Archive - August 3, 2009

1
Peace Corps Writer: Paul Theroux, Part 1
2
A Writer Writes: A Poem For Hemingway
3
Review: Peace Corps Memoir of Romania

Peace Corps Writer: Paul Theroux, Part 1

He went – in the way the Peace Corps rolls the dice of our lives – to Africa as a teacher. “My schoolroom is on the Great Rift, and in this schoolroom there is a line of children, heads shaved liked prisoners, muscles showing through their rags,” he wrote home in 1964. “These children appear in the morning out of the slowly drifting hoops of fog-wisp. It is chilly, almost cold. There is no visibility at six in the morning; only a fierce white-out where earth is the patch of dirt under their bare feet, a platform, and the sky is everything else.” How many of us stood in front of similar classrooms and saw those young faces arriving with the dawn? How many of us could have written the same sentiments – though not the same sentences – home? And how many of us wanted to be the writer . . .

Read More

A Writer Writes: A Poem For Hemingway

Sunday Morning July 2, 1961 The road home was flat. Miss Mary drove. The old hunter, watching The distant hills, Small breasts against the plains, Thought of Kenya, the rugged Mountains, where death was Close as brush, Gentler than the Slow defacing of flesh.   Fragile as the light birds he Picked from the sky Decades and miles away, He no longer heard the call. He wrote of sin as no small town Methodist ever had, Carving his prose with a new King of tool; Honed in the woods of Michigan, Sharpened by a fascist war, And tempered for an old man of Cuba. Pencils now were hollow in his hands, The juice that flowed so ready Had yellowed in his veins. He was what Gertrude had proclaimed.   Sunday he woke to our tragedy, Sought in the library of his exile His own Kilimanjaro. Feeling in sick hands the . . .

Read More

Review: Peace Corps Memoir of Romania

Bread, Salt, & Plum Brandy: A True Story of Love and Adventure in a Foreign Land by Lisa Fisher Cazacu (Romania 2002–04) San Diego, CA: Aventine Books April 2009 224 pages $14.95 Reviewed by Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963-65). There’s something unsettling about one RPCV reading another Peace Corps Volunteer’s memoirs. It inevitably conjures up comparisons and, as often, both sharply similar and contrasting emotions. Never mind that our stories are two continents, four decades, and a gender apart (Romania vs. Nepal, the 2000s vs. the 1960s, and she vs. me), Lisa Fisher Cazacu’s memoir of her PC experience is both remarkably alike and uniquely different from my own. Our mutual experiences range from initial doubts about joining the Peace Corps, to serious culture shock upon arrival in country (and ‘reverse’ culture shock on return home to the states), to difficulties learning the language and various social do’s-&-don’ts, to a host . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.