Chile

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Novelist David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) Wins Two Book Awards
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Santiago’s Green Dilemma
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Contraband
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Myrna J. Aavedal (Chile 1967–68)

Novelist David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) Wins Two Book Awards

Lily of Peru published by Peace Corps Writers books and written by David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) recently won two awards. It was selected in second place in the category of Latino Theme Movie by Non-Latino Author. These awards are sponsored by Latino Literacy Now and were presented in 16 key categories during the 2015 Los Angeles Latino Book & Family Festival. Copies of all winning books will be presented to key television networks and movie studios. The novel also won the silver in the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award-Silver in the category of Thriller/Terrorist. Readers’ Favorite has become the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. More than 300 authors and guests attended the awards ceremony in Miami this year.

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Santiago’s Green Dilemma

I heard them before I saw them. From the upper limbs of the towering araucaria tree came a strident clamour. There. In the tree’s prickly top notch. A blob of intertwining branches, like a giant, roughly woven basket. From several holes peered green and grey heads with beady eyes. It was a parrot condo. In the forests of southern Chile I’ve often seen the emerald flocks of the choroy parrot. But parrots in Santiago, Chile’s capital? This was a first. A closer look revealed they were not the native choroy. These were invaders. Identified as Argentine cotorras (myiopsitta monachus), in English they’re known as Quaker or monk parrots. Locals speculated. How did they get here? Surely not by flying over the Andes from neighboring Argentina. Perhaps offspring of escaped pets? When first sighted about 20 years ago, they limited their habitat to the trees of a golf course and a . . .

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Contraband

As nervous as a novice drug courier, I handed the Chilean customs agent my sworn statement declaring I was carrying no plants, seeds or fresh foods into the country. The agent waved me through. Outside, I patted the bulge in my parka pocket-a plastic tube containing a ten-inch California redwood seedling. Greater than my concern for breaking the law was my need to bring back to Chile a living keepsake of what I’d left behind. Those were times of relative ecological innocence. Biodiversity was not yet a word in my vocabulary. In my walled city garden I chose a protected spot to plant the seedling and gently placed it in the hole I’d prepared, uncertain it would survive in this dry climate. A towering avocado tree started from seed twenty years ago by my younger son, Nicolas, flourishes in one corner of my garden. Avocados, originally from Central America, thrive . . .

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Myrna J. Aavedal (Chile 1967–68)

Monday, November 21 6:54 pm MR. PRESIDENT, I want to tell you about my experience in the Peace Corps. I was 24 when I went off to training at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque – still a bit unworldly as I left my home in Montana. At the time I, of course, wasn’t sure what was in store for me, but I wanted adventure, travel, and an opportunity to use my nursing skills to help people in need. I was very proud that I had been selected to serve. Yes, I did get the adventure and travel, and I did use my nursing skills among needy people. I also got a lot more. The first surprise came when some of the Trainees who looked so good and talked so wise washed out of training or gave up and went home early. For me the Peace Corps was a . . .

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