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Fiction that matters — An Interview with Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
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December 2, 1961 New Yorker Cartoon on the Peace Corps Post Card (Nigeria)
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The Peace Corps ‘Madman’ Behind Trump’s Trade Theory (Thailand)
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Cyprus’ First (and only) Peace Corps Staff
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More Reps Around the World
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Reps Around the World
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Ruth Olson, Special Assistant, Division of Volunteer Field Support
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Review — THE WHITE KAHUNA by Joseph Theroux (Samoa)
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Review — THE COTTAGE ON THE BAY by Ruben Gonzales (Liberia)
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Philippines’ First Peace Corps Staff (Part Three)

Fiction that matters — An Interview with Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

  Fiction that matters—An Interview with Mark Jacobs (Paraguay) Interviewed by Kurt Baumeister, The Oddville Press http://arthousemedia.com/oddville/interview-jacobs.html (Mark Jacobs (MJ) and Kurt Baumeister (KGB) KGB— You’ve published quite a bit of short fiction, some of it in hallowed literary venues like The Atlantic, Shenandoah, and The Kenyon Review. And you’ve won several prizes for this work. But you’ve also published a few straight spy thrillers. Talk about the impulse to work in different subgenres of fiction—I’ve always hesitated to refer to literary or serious fiction as a genre, but many do so let’s go with it—do you get different satisfactions out of writing serious fiction as opposed to what we think of as “popular” work? MJ— It’s good to connect with you, Kurt. I appreciate the question. A few years ago, I was disappointed to get a turn-down on a story from the editor of one of the prestigious literary magazines. He seemed to like the story I’d sent . . .

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December 2, 1961 New Yorker Cartoon on the Peace Corps Post Card (Nigeria)

“Do you think it would be all right on a postcard to mention frozen foods, dirty streets, crowded tenements, TV commercials, and things like that?” This is the original cartoon that Ellen Kennedy, wife of Padraic Kennedy, Chief of the Division of Volunteer Field Support –1961-65–purchased from The New Yorker cartoonist. Ellen and Pat Kennedy kindly gave the cartoon to me and I am turning it over to the NPCA when they open their RPCV museum at their offices in Washington, D.C. next spring. The “post card” incident in Nigeria involving the lost postcard sent home by a PCV was a signature event of the first year and because the Volunteers and Staff in Nigeria “held it together” the Peace Corps was kept together. It could have caused the death knell for the agency. The New Yorker, as only they would, found humor in the situation and published this cartoon.

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The Peace Corps ‘Madman’ Behind Trump’s Trade Theory (Thailand)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Andy Trincia (Romania 2002-04) Peter Navarro—a business-school professor, a get-rich guru, a former Peace Corps member, and a former Democrat—is among the most important generals in Trump’s trade war. MATTHIEU BOUREL by ANNIE LOWREY DECEMBER 2018 ISSUE of The Atlantic “No one’s more careful about what they buy,” Peter Navarro (Thailand 1972-75) told me recently. The director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy was explaining that he reads labels closely and avoids products made in China. “People need to be mindful of the high cost of low prices,” he said. In Navarro’s telling, those cheap flip-flops are supporting an authoritarian state, and that cut-rate washing machine might be mortgaging America’s future. Such wariness of foreign goods is not just one man’s consumer preference—it’s United States policy. In the past year, the Trump administration has embarked on a trade war with sweeping geopolitical aims: . . .

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Cyprus’ First (and only) Peace Corps Staff

When newly independent Cyprus showed an interest in inviting the Peace Corps, the Near East-South Asia regional office sent Patricia Sullivan to Nicosia, the island’s capital city. Miss Sullivan, who later became operations officer for Nepal and Afghanistan as well as Cyprus, arrived in Nicosia on January 9, 1962, and remained until early April. Toward the end of April, Associate General Counsel Roger Kuhn, then discussing a program in Turkey, flew over from Ankara for three days to assist with a few technical points in the program note. When Miss Sullivan flew back to Washington, the first Cyprus program, which called for geologists, teachers and agricultural extension workers, was ready to go. The 23 Volunteers who were sent to the island went into training nine weeks later at Howard University. Meridan Bennett, the Representative in Cyprus, shared part of the training with them. Born in Minneapolis, “Med” Bennett was raised . . .

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Ruth Olson, Special Assistant, Division of Volunteer Field Support

One of the nicest people, especially to RPCVs arriving at PC/HQ in the early days, was a woman who had the least connection to Volunteers life, Ruth Olson. She was raised in Albuquerque, N.M. and had two years at the University of New Mexico before she came to Washington to take a job as a typist in the Treasury Department. It was then the gloomy Thirties, the heart of hard times, and her college career became a casualty to economics. The approach of World War II generated a number of new war agencies which, because they were new, had tumultuous personnel problems. Beginning in 1940, Miss Olson moved through the personnel offices of a number of these new agencies—the War Production Board, the Federal Security Agency, the Foreign Economics Administration, the vastly expanded Navy. In the process, she was called on to deal with every conceivable variety of personnel problem. . . .

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Review — THE WHITE KAHUNA by Joseph Theroux (Samoa)

   The White Kahuna: Robert Louis Stevenson, Detective  Joseph Theroux (Samoa 1975-78) Kilauea Publications 372 pages 2018 $12.00 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by: Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) • My immediate question about the author’s name – was he related to Paul Theroux? — was answered by a New York Times article, noting that “A new voice from another writing family, Joseph Theroux, debuts with Black Coconuts, Brown Magic, a somber comedy set in Samoa. He is the younger brother of Paul …”  I also learned that Paul has four brothers and two sisters in another New York Times piece published in 1978 entitled “The Theroux Family Arsenal.”  Like Paul, Joseph became a Peace Corps Volunteer.  He served in Samoa  where he taught in a school and eventually became its principal.  He has lived in Samoa, Hawaii and Cape Cod. My next question was “Robert Louis Stevenson, Detective?”  Well, The Strange . . .

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Review — THE COTTAGE ON THE BAY by Ruben Gonzales (Liberia)

  The Cottage On the Bay: Family Saga of Scots Grove Plantation by the Sea in the Carolinas by Ruben Gonzales (Liberia 1971-76) Moonshine Cove Publishing February 2018 282 pages $14.99 (paperback), $6.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Peter V. Deekle ( Iran 1968-70) • There is a story in each of us . . . often more than one, and in Ruben Gonzales’s case he demonstrates a strong capacity for storytelling. Drawing on his keen powers of observation and, indeed, an individual emersion in a culture (honed by his Peace Corps experience, Liberia, 1971-1976) he tells a compelling story of the multi-generational Stewart family. Ruben’s story is really a sweeping saga of the South (particularly the Carolinas) first at the Civil War’s beginning and then following the local events there into the early twentieth century. The tale’s central character, Martha Stewart, is the unusually determined and committed oldest daughter of the Scots Grove Plantation owner, . . .

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Philippines’ First Peace Corps Staff (Part Three)

The Volunteers of Philippines II arrived in January; Associate Representative John Cort flew in in February; Philippines III arrived in March. The Volunteers were sent out to additional schools in the Bicol and the Visayas. Cort was kept in the new headquarters in Manila. For 12 years before coming to the Peace Corps, Cort, a cum laude graduate of Harvard, had served as executive secretary of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Boston. Cort’s newspaper background made him a natural to assist in the production of “Ang Boluntargo,” the Volunteer newsletter in the Philippines which commenced regular monthly publication as he Voluntario with the issue of December, 1961. In June, 1962, Philippines IV arrived and the new Volunteers were assigned to schools on Cebu and Bohol islands. There were then 271 Volunteers at work in the educational aide program, a figure that would double in September with the arrival of groups . . .

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