Togo

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Do you remember this 1984 PCV tragedy? (Togo)
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Brownie Lee (Togo 1962-64) passed away in Benin after a brief illness
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George Packer (Togo 1982-83) Writes About His CD Warren Weinstein
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Review of Aaron Barlow’s (Togo 1988-90) Hard As Kerosene

Do you remember this 1984 PCV tragedy? (Togo)

  AN IDEALIST’S SHORT LIFE ENDS IN A KILLING IN A TOGO VILLAGE Published: July 4, 1984 New York Times Twelve months into her tour as a Peace Corps volunteer, Jennifer Lynn Rubin, a 23-year-old from Oneonta, N.Y., seemed finally to have come to terms with the loneliness of being the sole volunteer in the village of Defale, population 500, in the West African country of Togo. Her letters home told of her trouble adjusting to her relocation from upstate New York. In some letters, Miss Rubin repeatedly mentioned a villager she had befriended, a 19-year-old woman named Gieselle who helped her adjust to the culture in northern Togo, a former French colony. On June 11 Miss Rubin was bludgeoned to death in her home, and the police in Togo have charged Gieselle with the murder. The police say they believe Miss Rubin was killed in revenge for telling Gieselle’s . . .

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Brownie Lee (Togo 1962-64) passed away in Benin after a brief illness

Brownie worked in many Peace Corps countries and at many levels of the agency, first as a PCV. She lived in West Africa for over forty years. Brownie Lee passed away on April 27, 2015 (Togo Independence Day) in Benin after a brief illness. Brownie Lee was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the first Togo group from 1962-64, and in Guinea, 1964-1966. She then taught for twenty years, in Eastern and Western Africa, the U.S., and Jamaica. In 1984, she returned to Peace Corps as APCD for Education in Niger 1984-89, APCD for Education and Water Sanitation in Mauritania, 1989-91, and APCD for Education and SED in Ghana, 1991-93. In 1994 she joined Africare as a Project Coordinator for an NGO strengthening program in Benin. In 1995, Brownie came back to Peace Corps as the Sub-Regional Programming and Training Coordinator for Coastal West and Central Africa. In this latter position, . . .

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George Packer (Togo 1982-83) Writes About His CD Warren Weinstein

The New Yorker by George Packer (RPCV/Togo) April 24, 2015 Warren Weinstein, the Al Qaeda hostage who was killed by an American drone strike in Pakistan in January, was once my boss. He was the Peace Corps country director in Togo in 1982 when I was a new volunteer, just weeks out of college. At the end of that summer, after finishing training, I and others in my group were prevented from taking our posts around the country by a Togolese bureaucrat who was a relative of the country’s dictator, Gnassingbé Eyadema. The petty financial dispute took weeks to work out. In the meantime, a few of us were housed temporarily with the Weinstein family in Lomé, Togo’s capital, on the Gulf of Guinea. The Weinsteins lived in the diplomatic quarter, but that makes it sound a bit too grand. The house was a small villa with a metal gate . . .

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Review of Aaron Barlow’s (Togo 1988-90) Hard As Kerosene

Hard as Kerosene (novel) by Aaron Barlow (Togo 1988–90) Peace Corps Writers Book $9.95 (paperback), $1.99 (Kindle) 257 pages 2013 Reviewed by Brendan Held (Madagascar 2008–09, Mali 2009–10) If there is such a thing a typical Peace Corps narrative, Hard As Kerosene isn’t it. Aaron Barlow (Togo 1988-90) shows us four years of West Africa through the eyes of Paul, a young American struggling to define what he wants out of life. The story follows Paul through loneliness, loss, adventure and peril as he rambles from place to place avoiding confrontation with his past. Peace Corps weaves in and out of the plot, but it isn’t quite the central theme of the book. Gone are the long descriptions of service projects and community dynamics. Instead, Barlow exposes some neglected facets of the Peace Corps gestalt as Paul morphs from idealistic tourist, to roving itinerant, to frustrated Volunteer, to cynical ex-pat. . . .

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