Archive - February 2013

1
Will The People Who Created The Peace Corps Please Stand Up!
2
Let the Word Go out…JFK50–Remembering March 1,1961
3
Josh Swiller (Zambia 1994-96) Consults on New ABC TV Show
4
A Writer Writes: Mark G. Wentling (Honduras 1967-69 & Togo 1970-73)
5
Review of Jim Averbeck's (Cameroon 1990-94) The Market Bowl
6
Not Your Parents' Peace Corps ????
7
The NPCA Gets Their Man
8
Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) is Back with a Big Book
9
Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Is Back in Print
10
Our San Francisco Poet–Edward Mycue (Ghana 1961-63)

Will The People Who Created The Peace Corps Please Stand Up!

John F. Kennedy is given credit for the remark, “success has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan,” and that phrase can easily be applied to the creation of the Peace Corps. A half dozen names come up when the conversation turns to: who thought of the Peace Corps idea in the first place? Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman in her excellent book All You Need Is Love: The Peace Corps and the Spirit of the 1960s, published by Harvard Press, points out that between 1958 and 1965, “nearly every industrialized nation started volunteer programs to spread the message of economic development and international goodwill.” Before that we had Herbert Hoover’s Commission for the Relief of Belgium and the Marshall Plan of the Truman administration. Theodore Roosevelt sent the U.S. Navy on a grand tour of the world following his negotiation of the Treaty of Portsmouth, and Woodrow Wilson brought arms to bear to . . .

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Let the Word Go out…JFK50–Remembering March 1,1961

[Thanks to Marian Haley Beil (Ethiopia 1962-64) we have this blog item.] This remix of JFK’s inaugural speech is very moving. The message is just as real as it was then. It includes two RPCVs. Along the right side of the main film screen is smaller screens with interviews with the speakers. If you link to the Peace Corps films more will come up on the right including JFK talking about the Peace Corps in March ’61 – and others RPCVs speaking about the Peace Corps. JFK50: Let the Word Go Forth “Let the Word Go Forth” is a film of many faces and voices re-creating President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqnRRO3zziI&list=EC0C8EA12816C44568 Executive Order 10924: Establishment of the Peace Corps. (1961) The founding of the Peace Corps is one of President John F. Kennedy’s most enduring legacies. Yet it got its start in a fortuitous and unexpected moment. Kennedy, . . .

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Josh Swiller (Zambia 1994-96) Consults on New ABC TV Show

[Josh Swiller (Zambia 1994-96)  is the author of The Unheard, A Memoir of Deafness and Africa, a New York Times bestseller, and is a dedicated advocate for the deaf and disabled and for cultivating a peaceful and playful mind. He’s had a wide variety of careers including raw food chef, Peace Corps volunteer, forest ranger, and sheepskin slipper craftsman. Currently, he is a hospice worker and Zen monk in Ithaca, New York. Josh lectures throughout the country, sharing a message of acceptance, gratitude and love. www.joshswiller.com]     Switched at Birth’ on ABC Family casts a mix of deaf, hearing and hard-of-hearing actors, will also soon present an episode that is entirely in American Sign Language. This article from the LA TIMES came out today. It cites the work that Josh did in the production of the new show. The article was written by Deborah Vankin, Los Angeles Times February 27, 2013, 6:00 a.m. On . . .

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A Writer Writes: Mark G. Wentling (Honduras 1967-69 & Togo 1970-73)

A Writer Writes Mark G. Wentling (Honduras 1967-69 & Togo 1970-73) was a Peace Corps Volunteer and in Gabon and Niger  Peace Corps staff. He then  joined USAID in 1977 and served in Niamey, Conakry, Lome, Mogadishu, Dar es Salaam before retiring from the U.S. Senior Foreign Service in 1996.  Since retiring, he has worked for USAID as its Senior Advisor for the Great Lakes, and as its Country Program Manager for Niger and Burkina Faso. He has also worked in Africa for U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations and he is currently Country Director for Plan in Burkina Faso. On September 20, he marked 42 years in Africa.  He has worked in, or visited, all 54 African countries. He has six children and hails from Kansas. His novel, Africa’s Embrace, is scheduled to be published this year. FORTY-SIX YEARS IN THE MAKING: MY FIRST PEACE CORPS STORY by Mark G. Wentling February . . .

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Review of Jim Averbeck's (Cameroon 1990-94) The Market Bowl

The Market Bowl (Ages 5-8) by Jim Averbeck (Cameroon 1990-94) Charlesbridge, $16.95 32 pages [Jim Averbeck in Cameroon ate many bowls of ndole (bitterleaf stew), like the kind the Mama Cecile and Yoyo make in The Market Bowl. He also enjoyed  dishes of boa constrictor, crocodile, and deep-fried termites. He is the author of In a Blue Room, a 2009 Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book.  He is also the author and illustrator of Except If and Oh No, Little Dragon!] Reviewed by Thomas Weck (Ethiopia 1965-67) The Market Bowl is a delightful story with an important message for young, impressionable minds.  Yoyo is an endearing young girl, but she has yet to learn the absolute necessity of honesty and fairness.  By taking an ill-advised shortcut, she puts her whole family’s livelihood in danger.  Through contrition, hard work and more than a little courage, in a drama filled scene, she is able . . .

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Not Your Parents' Peace Corps ????

Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83) Writes: Not Your Parents’ Peace Corps in a short essay on Huff Post today, February 25, 2012. She is making the case that PCVs today are “installing solar-powered computer labs to helping communities switch to renewable energy; from linking local entrepreneurs to global markets to developing cellphone text messaging services to answer questions about HIV.” All of that may be true enough, but did any of today’s PCVs have to operate a Gestetner Machine? Let them ask their PCV parents what a tough, messy job  was really like in days of old. Not sure if this was Carrie’s title for her article…It might have been crafted by the new press person at the Peace Corps, someone who never met a Gestetner Machine, let alone operated one. That being said, Carrie has a nice piece in the Huff Post detailing was is true today, at it . . .

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The NPCA Gets Their Man

The NPCA sent the following announcement out saying that they have hired an RPCV who used to work for ACDI/VOCA. (I have no idea what ACDI/VOCA means, but I hope it is not contagious. Using an acronym such as ACDI/VOCA without any explanation of what it means is another example of how out of touch with the Peace Corps Community the leadership of the NPCA is. They think the whole Peace Corps Community lives inside the Beltway and daily uses such acronyms and terms. Okay NPCA take this: ‘I’m going to hit an 8.5 degree Burner SuperFast with a Fujikura Motore Speeder 8.0 X shaft on the back side and play a Pro Vix and hit a cut fade into the terrace green at Twelve as the TifEagle Bermuda is overseeded with rye and I have thirty degrees helping and everything is running towards the water.’ How’s that for making myself understood? Anyway, this is what the NPCA had to . . .

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Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) is Back with a Big Book

Winner in 1986 of  the National Book Award Bob Shacochis’s (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) first book in ten years spans five decades and three continents. According to the pre-press on the novel, “it is an epic, visceral masterwork that traces a global lineage of political, cultural, and personal tumult from WWII to September 11th.” In The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, Shacochis returns to occupied Haiti and writes a  novel about coming of age in a pre 9-11 world.    The book’s flap-copy reads: When humanitarian lawyer Tom Harrington travels to Haiti to investigate the murder of a beautiful and seductive photojournalist, he is confronted with a dangerous landscape riddled with poverty, corruption, and voodoo. It’s the late 1990s, a time of brutal guerrilla warfare and civilian kidnappings, and everyone has secrets. The journalist, whom he knew years before as Jackie Scott, had a bigger investment in Haiti than it seemed, and to make sense of her . . .

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Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Is Back in Print

The February 25, 2013 issue of The New Yorker has a new short story by Paul Theroux  (Malawi 1963-65) entitled, “The Furies” that is about a man who leaves his wife for a younger woman, and the revenge his ex-wife visits upon him. You can read more (but not the whole story) here. It is a terrific piece of fiction, and we haven’t seen much short fiction lately from Theroux. His next book is on traveling in Africa, The Last Train to Zona Verde, and is due out in May.

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Our San Francisco Poet–Edward Mycue (Ghana 1961-63)

[San Francisco has produced many fine poets over the years. I, for one, grew up reading the Beats: Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Diane di Prima, Neal Cassady, Anne Waldman and Michael McClure. The list goes on and on. They were the poets of the ’50s and early ’60s, and then in 1970 Edward Mycue came to town. Edward Mycue (Ghana 1961-63) had ETed from the Peace Corps because of family needs at home and he returned to the U.S. to work for HEW in Dallas before arriving in San Francisco on June 1, 1970. He joined the new Gay Liberation Movement, began to work for Margrit Roma and Clarence Ricklets’ The New Shakespeare Company, and started publishing his poems. Since 1970 his poetry, criticism, essays and stories have appeared in over 2000 journals, magazines, on the Internet and everywhere literature is read. He is called by many, “one of the best living poets in . . .

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