Short Works by PC Writers

Short works by RPCVs that do not reference the Peace Corps experience.

1
Vanity Fair article by Maureen Orth (Colombia) on Colombia’s most-feared female revolutionary
2
A Writer Writes: “Digging to China” a short story by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
3
“Bitter Vengeance: A Mystery Short Story” by Carole Sojka (Somali)
4
“Fifty Years Fly By” by Ada Jo Mann (Chad)
5
“One Morning in September” by Edwin Jorge (Jamaica)
6
A Writer Writes: “House of Flowers” — A short story by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
7
Fifth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “The Stories We Tell” by GraceAnne Heater (Rwanda)
8
Fourth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: Peace Corps Poems by Earl Huband (Oman)
9
Second Prize Peace Corps Fund Awards: “Samarkand Calling” by Beatrice Hogan (Uzbekistan)
10
“Disillusionment in the Delta” by William Seraile (Ethiopia)

Vanity Fair article by Maureen Orth (Colombia) on Colombia’s most-feared female revolutionary

She was Colombia’s most-feared female revolutionary. Can she help it find peace?   As one of the few women FARC commanders, Elda Neyis Mosquera, also known as “Karina,” has confessed to a host of barbarous crimes—including forcing abortions on her own soldiers. Now that peace has broken out, she is helping to give voice to the history of entrenched sexual violence against women in the movement. by Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964-66) Vanity Fair September 2018 • Ex–guerrilla commander Elda Neyis Mosquera, known by her nom de guerre Karina, under house arrest at a 17th Brigade army base in northwestern Colombia. Her nom de guerre was Karina, but her given name—the name she goes by now—is Elda Neyis Mosquera. She was the youngest of five children born in northwestern Colombia to Jose Leopoldino Mosquera, a black man, and Flor Ester García, a white woman. Neither ever learned how to read. From the . . .

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A Writer Writes: “Digging to China” a short story by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

    Digging to China by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80)   A feeling of déjà vu nagged Hunter Durrell as he crossed the Xaneria lot. It seemed like a dumb thing to be feeling. Of course he had been there before. Twice a day for three years, going to and coming from the cube farm. Then it hit him. Spring. The smell of turned over earth. Dogwood blossoms. A trace scent of last night’s rain. In the sky-blue distance, a tractor downshifted, and Hunter’s eyes teared. He had forgotten the world, and here it was forgiving him, reminding him it was still there. He had to get out more. Inside the cube farm, breathing institutional air, he was ambushed by Prudence raising a pallid hand as she rolled her chair into the aisle. “Stop in the name of Howard Roark.” Prudence needed to get out more, too. And quit dreaming in . . .

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“Bitter Vengeance: A Mystery Short Story” by Carole Sojka (Somali)

      Carole Sojka (Somali 1962-64) is the author of two mystery novels set in Florida featuring a female police detective named Andi Battaglia and her male partner, Greg Lamont — A Reason to Kill, and So Many Reasons to Die. She has also published a stand-alone mystery novel, Psychic Damage, set in Southern California. She has had a number of short stories published in various venues and is also on the board of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. You can read her most recent story, “Bitter Vengeance ” at Kings River Life.  

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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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“One Morning in September” by Edwin Jorge (Jamaica)

Edwin Jorge was the Regional Manager of the New York Peace Corps Office and at work in Building # 6 of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The building was destroyed when the North Tower collapsed. At a  commemoration service held at Headquarters in Peace Corps/Washington the following year, Edwin spoke about the attack and what happened to the Peace Corps Office. His comments follow. • One Morning in September by Edwin Jorge (Jamaica 1979–81) On the morning of September 11, 2001, I sat down at my office desk and turned on my computer. As the computer booted to life, I glanced up and looked out of the windows of my office on the sixth floor of the Customs House in the heart of the financial district of New York. From where I sat, I could see the corner of Tower One of the World Trade Center. I could . . .

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A Writer Writes: “House of Flowers” — A short story by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

  A former U.S. foreign service officer, Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) has published more than 100 stories in magazines including The Atlantic, Playboy, The Idaho Review, The S0uthrn  Review, and The Kenyon Review. He has stories forthcoming in several magazines including The Hudson Review. His story “How Birds Communicate” won The Iowa Review fiction prize. His five books include A Handful of Kings, published by Simon and Schuster, and Stone Cowboy, by Soho Press, which won the Maria Thomas Award. His website can be found at markjacobsauthor.com. This story appears in the Fall 2016 issue of Border Crossing. • House of Flowers Poppa Billy was living in the basement at the House of Flowers even though his name was on the mortgage. The basement was set up to be an apartment with its own separate door, so he came and went as he pleased. At maximum capacity, the House of Flowers accommodated seven room-renters. I was number seven, taking Nasturtium after Mr. . . .

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Fifth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “The Stories We Tell” by GraceAnne Heater (Rwanda)

  GraceAnne Heater (Rwanda 2014-16) served in Peace Corps Rwanda as an ESL high school teacher. She has won many contests, including a pie eating contest at age 10, a cow milking contest at age 17, and a peeps diorama competition at age 28. She is an avid reader and a passionate but undisciplined writer. She currently resides in Philadelphia with her husband and their adopted Rwandan cat.       • The Stories We Tell by GraceAnne Heater   MURUNDA, MY VILLAGE, was in the only district in Rwanda without a paved road. It was remote, poor, and nearly inaccessible during the rainy season. It was an hour and a half away from the main road, a motorcycle ride that stopped my heart and took my breath, nothing but steep mountains, sharp curves, uneven roads, and views of Lake Kivu with the DRC looming in the distance. Murunda was home . . .

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Fourth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: Peace Corps Poems by Earl Huband (Oman)

  Earl Huband (Oman 1975-78) worked for the Oman Ministry of Education. During his first two years, Earl taught 1st – 6th year English 4th–9th grade) in Bukha, a small Musandam fishing village in the northern part of Oman, near the mouth of the Persian Gulf. During his third year, Earl worked in Salalah, the capital of Oman’s southern district, splitting his time between teaching English and serving as assistant to that region’s Chief English Inspector. The following are a few of the 28 poems he submitted. • The Journey from the Interior Airborne over the Batinah plain, we skirt the coast en route to Bukha, a small Musandam fishing village near the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Arabian — not Persian — Gulf: these Arabs never say Persian. This Sky Van, this bumblebee of planes, this flying buzzsaw bears the number nine — one — one emblazoned . . .

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Second Prize Peace Corps Fund Awards: “Samarkand Calling” by Beatrice Hogan (Uzbekistan)

  Beatrice Hogan served in the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in Uzbekistan (1992-94), and in 2001, returned to the region as an International Reporting Project (IRP) Fellow. She’s worked as a book editor, a radio reporter, and a magazine researcher, and her work has appeared in More, Business 2.0 and Marie Claire, among other publications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown and a master’s in international affairs from Columbia. • Samarkand Calling WE WERE IN UZBEKISTAN, heading for Bukhara, an historic city about four hours outside Samarkand, when a soldier flagged down our car with a white baton. My husband and I stared at each other nervously as our driver pulled into the checkpoint. I was in Central Asia on a month-long journalism fellowship; Kevin had come along as my photographer. The soldier demanded our passports and disappeared into a roadside shack. I realized that . . .

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“Disillusionment in the Delta” by William Seraile (Ethiopia)

After his Peace Corps service in Ethiopia, William Seraile returned home to earn his masters in ’67 from the Teachers College at Columbia, and a doctorate in American history from the City University of New York in 1977. Now a professor emeritus — after 36 years teaching African American history at Lehman College, CUNY in the Bronx  — Bill lives in New York, and is the father of two and grandfather of four. In a 3-part review published on this site in 2016 of  The Fortunate Few: IVS Volunteers from Asia to the Andes  written by Thierry J. Sagnier (2015), I wrote about Seraile and other RPCVs (33) and Peace Corps Staff (15) who joined the International Voluntary Services (IVS) and went to Vietnam, and I wrote about the four IVS veterans who went from IVS into the Peace Corps. What follows is Bill Seraile’s account of his Vietnam experience. — JC • Disillusionment . . .

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