearance” interviews. A friend of mine listed me as a reference; he had applied for a job with a certain U.S. government agency. I’d never done an interview like this. Minutes into the conversation, I’m reminded that I know a lot about this guy (the person whose background is being ‘checked’), which really shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’ve known this person since 2006; we lived in the same rural town in Guatemala – Nebaj – for two years. We were Peace Corps volunteers. The Peace Corps is an awesome journey. Yet it’s not something that one does alone. Lasting friendships are cultivated during those highs and lows. And some of the strongest relationships are formed in one’s “site.” In our case, rather uniquely, one of the members of our Nebaj . . .

Read More

WALLED IN, WALLED OUT published by Mary Dana Marks (Iran)

  About Walled In, Walled Out — A Young American Woman in Iran by Mary Dana Marks (Iran 1964–66) • WHILE THE UNITED STATES leaps on and off a collision course with Iran, Americans forget we have not always been enemies. This memoir is set in 1960s Iran, when the Shah reigns, American consultants abound, the word ayatollah is rarely heard, and SAVAK, Iran’s secret police, wields uncompromising power. In the west, Persia evokes images of colorful carpets, wealthy oil sheiks, and glamorous royalty. Leaders of the 1979 Iranian Revolution are in elementary school when Mary  answers  John F. Kennedy’s call to “ask what you can do for your country” and joins the Peace Corps. The setting is Kerman, a conservative provincial capital on the stark Iranian plateau where she’s assigned to teach English to high school girls. Problems soon appear. As she struggles with the basics of everyday life, Iranians . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2016. Peace Corps Worldwide.