Miscellany

As it says!

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PCV teacher in Eritrea, Ethiopia … 50 years later is saving and sustaining Eritrean lives (Ethiopia)
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“Third World and Ashamed of It” by Folwell Dunbar (Ecuador)
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Musings in the Morning
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John Garamendi inspires Peter Yarrow to write The Children Are Listening (Ethiopia)
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Peace Corps Connect — 9/21–9/25 — Washington D.C. — Be an early bird!
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New York RPCV Story Slam
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My cousin Bob Mushroom
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“Impressions of Cuba” by Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru)
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Do you want to earn your MFA ONLINE?
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Tom Hebert’s Peace Corps Settlement House

PCV teacher in Eritrea, Ethiopia … 50 years later is saving and sustaining Eritrean lives (Ethiopia)

  John Stauffer, an Ethiopia VII PCV, got profoundly reconnected with Eritrea many years after his service there, when he learned that the regime that took control of the country following independence from Ethiopia in 1991, has been brutally oppressing the population in order to maintain absolute control.  Over 400,000 Eritreans have fled the country, and Stauffer’s nonprofit, The America Team for Displaced Eritreans (www.EritreanRefugees.org) works daily to get assistance — material, legal, financial — to refugees and asylum seekers in many countries around the world… including in the United States. I recently interviewed John about his connection to Ethiopia and the Peace Corps and his efforts to help Eritrean refugees. • John, where are you from? I’m originally from the Philadelphia area and still live here. I first attended York Junior College (now York College of Pennsylvania), and then transferred to Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Why the Peace Corps? A. As . . .

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“Third World and Ashamed of It” by Folwell Dunbar (Ecuador)

  Thanks for the ‘Heads Up’ about the following article from Carol Scott (Ethiopia 1966-68) • Third World and ashamed of it Published in the New Orleans Advocate December 27, 2016 As a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador, I lived and worked with people who had very little. There were children selling Chiclets on the square, women cooking tortillas on makeshift grills on sidewalks, young men singing on buses and trains, prostitutes advertising themselves in alleys, and elderly shaking tin cans on street corners. Poverty was a way of life for many. I came to define “Third World” by the number of people eking out an existence on the street, and by the way in which the government supported them (or didn’t). In reality, the definition is far more complicated, and the term itself is misleading and controversial. By my definition, though, Ecuador was certainly “Third World.” The other day . . .

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Musings in the Morning

  pity this busy monster, manunkind, not. Progress is a comfortable disease: your victim (death and life safely beyond)                                                                                                     e.e. cummings Trump is riding a fresh wave of success for getting Carrier to keep 1,000 factory jobs in Indiana. He said he would bring back work to America and he has brought back 1,000 even before being sworn into office. Now, he hasn’t brought back ‘all jobs’ but Carrier does a lot of government work that is ‘signed off’ by the Executive Office in the White House so the company knows when to ‘fish and cut bait.’ According to Mohan Tatikonda, . . .

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John Garamendi inspires Peter Yarrow to write The Children Are Listening (Ethiopia)

  Inspired by a speech by Rep. John Garamendi (Ethiopia 1966-68) Peter Yarrow wrote a song entitled, “The Children Are Listening” with his friend Kevin Salem producing. The graphic is entitled, “Campaign for Civility” and was designed by the legendary designer, Milton Glaser. Peter writes, “Operation Respect’s CEO and President, Molly McCloskey, has created a link on the Operation Respect website that includes a 6 minute version of Garamendi’s speech, and has sent out 60 emails to various educational allies who are leaders of various educational organizations.” Operation Respect is NOT connected to any political advocacy, party or political agenda. It is a 501(c)3. The link to John Garamendi’s 6 minute video speech to the House of Representatives is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6uFYikh31A&feature=youtu.be And listen to Peter’s song here:  

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Peace Corps Connect — 9/21–9/25 — Washington D.C. — Be an early bird!

  There are a few hours left for you to register as an “early bird” and get a discount on the admission fees for the annual RPCV conference — this year celebrating the 55th Anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps in Washington from September 21st to September 25th. There are also discounts for “seniors” and recently returned PCVs. Go to the registration page to get the details and sign up. We shall be there Peace Corps Worldwide/Peace Corps Writers will — 1 – be part of the “Stories of Peace” program  the afternoon of Wednesday, the  21st. “RPCVs have some of the most compelling and inspiring stories. Sign up for this series of workshops to learn how to find, craft and share your story. You will participate in a workshop on “Spoken Word Storytelling,” a workshop led by John Coyne of Peace Corps Writers, and a panel discussion featuring published RPCV . . .

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New York RPCV Story Slam

  RPCV NYC held its 5th Annual Story Slam on the upper West Side on Saturday night, June 25th, at Hostelling International. A packed house of RPCVs, and would be PCVs, heard eleven, mostly humorous, tales from Peace Corps life. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of New York City is a nonprofit group connected with the NPCA It is made up of, mostly, recent (i.e., within the last ten or fifteen years) PCVs. This group, like all RPCV groups, either by location or country of service, is involved in fund raising projects of countries where they serviced, and also for local NYC projects. Donations at the door (suggested $5) went to help underfunded project through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. That said, what was the evening like? My experience with RPCVs and their stories over the last 55 years is that all of us have one good paragraph, one great story, . . .

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My cousin Bob Mushroom

Since I lean increasingly towards nature writing, I find myself ordering Kindle books on the topic. I’m delighted with my latest purchase: The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter by Colin Trudge. In very accessible prose, he provides a truly refreshing “refresher” course in basic biology.   In high school, as I was on the college track, I was instructed to take chemistry and physics, rather than biology. Maybe biology was considered a lesser science then. In college Biology 1A and B, I barely scraped by. I was a liberal arts gal. Fast forward fifty years: Now I realize that I want to deepen my understanding of the scientific foundations of the natural world — the evolution of scientific names for things and Carolus Linaeus’ system of classification: species, genus, orders, classes and kingdoms (later phylum was inserted between class and kingdom . . .

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“Impressions of Cuba” by Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru)

• Impressions of Cuba A Thirty-Year Retrospective by Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru 1962-64) • Why Cuba? The year before my mother married my dad, she and her cousin Celia took a Greyhound bus from Milwaukee to Miami. After sight-seeing in Miami, they took an amphibian plane to Havana where they ran into some wealthy American men (playboys) who showed them the sights, including the newly opened Tropicana night club that still entertains visitors with scantily clad women dancing to fiery salsa. I don’t know why my mother, a first-generation daughter of a Bavarian-born pastry chef, chose Cuba. Her affinity toward Latin America developed after that trip even though she returned only once, after she had talked my dad into a family road trip from Milwaukee to Mexico City and Acapulco in 1956. It was my mother who encouraged me to say yes to a 1962 telegram from Sargent Shriver inviting me . . .

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Do you want to earn your MFA ONLINE?

I am currently talking to several colleges and universities about developing an online Creative Writing MFA for Peace Corps PCVs and RPCV Writers. This degree could be obtainable within a year of your service–or while you are still overseas–you would have a MFA degree, and, I hope, a book, either a memoir or a novel before you finish your tour.  The time frame would be one or two years depending on your schedule. Are you interested? I am working with several non-profit accredited colleges that have MFA online programs so that you could obtain the degree while you are a PCV, or after your tour, wherever you are living in the world….if you have a computer handy. I would teach one of the writing courses, and other RPCV faculty would be involved, including several book editors I know. It would be friendly, ‘hands on,’ and approachable courses that focus on your . . .

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Tom Hebert’s Peace Corps Settlement House

The Peace Corps, as we know, has Three Goals, but the agency traditionally has only spent about 1% of their budget on the Third Goal of the Peace Corps act, i.e., that’s the RPCVs community. That given, Tom Hebert (Nigeria 1962–64) has come up with a great idea to help RPCVs, would-be PCVs, and the Peace Corps community-at-large with the “Peace Corps Settlement House” in Washington, D.C. The Peace Corps Agency, of course, will not support the effort. As the Peace Corps Director wrote Tom recently— I know how passionate you are about the community enrichment that is possible through the settlement house model. I know that you also realize that the leadership for a settlement house project must come from foundations, the NPCA/RPCV community, and committed others, because it is outside the authorities of the Peace Corps. So this is what Tom Hebert has in mind. If you are willing and can help . . .

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