Archive - December 2009

1
Colombia One's Country Director And The White Squall
2
Review: Mosquito Conversations By Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1965-67)
3
First Photo of Shriver With PCVs
4
Looking for a good cause for Christmas?
5
Meeting Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams
6
Heads Up On New Book By Bulgarian RPCV
7
RPCV Kinky Friedman Runs This Time For Agriculture Commissioner
8
What Does $400 Million To The Peace Corps Really Mean? Rajeev Goyal Tells Us What
9
Who Is This Rajeev Goyal Guy?
10
Rajeev Wins! Senate Approves $400 Million For The Peace Corps

Colombia One's Country Director And The White Squall

Colombia I (1961-63) group was the first to go to Peace Corps Training and these PCVs had the first of the many famous CDs who served in the agency. In some ways their director was the most famous of all. His name was Christopher Sheldon and he is the sort of person legends are made of, and books written about. In fact, a book and a movie were written about Christopher Sheldon. If it had been his book, it would have been a love story about himself and his wife, and how they met on Capt. Irving Johnson’s last voyage around the globe, and how his new bride perished at sea. It was typical of Shriver to select someone like Chris Sheldon to be a CD, but it was Mary Bunting who suggested Chris Sheldon to Shriver. Bunting was on the Peace Corps Advisor Board. She was also the President of Radcliffe College, and the woman responsible for fully . . .

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Review: Mosquito Conversations By Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1965-67)

Reviewer Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963-65) is an anthropologist, writer and former magazine editor. Besides numerous articles, he has published five books including two biographies, Against the Current: The Life of Lain Singh Bangdel-Writer, Painter and Art Historian of Nepal (Orchid Press 2004), and Moran of Kathmandu: Priest, Educator and Ham Radio ‘Voice of the Himalayas’ (Orchid Press, 1997; rev. ed. in press, 2010). His next book, Discovering the Big Dogs of Tibet and the Himalayas (in press, 2010), combines memoir and essay; and an anthology of his creative nonfiction is forthcoming. Don writes from his home near Portland, Oregon, when he’s not off leading treks in the Himalayas. Mosquito Conversations More Stories from the Upper Peninsula by Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1965-67) North Star Press $14.95 139 pages July 2009 Reviewed by Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963-65) If ever there was a culture within a culture, it’s on Michigan’s “U.P.”, the Upper . . .

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First Photo of Shriver With PCVs

This is the very first photograph of Sarge Shriver meeting the very first Peace Corps Trainees. It happened on Sunday, June 25, 1961, at Rutgers University.  The photograph, and details surrounding it, were sent to me recently by Dennis Grubb who was one of those legendary first Colombia I Volunteers, 1961-63. The word from Dennis: I received a telegram and was told to call the White House switchboard. They passed me onto the Peace Corps HQ in the Maiatico Building and I was invited to Training in New Jersey. I drove down to Rutgers from Connecticut, and since my home was only a couple hours away, I think I might be the very first person to arrive for training for the Peace Corps.” Shriver came up from D.C. to New Jersey on Sunday, Jun2 25, 1961, to meet the potential PCV. “I think,” says Dennis, “Sarge just wanted to see us, to see what the Peace Corps was catching as potential Volunteers. There were 80 Trainees at . . .

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Looking for a good cause for Christmas?

Our site supports PCVs and RPCVs and anyone who works for the agency. We don’t go looking for causes, but Katie Flanagan is the sister-in-law to a woman who I worked with, an RPCV, and when my friend asked me to help her new sister, I couldn’t refuse. It’s a good project and this is a Peace Corps country, and PCVs in the field are involved. So if you are looking for a good cause for Christmas, think of Tanzania.] The Kupona Foundation was created in March 2009 to support Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT). CCBRT, itself founded in 1994, is composed of a surgical disability hospital, community rehabilitation, and training programs.  Its headquarters in Dar es Salaam, clinic in Kilimanjaro, and mobile services throughout the country, directly benefit more than 120,000 patients and caregivers. The next five years promise to be a period of tremendous growth for . . .

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Meeting Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams

The other day I went down to D.C. to interview Aaron Williams, the new Peace Corps Director, a former Volunteer in the DR in 1967-70. Aaron told me that when he flew off to Training it was the first time this southside Chicago kid had ever been on a plane. He had never been out of Chicago before joining the Peace Corps, earning his college degree locally, in Education and Geography from Chicago State University, not Harvard or Yale. After his tour, he worked for the Peace Corps in Chicago as a Recruiter, and all these years later, that gang of RPCV Recruiters who worked together in the early Seventies are still close friends. For another year, and this was 1970-71, he worked in Peace Corps Washington as the Coordinator of Minority Recruitment, and then he returned to school and earned an MBA in Marketing and International Business. He worked in Minneapolis with General Mills for awhile before beginning a long USAID . . .

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Heads Up On New Book By Bulgarian RPCV

Cynthia Morrison Phoel ( Bulgaria 1994-96) was a PCV in a Bulgarian town not unlike the one in her new collection, Cold Snap. Her book will be published this spring (April) by Southern Methodist University Press. Cynthia holds degrees from Cornell and the Warrren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and her short stories have appeared in the Missouri Review, Gettysburg Review, and Harvard Review. She lives near Boston and just gave birth to her third child! Busy RPCV. The book is getting some great advance word, and great blubs from writers like Steve Yarbrough, Alison Lurie, Katherine Shonk, Robert Boswell, Robert Cohen, etc. While the Peace Corps ‘volunteer’ is not part of her stories, actually there is only one American in the stories, this collection of stories, now a book, shows what an RPCV can do with the experience. As Alison Lurie writes, “I admire Cynthia Phoel’s use of original . . .

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RPCV Kinky Friedman Runs This Time For Agriculture Commissioner

Kinky Friedman (Borneo 1967-69) will not run again for governor of Texas. Instead Kinky will seek, as a Democratic,  the position of agriculture commissioner. In his last governor’s race, he finished fourth, running as an independent. Kinky has met with both Democratic gubernatorial candidates and has been stating his positions as the agriculture commissioner. For example, he will be for promoting more food from local producers in school cafeterias and putting animals rescue facilities in countries across Texas.    .

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What Does $400 Million To The Peace Corps Really Mean? Rajeev Goyal Tells Us What

I think we have to view it as a victory, folks.  It’s the highest single year dollar-increase in 49 years.  In an actual and a symbolic sense, it can transform the Peace Corps. To help put it in perspective, it’s more than Peace Corps ever got in a single year since its founding, more than we got in the last seven years combined.  Director Williams is doing a magnificent job already, and with this 18% increase, he can do a whole lot especially if they streamline operations. I feel very proud and pleased with what we did and what I learned personally from all of you.  I had no experience in advocacy or lobbying and was thrown into this competitive environment.  Yes, we all wish we got the House mark (or $10 or $20 million more), but we didn’t. Failure would be if we just stopped trying.  This is nothing short of . . .

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Who Is This Rajeev Goyal Guy?

Several of  you have emailed me to ask ‘what’s the skinny on this Rajeev Goyal guy?’ To give  you a quick summary, over the last two years, Rajeev has been our indefatigable advocate of Peace Corps growth.  Without any formal training in lobbying or advocacy, guided by a team of advisors, he met with over 200 Congressional staff members to contest the anemic funding posture of Peace Corps.  Following a simple prescription of “squeeky wheel gets the grease,” he has organized 10,000 former volunteers, to pressure their elected representatives in a respectful, informed manner to vote for new funding to rejuvenate Peace Corps, which is half the size it was in 1966 despite 20 countries that want volunteers. He changed what was a marginal issue into a national news story, galvanizing the media (with the help of RPCV writers and journalists) into a watchdog for the President’s promise of doubling. Yesterday, as you know, the Senate passed a $60 million . . .

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Rajeev Wins! Senate Approves $400 Million For The Peace Corps

Yesterday the U.S. Senate  gave final congressional approval of a $400  budget to fund the Peace Corps in Fiscal Year 2010. President Obama is expected to sign the appropriations package into law shortly. The $400 million appropriation for Peace Corps is larger than Obama’s budget request, and is the result of work that Rajeev and others did to get the government to support the Peace Corps agency. Thank you, Rajeev! You’re the Little RPCV That Could! Watch Rajeev on Nightly News with Brian Williams http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/vp/29898341#29898341

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