Archive - August 2012

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A Writer Writes: In The Rubble
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Sample Questions Peace Corps Placement Test
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Job Description of President of NPCA–if you don't get this job, you can run for President of the United States!
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Dear Mishelle, You put the glue traps where?
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The Peace Corps Placement Tests!
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Charles Ipcar (Ethiopia 1965-68) Edits Poetry Book
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Kevin Quigley To Leave NPCA for Peace Corps Director Post in Thailand
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Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone 1963-65) Peace Corps Film
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Okay, You Wrote a Peace Corps Memoir…Now, How Do You Sell It?
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Talking With Lora Parisien Begin (Tunisia 1989-91 & Papua New Guinea 1996)

A Writer Writes: In The Rubble

In The Rubble by Bob Criso (Nigeria & Somalia 1966–68) I became a Nigerian news junkie after I left the country hastily on July 31, 1967. Having lost all communication with anyone there, I searched for any newspapers and magazines with the tiniest article related to the war. I followed the early Biafran victories and the later losses closely. When Enugu fell, I worried about what might be happening in my village, Ishiagu, about fifty miles south. Whenever I saw pictures of dead soldiers, I thought about students like Celestine and Sylvester who had joined the army. When I saw pictures of kwashiorkor babies, I thought about my fellow teacher Otu’s daughter, Ngozi, who I had cradled in my arms. The only good news came when the damn war finally ended. But what happened to Ishiagu? Sometime in the early seventies I got a small brown-paper package in the mail . . .

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Sample Questions Peace Corps Placement Test

So, if you wanted to join the Peace Corps in the early days, here are a few of the questions you needed to answer (I’ll add the answers so you’ll know your grade) Good Luck! # 1 VERBAL APTITUDE Directions: Each question below consists of a word printed in capital letters, followed by five words or phrases lettered A through E. Choose the lettered word or phrase which is most nearly opposite in meaning to the word in capital letters. Since some of the questions require you to distinguish fine shade of meaning, be sure to consider all the choices before deciding which one is best. LABORIOUS: (A) stationary (B) free (C) automatic (D) common (E) easy # 2 AGRICULTURE Directions: Which of the following is most commonly used in the United States for feeding swine? (A) Clover (B) Wheat (C) Alfalfa (D) Corn (E) Lespedeza #3 HEALTH SCIENCES Directions: . . .

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Job Description of President of NPCA–if you don't get this job, you can run for President of the United States!

PRESIDENT NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION WASHINGTON, D.C. THE ORGANIZATION: Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community. NPCA supports former Volunteers through their continued service back home and connects and champions Peace Corps community members in “bringing the world home” by:  Developing networks and information resources for and about the Peace Corps community.  Providing National Peace Corps Association members and member groups with service and education opportunities that build on their Peace Corps experience and values.  Advocating for Peace Corps and its values, and for critical issues identified as affecting National Peace Corps Association members. With a $1million-plus annual budget and a team of seven, NPCA encompasses a network of over 50,000 individuals and more than 140 member groups. Potential active constituents include 200,000+ . . .

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Dear Mishelle, You put the glue traps where?

Thank you for your oh so timely advice. I need all the travel help I can get as I may soon find myself moved from the category of “meet and assist” to “annoy and detain.” With that caveat, I too would like to also offer some tips based on my recent airplane experience. Travel is one of the recurring themes in the Peace Corps Experience books, the genre created by Coyne and Haley-Beil. If you want to get to Timbuktu, there are Peace Corps book to tell you how, and not all are written by Paul Theroux. But it wasn’t Timbuktu, this time, I just wanted to go to Washington DC and back to Denver. I could still probably hail a truck on the Pan Am Highway, but I wasn’t sure about finding gates in an unfamiliar airport. So, being now a conscientious traveler, I asked the airlines for help. . . .

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The Peace Corps Placement Tests!

In the very early days of the agency the Peace Corps had a set of Placement Tests that applicants were required to take. One was a 30-minute General Aptitude Test, another a 30-minute Modern Language Aptitude Test. One-hour achievement tests in French and Spanish were also offered during the second hour. The tests were ‘non-competitive; there were no passing or failing grades. The results, the agency said, were used to help find the most appropriate assignment for the person. Of course, those of us who took the tests had no confidence that that was ever done, given the assignments we finally got. The General Aptitude Test was composed of three different types of problems: verbal, mathematical, and spatial. The verbal questions require an applicant to select from five alternatives the synonym for a given word. The mathematical questions call for one to solve a problem, stated in a sentence or two, using . . .

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Charles Ipcar (Ethiopia 1965-68) Edits Poetry Book

Charles Ipcar (Ethiopia 1965-68) has co-edited The Complete Poetry of Cicely Fox Smith with James Saville. They collected 640 poems of this British poet from the early 20th century, 90 of which have been adapted for singing and recorded by members of the folk music community around the world. The book is available for sale via Amazon. com. Cicely Fox Smith was described by a reviewer as the “poet of the sea.” This accolade was not casually given or thinly deserved, it was a considered evaluation of the immense body of work that was admired universally by all, and in particular those who sailed and were of the sea. For the first time, this book, “The Complete Poetry of Cicely Fox Smith,” brings all her poetry together in one book for all to see not only the quantity, but the quality of her poetry. Cicely Fox Smith was born February . . .

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Kevin Quigley To Leave NPCA for Peace Corps Director Post in Thailand

Kevin Quigley, President and CEO of the NPCA, will return this fall to Thailand where he was a PCV from 1976-79. Quigley, who has been with the NPCA for nearly a decade, is well equipped to be the next CD in Thailand. He is fluent in the language, and while a PCV converted from his family’s Catholicism to Buddhism, then spent several months having buat phra–become a monk–after his Peace Corps tour. He has returned  to Thailand several times since his Peace Corps years, once as a Fulbright scholar, and he has maintained relationships with many HCNs. Kevin, who studied at Georgetown University, Columbia University, University College Dublin and Swarthmore College, before the NPCA was also the Acting CEO of  the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. His Ph.D. is in international relations and besides the Fulbright, he has been a   Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Resident Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, . . .

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Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone 1963-65) Peace Corps Film

Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone 1963-65) has just produced a 71-minute documentary entitled: Waging Peace: The Peace Corps Experience that weaves personal letters, journals, emails and blogs written by Peace Corps Volunteers with the profiles of four RPCVs whose work today shows the enduring impact of these experiences on their own lives and the lives of others. As Allen writes, “I hope this film demonstrates not only the value of volunteering–in a distant land or your own hometown–but also the importance of getting to know another culture firsthand and respecting the differences.” It is a terrific Peace Corps film. It is a terrific film. Allen also filmed a 82-minute RPCV writers’ panel discussion organized earlier this year by Richard Wiley (Korea 1967-69) at the Black Mountain Institute in Las Vegas that included Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65), Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-67), Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) and Marnie Muller (Ecuador 1963-65). Allen tells me that he is . . .

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Okay, You Wrote a Peace Corps Memoir…Now, How Do You Sell It?

With some success for my last book, I used RTIR (Radio-TV Interview Report) to sell my book. As we know, the easy part is writing the book. What is hard is finding an audience for your book. How do you sell it? This outfit will cost you $$$, but not a lot. They also have ‘deals’ so you might be able to get one of those (I did) and spend some money for a limited amount of time and sell your book. What is Radio-TV Interview Report (RTIR)? Radio-TV Interview Report: The Magazine Producers Read to Find Guests (RTIR) is a trade publication that goes to over 4,000 radio/TV producers across the United States and Canada. RTIR is published twice a month, and each issue lists 100-150 authors and other spokespeople available for live and in-studio interviews. Each guest’s ad includes a contact person and phone number so interested radio/TV . . .

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Talking With Lora Parisien Begin (Tunisia 1989-91 & Papua New Guinea 1996)

Lora, where and when were you in the Peace Corps? I was in the Peace Corps twice. In Tunisia from 1989–1991 and in Papua New Guinea for a year in 1996. What was your Tunisia assignment? I served my first year in the capital, Tunis, as an English Professor at Institut Des Langues Vivantes, Tunis (the University of Tunis). For my second year, I moved two hours west to the town of Beja to teach in a satellite school for the university. For my special project (a requirement for teachers during summer season) I directed a teacher training program for several of my co-volunteers. The program allowed over 150 Tunisian students access to free English lessons. And in Papua New Guinea? I lived in the extremely remote village of Kantobo in the Southern Highlands Province. I worked on an eco-tourism/rainforest conservation project with the World Wildlife Fund. I also worked . . .

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