Archive - March 2013

1
What in God’s Name is a Hypermodern Book?
2
Were You Sexually Assaulted in the Peace Corps?
3
NPCA ELECTIONS: Vote for Dennis Grubb (Colombia 1961-63)
4
Review of Dean Mahon (Cameroon 1974-78) The Ride
5
Mark G. Wentling (Honduras 1967-69 & Togo 1970-73) A Writer Writes: Togo: Today and in 1970
6
The Best Peace Corps Memoir Ever Written????
7
Review of Diane Shugrue Gallagher's Lure of Service: My Peace Corps Adventures at Middle Age
8
James F. Fisher's (Nepal 1962-64) At Home in the World:Globalization and the Peace Corps in Nepal
9
Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83)To Be Panelist at U of Colorado Conference on World Affairs
10
Alice, Let's Go to Malawi: Calvin Trillin With The Peace Corps
11
Review of Julie R. Dargis's (Morocco 1984-87) Pit Stop in the Paris of Africa
12
Robert Pastor (Malaysia 1970-72) of American University and the White House
13
Dennis L. Carlson’s (Libya 1968-69) Volunteers of America – The Journey of a Peace Corps Teacher
14
Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83) will host a Town Hall for RPCVs on April 2
15
Review of Ben Berman's (Zimbabwe 1998-2000) Strange Borderlands

What in God’s Name is a Hypermodern Book?

A number of Peace Corps writers have asked, “what is a ‘Hypermodern Editions’ after I posted the recent blog item on História, História by Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde 1998-2000) and wrote that it was published as a “Hypermodern Edition, only 100 pages written on pages 5.75 by 4.38 inches (or a twice-folded sheet of typing paper). They must have thought I knew what I was talking about. Hello? So I asked Jason Pettus, the publisher at Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, and he emailed me that “Hypermodern Editions is just a blanket term for all their  handmade books, to differentiate them from the ebooks and the trade paperbacks we’re going to start doing in 2014. The term “hypermodern” comes from the world of book collecting, and refers to any collectible book less than 30 years old.” I also ask him about the pricing of this book, i.e., as it . . .

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Were You Sexually Assaulted in the Peace Corps?

Nicholas Hack (Zambia 2005-07) wrote me recently with this request: “I’m a RPCV who served in Zambia in 2005. I’m currently working on my doctorate in psychology and am studying an area in which there has been no research: sexual assault in the Peace Corps. I’m hoping to hear from past and current female Volunteers who experienced sexual assault during their service so we can bring these stories to light. In order to protect the confidentiality of participants I’m using an anonymous online survey that takes 15-20 minutes to complete. Out of respect and care for participants the survey does not ask any questions about the assault itself. The survey was also developed in collaboration with other survivors of Peace Corps Sexual Assault to minimize any triggering/blaming/shaming language. I’d like to give a big thank you in advance to those who have the courage to share their stories. Your participation in this . . .

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NPCA ELECTIONS: Vote for Dennis Grubb (Colombia 1961-63)

The Americas Dennis Grubb Hometown: Washington, DC Nominated by: Friends of Colombia Current member of: Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC; Friends of Colombia Peace Corps service: PCV Colombia 1961-1963; Headquarters Staff 1963-1965 Current Employment: Director, Investasia Ltd./Aries Group Experience on organization boards: Current Chairman, Ratiu Foundation, Center for Democracy at Woodrow Wilson Institute; 2009-2011 Member, American University Alumni Board; Current Adviser to the Dean, School of International Service; 2009-2012 Member, National Fulbright Association and DC Chapter Statement: The NPCA’s mission is to Support and Promote RPCVs. As a NPCA Board member, I will introduce a results-oriented plan to do the following: Fully support local region and country-of-service groups, the backbone of the NPCA Bring RPCVs who served in “The Americas” into the NPCA membership Help enact changes in federal laws so RPCVs with service-illnesses can receive medical assistance Develop opportunities for RPCVs with new international experiences to find . . .

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Review of Dean Mahon (Cameroon 1974-78) The Ride

The Ride by Dean Mahon (Cameroon 1974-78) Self-published 163 pages $7.99 paperback, $2.99 ebook 2012 Reviewed by Deidre Swesnik (Mali 1996-98) Dean Mahon prefers another world. At least he did when he was climbing out of a eight-week coma, following a disease of unknown origin that he picked up during his travels. Mahon had been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon three decades earlier, but this was not a Peace Corps experience. Mahon was traveling to Ukraine and Russia for work when he came down with something that the doctors still can’t diagnose, even today.  He fell terribly ill and was put into a medically-induced coma followed by months of hospital and rehab stays.  More than once his family and friends were told to prepare for the worst. In The Ride, Dean Mahon describes the vivid dream “world” he experienced while in the coma and afterwards. He captures the misplaced . . .

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

A Writer Writes Mark G. Wentling was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras 1967-69 and Togo 1970-73, and in Gabon and Niger as a member of Peace Corps staff. He then  joined USAID in 1977 and served in Niamey, Conakry, Lome, Mogadishu and 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. • Togo: Today and in 1970 A Personal Journey . . .

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The Best Peace Corps Memoir Ever Written????

 My postman hates me. He has good reason. Every day he brings me bulky packages, books written by RPCVs. He doesn’t know that, of course. He thinks I’m a crazy e-bay buyer, that I’m getting lawn equipment for spring, or buying fire logs wholesale. But the other day I got a very small package, smaller than a ‘bread box’ as they use to say on “What’s My Line” for those old enough to recall. It looked kind-of cute, like a box of expensive chocolates (being close to Easter, you never know….I do have friends) but alas it was “yet another Peace Corps memoir” as my wife might say. Let me tell you now it was better than a box of chocolate! It is perhaps the best Peace Corps memoir that has come my way since Marian Beil and I started promoting Peace Corps writers in the late ’80s. Lyrical and poignant, . . .

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Review of Diane Shugrue Gallagher's Lure of Service: My Peace Corps Adventures at Middle Age

Lure of Service: My Peace Corps Adventures at Middle Age By Diane Shugrue Gallagher (Cape Verde 1990-92) Self-published, Gallagher Associates, $16.95 257 pages 2012 Reviewed by Barbara E. Joe (Honduras 2000-03) The cover of this book stands out because of a lovely color photo of a smiling blond woman, her pale arms outstretched over a group of bare-chested dark-skinned children gathered under a giant baobab tree. It graphically represents both a contrast and conversion of cultures. Like me, author Diane Gallagher was inspired by President Kennedy’s Peace Corps’ message in 1961, but wasn’t able to go just then. In 1990, four children and a divorce later, she finally took a leap of faith, joining the Peace Corps at age 53 and enduring the skepticism of family and friends who suggested that a weekend in Vermont might do as well.  She was sent to Cape Verde, a small Portuguese and Creole-speaking . . .

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James F. Fisher's (Nepal 1962-64) At Home in the World:Globalization and the Peace Corps in Nepal

At Home in the World: Globalization and the Peace Corps in Nepal by James F. Fisher (Nepal 1962-64) 2013, 218 pp., 21 b & w illustrations, endnotes, bibliography, index, 22 x 14 cm., softcover. $25.00 Reviewed by Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963-65) Looking back at the Peace Corps of a half century ago seems to have caught on recently, detailing and analyzing some of the earliest PCV experiences worldwide, if the number of recent books on the subject is any indication. Jim Fisher’s book, ‘At Home in the World: Globalization and the Peace Corps in Nepal,’ joins such other accounts as Geraldine Kennedy’s ‘The Liberia One Storybook: The First Peace Corps Volunteers to Liberia Tell Their Stories‘; George Gurney’s ‘Guatemala One: A Journal of the First Peace Corps Project‘; Julian Weldon Martin’s ‘Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories‘ (from Nigeria in the early 1960s), and others. The Preface to Fisher’s book about Nepal-1 . . .

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Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83)To Be Panelist at U of Colorado Conference on World Affairs

  The University of Colorado at Boulder’s annual Conference on World Affairs returns this spring,–April 5-9–offering nearly 200 events, all of which are free and open to the public. This is CU’s 62nd Annual Conference on World Affairs. A panelist for this week-long event will be Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83) Acting Director of the Peace Corps. Other Notable guests will be Carrie’s husband Steve Radelet (Western Samoa (1981-83 ). Besides doing the dishes and taking out the trash at home, Steve Radelet is a distinguished professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he specializes in economic growth of developing countries, poverty reduction, foreign aid, debt, and trade. He also serves as an economic advisor to the president of Liberia and the president of Malawi. He is an RPCV author or coauthor of several books and dozens of academic articles, including Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries are Leading the . . .

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Alice, Let's Go to Malawi: Calvin Trillin With The Peace Corps

In the first years of the Peace Corps, Charlie Peters, the legendary Chief of the Division of Evaluation at the Peace Corps, would hire journalists to do evaluations of Peace Corps projects. Novelist Fletcher Knebel did an evaluation of Liberia and from that would come his best-selling novel, The Zinzin Road. Mark Harris, the author of Bang the Drum Slowly, wrote a book about his “Peace Corps experience” in the dark days surrounding JFK’s assassination. However, this story from Dr. Jack Allison (Malawi 1966–69), who is a  Professor of Emergency Medical Care at College of Health & Human Sciences of Western Carolina University, is new to me, and I am happy that Jack sent it along to be published. It is another tale from those wonderful early days of the Mad Men at the Peace Corps agency. Here is Jack’s narrative of the famous New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin in Malawi in 1966, and what went wrong and right for . . .

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Review of Julie R. Dargis's (Morocco 1984-87) Pit Stop in the Paris of Africa

Pit Stop in the Paris of Africa by Julie R. Dargis (Morocco 1984–87) Indie House Press 237 pages $14.95 (paperback), $7.49 (Kindle) 2013 Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) Julie R. Dargis was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco more than twenty-five years ago. After her service, she “. . . continued kicking around the world in search of adventure.” She got more than she bargained for in war-torn countries like Serbia, Congo, Somalia, Pakistan, Darfur, Rwanda, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire. Eventually Julie finds the real goal of her search . . . herself. Not only has she written a fascinating memoir of her exploits, but she writes poetry as well, and has published a collection, Seven Sonnets. Here’s an excerpt from an ode to Peace Corps. I lay in bed, then sat up with a start. The Peace Corps was for me a time to seek; To live and . . .

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Robert Pastor (Malaysia 1970-72) of American University and the White House

[American University’s Alumni Association, School of International Service, and University Library are  presenting “Waging Peace Through a Lifetime of Service” on Thursday, March 21, 2013. This event will celebrate the launch of American University’s Peace Corps Community Archive.  [One of the key speakers is Robert Pastor (Malaysia 1970-72) who is a professor at AU in the School of International Service; Director of the Center of North American Studies; Co-Director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management.  In 2009, Pastor would write, “”I have viewed each experience as an opportunity u to build on what I learned in the Peace Corps, and I was deeply grateful to have been awarded the Sargent Shriver Humanitarian Service Award in 1995. Peace Corps is a community, and I am proud to be part of that.” Longtime friends, colleagues and family, including former President Jimmy Carter, former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and AU president Neil . . .

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Dennis L. Carlson’s (Libya 1968-69) Volunteers of America – The Journey of a Peace Corps Teacher

Volunteers of America: The Journey of a Peace Corps Teacher by Dennis L. Carlson (Libya 1968-69) Sense Publishers, $38.00 paperback. $98.00 hardcover April 2012 Reviewed by Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966-68) Relying on a forty five year old journal he kept on almost a daily basis, Dennis Carlson has written a timely and thoughtful view of his service as a Peace Corps teacher in Libya. The book mainly chronicles his life in the small village of Igsaya, and his teaching experiences in that village and an even smaller school five kilometers away. Carlson describes the impact of Colonel Qaadafi’s 1969 coup on Igsaya and Tripoli: the food shortages and suffering of villagers due to the closing of market places and a ban on inter-village bus travel; the initial calm in the capital, followed by the threatening presence of armed soldiers, the beginning of anti-American rhetoric and subsequent street demonstrations, the . . .

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Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83) will host a Town Hall for RPCVs on April 2

Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa, 1981-83) will be hosting a Town Hall for RPCVs on April 2, 2013, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. EDT.  She will discuss and answer questions about important topics identified by the RPCV community.  RPCVs should submit their topics and questions – along with their name, country and dates of service – in advance to thirdgoal@peacecorps.gov (please refer to “Town Hall Question” in the subject line) or tweet them at @PeaceCorps with the hashtag #PCtownhall. RPCVs around the world are encouraged to join via our live-stream broadcast at the URL here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/pc-town-hall-meeting RPCVs in the Washington area are welcome to attend in person at Shriver Hall, Peace Corps Headquarters, 1111 20th Street NW, Washington, D.C., although seating is limited.  You can sign up to attend the event in person or request an email reminder of the live-stream event by registering to participate. Hessler-Radelet will also be . . .

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Review of Ben Berman's (Zimbabwe 1998-2000) Strange Borderlands

Strange Borderlands (Poems) By Ben Berman (Zimbabwe 1998-2000) Able Muse Press, $18.95 80 Pages 2013 Reviewed by Jan Worth-Nelson (Tonga 1976-78) As an unwilling alumna of a Peace Corps tragedy during my service many years ago – the 1976 murder in the Kingdom of Tonga of one volunteer by another, I quickly attuned to heart-pulsing themes of violence and cultural dislocation in Ben Berman’s riveting first poetry collection, Strange Borderlands. I have never quite recovered from the shock and senselessness of that murder, not to mention the unceasing parade of vivid, direct, in-your-face carnage – chickens, cats, dogs, horses, whales, the old woman in the hut behind me – what seems, in persistent memory, to be a daily, bloody assault, often in startling contrast to banal quotidian life. During a powerful earthquake during my first year, I stumbled out of my hut shrieking with fear – I would die 9,000 . . .

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