Archive - April 2013

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Mad Man Harris Wofford 87 Today
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Jack Niedenthal (Marshall Islands 1981-84) Writer & Film Maker
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Review of Julian Wldon Martin's (Nigeria 1961-63) Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories
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Review of poems by Ed Mycue (Ghana 1961-63) Song of San Francisco
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RPCVs of Greater New York: Join the Peace Corps to support the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum!
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A Writer Writes: Apocalypse Then (Part III)
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How Blair Butterworth (HQ/1961 & Ghana 1962-64) Integrated Atlanta, Georgia
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A Writer Writes: Apocalypse Then (Part II)
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More On Blair Butterworth (HQ 1961,Ghana 1962-64)
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Obituary: Strategist Blair Butterworth (HQ 1961,Ghana 1962-64) helped Democrats win elections

Mad Man Harris Wofford 87 Today

One of the original Mad Men of the Peace Corps, Harris Wofford, is 87 today. Wofford was the first person Sarge Shriver called when President Kennedy asked Shriver to establish a “Peace Corps” in the days after JFK became president. A year later, Harris would leave the White House, where he was  Special Assistant to the President on civil right, to become the first CD in Ethiopia, as well as, Shriver’s Peace Corps Representative in Africa. After two full years in Addis Ababa, Harris returned to Washington as the Associate Peace Corps Director. In the years before the Peace Corps, he was many things, including an early civil rights leader and advisor to Martin Luther King, all of which is describes in his book, Of Kennedy & Kings, that detailed his work with the Kennedys, the Peace Corps, and Dr. King.  After the Peace Corps, Harris would go onto be president of  two colleges, and later the Senator . . .

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Jack Niedenthal (Marshall Islands 1981-84) Writer & Film Maker

Jack Niedenthal’s first six years in the Marshall Islands were all spent in the isolated jungles of the outer islands. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer on Namu Atoll from 1981 to 1984. He then contracted to work with the Bikini Council on Kili Island from 1984 through late 1986 teaching English to the adults, teaching in the elementary school and working with the Kili/Bikini/Ejit Local Government Council. In 1987 he assumed the duties of the Trust Liaison for the People of Bikini, which includes the management and coordination of the funds allocated by the United States government to compensate the Bikinians for their suffering and to facilitate the radiological cleanup of Bikini Atoll. He acts as a liaison for the Council to the media, the U.S. government and its various agencies, the scientists who work on Bikini, the Bikini Council’s attorney, trustees, money managers, construction companies, engineers, project managers, . . .

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Review of Julian Wldon Martin's (Nigeria 1961-63) Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories

Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories by Julian Weldon Martin (Nigeria 1961–63) Createspace $10.00 (paperback) 240 pages 2012 Reviewed by John F. Fanselow (Nigeria 1961–63; Somalia staff 1966–68) When I read a book for a review I put post-its on pages that I want to return to after I finish reading the book. After reading the first twenty pages of Julian’s memories, I noticed,  that I had pasted post-its on every other page! As I read on, I kept pasting post-its, not only on every other page, but in some cases also on every page. I was unable to highlight important points and unimportant points because I found that each page contained worthwhile insights or questions, or both. While Julian repeats some themes — loneliness, the racism of some colleagues and his headmaster, his curiosity about the culture of his students and those in his community, limitations of his Peace Corps training, . . .

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Review of poems by Ed Mycue (Ghana 1961-63) Song of San Francisco

Song of San Francisco (poems) Ed Mycue (Ghana 1961–63) Spectacular Diseases Press $10 18 pages 2012 Reviewed by Darcy Meijer (Gabon 1982-84) I was happy to get a short book to review from John, but this chapbook of ten poems by Ed Mycue takes a lot of re-reading. When I first read the poems to my husband, he said, “Sure, I get them.” I challenged him to explain, and he said he couldn’t put it into words. I talked to Mycue about this, and he quoted Robert Frost: “What is lost in the translation is the poetry.” He also responded warmly to my specific questions about the poems and told me about his family and ideas about life. One small problem is that Mycue writes prose just as he writes poetry. So where does this leave me as a reviewer? I’ll try. First, let me say that I understood three . . .

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RPCVs of Greater New York: Join the Peace Corps to support the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum!

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers – please join Peace Corps staff and Volunteers past and future as we pitch in to encourage volunteerism in honor of those lost on 9/11. Join us on April 21, 2013 for the 9/11 Memorial 5K Run/Walk and Family Day! The Peace Corps and RPCVs from the Greater New York City area have been invited to volunteer at this year’s Family Day. This free community event will include activities for all ages and food and refreshments. It will also offer information about the National September 11 Memorial & Museum as well as ways to learn more about volunteer opportunities in the spirit of the National 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. The date of the Run/Walk and Family Day – April 21 – marks the anniversary President Barack Obama signed into law legislation making 9/11 a day of service and volunteerism in the memory of the . . .

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A Writer Writes: Apocalypse Then (Part III)

Apocalypse Then by Bob Criso (Nigeria & Somalia 1966–68) • Part III Postscript AFTER LEAVING NIGERIA I buried the story of my final days along with all the associated feelings of loss, fear and anger. I remember saying to a friend on the evacuation boat, “How could we ever explain what happened to someone who wasn’t there?” After returning to the states in ’68, I contacted Ruth Olsen, the former Director in the East, and spent a weekend at her home in Washington, DC. Ruth, a former WAC, could be a tough administrator, but after hours she would kick her shoes off, pour a scotch and put her feet up, always gracious and lively in my experience. We talked long into the night about Biafra and what she referred to as “that incredible experience you had.” She knew all the details from Laura, Jeff and June. I started seeing a . . .

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How Blair Butterworth (HQ/1961 & Ghana 1962-64) Integrated Atlanta, Georgia

There were three PCVs who began their Peace Corps experience as employees of the agency in Washington, D.C., in early 1961 working at the original HQ the Maiatico Building across the street from Lafayette Square Park, and within sight of the White House. Two of them were Alan and Judith Guskin (Thailand 1961-64) who had on the night of October 14, 1960, created the ground surge for the Peace Corps on college campuses, first in Michigan, and then across the Mid West and the rest of America. Later they would go to Thailand as PCVs. The other person was Blair Butterworth. I am not sure how Blair arrived at the Peace Corps, or why, but he did arrive, a recent graduate of Princeton, and moved into Georgetown with another buddy, and started working as staff for the Peace Corps before going to Ghana as a PCV. Last year, at the . . .

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A Writer Writes: Apocalypse Then (Part II)

Apocalypse Then by Bob Criso (Nigeria & Somalia 1966–68) • Part II Leaving Nigeria “BOB, THEY’RE GOING TO KILL US! They’re going to burn the house down.” Laura was shaking. “So this is how I’m going to die.” I visualized the headlines of my hometown newspaper: Peace Corps Volunteer Killed in Nigeria. I grabbed Laura by the shoulders. “Put your sneakers on. We may have to make a run for it.” Jeff was silent and frozen. Outside, an elderly local man stepped up onto a flat tree stump and addressed the crowd. He told them that he knew me, I was a good man and the two visitors were my friends. “Come to your senses!” he shouted like a scolding parent. It started to rain and the crowd quieted and thinned. That evening, Ugwu, Ekuma and Otu, fellow teachers, came to the house. They were somber-faced, apologetic and ashamed.  “We . . .

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More On Blair Butterworth (HQ 1961,Ghana 1962-64)

Sh*t Blair Butterworth Said Seattle lost a political legend with the death of master strategist Blair Butterworth. In his memory, a compendium of his greatest quips. By Knute Berger April 02, 2013 Politics lost a local legend last week with the death of Seattle Democratic political consultant Blair Butterworth (Joel Connelly’s obit is here). One thing Butterworth was known for: quotability. He was, in the terms of old-school press coverage, a “phrase maker,” a guy whose pithy comments about state, local or national politics could make a reporter’s or columnist’s copy sound better. In his memory then, a few bits gleaned from the archives. On Frank Blethen’s threat to move the Seattle Times to the Eastside in 2001: “‘I think anyone reading the comments would think he’s just been seething until he finally imploded,’ Butterworth said, adding that Blethen’s statements were so ‘bizarre’ they wouldn’t be taken seriously. However, Butterworth . . .

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Obituary: Strategist Blair Butterworth (HQ 1961,Ghana 1962-64) helped Democrats win elections

From the Seattle Times Longtime Democratic political consultant Blair Butterworth died Friday at 74. By Jim Brunner Seattle Times political reporter Blair Butterworth dies of cancer at 74. When Democratic campaign consultant Blair Butterworth met gubernatorial candidate Dixy Lee Ray in her small trailer in 1976, the irascible pair shared a bottle of scotch and shouted at each other in an hours-long political argument. Nevertheless, a few months later Mr. Butterworth ran Ray’s successful campaign to become Washington’s first female governor. But after four years, Mr. Butterworth, like many Democrats, was at odds with Ray and helped then-state Sen. Jim McDermott oust her in the Democratic primary. Over a career that spanned more than three decades, Mr. Butterworth earned a reputation as one of state’s top political strategists, electing governors and mayors, passing school levies and the state’s Death With Dignity initiative. Mr. Butterworth died Friday at his Seattle home . . .

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