Ethiopia

1
The Cold Hand of History, Part 5
2
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 4
3
Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps, Part 3
4
RPCVs Speaking Up For Their Host Country Families and Friends
5
Cold Hand of History,The Peace Corps Part 2
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Cold Hand of History: The Peace Corps, Part I
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Our RPCV Trappistine Martha Driscoll (Ethiopia 1965-67)
8
Kathleen Moore (Ethiopia 1964-64) Letters Home
9
Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) Writing as Richard Stevenson Publishes Why Stop at Vengeance?
10
Norman Rockwell and the Peace Corps, Part Two

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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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps, Part 3

Contrary to what the Peace Corps Evaluators wrote in their 1967 Evaluation of the Ethiopia project, that Wofford and the agency had “chosen the incorrect “institutional” answer-the secondary schools-to the problems of Ethiopia,” the Empire in 1962 had a serious “educational emergency,” which threatened to retard permanently its economic development. According to Gary May, out of a secondary school-age population estimated at approximately one million, only six thousand were enrolled in 1960, and there were few college-trained Ethiopians qualified to teach them. This crisis had its origins during the Italian occupation (1935-1941), when the Italians killed nearly 20,000 Ethiopians, “reportedly concentrating on the professional, educational, and political leaders.” When Selassie returned to Ethiopia in 1941 he found “almost no educated people left in the country.” Over the next two-decades he attempted to fill this gap by importing teachers from abroad. The Emperor considered education so important to the modernization of . . .

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RPCVs Speaking Up For Their Host Country Families and Friends

We are the Board Members of Arkadaşlar, “Friends of Turkey,” representing over 800 returned PCVs. As Peace Corps Volunteers in Turkey in the 1960s and early 1970s, we learned, and lived, the value of understanding and respecting other cultures and religions, specifically Muslims and Islam.  Many of us formed life-long friendships with our colleagues and neighbors, who were more like us than not.  Accordingly, we endorse the Minnesota RPCV message as reflective of our views and experience. The Minnesota Message: We, 99 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from Minnesota, have written this letter to counter the recent increase in anti-Muslim, anti-Islam, and anti-immigrant rhetoric that is sweeping across America and our state. We served for two years as Peace Corps Volunteers in various countries around the world. Although we all had very different experiences in different cultures, one thing that binds us together is an understanding that the more you know about . . .

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Cold Hand of History,The Peace Corps Part 2

As we know the Peace Corps was crafted by 20-24 men in two rooms of the Mayflower Hotel in thirty days following Kennedy’s inauguration. Using Warren Wiggins and Bill Josephson’s “The Towering Task” as the blueprint, the agency was established by Executive Order on March 1, 1961. Shriver and a half dozen staffers then left on a round-the-world tour to get nations to take PCVs, now that we had an agency. When they reached India, Shriver received word from Wiggins that a draft of Kennedy’s Special Message to the Congress on Foreign Aid indicated that the President believed the Peace Corps should be part of the new Agency for International Development (AID). It should not be an independent agency. Shriver called Wiggins and Moyers to get to Lyndon Johnson, who supported the Peace Corps, and have him “plead their case” to Kennedy. Johnson did corner the President, and Kennedy is . . .

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Cold Hand of History: The Peace Corps, Part I

In 1989, Thomas G. Paterson, a Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, put together the first major reassessment of JFK’s foreign policies. It was a collection of essays on everything from the covert war against Fidel Castro to the Peace Corps. The essay on the Peace Corps is entitled “Passing the Torch and Lighting Fires: The Peace Corps.” It was written by Gary May, then and now, a Professor of History at …the University of Delaware. The essay is based mostly on a series of interviews he had with Ethiopian PCVs in the 1980s. Reading that essay on the Peace Corps–the 11th and final chapter of the book entitled Kennedy’s Quest For Victory: American Foreign Policy, 1961-63, published by Oxford Press– it is striking how negative, harsh, and also realistic we were twenty plus years after our tour. Well, as reported by Gary May and based on . . .

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Our RPCV Trappistine Martha Driscoll (Ethiopia 1965-67)

Mother Martha Driscoll, O.C.S. O., (Ethiopia 1965-67) graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (at that time, women were not allowed in the undergraduate A&S College) and joined the Peace Corps. After Training at the University of Utah, she went to Ethiopia  as a secondary school teacher in Addis Ababa, where, as a wonderful singer and actress, she also “starred” in several play productions staged by British Ex-pats in the city. After her tour, she returned to New York City and Staten Island where she had grown up, and worked for awhile in New York before going to Boston and earning an MFA in Theater from Brandeis University. It was during this period, she told me, that she began to question what she wanted to do with her life, and on a trip to Europe she visited and then entered a monastery in Italy where she took her religious . . .

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Kathleen Moore (Ethiopia 1964-64) Letters Home

The Peace Corps has produced some amazing writers. Here is a short piece by another fine writer who served in Ethiopia years ago. In this short slice of life, Kathy distills the Peace Corps experience that I am sure is shared by many RPCVs throughout the decades of the Peace Corps, in all the villages where Volunteers lived and worked. Letters Home When I read the letters that I sent home from Ethiopia, letters that my mother saved, I wonder at the ordinariness of these letters sent from a place as extraordinary as my village. How quickly I became accustomed to the life there. How mundane it all seemed so that there was nothing to write home about. Keeping live chickens locked in my shint-bet (outhouse) so the hyenas wouldn’t eat them was normal. Standing on my bed and throwing a sixty-pound butane gas tank at a scorpion crawling toward me was not a . . .

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Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) Writing as Richard Stevenson Publishes Why Stop at Vengeance?

A Fast-Paced Thriller Uncovers Evangelical Anti-gay Conspiracy in Uganda (A review from Lambra Literary written by John Copenhaver) Why Stop at Vengeance? By Richard Stevenson (Richard Lipez Ethiopia 1962-64) MLR Press 248 pages April 2015 Review by John Copenhaver Richard Stevenson (Richard Lipez) has tackled a variety of social issues in his mysteries over the years. His new novel, Why Stop at Vengeance? (MLR Press)–fourteenth in the Albany, NY-based Donald Strachey series–takes on an American evangelical missionary’s anti-gay crusade in Uganda. A young Ugandan man, John Suruma, attempts to hire Strachey to burn down a local evangelical church, International House of Faith (IHOF), that has funded anti-gay bigotry in Uganda, which led to the death of Suruma’s ex-lover and friend. He wants Strachey, who he calls “the gay Dirty Harry” which is a moniker the detective is not comfortable with, to help him exact his revenge. Strachey is sympathetic to the . . .

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Norman Rockwell and the Peace Corps, Part Two

While in Ethiopia Rockwell traveled to other Peace Corps site. In doing so, in Dessie, he found the subject for a famous paintings that appeared in Look Magazine. This prominent Norman Rockwell painting is entitled, Peace Corps  Ethiopia. It shows Marc Clausen (Ethiopia 1962-64) working in a field with farmers Marc Clausen was an agriculture/teacher Volunteer. He had graduated from the University of Arizona as an Aggie major and went to Ethiopia to teach agriculture. He was, in my recollection of those years, the only Ethie I PCV involved with agriculture. In Dessie, he told me recently, he had a demonstration field of approximately one hector a few miles from town and he took his students there for their classwork. Rockwell arrived by plane near the town of Kombolcha where there was a grassy landing field. Kombolcha was in the valley below this mountainous provincial town, Dessie, capital of Wollo. Dessie then had . . .

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