Archive - March 30, 2010

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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Four
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Be Part Of New Film About The Peace Corps
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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Three

Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Four

Reading the Eyes Only memo from the Medical Division to Sarge in her recently commandeered fifth floor office, Betty Harris went ballistic and then she charged into Shriver’s office. “The memo raised the question: What if a married Volunteer got pregnant by her own husband? Oh, no!,” said Betty, remember. ” What if one of our precious, upper-middle-class American flowers got pregnant in one of those dirty, backwater countries? Surely, the Peace Corps would bring the couple home. A nice American couple couldn’t risk having a baby in a country where women squat to deliver a child. “I went in screaming over this one. I screamed to everyone. I could scream to, including Sarge, saying that the one thing that all women in all countries have in common was childbirth, and if we really want to insult these countries-to say, in effect, that your country’s so dirty that this healthy, . . .

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Be Part Of New Film About The Peace Corps

Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone 1963-65) for the last 40 years has been a documentary filmmaker working in both commercial and public television although for the past 30 years, with his wife Cynthia, they have worked as independent filmmakers producing and distributing documentary and educational films (www.mediaprojects.org). He is now working on a documentary about the Peace Corps experience, telling the story of PCVs through letters, diaries and journals written while overseas. “What I want,” he wrote me, “is writing that is  honest, personal, revealing and surprising. I also want it to be about people who went crazy from the boredom, about people caught up in revolutions, about people who got angry and lashed out, about harsh disappointments, about people who almost died of dysentery, about people who did die because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, about people trying desperately to cope with the day-to-day problems of . . .

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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Three

At the emergency Saturday morning meeting to determine the fate of this pregnant unmarried PCV, Betty Harris, for the first time, realized there was a problem with the Mad Men of the Peace Corps. “….The thought began to occur to these grown men that possibly the pregnant Volunteer had got herself in the ‘family way’ by means of intimate contact with a national,” Betty recalled. “Oh. God! Well, the guys were just falling apart. A Peace Corps woman is pregnant and she’s not married to anybody! And who’s the father? And what happens now? Do we bring her home? Do we inform her parents? Do we throw her out of the Peace Corps? One fool present at this meeting actually suggested that we ‘can’ women Volunteers altogether. No one ever suggested that our male Volunteers might be shacking up with female ‘nationals,’ getting them pregnant, or what the implications of that . . .

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