Ethiopia

1
“An Unexpected Love Story: The Women of Bati” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)
2
Review: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO AMHARIC by Andrew Tadros (Ethiopia) & Abraham Teklu
3
Lost Letter From Maria Thomas (Ethiopia)
4
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 10 Final Blog
5
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 9
6
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 8
7
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 7
8
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 6
9
The Cold Hand of History, Part 5
10
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 4

“An Unexpected Love Story: The Women of Bati” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)

  An Unexpected Love Story: The Women of Bati   by John Coyne If the reader prefers, this may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a piece of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.                                                                   Ernest Hemingway A Moveable Feast • AT AN ELEVATION OF 4,000 FEET,  the town of Bati, Ethiopia, off the Dessie Road, is the last highland location before the Danakil Depression. A hard day’s drive from the Red Sea, it’s famous only for its Monday market days when the Afar women of the Danakil Depression walk up the “Great Escarpment” to trade with the Oromo tribe on the plateau. These tribeswomen arrive late on . . .

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Review: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO AMHARIC by Andrew Tadros (Ethiopia) & Abraham Teklu

  The Essential Guide to Amharic: The National Language of Ethiopia Andrew Taros (Ethiopia 2011–13) & Abraham Teklu Peace Corps Writers September 2015 163 pages $20.00 (paperback) Reviewed by Andy Martin (Ethiopia 1965–68) • The Essential Guide to Amharic by Tadross and Teklu, is exactly what it says it is, a brief guide to the language. At 163 pages, it is not a textbook. If you are going to Ethiopia for business or pleasure, the Guide could be helpful. If you want to learn Amharic in order to communicate with Amharic speakers for any length of time or depth, in Ethiopia or elsewhere, this is not a book I can recommend. In the biography of one of the authors, Andrew Tadross, he explains how, as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia, he made lists of vocabulary words for himself to memorize and how these lists eventually evolved into this book. Unfortunately . . .

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Lost Letter From Maria Thomas (Ethiopia)

  The Peace Corps Writers’ Maria Thomas Fiction Award is named after the novelist Maria Thomas [Roberta Worrick (Ethiopia 1971–73)] who was the author of a well-reviewed novel, Antonia Saw the Oryx First,  and two collections of short stories — Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage and African Visas — all set in Africa. Roberta and Tom Worrick were married with a young son when they went to Ethiopia as a married couple with the Peace Corps. After their tour, they continued to live and work in Liberia and again to Ethiopia. This time Tom was working for US AID. In addition to her life as a wife, mother, and PCV, Roberta Worrick was a wonderful writer. Her stories appeared in Redbook, Story and The New Yorker. She was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and received an Overseas Press Club’s commendation for reportage in Harper’s. She was coming into her own as a literary figure when . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 10 Final Blog

Gary May’s chapter on the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, the final essay in this collection about JFK’s foreign policies, was also meant to “tell the story of the Peace Corps world wide” and it summed up with two final points. May writes:  “Despite their difficulties, the volunteers considered their Peace Corps service personally invaluable.” He quotes Carol Miller Reynolds, “I still think the Peace Corps is one of the most valuable forms of foreign aid, despite its inadequacies….I still think it’s a good basic way to approach problems-at the grass roots level-unlike the policy makers who never understand things at the grass roots.” And Ron Kazarian told him in 1987, “I learned a lot about people, life, myself. Where I live [in central California] I’m an authority on one part of Africa. Every day, someone asks me about Ethiopia.” May then quotes Arthur M. Schlesinger’s book Robert Kennedy and His . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 9

Ethiopia I Volunteers were as hard on each other as they were on the Ethiopians. At the Completion of Service Conference the Final Report filed in the Peace Corps Office read: “Many (PCVs) spoke openly about volunteers who they thought should have been sent home: the males who lived with prostitutes; the woman who was “obviously mentally disturbed; the “opportunist” who was unable to teach so was given a sinecure in the Ministry of Education. The Peace Corps,” one volunteer stated, “is not a goddamn rehabilitation center. ” Carol Miller Reynolds, who was a PCV in Debre Berhan, where students in early 1963 went on strike, would tell May-and May would tell me-that her comment was the most insightful of all he heard from PCVs. May interviewed Carol in 1987 and she told him, “The basic issues were deep seated and antagonistic to easy resolution. It had to do with . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 8

The end of the Ethiopia 1 tour began with the Completion of Service Conference in April, 1964. The conference was conducted by Dr. Joseph English, chief Peace Corps Psychiatrist, and Jane Campbell of the Division of Volunteer Support. (Jane the following year would return to Ethiopia as an APCD.) May reports in his article that at the time the PCVs were uncertain about their future careers. He quotes John Rex writing to his parents in early ’64, “Can’t I write a book or travel, or do something different?” Most planned to spend the first few months following termination traveling through Europe. Some looked back and felt discouragement about what they had achieved in Ethiopia. Rex observed. “I certainly have benefited from the experience, but I ask myself if anyone else really has.” One of the PCVs interviewed by Gary May was Mary Lou Linman, who was a PCV in Debre . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 7

This essay on the Peace Corps is entitled, “Passing the Torch and Lighting Fires: The Peace Corps.” And as I said it was written by Gary May. The essay is based on interviews he had with Ethiopian PCVs in the 1980s, as well as one Evaluation Report and a Close of Service report done in 1964. It is the last chapter in a scholar text entitled, Kennedy’s Quest For Victory: American Foreign Policy, 1961-63, published by Oxford Press. It would appear to suggest that this is the story of the Peace Corps during the first decade.  It is meant to ‘sum up’ the work of Peace Corps Volunteers, to explain what the Peace Corps was all about  under Kennedy, Shriver, and Wofford, the driving force in the creation of the agency. This is not true, of course, It is one partial description of the work of PCVs in one country. . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 6

In Late October,1962, Sargent Shriver visited Ethiopia. He was determined to meet all 278 Volunteers recalled Donovan McClure, who accompanied Shriver from Washington. “He raced around in a jeep from sun-up to sunset shattering the poise of countless Volunteers by suddenly appearing in their classroom or at the doors of their houses, hand extended, “Hi! I’m Sarge Shriver. Greatameecha…President Kennedy is behind you all the way.” As Gary May reports. I was teaching English at the Commercial School when Shriver burst into my classroom, followed by Wofford and several Ethiopian officials from the Ministry of Education and our Headmaster. He came across the front of the classroom right at me, hand outstretched, just that, “Hi! I’m Sarge Shriver. Greatameecha.” I remember blurting out, “No kidding.” My tenth grade class was so stunned they didn’t jump to their feet as all Ethiopia students would do when an adult opened the classroom . . .

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The Cold Hand of History, Part 5

The Volunteers arrived in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa,” Gary May continues, “on September 7. (They had finished Training on August 20, 1962, when 278 were inducted into the Peace Corps. Training had started with 340 eight weeks earlier. While some had left Training on their own, most others were De-Selected in the final days.) As the PCVs arrived in Addis they were greeted by a gathering of American USAID and Embassy types. They disembarked, carrying musical instruments, cameras, and piles of luggage, and the sun appeared-“most unusual in this period of heavy Ethiopian rain,” one official remarked, as May quotes a cable from Addis to the Secretary of State, “conspired to make their arrival a festive occasion.” The volunteer passed quickly through customs. May quotes from John Coyne’s Ethiopia novel A Cool Breeze For Evening on how the new PCVS spoke to every Ethiopian that moved. “We were all trying . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 4

The following week The New Yorker would quote Wofford’s line to the Trainees that they as PCVs in Ethiopia were the new frontier, and on July 9, 1962, the Washington Evening Star, in an article entitled, “Peace Corpsmen Trek West” APCD Bascom Story, as detailed by Gary May, explained the educational situation in Ethiopia to the Trainees where only 5 % of the children attended school, and “it was a tremendous responsibility when you consider that one half of all secondary school education will be carried on by Americans within four or five years.” The Peace Corps Staff expected that with the Volunteers the number of students enrolled in Ethiopia’s secondary schools would double. Getting ready to teach in Ethiopia, and double the number of students, the Trainees got up the next morning at 5:45 at Georgetown University and did forty minutes of physical training: push-ups, jogging, bending, turning, leaping…etc. . . .

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