Archive - January 2013

1
New Ground For Peace Corps–The Peace Corps on NPR
2
Peter Chilson (Niger 1985–87) Writes About Mali
3
Review of Martin Ganzglass: Somalia Short Fiction Collection
4
Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan 1996-97) Writes Book Reviews for Harper's
5
Carrie Hessler-Radelet for Peace Corps Director!
6
Review of Richard Tillotson (Malaysia 1967-69)Acts of God While on Vacation
7
Review of Henry Pelifian (Thailand 1975-77) Land of the Tuk-Tuk
8
Peter Hessler's (China 1996-98) Letter From Cairo
9
Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) to Read in NYC on Sunday, January 13
10
Tony D'Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) Gets to the Big Game

New Ground For Peace Corps–The Peace Corps on NPR

[Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-64), who blogs on our site, was kind enough to alert me to this interview with the Acting Peace Corps Director and Dr. Kerry who were interviewed on NPR yesterday (January 14,2013)  about the Global Health partnership. In this interview the presence of nurses and doctors as Peace Corps Volunteers, over the last fifty years, was acknowledged.  That link would not be to the audio just the web page. http://www.npr.org/2013/01/14/169334681/new-ground-for-peace-corps This development with Global Health is another example of the work that Carrie Hessler-Radelet has started since becoming Acting Director of the agency.] Tell Me More 9 min 17 sec Playlist Download The Peace Corps has a new project with a new mission. It’s working with the Global Health Service Corps to send American doctors and nurses to Africa. Those volunteers will train medical professionals there to help create a healthier future. Host Michel Martin discusses the . . .

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Peter Chilson (Niger 1985–87) Writes About Mali

The world news is full of stories of ‘what’s happening in Mali?’ from the French airstrikes, to the Islamist rebels taking over of Mali villages, to the US involvement, to the 3,300 soldiers from other West African nations who are now fighting alongside the Malian Army. The Op-Ed page of The New York Times this morning (January 15, 2013) has an essay entitled, “Why We Must Help Save Mali” written by Vicki Huddleston, the U.S. ambassador to Mail from 2002-2005, and a former deputy assistant secretary in the State and Defense Departments. Luckily for RPCVs we have our own expert, Peter Chilson (Niger 1985-87), who teaches creative writing at Washington State University and writes about West African, and lately about Mali. Here’s a  blurb for his new book on the nation. The book is entitled, We Never Know Exactly Where. “What happens when a country suddenly splits in two? In . . .

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Review of Martin Ganzglass: Somalia Short Fiction Collection

Somalia: Short Fiction by Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966-68) Peace Corps Writers,$7.99 (paperback); $2.99 (Kindle) 356 pages 2012 Reviewed by Baker H. Morrow (Somalia 1968-69) In this book of stories about Somalia set mostly in the sixties, Martin Ganzglass (Somalia 1966-68) works hard to give us a taste of the place: the names of the famous old hotels (the Croce del Sud and the Giuba in Mogadiscio), the nicknames that the Somalis love to hang about the necks of friend and enemy alike (Af-Chir/Mouse Mouth; Bashir Goray/the Ostrich), and gritty place descriptions (the Mad Mullah’s fort at Taleh in the North; the ruins of Mogadiscio in the nineties, the era of the warlords).  He succeeds in many ways.  His characters are Italian colonials, Peace Corps types, and local people caught up in the heady days of early independence after 1960.  The problem Mr. Ganzglass wrestles with in dealing with Somalia, a . . .

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Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan 1996-97) Writes Book Reviews for Harper's

The February 2013 issue of Harper’s has long reviews (for Harper’s) of three totally disconnected books. The reviews were written by Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan 1996-97). If nothing else the selection of books shows the width and depth of Bissell’s interests and knowledge. The guy is well read. Tom’s last book was Magic Hours, a collection of essays, published by McSweeny’s, published in 2012 and his name pops up from time to time in articles and reviews for other publications. The three books he reviews for Harper’s are A Jew Among Romans:The Life and Legacy of Flavius Josephus written by Frederic Raphael and published by Pantheon; Detroit: An American Autopsy by journalist Charlie LeDuff, published by Penguin Press; and a new collection of stories by George Saunders: Tenth of December (Random House). You can’t open a magazine today without stumbling over some reference or review of the short stories by George Saunders, a writer that Bissell’s ranks with the . . .

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Carrie Hessler-Radelet for Peace Corps Director!

In the Peace Corps Director Sweepstakes, I’m casting my vote for the current Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet ( Western Samoa 1981-83). Carrie came to the agency as Deputy in June 2010, and she took over as Acting Director this fall when Aaron Williams returned to his old job. As Acting Director, Carrie is doing a great job. She is knowledgeable about what PCVs do overseas, she is well liked in the building and on the Hill, and she is already implementing an agenda for the betterment of PCVs and RPCVs. Unlike Congress, she is getting things done! Carrie and her husband were both PCVs, leaving on their honeymoon for the Pacific and the Peace Corps. Carrie taught high school as a PCV and helped design a national public awareness campaign on disaster preparedness. Immediately after her tour she worked for Peace Corps Recruitment in Boston, then took her graduate degree and worked in global public health organization. Prior to . . .

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Review of Richard Tillotson (Malaysia 1967-69)Acts of God While on Vacation

Acts of God While on Vacation by Richard Tillotson (Malaysia 1967-69) CreateSpace, $14.95 (paper) $4.00 (Kindle) 370 pages May 2011     Reviewed by Rosemary Casey (Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands – TTPI 1987-89) When asked to review Acts of God While on Vacation, I should have googled it to see what others said before I made a commitment. For example, others reported the book “disarmingly flip and fast-paced” (Honolulu Star-Bulletin), and the “diversity of spiritual belief systems makes this open-minded novel as entertaining as it is enlightening” (Publishers Weekly). So I opened up Paul Tillotson’s book anticipating a good read. Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed, and I had a hard time returning to the book once I put it down, making it an “obligation” to write the review rather than a task of enjoyment. I delayed my task, until one evening I asked myself why I was procrastinating . . .

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Review of Henry Pelifian (Thailand 1975-77) Land of the Tuk-Tuk

Land of the Tuk-Tuk by Henry Pelifian (Thailand 1975-77) AuthorHouse, $19.95 280 pages February 2012 Reviewed by Robert Hamilton (Ethiopia 1965-67) Henry Pelifian’s Land of the Tuk-Tuk is a compilation of several different stories sharing the same book cover.  These include: 1.     the partial story of the fictional protagonist Jack Dakasian, Peace Corps Volunteer teacher in Bangkok, Thailand; 2.     the love story of Jack and his former student Amara Worathai, and Jack’s determination later to woo and marry her; 3.     the story of Jack in Isfahan, Iran, teaching helicopter repair in English to Iranian military mechanics in, it appears, 1979, and just prior to the revolution which swept the Shah from power and the return of the Muslim cleric Ali Khomeni; 4.     the story of the Armenian genocide and other atrocities inflicted upon Jack’s family in Turkey in the early 20th century and their migration to the U.S.; 5.     Jack’s outrage at . . .

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Peter Hessler's (China 1996-98) Letter From Cairo

The January 14, 2013 issue of The New Yorker has a long, long informative  “Letter From Cairo” piece by Peter Hessler (China 1996-98). Entitled “Big Brother–Where is the Muslim Brotherhood leading Egypt?” the article gives a history lesson on the Muslim Brotherhood and sums up where the Brotherhood (and the nation) are today. Peter, as many of you know, lives in Cairo with his wife and young family. This coming April his next book, Strange Stones: Dispatches from East and West, will be published.

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Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) to Read in NYC on Sunday, January 13

Award-winning novelist Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) and memoirist Elisabeth H. Breslav will discuss their experiences coming of age in a warzone during World War II in a free reading at Bluestockings Bookstore in Manhattan on January, 13 at 7 p.m. Both women just published book chapters in a new collection of first-hand stories entitled That Mad Game: Growing Up in a Warzone, an anthology of essays from around the globe. The book is perhaps the first anthology of essays by writers describing what it’s like to be a child enduring the insanity of war. As a Dutch child during World War II, Breslav lived through the Nazi occupation of Holland and survived the “Hunger Winter,” the extension of the occupation to 1945 in parts of Holland that grew from the November 1944 Allied defeat profiled in the epic A Bridge Too Far. While there are numerous first-person accounts of the Holocaust, . . .

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Tony D'Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) Gets to the Big Game

January 7, 2013 Even “Rudy” Can’t Get a B.C.S. Championship Ticket Posted by Tony D’Souza How hard was it to get tickets to Monday night’s Notre Dame vs. Alabama B.C.S. National Championship game? Even “Rudy” couldn’t land one. As much a part of Notre Dame football lore as anyone, especially since the 1993 release of the eponymous film about his time with the team, in the run-up to the game Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger found himself as just another number, one of more than a hundred thousand Notre Dame alumni and donor “friends” who applied for the fourteen thousand and five hundred “face value” tickets allotted to the school by the B.C.S. (Notre Dame took in at least $1.2 million in non-refundable ticket-lottery application fees. Another twenty-five hundred of the university’s tickets went to students.) “I didn’t get one through the lottery,” Rudy told me by phone from Las Vegas, where . . .

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