Archive - December 2009

1
Review — Whispering Campaign by Larry Lihosit (Honduas 1975-77)
2
When Christ Stopped At Eboli
3
RPCV Writer Jason Carter Running For Georgia Senate
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Review: RPCV John Durand's (Philippines 1962-64) new history of The Boys
5
Early Chronicler Of The Peace Corps Dies In D.C.
6
New Book by RPCV John Thorndike
7
Whatever Happened To The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love?
8
Looking For The Perfect PCV
9
The Peace Corps: A Wacky and Dangerous Idea
10
What The President Said About the Peace Corps

Review — Whispering Campaign by Larry Lihosit (Honduas 1975-77)

Whispering Campaign: Stories from Mesoamerica by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) iUniverse, Inc. $11.95 120 pages November, 2009 Reviewed by Allen W. Fletcher (Senegal 1969-71) • Lawrence Lihosit is an inveterate self-publisher, has served us up a pungent and tasty array of stories in his Whispering Campaign – Stories from Mesoamerica. They have the allure of Mexican street food — rough and honest and earthy. They are laced with the complementary spices of cross-cultural compassion and gringo guilt; and they go directly to the gut. Lihosit spent a total of seven and a half years in Mexico and Central America, and from the feel of it, it was not a touristic enterprise. By his own account he grew close enough to the people of the several countries in which he lived to tip toe on the dangerous side of local politics. There is no question where his feelings fall with . . .

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When Christ Stopped At Eboli

The other weekend when visiting a small used bookstore appropriately named the BookBarn in rural Columbia County in upstate New York, several miles from where we have a weekend home, I spotted on a shelf in this low ceiling cluttered store a copy of Carlo Levi’s Christ Stopped At Eboli. It is a book that I haven’t seen in some forty plus years, in fact since I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia. This book was one of appropriately 75 paperbacks that Sarge Shriver and the first administration of the Peace Corps put together in a portable ‘booklocker’ for Volunteers. The books were to be read and left in country, to become seeds for new libraries in the developing world where we were serving. The used copy I found in the Bookbarn was a later edition, a TIME Reading Program Special Edition, first published in 1964 with a new Editors’ Preface. The body . . .

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RPCV Writer Jason Carter Running For Georgia Senate

Jason Carter (South Africa 1998–2000) who wrote Power Lines: Two Years on South Africa’s Borders published by the National Geographic Society in 2002, and who is the grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, has announced he is entering the race for the Georgia Senate. A Democrat, Jason, said this week that he will run for a DeKalb County seat soon to be vacated by David Adelman, President Obama’s nominee to be ambassador to Singapore. A special election will be held in the Atlanta-area district in March. Jason, now 34, is an attorney who focuses on voting rights at an Atlanta firm. He graduated from Duke University, then was a PCV in South Africa, and came home to attend the University of Georgia School of Law. He is the founder of the community service group Democrats Work. Jason’s great-grandmother, Lilian Carter, was a PCV in India from 1967-69.  Her book, Away From Home: Letters To My . . .

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Review: RPCV John Durand's (Philippines 1962-64) new history of The Boys

Reviewer P. David Searles served three years as the Country Director for the Peace Corps in the Philippines from 1971 to 1974, and then spent two years at Peace Corps headquarters as Regional Director for NANEAP and as Deputy Director of the agency (1974-76).  Following the end of his business career in 1990, David earned a Ph. D. from the University of Kentucky (1993), and published two books: A College for Appalachia (1995) and The Peace Corps Experience (1997), both published by The University Press of Kentucky. • The Boys: 1st North Dakota Volunteers in the Philippines by John Durand (Philippines 1962–64) Puzzlebox Press $17.95 422 pages 2010 Reviewed by P. David Searles (PC staff 1971–76) John Durand has written a fascinating account of a little remembered event at the very beginning of America’s entry onto the world stage as an imperial power:  the struggle to subdue and annex the Philippines. . . .

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Early Chronicler Of The Peace Corps Dies In D.C.

Roy Hoopes who wrote, among many other books, The Complete Peace Corps Guide, for Dial Press back in 1968, and was a long time Washington journalist died last week in Silver Springs Maryland. In his lifetime he wrote 30 plus books. Hoopes is best known for his 1982 biography of James M. Cain, who wrote the hard-boiled classics The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce, and Double Indemnity. The story goes that  Hoopes read an article Cain wrote for the Washington Post in 1975 about columnist Walter Lippmann, and then found Cain, and all-but-forgotten novelist living alone in Hyattsville, Md.  Hoopes wrote a profile of Cain for Washingtonian magazine and talked extensively with Cain before the 85-year-old author died in 1977. The very definition of a professional writer who lived by his typewriter, Roy Hoopes contributed to hundreds of publications and held many jobs with magazines, newspapers and federal agencies. He wrote . . .

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New Book by RPCV John Thorndike

Back in July of 1996 I talked with John Thorndike (El Salvador 1967-69) about his book, Another Way Home. It was his story of meeting a young Salvadoran woman, Clarisa, when he was in the Peace Corps, teaching English at the National University of El Salvador, and falling in love with Clarisa and getting married. After the first year, when their son Janir was born, Clarisa drifted into schizophrenia and her behavior endangered her child’s life. John was working as a farmer, but he feared for his son’s safety and he made the decision to bring Janir back to the United States and raise him alone. Another Way Home is the poignant account of their life together. Today, John lives and writes in Athens, Ohio. His new non-fiction came out in October, 2009, and is entitled: The Last of His Mind: A Year in the Shadow of Alzheimer’s. John writes on his blog [http://www.johnthorndike.com], “My father, Joe . . .

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Whatever Happened To The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love?

Every new Peace Corps administration tries to reinvent the agency with a new tag line. Remember,  the ’70s line that went “Not Your Father’s Peace Corps?” And most recently the Peace Corps is saying: “Life is Calling? How far will you go?” In the first years of the agency there were no need for a selling line for the Peace Corps, but there was certainly a need to tell people what the agency was. Warren Wiggins, in an interview I did with him in January 1997, credits Bill Moyers for getting the word out to the world. Moyers had come to the agency as the Associate Director for Public Affairs early in 1961. “His (Moyers) role in the creation of the public service advertising campaign for the Peace Corps created a nationwide citizen constituency,” Wiggins told me. “These achievements were of unparalleled importance. Moyers got Young and Rubican to create ads. Moyers . . .

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Looking For The Perfect PCV

Trying to find the ‘perfect’ Peace Corps Volunteer was a difficult task from day one of the agency. Shriver said early on, “there is no perfect Volunteer, unless you believe in the hazy concept of a perfect American.” “Peace Corps Volunteers,” he said, “look like any Americans you might pass in the supermarket or like a neighbor who lives down the street. The average 24 years of age for men, 25 for women. The things that make them different from the average don’t show–their good will, their sense of adventure, their willingness to sacrifice for others and to work hard under difficult conditions.” In the early days it was thought that Shriver’s ‘perfect’ PCV would be skilled technicians or people with two or three years of experience in an activity which would be of use in the developing world. But it quickly became apparent that experienced technicians would not be . . .

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The Peace Corps: A Wacky and Dangerous Idea

In 1960 not everyone thought the Peace Corps was a great idea. Many people (and some of them good people) thought it was a wacky and dangerous idea. Former President Eisenhower declared it a “juvenile experiment,” and Richard Nixon said it was another form of “draft evasion.” The Daughters of the American Revolution warned of a “yearly drain” of “brains and brawn…for the benefit of backward, underdeveloped countries.” In those first few years of the agency, we didn’t know if the Daughters of the American Revolution and the other critics of the Peace Corps might not be right. Our joining up with Kennedy’s new venture might mean a stain on our careers for the rest of our lives. And yes, it was a dangerous idea, but not in the way the Daughters thought. The Peace Corps changed us. It made us aware of the world in ways we never would have been if . . .

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What The President Said About the Peace Corps

“In the end, our security and leadership does not come solely from the strength of our arms. It derives from our people – from the workers and businesses who will rebuild our economy; from the entrepreneurs and researchers who will pioneer new industries; from the teachers that will educate our children, and the service of those who work in our communities at home; from the diplomats and Peace Corps volunteers who spread hope abroad; and from the men and women in uniform who are part of an unbroken line of sacrifice that has made government of the people, by the people, and for the people a reality on this Earth.”

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