Author - Marian Haley Beil

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Review — Sami the Wooly by Jay Hersch (Colombia)
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Reviews — MOLP and KMEDJZIK by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan)
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Review — TALES OF FAMILY TRAVEL by Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia)
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Review — LEARNING TO SEE by Gary Engelberg (Senegal)
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New books by Peace Corps writers — June & July 2017
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Review — PORTRAITS OF INNOCENCE & SKETCHES OF JOY from Bie Bostrom (Kenya)
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Review — SEASONED by Tom Zink (Micronesia)
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Review — ON THE WIDE AFRICAN PLAIN by Richard Fordyce (Ghana)
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Review — DIFFERENT LATITUDES by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala)
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Review — THE EMPEROR AND THE ELEPHANTS by Richard Carroll (CAR)

Review — Sami the Wooly by Jay Hersch (Colombia)

  Sami the Wooly: The Most Beautiful Dog in the World by Jay Hersch (Colombia 1964–66) Peace Corps Writers March 2017 88 pages $12.50 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Review by: D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • AS YOU CAN SURMISE from the title, Sami the Wooly has a target audience of readers who are dog lovers. In addition to telling Sami’s story, it touches on the lives of six other Siberian Huskies that the author and his family have had in their lives. The author gushes over all of the huskies, but describes Sami as extremely special. For those interested in the Siberian Husky breed, there is just enough history of the breed. Also there is just a bit of information about dealing with a breed association and professional dog breeders. The author points out that the high-energy, freedom-loving huskies are not the right dog breed for everybody, and gives . . .

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Reviews — MOLP and KMEDJZIK by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan)

  MOLP: Charles & Louise, Book 1 by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan 2004–06) Birch Tree Books November 2016 (2nd edition) 264 pages $11.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle), $14.95 (Audible)   KMEDJZIK: Charles & Louise, Book 2 by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan 2004–06) Birch Tree Books November 2016 229 pages $11.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963–65) • EVERY PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER returns from abroad with rich knowledge of a place and its people, with new and insightful cultural perspectives, and often with enough story material in head and heart to write a novel, or two . . . or more. Author Woody Starkweather is a case in point. He and his wife Janet Givens taught English in Central Asia and are now using their international experience for writing. Janet does memoirs, Woody does novels. The novels reviewed here are the first two in a series. They are entitled MOLP and KMEDJZIK, but I . . .

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Review — TALES OF FAMILY TRAVEL by Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia)

  Tales of Family Travel: Bathrooms of the World by Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962–64) Peace Corps Writers October 2016 230 pages $12.00 (paperback), $4.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964–66) • “Mom . . . I have to go and now!” Anyone with children or even grandchildren knows that “potty time” comes fast and often, especially when you are getting ready to leave to go shopping or visit the doctor. I have not stopped laughing as each page shows the beauty of the Dixon clan . . . Mom, Dad, and four young ladies. All six members of the Dixon family are K’s . . . Kay, Kevin, Kristi, Karol, Kimberly, and Kandice. You just know this Travel . . . with the Dixon’s is going to be exciting and never a dull moment. Hard to put down and not want to read over each chapter again and again. What would we do without our children? . . .

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Review — LEARNING TO SEE by Gary Engelberg (Senegal)

  Learning to See and Other Short Stories and Memoirs from Senegal by Gary  Engelberg (Senegal 1965–67; staff/APCD Senegal 1967–69; Regional Training Officer/west and central Africa 1969–72) BookBaby September, 2017 164 pages $25.19 (paperback) [pre-order now] Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) • GARY ENGELBERG HAS LIVED in Senegal, West Africa for over fifty years. He is co-founder, along with Lillian Baer, former Director and current Board Chairman of Africa Consultants International (ACI), a non-governmental organization that promotes cross-cultural communication, American Study Abroad programs, health and social justice, including LGBTI rights. It’s otherwise known as The Baobab Center in Dakar. I became acquainted with Gary, Lillian and ACI when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Sine-Saloum region of Senegal from1993 to 1996. I have cherished their friendship and that of the staff at ACI that has become almost entirely Senegalese since Gary’s retirement a few years ago. Reading . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — June & July 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.   • India-40 and the Circle of Demons: A Memoir of Death, Sickness, Love, Friendship, Corruption, Political Fanatics, Drugs, Thugs, Psychosis, and Illumination in the Us Peace Corps Peter S. Adler (India 1966–68) Xlibris June 2017 406 pages $23.99 . . .

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Review — PORTRAITS OF INNOCENCE & SKETCHES OF JOY from Bie Bostrom (Kenya)

  Portraits of Innocence: The Children of Ahero Photographs by Bie E. Bostrom (Kenya  2004–06) CreateSpace May 2017 42 pages $20.00* (paperback)   Sketches of Joy: Drawings by the Children of Ahero, Kenya Collected by Bie E. Bostrom (Kenya 2004–06) CreateSpace September 2014 114 pages $25.00*  (paperback)   Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) • Born in 1941, Bie Bostrom was raised in a family of nine children in Antwerp, Belgium. She trained as a nurse, but she fell in love with photography after her father gave her a camera as a graduation gift. She took a five-year course in photography at an art school in The Netherlands, then went to London for her practical year, where she lived and worked for eight years. In 1977, Bie arrived in San Francisco where she met her husband while looking for a work studio. In 1980 the couple moved to New York and opened . . .

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Review — SEASONED by Tom Zink (Micronesia)

  Seasoned: A Memoir of Grief and Grace by Tom Zink (Micronesia 1968–70) An Off The Common Book 2017 238 pages $20.00 (paperback) Reviewed by Michael Varga (Chad 1977–79)  • THE DEATH OF Tom Zink’s older brother, Steve, at age 16 is a traumatic event in the life of the Zink family. Conservative Lutherans, the Zinks adhere to a gospel where a death is God’s will, unfolding, in all of its mystery. Tom is only 14 when he loses his brother as they are delivering newspapers and Steve is hit by a car. Tom relies on the adults around him to make sense of this tragic event. But the adults are grieving in their own solitary way and offer little help to the young Tom. He divides people into those who knew about Steve (the “before people”) and those who didn’t (the “after people”). And since so many of those Tom . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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