Archive - March 2009

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REVIEW: Roaming Kyrgyzstan
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A Voice From The Field
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Establishing The Peace Corps: Ann Arbor, Post 7
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Vote in our poll.
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Establishing the Peace Corps: Kennedy's Involvement, Post 6
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Peace Corps: The Fountain of Youth
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Establishing the Peace Corps: The Ugly American, Part 5
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The Peace Corps Book Locker
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Ann Neelon reviews Attack of the Claw
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Establishing the Peace Corps: A New Frontier, Part 4

REVIEW: Roaming Kyrgyzstan

For anyone who has traveled or hopes to travel to this lesser known corner of Central Asia’s ancient Silk Road, Roaming Kyrgzstan‘s cover photo captures some of the magic that lies within this mountain nation’s truly majestic and rugged landscapes. Roaming Kyrgyzstan: Beyond the Tourist Track by Jessica Jacobson (Senegal 1997)IUniverse,Inc.,November 2008216 pages$17.95Reviewed by Catherine Varchaver (PC Staff, Kyrgyzstan 1995-97)For anyone who has traveled or hopes to travel to this lesser known corner of Central Asia’s ancient Silk Road, Roaming Kyrgzstan‘s cover photo captures some of the magic that lies within this mountain nation’s truly majestic and rugged landscapes.Turning past the seductive cover, the reader encounters something not unlike Kyrgyzstan’s cities and towns-a richness of content and culture hidden beneath a distractingly unsophisticated and even off-putting presentation. Kyrgyzstan’s natural topography ranges from exotic to breath-taking, but the Soviet influence on local architecture erased a good bit of the visible, traditional charm . . .

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A Voice From The Field

I don’t know who this PCV “dilana” is, but as far as I can tell, it is our first comment from a current PCV, and it is a wonderful one. It is an example of what Marian and I hope to achieve with this website and that is to get comments and opinions and information from all over the globe, and from all parts of the Peace Corps World. So, if you missed ”dilana” comment sent on the 21st of this month, here it is in full. dilana on 21/03/2009 in 19:50 Honestly what I am disappointed about at this point is the fact that so many people actually think three months should be enough time apparently to bring the country out of debt, find money from somewhere to use to bring more volunteers to various countries, enlist new countries for Peace Corps, stop the war, increase the budget for PC . . .

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Establishing The Peace Corps: Ann Arbor, Post 7

On October 14, Kennedy flew into Michigan from New York, where he had just completed his third debate with Nixon. He had agreed to say a few words to the students at the university. Ten thousand students waited for him until 2 am, and they chanted his name as he climbed the steps of the student union building.      Kennedy launched into an extemporaneous address. He challenged them, asking how many would be prepared to give years of their lives working in Asia, Africa and Latin America?      The audience went wild. (I know, because at the time I was a new graduate student over in Kalamazoo. I was also working part time as a news reporter for WKLZ and had gone to cover the event.)      According to Sargent Shriver, “No one is sure why Kennedy raised the question in the middle of the night at the university.” Possibly Kennedy thought of . . .

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Establishing the Peace Corps: Kennedy's Involvement, Post 6

JFK’s first direct association with the Peace Corps came on February 21, 1960. He was on a college television show called “College News Conference” and someone asked about the “Point Four Youth Corps.” Kennedy said he didn’t know what the legislative proposal was. Afterwards, he told aide Richard Goodwin to research the idea. Goodwin, who was the Kennedy link with the “brain trust” at Harvard, wrote to Archibald Cox at the university’s law school about the idea.     Then in April and May of 1960, when Kennedy was running against Humphrey for the nomination, the idea was discussed further. Humphrey introduced his bill for a “Peace Corps” in the Senate in June, but after Kennedy won the nomination in July, Humphrey transferred all his research files to Kennedy’s office. The Cow Palace speech made by Kennedy right before the election, which revealed his growing commitment to the “Peace Corps” concept, owed . . .

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Peace Corps: The Fountain of Youth

An RPCV writer who has published many, many successful books is writing one now on people who never seem to get sick. He is looking to interview them and he asked me if there is anyone in the community who while overseas discovered ways or herbs or methods that have kept them healthy. If you know of anyone let me know. Thanks.

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Establishing the Peace Corps: The Ugly American, Part 5

One of the most important books of the late 1950s was the novel, The Ugly American,by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick. The book’s hero was Homer Atkins, a skilled technician committed to helping at a grassroots level by building water pumps, digging roads, and building bridges. He was called the “ugly American” only because of his grotesque physical appearance. He lived and worked with the local people and, by the end of the novel, was beloved and admired by them. The bitter message of the novel, however, was that American diplomats were, by and large, neither competent nor effective; and the implication was that the more the United States relied on them, the more its influence would wane. The book was published in July 1958. It was Book-of-the-Month Club selection in October; by November it had gone through twenty printings. It was so influential that in later paperback editions its . . .

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The Peace Corps Book Locker

In the early years of the Peace Corps, the agency provided each household of Volunteers with a book locker. The books were meant to provide leisure reading for the PCVs, and then to be left behind in schools, villages, and towns where the Volunteers served. There is some mystery as to who had the idea for the book lockers; one rumor has it that it came from first Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver’s wife, Eunice. Surely those books were a wonderful resource to any of the PCVs who thought of writing about the incomparable life they were living. Since 1961 PCVs and Peace Corps Staff have been writing the story of their lives in the developing world, as well as writing about the world beyond the Peace Corps. Among the more than 1000 writers  who have served in the Peace Corps have written and published their books. Many of the books . . .

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Ann Neelon reviews Attack of the Claw

BOOK REVIEW Larry Lihosit discovered the Peace Corps Writers site a couple years back and has been sending his book our way for reviews and comments. Larry is ‘outside’ the main current of literature and commercial publishing and has successful published his own books of poetry and travel. He is proof that you do not need an agent, a big name, or connections to find your way into print. It is for that reason that we have him writing a column on this site. Here is a review of one of his books of poetry to prove that like all good writers, he can take criticism as well as give it. Attack of the Claw and Other Poems about Teaching by Lawrence F. Lihosit ( Honduras 1975–77) A Book Company 2008 (Purchase book from publisher) Reviewed by Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79) For several years running, my sons have participated in the . . .

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Establishing the Peace Corps: A New Frontier, Part 4

There was also, as there has always been, a search for a new frontier. That feeling was loose in America. The historian Frederick Jackson Turner has written about how America has continued to grow because of this search for another frontier. The Peace Corps gave all these young people a New Frontier. A new generation The Baby Boom had struck. 50 percent of the population was under 25 in 1960. For the first time a college education was within the grasp of the majority of young people. Unprecedented material wealth freed this new generation to heed their consciences and pursue their ideals. This spirit of generosity and participation had been sorely missed under Eisenhower. As one Peace Corps administrator puts it in Gerry Rice’s book: “The 1950s made ancient mariners of us all – becalmed, waiting and a little parched in the throat. Then we picked up momentum on the . . .

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