Archive - March 15, 2010

1
How Do You Say Nicholas D. Kristof In Your HCN Language?
2
Peace Corps At Day One: #21 The Last Words From Warren Wiggins About The First Days of The Peace Corps
3
Review Of Lucia St. Clair Robson (Venezuela 1964-66) Last Train To Cuernavaca

How Do You Say Nicholas D. Kristof In Your HCN Language?

This is a terrific piece by Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) that is on the website of  The New Yorker as of today,  March 15, 2010. Peter takes on NYTIMES writer Nicholas Kristof and his piece the other day that stirred a lot of  interest among RPCVs who have been there, done that, and know how to say more than “doorknob” in their host country language. Read it, and if you haven’t read Warren Wiggins’  comments about what the founders of the Peace Corps were trying to do 50 years ago, read his comments, too.  And also, if you are taking a class from John Brown at Georgetown University, give him an F. He’s like a lot of those foreign service officers we know overseas. You know, the ones we called, “dumb f****! in our host country language. Here’s Peter’s piece: “Here’s a one-word language test to measure whether someone really knows a foreign country and culture: . . .

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Peace Corps At Day One: #21 The Last Words From Warren Wiggins About The First Days of The Peace Corps

What continues to surprise me is how few people–since that morning in the Mayflower Hotel–have read “A Towering Task” which was the first draft of defining the Peace Corps; it was the bible for the future Peace Corps. When I asked Warren Wiggins about this, he commented, saying, “It’s marvelous that nobody has read it because, you see, in most ways I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. In some ways I was dead on, but I did recommend that we ship air-conditioned trailers to the Philippines to house the Volunteers. It’s a far cry from the theology of the Peace Corps that evolved, but then, those were the early days.” What is clear now from the safety of time and distance is that being anti-establishment, amateurish, anti-professional was the reason for the success of the Peace Corps. This attitude by the staff permeated the whole organization . . .

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Review Of Lucia St. Clair Robson (Venezuela 1964-66) Last Train To Cuernavaca

Reviewer Leita Kaldi Davis worked for the United Nations and UNESCO, for Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard University. She worked with Roma (Gypsies) for fifteen years, became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal at the age of fifty-five, then went on to work for the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti for five years. She retired in Florida in 2002. She has written a memoir of Senegal, Roller Skating in the Desert, and is working on a memoir of Haiti. • Last Train from Cuernavaca by Lucia St. Clair Robson (Venezuela 1964-66) Forge Books $25.99 349 pages 2010 Reviewed Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993—96) Two very real women, Rosa King, an English widow, and Angelina Jimenez, a Mexican farm girl, inspired the characters of Grace Knight and Angela Sanchez in Lucia’s St. Clair’s fictionalized history, Last Train from Cuernavaca. During the early 1900s, after the ouster of . . .

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