The Peace Corps

Agency history, current news and stories of the people who are/were both on staff and Volunteers.

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To Die in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
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Joe Colmen Passes at 98 (HQ/Washington)
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Finding Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)
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Remembering Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)
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Peace Corps accused of quarantining, then firing, PCV with HIV (Cambodia)
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Talking to Gabriel Krieshok (Madagascar)
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Trumps’ Republican Political Appointees at the Peace Corps
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Nominations for Best Peace Corps Book of 2017
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Two Paraguayan Short Stories by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
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Did you know this PCV? (Anywhere)

To Die in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Peace Corps Volunteer Susan Traub was killed on the night she and her husband arrived as new Peace Corps Volunteers to Ethiopia. It was a  tragic death through absolutely no fault of her own and only because she turned left and not right when she stepped out of the Land Rover at the hotel on her first night in Addis Ababa. This story is about Susan, and it is also about her husband, Charles, who was also injured that night, but who went onto have an amazing life in all the years since, living through the death of his young wife, his own injury, and then a tour in Vietnam. Today he has emerged having had a successful career as a photographer, college professor, author of fifteen books, and a husband and a father. What happened in Ethiopia in September 1967, happened in the last days of my tour as . . .

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Joe Colmen Passes at 98 (HQ/Washington)

In her book on the early days of the Peace Corps, (Come As You Are) Coates Redmon writes of Colmen, “He was one of Shriver’s foils who could, like Mankiewicz and Gelman, make Shriver laugh his great whooping laugh and cause him to make light of things in tense situations. Colmen was an obsessive punster and an instigator of mass guffawing at senior staff meetings. Like Mel Brooks, whom Colmen physically resembled, Colmen likes to see the group dynamic reach the brink of craziness. Like Brooks, Colmen likes to provoke “dangerous laughing.” On his first trip to Africa with Shriver, Colmen and a hand full of other HQ officials went to the royal palace of Emperor Haile Selassie and after Shriver’s official visit with the Emperor, Shriver and the small group were given a tour of the royal gardens. As they reached an outer corridor of the palace, a sort . . .

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Finding Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)

By Patricia A. Wand (Colombia 1963-65) Published in Peace Corps Writers & Readers, May 1997   “THE MESSAGE FROM ECUADOR TODAY IS: NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED.” So wrote Moritz Thomsen on June 29, 1990, and what he meant was that he was angry at me. He was angry because I nominated him for the Sargent Shriver Award; because I suggested his traveling to the U.S. when I knew of his frail health; and because I described his living conditions in my letter of nomination. But this all happened after I got to know him a bit. Let’s start much earlier than that; when I read is first book. Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle spoke to me and for me. Moritz Thomsen captured the essence of Latin American village culture as I too knew it. I saw in his village the same people, the same breadth of character, the . . .

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Remembering Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)

Back in 1990, shortly before his death from cholera, I interviewed Moritz for then newsletter, Peace Corps Writers & Readers. Moritz who had been a PCV in Ecuador from 1965-67, had written three books, all about his time in Latin America. Many consider his book Living Poor the best written account of the Peace Corps experience. When he emailed me he was living at Casilla 362, Guayaquil, Educador Here is what Moritz wrote me, responding to one of my questions. Moritz, you are an example of a Peace Corps Volunteer who has never come home. From your books we know your “history” over these last twenty-five years or so, but is there another reason—perhaps a mystical reason—that has kept you in Latin America. No, no mystical reasons for staying in South America. In my younger years I was very often the kid who was the last to leave the party, . . .

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Peace Corps accused of quarantining, then firing, PCV with HIV (Cambodia)

Thanks to a ‘heads up’ from Alana DeJoseph (Mali 1992-94) Romany Tin has emailed me to say: “The splinternews article got it wrong and misinterpreted the them.us article. I wasn’t quaratined nor did I claimed to be. I said that the news of not being able to go back to Cambodia made me feel not wanting to leave the hotel room which I barely left. Them.us got it right (I interviewed with them), but splinternews (I didnt interview with them)” jcoyne note • Peace Corps Accused of Quarantining, Then Firing, Volunteer With HIV By Jorge Rivas, Splinter News AP Photo The Peace Corps may do work around the world to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination, but, according to a report on Friday, it’s a different story if one of its volunteers tests positive. A Peace Corps volunteer who was stationed in Cambodia claims the federal government agency quarantined him in a hotel room and . . .

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Talking to Gabriel Krieshok (Madagascar)

Thanks to a “heads up” from Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65) who sent me this link:  https://medium.com/@gabrielkrieshok/the-future-of-the-peace-corps-and-how-to-stop-it-f2e0fe3aff50 I read about Gabriel Krieshok former lead of #ICT4D@PeaceCorps HQ. On his blog, Gabriel had written: For the first time in ten years, I have no official connection to the Peace Corps, and I have felt an itch to reflect on this journey and some observations that have stuck with me. I must first say—that this process of moving on has been a little surreal. The nature of my relationship to the institution has changed over the years, through the various roles I’ve been lucky to have—volunteer, campus recruiter, and most recently as a staff member in Washington, D.C., where I voluntarily stepped down after 5 years of service just last month. After checking out his site, I got in touch with Gabriel, wanting to know more about what he had done with the . . .

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Trumps’ Republican Political Appointees at the Peace Corps

Thanks to a ‘heads up’ by Meisha Robinson (Benin 2000-02) NPCA February 2018 Patrick Young, Associate Director for Global Operations Patrick Young joins the Peace Corps as Associate Director for Global Operations. He most recently served as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Office of Personnel Management during a period of significant transition. Prior to public service, Patrick gained extensive experience in operations as well as project and organizational management as an entrepreneur and business owner. Patrick has managed projects and teams for government, private sector, and non-profit clients both international and domestic. Patrick has a master’s degree from George Washington University. Joel Frushone, Associate Director for External Affairs–(Lesotho 1995-97) Joel Frushone joins the Peace Corps as Associate Director for External Affairs after serving for four months as our Director of Communications. Joel brings over 20 years of experience in Africa, where he lived for nearly 10 years. Most recently, . . .

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Nominations for Best Peace Corps Book of 2017

To further fulfill its goals to encourage, recognize and promote Peace Corps writers, RPCV Writers & Readers, the newsletter that was the precursor of PeaceCorpsWriters.org and PeaceCorpsWorldwide.org, presented its first annual awards for outstanding writing in 1990. A total of 143 awards have been given since that time. Winners receive a certificate and small cash award. When possible, Peace Corps Writers Awards are presented at the RPCV Conference Awards Ceremony. Next year, the Awards will be announced at the NPCA Conference at Shawnee, PA in late August. Nominate your favorite Peace Corps book published in 2017 by sending an email to: jcoyneone@gmail.com The Awards THE MARIA THOMAS FICTION AWARD, first presented in 1990, is named after the novelist Maria Thomas [Roberta Worrick (Ethiopia 1971–73)] who was the author of the well-reviewed novel Antonia Saw the Oryx First, and two collections of short stories, Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage: And Other Stories and African Visas: A Novella and . . .

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Two Paraguayan Short Stories by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

The Intimate Other In “Place of Rest,” Teddy Wilson decides he wants to die in Paraguay. In “Old School,” Rowen Royce makes the decision to live there. For both American characters, Paraguay has become the intimate other. It is a place to which they do not belong but are irresistibly drawn. The choice they make is both conscious and blind. They are impelled. Choosing a largely rural, semi-tropical, landlocked country with a history of problematic government calls for a leap of faith, but faith in what? Neither Teddy nor Rowen would put it this way, but they trust in Paraguay’s otherness, which despite differences of temperament and experience they both find unspeakably beautiful. In an act of defiant identification they ally themselves with the dazzled streets of Asunción summer, the dizzying green sweep of countryside. The way dust hangs in the air over a dirt road down which cowboys have . . .

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