Kenya

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Sandra M. Greenberg (Kenya 1966-68)
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Melissa Chestnut-Tangerman (Kenya 1982–85)
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Review: RPCV Kirsten Johnson’s novel Footsteps
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Better Remember This

Sandra M. Greenberg (Kenya 1966-68)

Monday, November 21 6:27 pm WHEN LES AND I WENT into the conference we were as discouraged as anybody – the preceding week was not at all a good one in terms of work – we had been told outright that money used for visual aids was money that should be spent on shows – which, of course, meant: no visual aids at all; no educational effort on our part; no fulfilling on one of the – or our – Peace Corps aims to help in education – that all we would have to show for our two years would be having done a bunch of shows, which we didn’t feel were all that important or necessary. We could only hope that we could get them to agree at the start of the next fiscal period that money should be set aside for VAs separate and apart from that used . . .

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Melissa Chestnut-Tangerman (Kenya 1982–85)

Monday, November 21 6:30 pm 19 DECEMBER 1985 I’ve just been to my first and last Samburu circumcision. I have been sitting here for five minutes now, not knowing what to say. My hands feel bloodless, light. Outlines. I guess I’m in a shock of sorts. I was invited to a place of honor – to hold the girl’s knee. Something so important to their culture, something I wanted, once, to be included in – I didn’t think twice about accepting. Miriamo came for me, and we went to the house, and stood around with many other women milling, talking. The three sisters were adorned in beads and lots of ochre, heads shaved and covered with orange and oil. I stood near the door, shy, uncertain, looking constantly to Miriamo for guidance. The first girl was brought into an adjacent room. A goat skin was laid on the floor. Miriamo . . .

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Review: RPCV Kirsten Johnson’s novel Footsteps

Patricia Taylor Edmisten, who served in the Peace Corps in Peru from 1962 to 1964, is an author herself. She has published Nicaragua Divided: La Prensa, Chamorro Legacy, and Wild Women with Tender Hearts, which was the winner of the 2007 Peace Corps Writers’ Award for poetry. Patricia reviews Kirsten Johnson’s novel Footsteps about life in Kenya. • Footsteps by Kirsten Johnson (Kenya 1982–84) Plain View Press July 2009 248 pages $18.95 Reviewed by Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru 1962–64) It’s easy to forget that Footsteps is a novel. Buoyed by an enormous heart, Kirsten Johnson shares with her readers the injustice and inequities she witnessed while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya in 1982. In particular, she sheds light on the unique burdens borne by girls and women: lack of education; pregnancies before reproductive organs mature; the absence of skilled midwives; unsanitary birthing conditions; too little breast milk . . .

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Better Remember This

The 1995 recipient of the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award presented by PEACE CORPS WRITERS for the best short description of life in the Peace Corps. • Better Remember This by Meg Sullivan (Kenya 1992–94) YOU’D BETTER REMEMBER THIS. Because people will ask you. Whether you want them to or not, they’ll ask you how Africa was. And though you won’t know where to start, you’re going to have to have something to tell them. A shrug of the shoulders and “Good” won’t be enough. So you’d better remember this. Open the parts of your mind you need, and work them over until you’ve got them just right. Then put what you know in a place the will be easy for you to get to. Deep, but not too deep. Just enough so that even though no one else can see it, you know it’s there, and you can . . .

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