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New books by Peace Corps writers — March & April 2017
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Peace Corps headquarters moving out of downtown DC
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“Loose Ends” by Bob Criso (Nigeria/Somalia)
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“Miriam’s Dream and a Peace Corps Story” by Joe Thigpen (Brazil)
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Poet John Robert “Jack” Mueller (India) dies in Grand Junction, Colorado
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New legislation introduced to improve health services for Peace Corps Volunteers
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Peace Corps Writers MFAs
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Florence, From the Simple to the Spectacular (Travel)
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Despite memo, White House says Michelle Obama program unchanged
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JFK at 100

New books by Peace Corps writers — March & April 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.   • Yovo (Peace Corps novel) by Stephen F. Dexter. Jr. (Togo 1988–91) Peace Corps Writers February 2017 434 pages $21.00 (paperback) • Walled In, Walled Out: A Young American Woman in Iran by Mary Dana Marks (Iran 1964–66) Peace Corps Writers . . .

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Peace Corps headquarters moving out of downtown DC

  I HAVE HEARD from individuals familiar with the Peace Corps that the convenient three Headquarter buildings that the Peace Corps has enjoyed for all of their existence — some 56 + plus years —will soon be history. The agency will move before the end of the year to the far southwest of the District, out close to the Beltway. The Peace Corps will also likely be sharing a building with another government agency. No longer will the Peace Corps have a footprint in the heart of the Nation’s Capital. The first Peace Corps HQ was at 806 Connecticut Ave across from Lafayette Park and with views of the White House. It was called the Maiatico Building and immortalized in a famous Washington Post photograph showing how the Peace Corps was working far into the night to launch the new agency. The second building was at 1990 K Street NW. I am not sure who was the director at . . .

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“Loose Ends” by Bob Criso (Nigeria/Somalia)

  Loose Ends by Bob Criso  (Nigeria 1966-67, Somalia 1967-68) • SUSAN STEEN AND PAUL BAUMER met on a beach in Bali. She was traveling with her friend Janice, taking a lot of pictures with her fancy camera. He was on his way home after two years with the Peace Corps in Africa. They have sex in the moonlight. It was 1970. “What was it like?” Susan asks, sitting up on the blanket and lighting a cigarette. Paul tells her about his early Peace Corps success. He and his friend Jeff “worked their asses off” and got all the latrines built for their project in only six months, thanks to a lot of help from the locals. He became fluent in Nglele. When the locals didn’t use the latrines, he learned that they use feces as fertilizer and didn’t want to waste it in the latrines. All along, the locals . . .

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“Miriam’s Dream and a Peace Corps Story” by Joe Thigpen (Brazil)

  Miriam’s Dream and a Peace Corps Story by Joe Thigpen (Brazil 1963–65) • WHEN I WAS A young Peace Corps Volunteer in Capinzal, Santa Catarina, Brazil, I lived with Guilherme and Miriam Doin, along with their­­ four children, Zezo, Jota, Tânia, and Jane. I was 21, young and idealistic. I was committed to do my job in rural community development in this small community of about 1,000 people. I did not pay much attention to living in the small town, although I did play with the local soccer team, and eventually helped start a local basketball team. Many afternoons after a day in the nearby rural communities I would return to play backyard soccer with the boys and their dad, who was somewhat of a local star on the town’s number one team. For my Peace Corps project I was very fortunate to be part of the 4-H Club . . .

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Poet John Robert “Jack” Mueller (India) dies in Grand Junction, Colorado

  Thanks for the ‘heads-up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77) • John Robert “Jack” Mueller (PCV India), who taught poetry and sailing in New Orleans before gaining prominence among the post-Beat poets in the San Francisco Bay area, died of cancer Thursday in Grand Junction, Colorado. He was 74. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, renowned poet and co-founder of the landmark City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, said, “Jack Mueller is the biggest-hearted poet I have ever known.” Mueller published six collections of poems and two books of sketches, most notably “Amor Fati” (Lithic Press, 2013). A reviewer praised his approach to “almost exclusively cosmic questions — about mortality, love and our relationship to language.” He created art wherever he went, making sketches and short poems on bar napkins, coasters and index cards, according to his brother, Gordon “Nick” Mueller, president and CEO of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. . . .

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New legislation introduced to improve health services for Peace Corps Volunteers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) introduced the bipartisan Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act (H.R. 2259) to improve the health, safety and well-being of current and returned Peace Corps volunteers. Peace Corps volunteers represent what is best about America. They give years of their lives to help others whom they have never met, building goodwill across the globe for the United States. After Nick Castle, a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer teaching in rural China, fell violently ill in January 2013, no one recognized the severity of his symptoms and he passed away. A 2014 Peace Corps Inspector General report found that Nick was the victim of medical negligence and exposed “failures and delays in treatment” that ultimately led to his death. “After Nick’s death, it became clear that the Peace Corps staff was not properly trained or equipped and failed to respond,” said Congressman Ted Poe. “When young American Peace Core volunteers head . . .

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Peace Corps Writers MFAs

National University’s online MFA program has yet to launch a PCV & RPCV MFA cohort, though several Peace Corps Volunteers are already enrolled and taking classes. (The farthest away from sunny California and the main campus of Natural University is PCV Sally La Rue in Mongolia. Sally finishes up in-country this summer, will tour on her way home with her husband, and be back in an online class this fall wherever they decide to settle down.) I am now teaching a class (No Peace Corps Volunteers in it) on non-fiction for National University. While I have only ‘met’ my students online, they range in age from 23 to 65. All are getting their MFAs in Creative Writing. While National University has one of the few ‘totally online” programs, online classes are increasing across the US. Just last week Purdue University announced it was buying for-profit Kaplan University to boost enrollment . . .

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Florence, From the Simple to the Spectacular (Travel)

Florence, From the Simple to the Spectacular Is it worth an overnight flight to Firenze for a taste of gelato at La Carraia near Ponte alla Carrala? Is it worth a sleepless night on a jet for a sandwich of street food (porchetta and more) at all’Antico Vinaio near the Uffizi Gallery? Or perhaps dinner, after a day of sightseeing, at the friendly neighborhood hangout Alla Vecchia Bettola on the Piazza Tasso? Yes, it is. Throw in Florence’s showier treasures—the Medici Chapel, the Duomo, and the leather-goods stores, to name just a few—and this ancient yet lively Italian city becomes an irresistible destination. Last year my wife and I planned a trip to Florence for early May, hoping to beat the rush of summer tourists (we did). We wanted a room with a glorious rooftop view and a location within an easy walk of the museums, churches and restaurants—and to . . .

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Despite memo, White House says Michelle Obama program unchanged

(CNN)Hours after CNN reported on an internal document advising administration employees that former first lady Michelle Obama’s signature education initiative would not be maintained, the White House said the program had not changed. “There have been no changes to the program,” said Kelly Love, a White House spokeswoman, referring to the “Let Girls Learn” initiative, which Obama launched in 2015. “There have been no changes to the Let Girls Learn program. The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school.We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so.” The White House’s response came after an internal Trump administration document showed plans to end the “Let Girls Learn” program, which facilitates educational opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries. “Moving forward, we will not continue to use . . .

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JFK at 100

Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80) On this morning’s Brian Lehrer show, Douglas Brinkley and Stephen Kennedy Smith talked about JFK and their new book, on what would have been his 100th birthday. Among other things, the Peace Corps was mentioned. http://www.wnyc.org/story/jfk-centennial

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