Archive - December 2010

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Why write about the Peace Corps?
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Something to piss you off early in the morning.
3
The Peace Corps Library – Final
4
Talking With Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80)
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Peace Corps Prose: Ours Alone to Make
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Susan (Corry) Luz (Brazil 1972-75) Writes Memoir of Brazil and Iraq
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John Coyne's First Novel is now an E-Book
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Two New Mexico RPCV Writers Win Book Awards for 2010
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New Yorker article by Peter Hessler on Rajeev Goyal
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Review of Lawrence Lihosit's Peace Corps Chronology

Why write about the Peace Corps?

[Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) is an urban planner and author of eight books and seven pamphlets, all self published. His latest book, Peace Corps Chronology; 1961-2010, (the first book of its kind) just came out and is available on Amazon.com.  Larry writes here on the importance of writing about the  Peace Corps experience, for yourself, your family, the world!] For fifty years former volunteers and staff have wearily trudged home convinced of a duty to share their experience with family, friends and community. Some have created and performed songs, dances and plays while others have written poems, short stories, novels, essays, history and even memoirs. Together, they form a huge mosaic about the Peace Corps Experience. There are other sources of information: government reports and records. Although some dusty report might list the incidence of rabies in a far-off place, it will not describe the fear of an unarmed village sequestered . . .

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Something to piss you off early in the morning.

This was sent to me by  John Dwyer (www.jdwyer@over50andoverseas.com) Who is off in Egypt doing good. It is a blog called: Budget Travel by HoboTraveler.com Budget Travel is Andy Graham a perpetual traveler of 12 years and 88 countries. All the secrets of budget travel explained by a travel insider. — Andy writes: I have met many Peace Corps Volunteers, and about three directors of country organizations, they are easy to find, and difficult people to talk with, normally full of political correctness. Except strangely all the volunteers in Ethiopia, an exceptional bunch. You can normally find Peace Crops Volunteers the most popular bars in any city; this is where they hang out. Francesca was going to meet two or three other Volunteers at the White House Bar here in Ho, Ghana. Peace Corps Volunteers are supposed to spend the first month or two at their city, and not go visit . . .

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The Peace Corps Library – Final

  There are historical records that would enhance current discussion on Peace Corps World Wide. “Evaluation of Central Agricultural Training for the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Peace Corps – April 1980“ would be a great companion piece to Don Gayton’s “Chicken Rites.” And for Ethiopia, the country I always felt the Peace Corps stars fell on, there is “The Impact of Peace Corps Teachers on Students in Ethiopia- Research Division O.P.R. 1968.” A study, entitled “Report of the Task Force on Sexual Assault September 26, 1979,” from the Office of Special Services, is pertinent to the current day Safety and Security discussion. These all are relics from what I presume were once the Peace Corps Library collection. These materials should still be located at PC/DC.   My FOIA request, of March 11, 2010 asked for documents showing”when and why the office known as Peace Corps Library was closed; all the . . .

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Talking With Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80)

A few years ago when I first met Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) he reminded me of Thomas Wolfe (the real Tom Wolfe of Look Homeward, Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again) — big and slightly ungainly with a quiet brooding presence, a thick wedge of dark hair and a massive face. A hulk of a guy. There is something of Wolfe in Mark’s prose, the luxury of his language and the way Mark fills a page with wonderful details, but Jacobs is a much more disciplined writer, and more inventive. We met in Union Station in Washington, D.C. where I had been waiting for him in that beautiful, vaulted marble main lobby and he came in out of the sunlight of the city, a towering figure and I thought: now there’s a guy who looks like a writer! And truly he is one. He joins a small band of first-rate intellects . . .

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Peace Corps Prose: Ours Alone to Make

One of the unintended consequences of Peace Corps Volunteers is a library shelf of memoirs, novels, and poetry. Unlike travel writers who seek new lands to explore, and unlike anthropologists who find foreign societies puzzles to comprehend, Peace Corps Volunteers arrive, as we know, in-country with some hope that they can do some good. And many, when they come home, want to share their incomparable experiences and insights. Peace Corps writers who have written books based on their experience include, are certainly not limited to– Paul Theroux (Malawi) – My Secret History; George Packer (Togo) – A Village of Waiting; Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon) – Lament for a Silver-Eyed Woman; Norm Rush (Botswana)-Whites; Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador)-Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle; P.F. Kluge (Micronesia) – The Edge of Paradise: America in Micronesia; Peter Hessler (China) – River Town; Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan) – Chasing the Sea; Maria Thomas (Ethiopia) – Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage; Charles . . .

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Susan (Corry) Luz (Brazil 1972-75) Writes Memoir of Brazil and Iraq

Colonel Susan Luz, the highest-ranking female member of her Massachusetts Army Reserve unit, was 56 when she received the letter deploying her unit to Iraq. She packed her bags, kissed her husband goodbye, and set off on a journey that would test her leadership as an officer, her compassion as a nurse, and her resolve as a witness to the brutalities of modern warfare. Her 15 months on the ground during the surge in Iraq in 2006 and 2007 form the keystone of a book of life of service. A life of service began in Brazil as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1972-75 working in Quixada in the interior of the country. While a PCV she was attacked and raped by a  gang of teenagers, all three of whom were caught and jailed and sentenced to life in prison. It took her best friend, who joined the Peace Corps with her, a week to reach Quixada to be . . .

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John Coyne's First Novel is now an E-Book

Necon E-Books is proud to announce that The Piercing by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) is now available. A young stigmatic girl experiencing the agony of Christ begs the question — is she divine, or is she damned? The Piercing is equal parts theology, philosophy, horror, suspense, love, sex and gore, brilliantly woven together by a master storyteller; in short, amidst the long lineage of horror novelists to use religion as source material, John Coyne truly stands out. Order your copy today, you will NOT be disappointed! Matt Bechtel Production Manager, Necon E-Books

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Two New Mexico RPCV Writers Win Book Awards for 2010

The purpose of the New Mexico Book Awards is to honor great books from New Mexico and the Southwest. Each year, the New Mexico Book Awards Program honors special New Mexico authors for their special contributions to New Mexico’s book community. In 2010, the New Mexico Book Awards presented awards to two RPCV writers. They are, (and congratulations to you both!): For Novel — adventure or drama Melanie Sumner (Senegal 1988-90) for The Ghost of Milagro Creek published by Algonquin Books Fiction, Other Martha Egan (Venezuela 1967-69) for La Ranfla & Other New Mexico Stories published by Papalote Press

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New Yorker article by Peter Hessler on Rajeev Goyal

Peter Hessler’s (China 1996-98) article about Rajeev Goyal and his advocacy of the Peace Corps will be in the December 20, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. Peter writes:  In the part of eastern Nepal where Goyal served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2001 to 2003, people sometimes weep when his name is mentioned. Locals refer to him as Shiva, the god who is the source of the Ganges River. In the halls of Congress, most people have no idea what to make of him. For the past two years, Rajeev has approached the place as if it were just another Nepali settlement with a caste system to untangle. He figured out the Washington equivalent of village-well routes-hallways, hearing rooms, and coffee shops where anybody can hang around and meet a member of Congress. During the past two years, funding for the Peace Corps has increased by record amounts, despite . . .

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Review of Lawrence Lihosit's Peace Corps Chronology

Peace Corps Chronology: 1961–2010 by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975–77) iUniverse $22.95 – hardback; $13.95 – paperback; $9.99 – ebook 120 pages November 2010 Reviewed by P. David Searles (Staff: CD Philippines 1971–74, PC/W 1974–76) A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN FIFTY YEARS, as demonstrated by Lawrence F. Lihosit’s superb book:  Peace Corps Chronology, 1961-2010. Lihosit has carefully sifted through an immense cache of Peace Corps data from a wide variety of sources, some of which are familiar and some of which were previously unknown, at least to me. In the book he gives a detailed account of the critical happenings — year by year, decade by decade — from 1961 to the present. The book will be read in two ways. The first, and this is probably what most of us will immediately do, is check out what he has included from our years with the Peace Corps. For me . . .

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