Archive - January 17, 2012

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Was Paul Geren Our First Peace Corps Writer? Part Three
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Was Paul Geren Our First Peace Corps Writer? Part Two
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The Peace Corps Evacuates Honduras

Was Paul Geren Our First Peace Corps Writer? Part Three

In the weeks and months that followed the bombing of Rangoon, Geren worked as a driver, and then as a field hospital attendant on the front lines which the Chinese were failing to hold against the advancing Japanese. “Our supplies were cut off and the Japs were advancing all the time,” Paul recalled. “We were the only medical unit with Western standards. The few members of the Quaker Volunteer Ambulance Corps and myself, we carried the wounded back from the battlefield.” All of this time his faith buffered him. On Christmas Eve, 1941, he wrote in his Diary, “The Japanese are promising a ‘Christmas present for the white people’ over the Bangkok radio.” They carried on in Rangoon. From Geren’s Diary, Christmas Eve, 1941: Whatever came yesterday, and whatever will come tomorrow, tonight we sang Christmas carols. We were a motley choir, begotten of a day between air raids, so widely apart . . .

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Was Paul Geren Our First Peace Corps Writer? Part Two

Paul Francis Geren was deeply religious. And his religion, it appears to me, propelled him through his life, aiding him in his journey from Rangoon to Ramgarh, the legendary march out of Burma, and through dozens of  other appointments, foreign and domestic, government and academic. The pivotal point of this man’s life, however, was his escape from Burma that he details in Burma Diary, his short articulate memoir that was published by Harper & Brothers in 1943, and became an immediate best seller. It is a story told with quiet dignity, much like the man himself who is described often by others as “a quiet, studious looking individual.” But first, a quick survey summary of WWII for all of us who missed the war, thanks to Harold J. Schultz, Chairman of the International Studies at Stetson University. Schultz wrote about Paul when Geren became the fifth president of that Florida college: The Battle . . .

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The Peace Corps Evacuates Honduras

All 158 Peace Corps volunteers in Honduras left the country on Monday, weeks after the United States announced that it would pull them out for safety reasons. The U.S. group said in late December that it was bringing home volunteers from Honduras and suspending training for new volunteers in El Salvador and Guatemala, though existing volunteers would remain in the latter two countries. The region is plagued by gang violence and Honduras is considered to have the highest murder rate in the world. Honduras President Porfirio Lobo said Monday that the Peace Corps volunteers had been affected by rising crime, but neither he nor U.S. officials have cited specific attacks as reasons for the withdrawal. U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Ledy Pacheco said instructions for the withdrawal came from Washington, where the group’s head office is located. The Peace Corps had operated in Honduras since 1963. The three countries make up the . . .

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