Archive - March 2012

1
Another China RPCV Writer Wins Another Writing Award!
2
A Writer Writes "The Good Old Days"
3
Angry PCVs write Celeste: Leaving El Salvador 1979 – 80 Part Four
4
Bonnie Lee Black (Gabon 1996-98) Awarded International Prize
5
Bonnie Lee Black's ABC's of healthy cooking
6
Sex & Santorum
7
Academic article on PCVs in Africa
8
Editor of Peace Corps Anthologies Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) Reading in Fort Collins
9
Happy Birthday to the Peace Corps: Making Lemonade In The Maiatico Building

Another China RPCV Writer Wins Another Writing Award!

March 07, 2012 Discover Great New Writers award Michael Levy’s (China 2005-07) memoir, Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating With China’s Other Billion ( Holt), was one of  the two winners of Barnes & Noble’s annual “Discover Great New Writers” awards, announced Wednesday at a lunch in New York.   The memoir by Levy, 35, a teacher in Brooklyn, N.Y. , recounts his Peace Corps experience in rural China in 2005 as a basketball-playing, kosher vegetarian. He said he began the day Wednesday at his day job – a Catholic school where a “wide-eyed 9-year-old asked me why I was dressed in a jacket and tie.” Levy replied that he was going to a ceremony to celebrate “great new writers.” The girl got very excited and asked, “Did you write The Hunger Games?” He had to explain that he didn’t. A panel of former award winners picked the winers. Each received $10,000 and . . .

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A Writer Writes "The Good Old Days"

Roger Landrum was a PCV in Nigeria, 1961-63.  He taught at the new University of Nigeria at Nsukka in Nigeria’s first year of independence and his experience was the subject of a Peace Corps documentary film called “Give Me A Riddle.”  Landrum was one of the first RPCVs to join the PC/W staff. Landrum devoted most of his subsequent career to expanding youth service opportunities in the US. He founded and directed The Teachers Inc. which provided Peace Corps-like programming for American inner-city schools. Landrum co-authored Youth and the Needs of the Nation with Harris Wofford, a policy blueprint for a large-scale national service initiative.  In 1986 Landrum launched Youth Service America (YSA) which led efforts to expand and mobilize a national youth service infrastructure that culminated in the National and Community Service Acts of 1990 and 1993 and creation of the federal Corporation for National Service along with AmeriCorps. As . . .

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Angry PCVs write Celeste: Leaving El Salvador 1979 – 80 Part Four

Peace Corps Director Celeste’s writing on the situation in El Salvador may have been clear and rational, but “in the field” events were anything but. Angry Peace Corps Volunteers wrote to Celeste with their frustrations. If current technology had been available thirty-two years ago, would some of the problems documented in this letter have been avoided?  I don’t know. But, I think these old documents are important because they may provide a contrast to how evacuations are done, today. These documents from 1979 -1980 were declassified in the last few years.  To protect the safety and security of serving volunteers today, current plans are not available to the public. However, I have heard serving volunteers, today, chafe at the incredible restrictions that they may face on travel out of site and the mandate that they be in communication with the in-country Peace Corps staff  24/7. Perhaps the situation faced by . . .

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Bonnie Lee Black (Gabon 1996-98) Awarded International Prize

Yesterday evening, March 6, 2012, Bonnie Lee Black (Gabon 1996-98) received a Gourmand International World Cookbook Awards in Paris, France, for her book How to Cook a Crocodile.  How to Cook a Crocodile: A Memoir with Recipes was the first book published by the Peace Corps Writers Imprint. Bonnie’s book won the “Charity and Community” category award.  The event, held in the Folies Bergeres theater, attracted an audience from all over the world. Bonnie, who is a blogger on this site at: Cooking Crocodiles & Other Food Musings, gave her acceptance speech in both French and English. The 16-year-old organization Gourmand International, headquartered in Madrid, Spain, publishes GOURMAND magazine and sponsors the Gourmand World Cookbooks Awards.  The 2011 awards celebration at the Folies Bergère kicks off a week-long Paris Cookbook Fair.  Congratulations, Bonnie!

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Bonnie Lee Black's ABC's of healthy cooking

Our blogger Bonnie Lee Black (Gabon 1996–98) got some recent press in her home state of New Mexico. Bonnie, who earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University/Los Angeles in June 2007, was an honors graduate of Columbia University (BA, Literature/Writing, 1979), and then a writer and editor for nearly 30 years, and an educator — in the U.S. and overseas — for over 15 years. For ten years (from 1986 to 1996) she was a chef, caterer, and cooking instructor in Manhattan, during which time her freelance writing focused on food. In 1996, she joined the Peace Corps and served as a health and nutrition Volunteer in Gabon in central Africa. Her book, How to Cook a Crocodile: A Memoir with Recipes (Peace Corps Writers, 2010), recounts her experience teaching healthy cooking in Gabon. The following piece about Bonnie appeared online in The Taos News on Sunday, March 4, 2012. • Bonnie . . .

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Sex & Santorum

LAST WEEKEND I RECEIVED A PHONE CALL from Joan Corboy who was the wife of one of our APCDs back in Ethiopia in the early Sixties. She is now pushing 90, the mother of eight, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and a wonderful woman. She called me to test her memory (it is, by the way, much better than mine!). Since I work at a Catholic college she wanted to know if I could get my hands on an article by Judge John T. Noonan, a Harvard educated lawyer, who had written a piece on contraception back in the mid-sixties. Joan, who is a faithful Catholic (Yes, Virginia, there are still some) was annoyed (to say the least) at all of Rick Santorum’s remarks on contraception, remembered the article, and wanted me to track it down for her. I had no idea who John T. Noonan, Jr. was, or about the article he had written on contraception. . . .

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Academic article on PCVs in Africa

David Peterson del Mar recently published in the scholarly journal, African Identities (Vol. 9. N0 4, November 2011, 349-361) an article entitled “RERFLECTION At the heart of things: Peace Corps volunteers in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Peterson, who is not an RPCV, is an Assistant Professor at Portland State University for the Department of History and Extended Campus. He is the author of six books, including What Trouble I Have Seen: A History of Violence against Wives (Harvard University Press, 1996) and The American Family: From Obligation to Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).  He is currently researching American attitudes toward Africa since World War II for his next book which is tentatively entitled, Africa Existenial. His research for this new book that led him to RPCVs who served in Africa, and the writing that they have done over the years. He wrote me, “I very much enjoyed the research (on PCVs in Africa) — and hope that . . .

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Editor of Peace Corps Anthologies Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) Reading in Fort Collins

Published at Coloradoan.com Fort Collins author assembles Peace Corps anthologies By Stacy Nick StacyNick@coloradoan.com IN 1967, 21-YEAR-OLD JANE ALBRITTON traveled to India as a volunteer for the Peace Corps. It was an experience that changed her life and how she saw the world around her. Forty years later, it motivated her to tackle another adventure: putting her experiences, and those of other Peace Corps volunteers, on paper. With the help of fellow Peace Corps volunteers, Albritton put together a series of four anthologies featuring 200 stories from Volunteers who served all over the world to celebrate and honor 50 years of the Peace Corps. “I started getting old, actually,” Albritton joked as to why she decided to start the project. After years of “pestering” others to record their histories, it occurred to her that her and her fellow Volunteers’ stories might be lost if they weren’t written down. Albritton, a . . .

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Happy Birthday to the Peace Corps: Making Lemonade In The Maiatico Building

On this Peace Corps Birthday I thought I’d tell again one or two of the early stories about the agency.      A lot has been written, especially last year, about those days when the Peace Corps attracted the best and the brightest, or so they claimed. One document stated the agency’s  staff was composed of “skiers, mountain climbers, big-game hunters, prizefighters, football players, polo players and enough Ph.D.’s [30] to staff a liberal arts college.” There were 18 attorneys, of whom only four continue to work strictly as attorneys in the General Counsel’s office and the rest [including Sargent Shriver] did other jobs. Also, all of these employees were parents of some 272 children. In terms of staff and PCVs, the ratio was quite small. Figures from WWII showed 30 people were required to support every soldier in the front lines. After the war, peacetime ratio was one person in Washington to every four overseas. The Peace Corps was . . .

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