Malaysia

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“Peace Corps Accomplishment” by James Wolter (Malaysia)
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Mary Anne Newell (Malaysia 1965-68)
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Pamela Kosswig Juhl (Malaysia 1966-69)
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Lynn Ralph Juhl (Malaysia 1966-69)

“Peace Corps Accomplishment” by James Wolter (Malaysia)

  A Writer Writes:   Peace Corps Accomplishment by Jim Wolter (Malaysia 1962-66) • Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School had no biology or senior math teacher, no library and a floundering boy scout troop before I arrived. Within weeks my biology and math students were making significant progress, I started a library using my own books and revived the scout troop. So I couldn’t understand why I was being replaced by a new PCV and transferred to Tengku Bariah Secondary School (TBSS). I suggested that the Peace Corps assign the new PCV to TBSS, but was told the Ministry of Education’s decision was final and not open for discussion. Worse, upon reporting to TBSS, I was assigned to teach Islamic Studies to students preparing to sit for the Lower Certificate of Education (LCE). I told the Headmaster I knew nothing about Islam and couldn’t possibly teach it. He said that if . . .

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Mary Anne Newell (Malaysia 1965-68)

Monday, November 21 3:42 pm 1959-1960. I was 20 and a college junior when I spent a school year abroad in Grenoble, France. Experiences of that year exposed me to conditions of poverty that my sheltered American life had prevented, and which left me with troubling questions about my life choices. Fall 1960. A young presidential candidate offered the possibility of an American “Youth Corps” that would be a source of aid to third world countries. Thousands like myself responded to the idea with an overwhelming enthusiasm. At Colorado State, my university, three professors were selected as an advance study team to s survey prospective governments in Asia, Africa and South America about their perceived needs for a “Youth Corps”; and I joined a student committee which distributed questionnaires soliciting attitudes about such an organization to many campuses. The vision that I had longed for had been articulated by John . . .

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Pamela Kosswig Juhl (Malaysia 1966-69)

Monday, November 21 9:21 pm When the first Peace Corps Volunteers left for their overseas assignments, I was a senior in high school. I was so excited about this new program, created by President John F. Kennedy, and remember hoping that this opportunity to live with people of another culture would still be available when I finished college. I am so thankful that it was. It was at a time of growing concern with military involvements, mass demonstrations, the escalation of the cold war, and the negative impact of the ugly American image. The Peace Corps program presented a different image. Working side by side with men and women and children from another country gave Peace Corps Volunteers the chance to know them not as demographic data or vague stereotypes, but rather as human beings no so different from ourselves in many ways. They became our friends. I found that . . .

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Lynn Ralph Juhl (Malaysia 1966-69)

Monday, November 21 9:24 pm MALAYSIA, 1967 Tom, the Peace Corps Regional Representative, had delivered several of us to our sites that day. I was last, the end of the line, the ulu, “in the sticks,” “up river.” Well, Iowa, my home, was ulu in the U.S. too, I thought. It was dusk, “Tom, why not stay here for the night?” “Nope, gotta get back to town,” as he climbed back in the Land Rover. Evening. Might as well take a stroll. “Duduk demana?” Oh, Jeez, I know the words (Where do you sit?), but not the meaning! And that was the first day. Total immersion in a new culture. Ever an outsider, but not quite alien. The only white man some had seen up close – are you healthy? Why is your skin so pale? Why do the little hairs grow on your skin, as little children sometimes tried . . .

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