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Review of Somewhere in the Middle by Deborah Francisco (Philippines)
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Spread the word with students you left behind . . .
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Afghanistan 50 years ago
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The Volunteer Who Became the Co-founder and CEO of Netflix — Reed Hastings (Swaziland)
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Review — MARIANTONIA by Robert L. Forster (Honduras)
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INSIDE PEACE CORPS
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The Peace Corps Deals with Sexual Assault
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THE ADVENTURES OF MAYANA by David Perry (Belize)
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The Gringo I Knew by Rich Wandschneider (Turkey)
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NPR Correspondent Larry Kaplow (Guatemala)

Review of Somewhere in the Middle by Deborah Francisco (Philippines)

Somewhere in the Middle: A journey to the Philippines in search of roots, belonging, and identity by Deborah Francisco Douglas (Philippines 2011–14) Peaceful Mountain Press, 2019 254 pages $14.99 (paperback); $8.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Janet Lee (Ethiopia 1974-76) Somewhere in the Middle, by Deborah Francisco Douglas, is a delightful first memoir that captivated my interest from the first page.  Her use of dialogue, recreated from memories, journals, and blog posts, was an effective tool in telling her story.  Vendors’ calls of “Balut” (dragged out as if a chant, “Baluuuuuuuut!”) or “Taho” (“Tahoooooooooo!”) reminded me so much of my short stays in the neighborhoods of metro-Manila.  Balut is a partially-developed duck embryo that is softboiled and considered a breakfast treat.  Taho is a delicious custard drizzled with caramel syrup. She approximates the accents in the dialogues through the use of switching out “d” for the “th” sound and “p” for . . .

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Spread the word with students you left behind . . .

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Andy Martin (Ethiopia 1965-68) English Access Microscholarship Program BUREAU OF EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS EXCHANGE PROGRAMS At-a-Glance The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) provides a foundation of English language skills to bright, economically disadvantaged students, primarily between the ages of 13 to 20, in their home countries. Access programs give participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Participants also gain the ability to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States.Since its inception in 2004, approximately 150,000 students in more than 80 countries have participated in the Access Program. INFOGRAPHICS: Celebrating 10 Years of Access VIDEO: English Access Microscholarship Program Program length: Two years For Eligibility and Application Overview Contact your U.S. Embassy to find out if there are Access classes in your area.

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Afghanistan 50 years ago

Described in autobiographical book by Peace Corps Volunteer Elana Hohl (Afghasnistan 1971-73) Holly Zachariah The Columbus Dispatch   There they were, two 21-year-old newlyweds and recent college graduates from the Midwest, staring out the windows as the chartered plane that carried them and 75 other Peace Corps volunteers into Afghanistan approached the airstrip of Kabul International Airport. The vast and barren land that Elana and Michael Hohl had been studying for hours from the sky suddenly gave way to a city below, and camels and donkeys came into clear view. As the plane bounced down onto the runway on that steaming July day in 1971, there wasn’t an ounce of trepidation in either of the Hohls’ hearts or minds. “We were excited,” Michael recalled recently as he and his wife of 51 years sat in the living room of their condominium in the Northland neighborhood, a cozy home where nearly every space . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became the Co-founder and CEO of Netflix — Reed Hastings (Swaziland)

A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)   In Reed Hastings gap year before college he sold vacuum cleaners door to door, then went on to graduate from Bowdoin College with a degree in Mathematics. He spent his college summers in a Marine Corps training program, including a stint at the Officers Candidate School in the summer of 1981. He was never commissioned, choosing instead to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. He went to teach math at a high school of 800 in rural Swaziland, Africa, from 1983-85.  Reed credits part of his entrepreneurial spirit to his time in Peace Corps, remarking that “Once you have hitch-hiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn’t seem too intimidating”. After returning from Peace Corps, Reed went on to attend Stanford University, earning a Master’s in Computer Science. His first job was at Adaptive Technology where . . .

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Review — MARIANTONIA by Robert L. Forster (Honduras)

  Mariantonia : The Lifetime Journey of a Peace Corps Volunteer Robert L Forster (Honduras 19671–73) Peace Corps Writers 2021 218 pages $19.99 (paperback); $6.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras) — first published on Amazon.com. • Robert Forster has succeeded in writing and publishing a stellar Peace Corps memoir. Well organized, clearly written and superbly edited, it describes his experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer stationed along Honduras’s western frontier bordering El Salvador only two years after the “soccer war.” This is the first such memoir to quote war survivors and describe the war in such a personal manner. The book includes excellent photos (rare for early Peace Corps accounts), maps, a bibliography, a glossary of Spanish words and phrases, as well as sections of the book that elaborate on local history and offer insights into ongoing Honduran social problems. For Peace Corps aficionados or a general audience, this . . .

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INSIDE PEACE CORPS

Chief Executive Officer’s Message     Welcome back to Inside Peace Corps, where we share updates on our work, both at headquarters and in the countries where our Volunteers are invited to serve. Yesterday, we celebrated World AIDS Day to honor those we have lost due to the disease and to recognize the substantial progress that has been made toward ending the epidemic over the last 40 years. I am so grateful for the contributions community members, counterparts, partners, staff, and returned Volunteers of the Peace Corps network have made toward supporting those living with HIV and raising awareness to prevent new infections.   The World AIDS Day theme this year was “Global solidarity, shared responsibility,” a theme I know resonates deeply with the Peace Corps network, especially during this time of unrelenting change. Our shifting reality – whether due to global health crises, new COVID-19 variants, climate change, or a need for . . .

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The Peace Corps Deals with Sexual Assault

Peace Corps Seeks Public Input as Agency Develops Roadmap to Strengthen its Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response Program December 2, 2021 Today, the Peace Corps announced the next phase of its work to strengthen the agency’s Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response (SARRR) program. From December 2 to December 16, the public is invited to submit input and feedback about the Peace Corps’ efforts to enhance systems that support sexual assault risk mitigation and provide care to survivors. Following the release of the 2021 Sexual Assault Advisory Council (SAAC) report in November, Peace Corps leadership is conducting a comprehensive review of the recommendations outlined in the report and preparing a roadmap that outlines the future of the SARRR program to be released publicly in early 2022. “Last month, we received expert recommendations that incorporate emerging best practices from SAAC members that will inform the next phase of our work. . . .

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THE ADVENTURES OF MAYANA by David Perry (Belize)

  The Adventures of Mayana: Falling off the Edge of the Earth is the story of a 17-year Belizean girl named Mayana who finds herself on an adventure in a fantasyland of magic, monsters, and intrigue. She crosses over from her homeland of Belize to an alternate reality where the laws of nature and science are very different from what she learned. While she attempts to find her way back to Belize, she befriends a young man named Shifu who mysteriously appears, and speaks only in parables. He helps Mayana use her new-found magic powers to fight monsters and witches and to attempt to find her way home. Shifu also helps her to discover the meaning of life, how to understand why people are the way they are, and most of all how to understand herself. All during her journey, she relies on the recollections of conversations that she had over the . . .

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The Gringo I Knew by Rich Wandschneider (Turkey)

by Rich Wandschneider (Turkey 1965-67)   Jack Hood Vaughn’s autobiography, Kill the Gringo, came to me from Leif Christoffersen, who had served with Jack on the board of trustees of Earth University in Costa Rica. Leif knew I had been in the Peace Corps a long time ago, and wondered whether I knew Jack. Leif, like Jack, is my elder, and like Jack, had worked in international development around the world, and their paths happened to cross in Costa Rica, and they liked each other. Leif’s mostly retired now, and comes to visit a son who lives here, and then he’s off to natal Norway, his home in Virginia, or a board meeting or consultation somewhere else. He always calls me for coffee or lunch. I think he’s fascinated that I was in the Peace Corps and on staff a long time ago, and seemed to have wrapped up my . . .

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NPR Correspondent Larry Kaplow (Guatemala)

  Editor, International Desk Larry Kaplow  (Guatemala 1988-91) edits the work of NPR’s correspondents in the Middle East and helps direct coverage about the region. That has included NPR’s work on the Syrian civil war, the Trump administration’s reduction in refugee admissions, the Iran nuclear deal, the US-backed fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. He has been at NPR since 2013, starting as an overnight news editor. He moved to the International Desk in 2014. He won NPR’s Newcomer Award and was part of teams that won an Overseas Press Club Award and an NPR Content Excellence Award. Prior to joining NPR, Kaplow reported from the Middle East for 12 years. He was the Cox Newspapers‘ Mideast correspondent from 1997 to 2003, reporting from Jerusalem during the Second Intifada as well as from Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. He did reporting . . .

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