Ethiopia

1
Sixth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Hyena Man” by Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia)
2
“Disillusionment in the Delta” by William Seraile (Ethiopia)
3
Review: FAMINE, WAR AND LOVE by Stephen C. Joseph (Nepal)
4
“An Unexpected Love Story: The Women of Bati” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)
5
Review: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO AMHARIC by Andrew Tadros (Ethiopia) & Abraham Teklu
6
Lost Letter From Maria Thomas (Ethiopia)
7
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 10 Final Blog
8
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 9
9
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 8
10
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 7

Sixth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Hyena Man” by Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia)

  Jeanne D’Haem, Ph.D. (Somalia 1968-70) is currently an associate professor of Special Education and Counselling at William Paterson University in New Jersey. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia. She served as an English and math teacher in Arabsiyo and Hargeisa, and taught adult education classes and sponsored the first Girl Guide troop in Hargeisa. Jeanne was a director of special services and a special education teacher for over thirty years. As a writer, she has published two prize-winning books and numerous journal articles. The Last Camel, (1997) published by The Red Sea Press won the Peace Corps Paul Cowan Peace Corps Writers Award for nonfiction. Desert Dawn with Waris Dirie (2001) has been translated into more than twenty languages. It was on the best seller list in Germany for over a year where it was awarded the Corine Prize for nonfiction. Her most recent book is Inclusion: The Dream . . .

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“Disillusionment in the Delta” by William Seraile (Ethiopia)

After his Peace Corps service in Ethiopia, William Seraile returned home to earn his masters in ’67 from the Teachers College at Columbia, and a doctorate in American history from the City University of New York in 1977. Now a professor emeritus — after 36 years teaching African American history at Lehman College, CUNY in the Bronx  — Bill lives in New York, and is the father of two and grandfather of four. In a 3-part review published on this site in 2016 of  The Fortunate Few: IVS Volunteers from Asia to the Andes  written by Thierry J. Sagnier (2015), I wrote about Seraile and other RPCVs (33) and Peace Corps Staff (15) who joined the International Voluntary Services (IVS) and went to Vietnam, and I wrote about the four IVS veterans who went from IVS into the Peace Corps. What follows is Bill Seraile’s account of his Vietnam experience. — JC • Disillusionment . . .

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Review: FAMINE, WAR AND LOVE by Stephen C. Joseph (Nepal)

  Famine, War and Love By Stephen C. Joseph (Nepal Peace Corps Staff 1964-66) Bookbaby March 2017 181 pages $14.99 (paperback), $8.99 (Kindle) Review by Randolph Marcus (PCV/Ethiopia 1966-68) • STEPHEN C. JOSEPH, A PEDIATRICIAN with extensive medical experience in developing countries, has written an historical fiction novel surrounding two unrelated famines in the Netherlands in the last months of World War II and in Ethiopia in the mid-eighties. He brings these seemingly disparate events together in an unusual format: a series of first person essays by members of two families — the Dutch Vermeers and the American Rileys.  In this short but engaging book, Joseph displays a talent for becoming the characters whose voices carry the story forward. Each chapter appears as a journal entry and alternates between generations and the two families.  The story begins with 18-year old Christina Vermeer’s account of her life as a young girl . . .

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“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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