Afghanistan

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Review — POSTED IN PARAGUAY by Eloise Hanner (Afghanistan 1971–73, Paraguay 1999–2000)
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Review — THE EARLY YEARS OF PEACE CORPS IN AFGHANISTAN by Frances and Will Irwin
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Talking with Fran and Will Irwin about their book: The Early Years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan: A Promising Time
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Fran Hopkins Irwin and Will Irwin publish The Early Years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan with Peace Corps Writers
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Review — LITTLE WOMEN OF BAGHLAN by Susan Fox
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Peace Corps Writers publishes LITTLE WOMEN OF BAGLAN by Susan Fox
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“Once in Afghanistan”

Review — POSTED IN PARAGUAY by Eloise Hanner (Afghanistan 1971–73, Paraguay 1999–2000)

Posted in Paraguay: Adventures Below the 20th Parallel by Eloise Hanner (Afghanistan 1971–73, Paraguay 1999–2000) A Peace Corps Writers Book $14.95 (paperback); $4.99 (Kindle) 262 pages 2014 Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) “Nobody goes to Paraguay,” asserts Hanner in her opening sentence of Posted in Paraguay: Adventures Below the 20th Parallel. But, of course, Peace Corps does. And so did Eloise and Chuck Hanner, They are among the rare people who become bored with making money and playing golf, and seek broader horizons outside their comfort zones. They are the kind of people who become Peace Corps Volunteers. Eloise and Chuck had already served in Afghanistan from 1971-73, shortly after their marriage, and Eloise published that story in Letters from Afghanistan. They then spend decades building their own little empire as stock brokers in San Diego, before they felt the need to move on. They did a long . . .

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Review — THE EARLY YEARS OF PEACE CORPS IN AFGHANISTAN by Frances and Will Irwin

The Early Years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan: A Promising Time By Frances Hopkins Irwin (Afghanistan 1964–67) and Will A Irwin (Afghanistan 1965–67) Peace Corps Writers Book 294 pages $17.00 (paperback), $6.00 (Kindle) February 2014 Reviewed by John Sumser (Afghanistan 1977-78) What struck me as I read the Irwin’s account of the early days of the Peace Corps in Afghanistan is how little anything changed. The problems faced by the initial Volunteers and their director (then called a “representative”) were the same as those faced by my cohort fifteen years later: What is the proper role of a Volunteer? Is the Peace Corps a CIA front? Should Volunteers have servants? What should our social lives look like? I felt, after reading the book, that the Peace Corps is never established anywhere as much as it is continuously invented and negotiated on a daily, face-to-face basis. The Irwins have created an . . .

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Talking with Fran and Will Irwin about their book: The Early Years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan: A Promising Time

What happens with two young kids who meet, say, in a place like Kabul, Afghanistan, when they are 23 or 24, as Volunteers in the Peace Corps? Let’s say they’re PCVs helping to develop a city newspaper; let’s call it the Kabul Times, and then they fall in love. (Sounds like a movie, right?) They finish their tour and marry, and have long and productive years together, one with a career as an NGO environmental policy analyst (that’s the girl), and the boy, well, he becomes a lawyer (don’t they all?), and then (of course) next he is a judge. (With every sentence this sounds more like a movie, or better yet, a Netflix film.) They retire and are living happily ever after in leisure. Then they happen to go to a Peace Corps Conference, let’s say the 50th Anniversary of the agency.  They hear PC/Afghanistan’s first director Bob Steiner . . .

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Fran Hopkins Irwin and Will Irwin publish The Early Years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan with Peace Corps Writers

This month Frances Hopkins Irwin (Afghanistan 1964–67) and Will A. Irwin (Afghanistan 1966–67) published The Early Years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan: A Promising Time with Peace Corps Writers. Here’s what they say about their book: The Peace Corps in Afghanistan The first four years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan was a promising time. Nine Volunteers, perhaps the smallest Peace Corps program around the world, arrived in 1962. They were greeted with skepticism and all placed in Kabul. What skills could they contribute? Wouldn’t their presence cause trouble in this country bordering the Soviet Union? The Early Years tells how within a year the five teachers, three nurses, and a mechanic had demonstrated their skills, how they and the following Volunteers connected with the Afghan community through jazz, folk music, and basketball and used sawdust stoves to avoid paying for oil. By 1966, over 200 Peace Corps Volunteers were serving . . .

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Review — LITTLE WOMEN OF BAGHLAN by Susan Fox

Little Women of Baghran: The Story of a Nursing School for Girls in Afghanistan, the Peace Corps, and Life Before the Taliban by Susan Fox, with Jo Carter (Afghanistan 1968–70) Peace Corps Writers $16.00 (paperback) 2013 344 pages Reviewed by Susan O’Neill (Venezuela 1973–74) Sometimes, when a country’s name is touted in the news as a synonym for disaster, we forget that it once had a “Before” — and that nothing stands still, so there will someday be an “After” as well. So it is with Afghanistan. Afghanistan, before the political upheaval that led to the Russian invasion of 1979 — and our intervention, and current war, was a backwater where the beat of modernizing cities far outpaced the languor of the countryside. Life in its small villages was defined by extreme weather-long, frozen winters; torrential rains; cloudless, and baking summers, as well as close community, isolation, and lack of educational opportunity, . . .

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Peace Corps Writers publishes LITTLE WOMEN OF BAGLAN by Susan Fox

Little Women of Baghlan: The Story of a Nursing School for Girls in Afghanistan, the Peace Corps, and Life Before the Taliban is the true account of Joanne – Jo – Carter  who answers the call to service and adventure during an extraordinary time in world history. Her story rivals the excitement, intrigue, and suspense of any novel, unfolding against the backdrop of changing social mores, the Cold War, the Peace Corps, and a country at the crossroads of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran. When John F. Kennedy delivers a speech in the Senate Chambers on a hot July day in 1957, a young  Jo Carter listens from the Senate gallery. In 1967 Jo remembers the now-deceased President Kennedy’s words and is inspired to join the Peace Corps. As a new Peace Corps Volunteer she flies into Afghanistan on March 21, 1968 with her training group. From her plane . . .

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“Once in Afghanistan”

RPCVs of Colorado are sponsoring an Anniversary Film Series to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. Tonight the film is “Once in Afghanistan.” The website for the Colorado Returned Peace Corps states: Synopsis:  Returned Peace Corps Volunteers recall their experiences as female members of Afghan male vaccinator teams in the late 60s.The women vividly recall trying to convince the women to be vaccinated and their dependence on the Afghan counterparts and the people in the villages. Their stories and photographs go behind the walls where people of completely different backgrounds could recognize one another in spite of their differences. In a world in which messages of hate travel faster than ever before, this is a message of understanding. There are materials available on line that helps to understand the context of Peace Corps/Afghanistan.  These include: Walter P. Blass was the first Peace Corps Director in Afghanistan and this . . .

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