Archive - August 4, 2009

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A Crack In The Earth, Paul Theroux, Part 2

A Crack In The Earth, Paul Theroux, Part 2

In 1964 Paul Theroux was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nyasaland (as Malawi was called before independence), living on the edge of “a crack in the earth,” as he wrote in a letter home to The Christian Science Monitor. That same year I was a PCV farther north, up in the highlands of Ethiopia, a few hours east of the Great Rift. Though our years in Africa overlapped, I didn’t know Theroux then. But I heard of him. By the time he was 23, his outspokenness had already made him notorious within the Peace Corps. In the fall of 1965, I returned to Ethiopia as an Associate Peace Corps Director (APCD), and Theroux appeared as a central character in a story that swept through Peace Corps/Africa. The Peace Corps CD in Malawi had been sent home by the U.S. Ambassador, Sam P. Gilstrap. It seems that the Malawi PCVs had . . .

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