Brazil

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“Miriam’s Dream and a Peace Corps Story” by Joe Thigpen (Brazil)
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Talking with Frank Rothman, author of BROOKLYN NY TO BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL
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Franklin Rothman (Brazil) publishes BROOKLYN, NY to BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL
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Review — A HERO FOR THE PEOPLE by Arthur Powers (Brazil)
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Jay J. Levy & Sharon Levy (Brazil 1966–68)

“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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Talking with Frank Rothman, author of BROOKLYN NY TO BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL

  In May Franklin D. Rothman (Brazil 1967–69) published his memoir Brooklyn, NY to Bocaiúva, Brazil: A Peace Corps Love Story with the Peace Corps Writers imprint. Here Frank talks about his Peace Corps days, life after Peace Corps and the writing of his memoir. • What was your Peace Corps project assignment in Brazil? Clubes Agricolas/Rural Community Action in Minas Gerais State (MG). The statewide project in selected municipalities in the interior of the state was conducted in coordination with State Secretaries of Agriculture and Education. Following a pre-assignment drop-off in the municipality of Carandaí, I expressed my desire to be assigned there, to join Lavonne Birdsall, who would be extending for her third year. Tell us about where you lived and worked. In the town of Carandai, I lived in a rented room known locally as the Palácio do Urubu (Vulture’s Palace). The property owner and his family lived . . .

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Franklin Rothman (Brazil) publishes BROOKLYN, NY to BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL

  IN JUNE 1969, just three months prior to his Peace Corps project termination conference in Brazil, Frank meets a young Brazilian girl with beautiful blue eyes at a James Bond movie, and twelve days later he asks her to marry him. • Brooklyn, NY to Bocaiúva, Brazil tells the story of the unlikely chain of circumstances which led to Frank meeting Lena. The author traces these circumstances all the way back to his childhood in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he experiences the closeness of his extended Jewish family and the warmth of Puerto Ricans with whom his father came into contact. A homestay with a family in Mexico, in 1964 as part of his undergraduate major in Spanish, heightens his fascination with Latin American culture. Frank tells in a lighthearted manner of his adventures and blunders while hitching rides around Europe in the summer of 1966 . . .

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Review — A HERO FOR THE PEOPLE by Arthur Powers (Brazil)

A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands Arthur Powers (Brazil 1969-73) Press 53 170 pages 2013 $17.95 (paperback), $.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru 1962-64) • I prefer novels to short stories, but I loved this book. Arthur Powers’ love for Brazil and its people began with his Peace Corps service in Brazil in 1969. Later Powers worked for the Catholic Church in the eastern Amazon region, where he organized subsistence farmers and rural worker unions. The author has received a Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, three annual awards for short fiction from the Catholic Press Association, and the 2012 Tuscany Press Novella Award for this book, A Hero for the People, his first collection of short stories. The book’s subtitle, Stories of the Brazilian Backlands, is fitting. All of the stories are located in Brazil’s backlands, although some take place more than . . .

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Jay J. Levy & Sharon Levy (Brazil 1966–68)

Monday, November 21 5:36 pm STEPPING OFF THE PLANE in Rio de Janeiro more than 20 years ago as newly trained Peace Corps Volunteers, most of us felt we were going to change things for the poor people of Brazil. After all, we had been trained in basic health skills and community development strategies. The formula for success was simple. All we had to do was make sure everyone boiled their water and sent their kids to school each day. And, of course, we would work to identify community leaders so that they could organize the poor to have a better life. Much, much later we would realize the formula for success was infinitely more complicated – that, in fact, the Brazilians had taught us much more about our own country than we had managed to teach them about overcoming poverty and powerless in theirs. After all, how could they . . .

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