Archive - 2011

1
The Peace Corps' First Book About the Peace Corps
2
Reports of My Death:Beyond-the-Grave Confessions of North American Writers
3
First Book About RPCVS
4
You Can Publish It!
5
How to Format Your Peace Corps Book
6
RPCV Anthropologists
7
Lawrence F. Lihosit on “Self-Published Quality Format”
8
Review of Abigail Fay's Novel, Running in Flip-Flops
9
William Evensen Writes About: The Enigmatic Five-Year Rule
10
Mike Meyer (China 1995-97) in Italy

The Peace Corps' First Book About the Peace Corps

In the mid-sixties, the Peace Corps as an agency realized that they had a lot of Volunteer stories that they could use for Recruitment so the Office of Public Information, as it was then called, began its own publications. In September 1968 they published The Peace Corps Reader with the declaimer, “The opinions expressed in the Peace Corps Reader are those of the authors and may or may not coincide with official Peace Corps policy.” Ain’t that the truth! This Peace Corps book, which, by the way, was given away free as a government publication, republished several copyrighted pieces including Jack Vaughn’s “Now We are Seven” published in 1968 in the Saturday Review; and Sargent Shriver’s 1966 essay, also published in the Saturday Review, “Five Years with the Peace Corps.” There was “The Quiet-mouth American” by Donald Lloyd, published in 1963 in Harper’s Magazine. Lloyd was the founder of Resources Development . . .

Read More

Reports of My Death:Beyond-the-Grave Confessions of North American Writers

This isn’t the Christmas Season or the Holiday Season as much as it is the Season of Big Books by RPCVs! Having received last week: War of Hearts and Mind: An American Memoir, which comes in at 618 pages and written by James Jouppi (Thailand 1971-73), this week in the mail came: Reports of My Death: Beyond-the-Grave Confessions of North American Writers by Girard R. Christmas (Thailand 1973-76; Western Samoa 1976-78).  This tome is 660 pages! Both of these books are self-published. And, by the way, what’s with these Thailand RPCVs? Do they have too much time on their hands and that is why they are writing such long books? Reports of My Death, aka, ROMD, is the labor of love of Gerry Christmas. It took him twenty years to research and write. “As a teenager,” he wrote me, “I always hated the way authors were presented in textbooks. Reports of . . .

Read More

First Book About RPCVS

Before there were Returned Peace Corps Volunteers there were books about them. In the very early days of the agency everyone was caught up with enthusiasm for these young Idealists going off on their own to do good in Africa, Asia and Latin America. To the best of my knowledge, the first book–paperback, of course, and selling for .50$ (those were the days)–was published by Paperback Library and done with the ‘full’ cooperation of the agency.  It is entitled simply, The Peace Corps. Sargent Shriver wrote the Introduction and the photographs were taken by Rowland Sherman and Paul Conklin, the first two great photographers of the Peace Corps. There is one photo in particular that I remember. It was taken of my roommate, Ernie Fox (Ethiopia 1962-64). He is with children of whose parents who were in the leprosarium outside of Addis Ababa. We would go out of town on Saturday mornings to play games . . .

Read More

You Can Publish It!

[ First posted on Peace Corps Writers in September, 2008, Lawrence F. Lihosit pushes and shoves RPCVs towards sharing their experiences in print.]  You Can Publish It By Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras, 1975-77) Within three years, this nation will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Peace Corps’ inception with parades, speeches, and book sales. It is very rare that a government program captivates the American imagination. In the first half of the twentieth century only two programs did, the WPA and the CCC. In the second half, it was NASA and the Peace Corps. As we near this anniversary, there will be incredible interest in the program and us, the foot soldiers. If you have a story to share, this is a great time to write it down. Keep your dreams humble. After all, you write for your children and grandchildren. If you really cared so much about fame, glory, . . .

Read More

How to Format Your Peace Corps Book

by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975–77) After extensive editing but before sending your Peace Corps Experience book to a publisher, consider presentation. Your book will be on the Library of Congress shelf (as well as other libraries) for many years, representing a nugget of history-your experience. This book will aid our children and grandchildren to understand what this American experiment was like. Regardless of who prints it, why not consider quality befitting this role? Just as you did not embark upon a cheap tourist junket but an arduous trek perhaps inspired and most definitely sustained by true grit, this sort of unusual adventure deserves a like presentation. The majority of books published are mass market paperbacks, tiny paperbound books printed with small letters on cheap paper. Although inexpensive, they are more difficult to read, fall apart faster and generally look like a plastic flip-flop. Your book should be more like . . .

Read More

RPCV Anthropologists

If there is one career that the Peace Corps has fostered (besides that of a writer!) it is the one of Anthropology Scholar. The classrooms of  colleges teaching Anthropology are full of RPCV professors. (You can hear them saying right now, “When I was in (fill-in-the-blank)…etc. Ron Schwarz (Colombia 1961-63) is an anthropologist, and he was kind enough to send me the link to the December print and online publication of the American Anthropology Association – Anthropology News – features stories about Anthropology and the Peace Corps. It is online at: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/category/in-focus/ Read what Ron and: Ralph Bolton (Peru 1962-64); Michael Sheridan (Kenya 1988-90); Frank Hutchins (Ecuador 1983-85); Scott Freeman (Dominican Republic 2005-07); Veronica Muoiro (Jordon 2011–) and others RPCVs have to say about the transition from being a PCV to that of a scholar studying their host countries, as well as, other parts of the world. You don’t have to be a PCV to be an . . .

Read More

Lawrence F. Lihosit on “Self-Published Quality Format”

Self-Published Quality Format by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975–77) After extensive editing but before sending your Peace Corps Experience book to a print-on-demand publisher or printer, consider presentation. Your book will be on the Library of Congress shelf (as well as other libraries) for many years, representing a nugget of history-your experience. This book will aid our children and grandchildren to understand what this American experiment was like. Regardless of who prints it, why not consider quality befitting this role? Just as you did not embark upon a cheap tourist junket but an arduous trek perhaps inspired and most definitely sustained by true grit, this sort of unusual adventure deserves a like presentation. The majority of books published are mass market paperbacks, tiny paperbound books printed with small letters on cheap paper. Although inexpensive, they are more difficult to read, fall apart faster and generally look like a plastic flip-flop. . . .

Read More

Review of Abigail Fay's Novel, Running in Flip-Flops

Running in Flip-flops by Abigail Fay (Senegal 2007–09) A Peace Corps Writers Book $12.75 (paperback) 299 pages 2011 Reviewed by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) THE TITLE, RUNNING IN FLIP-FLOPS, CAUGHT MY ATTENTION because it indicates doing something improbable, if not impossible, as does the title of my own memoir, Roller Skating in the Desert. In this novel Fay captures the classic Peace Corps Volunteer experience of trying to fit into a very foreign culture; tolerating the tedium of daily village life that includes rituals of long greetings and strange social mores. The protagonist, Shannon, suffers the discomforts of unrelenting hot weather, lack of sanitary comforts, unfamiliar foods, physical illnesses and irritating behavior from unwitting locals. She is frustrated when she visualizes  beneficial projects that people in her village cannot seem to implement.  Her counterparts, Ibou Diop and Ndey Sekk, however, help her win some victories, such as building latrines . . .

Read More

William Evensen Writes About: The Enigmatic Five-Year Rule

Peace Corps’ Enigmatic Five-Year Rule: Updating the ‘In-Up-Out’ Myth by W.M. Evensen ( Peru 1964-66) Long ago I decided to make the cross-country trip to attend Peace Corps’ Fiftieth Birthday Party. I wanted to revisit the heroic beginnings, marvel at Peace Corps’ low-cost accomplishments, the indigenous leaders discovered, the NGOs invented. As it turned out, I found out some modern day things about the Peace Corps that left me bummed and bewildered. My trip to the 50th ended up shattering my most cherished Peace Corps belief: Sargent Shriver’s clever answer to bureaucratic Alzheimer’s, his legendary ‘In-Up-Out’ Five Year Rule, that limited staff to five years service. Because of Shriver’s trenchant ‘In-Up-Out’ Five Year Rule, bureaucratic careerism would not hamper the Peace Corps. Instead, the Agency would be re-born, again and again, by the hiring of newly returned PCVs – the ‘Up’ element: the best of the best – to run a . . .

Read More

Mike Meyer (China 1995-97) in Italy

[Here’s another account of ‘life in the real world’ from one of our farflung RPCV writers. This time it’s  Mike Meyer on the shores of Lake Como who is keeping in touch with the OWS movement and other forms of civil unrest via the International Herald Tribune– and how many of us, as one time or the other, could claim such a routine as our own?–The difference, however, is that  Meyer sums up his experience with vivid prose in a vivid villa.] I’M IN RESIDENCE FOR A MONTH at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, on Lake Como in northern Italy. The residency provides a bedroom, bath and studio in the Villa Serbelloni, a lemon-colored mansion once owned by a princess who was an heir to the Johnnie Walker fortune. Whiskey has yet to make an appearance, but other fellows have sworn they have seen the princess herself, late at night, wafting through the upstairs library where she died. . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.