Bolivia

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Review — BOLIVIA 30 by Frank Darmiento (Bolivia)
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Review: LA FAMILIA by Mary Martin (Bolivia)
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Review — GAINING GROUND by Joan Velasquez (Bolivia)
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What Is IN Peace Corps Fantasies? Chapter by Chapter
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New Academic Book Slams The Peace Corps
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Review — THE QUIET REBEL by Peggy Dickenson (Bolivia 1965-67)
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Review — A PEACE CORPS MEMOIR by Terry Sack (Bolivia 1963–65)

Review — BOLIVIA 30 by Frank Darmiento (Bolivia)

  Bolivia 30: Life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the 1960s Frank T. Darmiento (Bolivia ), author and editor CreateSpace April 2015 172 pages $24.99 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) • Frank Darmiento, the author of Bolivia 30 provides a unique perspective of life in the Peace Corps in Bolivia by sharing in great detail his own story of the training process in the U.S. as well as when serving in Bolivia with his young wife. His book also includes dozen stories of others who were in his training group, which added to the texture and broadened the diversity of perspectives. Twenty four photos, most of them in color, greatly enhance the stories of places and circumstances we could not imagine. Darmiento provides a detailed description of the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in a very isolated part of South America. I commiserated . . .

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Review: LA FAMILIA by Mary Martin (Bolivia)

  La Familia: An International Love Story by Mary Martin (Bolivia 1976-78) Book on Demand Publisher February 2016 299 pages $19.95 Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66) Gaining Ground was the “how to” that walked us thru the creation of the US/Bolivia NGO Mano a Mano International…the creation of Joan Swanson White, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Segundo Velázquez, who would later become Joan’s husband. Joan a polio victim as a child, found Peace Corps her calling. Married at the time (1976-1978) to David White, she was concerned to discover that 37% of rural children suffer from chronic malnutrition, and ten percent of rural children die before age five. La Familia is more than a “love story,” but a trip down memory lane for the Velázquez family, especially the siblings, always working together as a unit in true Quechua fashion, Segundo, José, Ivo, and Blanca.  Segundo, an active . . .

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Review — GAINING GROUND by Joan Velasquez (Bolivia)

Gaining Ground: A Blueprint for Community-Based International Development by Joan Velásquez (Bolivia 1965–67) Beaver’s Pond Press 2014 $24.95 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964–66, 2011–13) • This is an awesome “how to” book, not a novel with only love and excitement . . . but a beautiful and exciting manual on how to create and develop  a non-profit agency in Bolivia from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, a distance of 4,623 miles. In 1965 Joan Velásquez, a Peace Corps Volunteer, is sent to Cochabamba, a remote community in the Andean mountains of Bolivia. There she meets her future husband and NGO partner Segundo and his family, the Velázquez clan . . . all Quechua speaking indigenous people of the Inca Empire. Joan discovers that the community may not have much, it is extremely poor, but it is rich in cultural values that have been handed down for generations . . . primarily that family members help one another during difficult times. . . .

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What Is IN Peace Corps Fantasies? Chapter by Chapter

Dr. Molly Geidel’s book has six chapters. The first three chapters explore how the 1960s Peace Corps “embodied a radicalized, gendered vision of modernity that linked economic integration to freedom, frontier masculinity, and global brotherhood.” (If you ever wondered why you hate academic writing, now you know.) Chapter 1 examines Peace Corps “architects’ deployment of the gendered anxieties and fantasies of postwar social science in the conception, formation, staffing, and early volunteer recruitment efforts of the agency.” The second chapter “attempts to understand how the Peace Corps inaugurated and codified new models for relating to racial and cultural others, using modernization doctrines to revise the romantic-racist vision of rebel masculinity that captured the popular imagination in the 1950s. The third chapter turns to the women in the 1960s Peace Corps, analyzing fictional texts about “Peace Corps girls” alongside memoirs and other nonfiction accounts by and about women volunteers. “Here I . . .

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New Academic Book Slams The Peace Corps

We have recently received review copies of Molly Geidel new book on the Peace Corps published by the University of Minnesota Press. Within the next month or so we will be reviewing the book as well as interviewing the author. Molly Geidel is from southern Vermont. She received her BA from Brown, her masters from UMass in Boston, and her PhD from Boston University. This book is a revised version of her PhD dissertation. Dr. Geidel taught briefly at Harvard and Cornell and moved to the UK this fall where she is an assistant professor in American studies at the University of Manchester. Molly’s argues the case in her book that while in the “popular imagination of the United States to this day, it [Peace Corps] is a symbol of selfless altruism and the most successful program of John F. Kennedy’s presidency,”….in reality the “agency’s representative development ventures also legitimated . . .

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Review — THE QUIET REBEL by Peggy Dickenson (Bolivia 1965-67)

The Quiet Rebel: A Memoir of My Peace Corps Adventures in Bolivia by Peggy Dickenson (Bolivia 1965-67) Self-Published $9.00 150 pages 2013 Reviewed by Barbara E. Joe (Honduras, 2000-03) The Quiet Rebel is a slender book, 30 short chapters, 150 pages in large type with extra space between each paragraph, and lots of photos interspersed, many showing author Peggy Dickenson in various places and situations during her service. Its title derives from her mother’s description of young Peggy’s decision to join the Peace Corps. The book, appearing now almost 50 years after her service and reportedly requiring five years to write, expresses gratitude for the assistance provided by former fellow volunteers, friends, and family in recalling events, and in editing and publishing the book. The result is a fast-moving narrative still retaining the wide-eyed freshness and immediacy experienced by an innocent abroad, written in a simple, perky style, as if . . .

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Review — A PEACE CORPS MEMOIR by Terry Sack (Bolivia 1963–65)

Reviewer Leita Kaldi Davis worked for the United Nations and UNESCO, for Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard University. She worked with Roma (Gypsies) for fifteen years, became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal at the age of 55, then went to work for the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti for five years. She retired in Florida in 2002.  She has written a memoir of Senegal, Roller Skating in the Desert, and is working on a memoir of Haiti. • A Peace Corps Memoir: Answering JFK’s Call by Terry Sack (Bolivia 1963–65; PC/Washington 1968–69) Createspace $15.95 449 pages 2010 Reviewed by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) WHEN I FIRST SAW the title, A Peace Corps Memoir: Answering JFK’s Call, I expected a dry narrative of a typical Peace Corps experience, but the author’s unique stories and clear writing style surprised and delighted me. And how could I . . .

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