Short Works by PC Writers

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

1
“There Is No Such Thing as a True Story” by Ellen Urbani (Guatemala)
2
“St. Pete” — Gerald Karey (Turkey)
3
Jon Anderson (Gabon 1974-77) Two ‘Flash’ Stories
4
Urban Legends by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)
5
A Mother’s Kept Promise by Rudolph Keith Dunn (Dominican Republic 1990-92)
6
A Game in the Sun by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64)
7
The Navel of the Mekong by Gerry Christmas (Thailand 1973-76 & Western Samoa 1976-78)
8
Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) publishes a new story in Superstition Review
9
Dead Calm by Carole Sojka (Somalia 1962-64)
10
Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987-90)Development Is Down This Road

“There Is No Such Thing as a True Story” by Ellen Urbani (Guatemala)

Ellen Urbani (1991–93) emailed me this article and note: Not that this has anything to do with Peace Corps, but an essay of mine came out in The Rumpus yesterday. It’s one that was almost 15 years in the making; hard to tell, but important, I believe. Please feel free to share if you’re so inclined. http://therumpus.net/2016/03/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-true-story/ • THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A TRUE STORY BY ELLEN URBANI. There is no such thing as a true story. I know this because my daughter insists I told her to put her dirty dishes in the sink when I know I told her to put them in the dishwasher, and because my sister swears that on a late summer night in 1990 I deliberately flicked a Japanese beetle into her mouth when—cross my heart and hope to die—I only intended to swat it off my mother’s shoulder. I know this because my . . .

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“St. Pete” — Gerald Karey (Turkey)

St. Pete Gerald Karey (Turkey 1965–67) • Death was a frequent visitor to the Ebb Tide Retirement and Nursing Home in St. Pete. It usually arrived during the night – perhaps there was a biological or psychological reason for that – but whatever the reason it allowed the staff to deal quietly and discretely with it, in order shield the residents from the grim reality that death had taken another. Not that it made much difference to the residents who knew Ebb Tide would be their final stop on what Mrs. Daphne Delacourt from Piscataway, New Jersey – who as a young woman appeared in a number of amateur theatricals and was given to dramatic gestures and phrases – liked to call life’s great journey. But while the residents didn’t dwell on dying or talk much about death, most shared a resigned acceptance about its inevitably and it was never . . .

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Jon Anderson (Gabon 1974-77) Two ‘Flash’ Stories

Jon Anderson is a liberation ecologist intent on empowering the impoverished through expanding their bundle of rights over resources; making markets work better for the poor; and linking to technical solutions and problem-solving. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in school construction in Gabon (1974 – 77) and was a rural animation volunteer in Mali in 1977.  He served with USAID, USDA, FAO, the MCC (Resident Country Director for Mali) and with the private sector in the US and Africa. He has taught at both Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. One of his favorite biological processes is fermentation.  This process helps him write. Almost Perfect By Jon Anderson As soon as he awoke and went downstairs, he saw a young, grubby kid at the door.  Here, kids replaced telephones – they seemed to be the most frequent means of . . .

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Urban Legends by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)

Chris Honore’ was born in occupied Denmark, during WWII. After the war, he immigrated to America. He went to public schools and then attended San Jose State University and the University of California, at Berkeley, where he earned a teaching credential, an M.A. and a Ph.D. After teaching high school English for two years, he joined the Peace Corps. He’s a freelance journalist based in Ashland, Oregon. His wife owns a bookstore on Main Street. His son is a cinematographer, living in Southern California. Urban Legends by Chris Honore’ PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS were known, at least within the ranks, for telling stories, urban legends of a sort, passed along over a meal or coffee. Many were humorous, some anecdotal, often embellished to make a point, others so improbable as to require a suspension of disbelief, many possessing a dark edge of frustration and cynicism and resignation. One popular story that . . .

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A Mother’s Kept Promise by Rudolph Keith Dunn (Dominican Republic 1990-92)

Rudolph Keith Dunn (Dominican Republic 1990-92) is a Spanish teacher at Starling International Learning and Childcare Center in Richmond. He also tutors children in creative writing. A former freelance journalist for various newspapers over the years, as well as an ESL instructor with Catholic Charities and a Reading and Writing Tutor with the Richmond Public School system. This story, “A Mother’s Kept Promise” was published in the 2015 March edition of the Linden Avenue Literary Journal. It  won the Virginia Writers Club Literary Competition in 2013. A Mother’s Kept Promise by Rudolph Keith Dunn Roaring flames devoured his mother’s flesh, and the small boy smiled. Achebe noticed the soft brown skin was now black and charred, the delicate nose, full lips, and piercing eyes had disappeared. The beautiful, elegant, form of Ashanti, the envy and pride of her village, was no more than a roasting dark mass of skin, muscle, . . .

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A Game in the Sun by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64)

This story by John Coyne (Ethiopia  1962-64) was published several times in various magazines. While there were missionaries and missions in Ethiopia, mostly Sudan Interior, Seventh Day, and other protestant domination’s, they were always  (well, almost always) helpful to PCVs. In no way did an incident like the following occur, though it would have made a great story to tell at the Close of Service Conference. A Game in the Sun Betsy was not allowed to play croquet with her husband and the Reverend, so she sat in the shade of the trees at the top of the mound. The mound overlooked a lush rain-forest which grew thick and dense to the edges of the Mission Compound. The view was compelling and frightening to Betsy. The close steamy jungle made her feel insignificant and as she half listened to Mrs. Shaw’s chatter, she watched the bush as if it were . . .

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The Navel of the Mekong by Gerry Christmas (Thailand 1973-76 & Western Samoa 1976-78)

Gerry Christmas joined VISTA as a social worker and housing specialist in Utah. He then joined the Peace Corps and taught three years in Thailand and two years in Western Samoa. He graduated from the School for International Training, and taught in China, Japan, and the United States. He is now retired and living in Thailand. The Navel of the Mekong By Gerry Christmas I General Hunta felt beset by hyenas. He was a man of action to the core. He relished the great outdoors: the thrill of conflict, the camaraderie of men, the barking of orders, and the mass obedience of foot soldiers, tank commanders, and missile guidance technicians. Now he found himself in a hostile environment: in a sequestered government room surrounded by feckless, inept, and corrupt creatures, commonly called politicians. For months they had failed to do their job; they had failed to govern the nation. This hacked the . . .

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Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) publishes a new story in Superstition Review

Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) is the winner of the Peace Corps Writers Maria Thomas Award for his novel Stone Cowboy. A former Foreign Service officer, he has published more than 100 stories in magazines including The Atlantic, The Southern Humanities Review, The Idaho Review, The Southern Review, and The Kenyon Review. His story How Birds Communicate won The Iowa Review fiction prize. In March 2015 Playboy magazine will publish  “The Bull You See, The Bull You Don’t.” Set in Madrid, it is the story of a young American woman breaking free of her deadbeat husband. This story, “A Lonely Man Talks to His Pig” was recently published at the online publication Superstition Review. • A Lonely Man Talks to His Pig The property was happily situated, wandering downhill to the raggedy terminus of a gravel road the county would not soon get around to paving. Thanks to a screen of ancestral . . .

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Dead Calm by Carole Sojka (Somalia 1962-64)

This short story by Carole Sojka takes place in Kenya in the early sixties. As Carole wrote me, “My husband and I were Peace Corps Volunteers in the Somali Republic from 1962 to 1964. We were with the first Somalia group. There were, I think, seven other Peace Corps groups sent to the Republic  before the coup in 1969 that sent the country hurtling into its current state of chaos. I taught English in the secondary school in Merca, a town about forty miles south of the capital, Mogadiscio, where the language before independence was Italian. My husband taught English to the local officials, i.e., the D.C., the police chief, the harbor master. He also took photographs for the Ministry of Tourism. It was a hopeful time in Somalia. “The story of ‘Dead Calm’ came from an experience my husband and I had on a train trip in Uganda in . . .

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Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987-90)Development Is Down This Road

[Winner of the 1992 Peace Corps Experience Award was this excellent essay by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987-90) entitled, “Development Is Down This Road.” Peace Corps writing and remembering doesn’t get much better than this.] • A Writer Writes: Development Is Down This Road by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987-90) FEW RECOGNIZE ME without my trademark Suzuki. Now I have this red Yamaha DT they gave me to replace it. I’m still white, though, or so they keep insisting as I pass by the shouting voices trying to get me to stop to do a favor, chat, or taste the latest in palm wine. I know I have a bike, but how do you say “I’m not a taxi” in the local language? I’m late, I’m in a hurry, I’ve got to help a women’s group plant rows of plantains and pineapple in their community farm. This road could jostle my . . .

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