Archive - October 2013

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R.I.P.Dennis Dale Cordell (Chad 1968-70)
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What One PCV Is Doing Now in Tanzania
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Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976-77) Wins 2013 Library of Virginia Award for Fiction
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The New Yorker RPCV Writers
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Talking With Ray Blakney (Mexico 2006-08) About His Third Goal Project
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Is The Peace Corps A Waste Of Time (And Money)?
7
The Peace Corps Today–With Technology
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What will Peace Corps look like in 2018?
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PC Director Writes Her Vols! The Word From HQ
10
Development Is Down This Road

R.I.P.Dennis Dale Cordell (Chad 1968-70)

Dennis Dale Cordell Cordell, Dr. Dennis Dale DALLAS — Dr. Dennis Dale Cordell, Associate Dean for the University Curriculum/GEC and Professor of History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, died Wednesday, October 16 after a brief battle with cancer. Funeral services will be held at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas on Friday October 25, 2013 at 4 pm, 4015 Normandy Avenue, Dallas TX 75205. A further celebration of Dr. Cordell’s life and service will be held on November 13th at 4pm in Perkins Chapel of SMU. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be sent in memory of Dennis Cordell to Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences of Southern Methodist University, PO Box 750402, Dallas TX 75275-0402, or to the First Unitarian Church of Dallas (address above), or to the work of the Peace Corps–The Health and HIV/AIDS Fund, under Special Funds at donate.peacecorps.gov. Dr Cordell . . .

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What One PCV Is Doing Now in Tanzania

[Here is what one enterprising PCV is doing now with her computer skills in Tanzania. Another example of a Secondary Project paying off. This press release comes from Peace Corps Hq Press Office.] WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 18, 2013 – Peace Corps volunteer Elizabeth Crompton of Woodstock, Ga., is opening doors to job opportunities for university students and local community members in Tanzania. Together with local faculty, Crompton recently led a seminar on how to operate, navigate and program computer systems using a free, open source computer operating system that is accessible in developing countries like Tanzania, where computer software can be expensive and prohibitive to computer learning. “The kind of thinking that computing and programming teaches encourages self-reliance and problem-solving,” said Crompton, who has been working as an information and communications technology volunteer since 2011. “I want my students to become comfortable with not having all the answers and looking . . .

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Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976-77) Wins 2013 Library of Virginia Award for Fiction

Last night in Richmond, Virginia, What the Zhang Boys Know by Clifford Garstang (Press 53), was named winner of the 2013 Library of Virginia Award for Fiction. Garstang’s novel-in-stories was in excellent company when named a finalist along with New York Times Notable Book of the Year The Right-Hand Shore by Christopher Tilghman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), and National Book Award finalist and winner of the 2013 PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction, The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (Back Bay Books). When asked what winning this award meant to him, Garstang said, “Truly, this is one of the highlights of my writing life. I am especially honored to have had What the Zhang Boys Know considered alongside The Right-Hand Shore and The Yellow Birds, two outstanding books by Christopher Tilghman and Kevin Powers.” Garstang is also the author of the award-winning In an Uncharted Country (Press 53), which won a gold medal in the Independent Publishers . . .

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The New Yorker RPCV Writers

In three recent issues The New Yorker has featured Peace Corps writers. All of them writing from different modes of prose. Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) published a brilliant new short story, then Norm Rush (CD Botswana 1978-83) a telling piece on trying to be a writer on “Work for Hire,” and George Packer (Togo 1982-83) in the October 28th issue, an article entitled “Business as Usual” that begins, and says it all with: “House Republicans have suffered a huge tactical defeat of their own devising. But in a larger sense the Republicans are winning, and have been for the past three years, if not the past thirty. On economic-policy matters they are setting the terms.“ Back to Norm Rush’s short essay on labor. His labor. It starts with: “Surveying my motley history of impromptu efforts to make money, I see something like a vast mural by Hieronymus Bosch in which . . .

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Talking With Ray Blakney (Mexico 2006-08) About His Third Goal Project

In my email a week or so ago, I received this note: Good afternoon: Sorry to bother you.  My name is Ray Blakney and I am a RPCV from Mexico.  I am working on a 3rd Goal project with the PC regional offices and the main office in DC to try to create a directory to keep the language training material made all over the world from getting lost. I have created a sub-section on my website with all the information I have been able to get to date (from over the web and sent to me directly by Peace Corps staff and PCV’s).  I currently have close to 100 languages with ebooks, audios and even some videos. The next step for this project is that I am trying to get the word out about this resource so that it can not only be used by PCV’s or those accepted . . .

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Is The Peace Corps A Waste Of Time (And Money)?

There is a new book out from Angus Deaton, the Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton, entitled The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality published by Princeton University Press. Before Deaton got to Princeton, he was with the World Bank, and with the Gallop Organization creating survey-based measures of well-being. In his book, Deaton states that global poverty today is no longer a result of lack of resources or opportunity, but of poor institutions, poor government and toxic politics. He blames both the giver and the receiver for this! He cites as an example Mauritania that several years ago was in danger of losing its international aid. So, the country’s president hatched the idea of becoming one of the few Arab countries to recognize Israel. The aid taps, Deaton said, were turned back on and the money flowed to Mauritania. Deaton goes onto say . . .

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The Peace Corps Today–With Technology

The New Peace Corps–With Technology By Christopher Hedrick (Senegal 1988-90) [This article by Chris Hedrick appeared in the Yale Journal of International Affairs in February 2013. Chris Hedrick (Senegal 1988-90) coordinates special initiatives for the Peace Corps Africa region and from 2007- 2012 was the Country Director for Peace Corps Senegal. Previously, he was CEO of Intrepid Learning, a Seattle-based corporate learning services firm, served as a science and technology advisor to the Governor of Washington state, and worked for the Gates Foundation and Microsoft. He also was a Rhodes Scholar. Chris, who is a friend, recently sent me an article that states that one in every five people in the world own a smartphone, one in every seventeen own a tablet. I believe this is true as the little girl down the street in my suburban town appears to have 3 smartphones, as she keeps losing and breaking the . . .

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What will Peace Corps look like in 2018?

Who knows? Before sequestration, before Congressional gridlock, before the government shutdown, before the possibility of default, Peace Corps Washington was in the process of answering that question. The Peace Corps Annual Report for 2012 called for a Strategic Plan 2015 – 2018 to be developed. The Report further stated that input for the development of the 2015-2018 Agency Strategic Plan would be solicited from many different sources, including Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. “How could Returned Peace Corps Volunteers contribute to this plan?” I asked.  The Press Team responded: “The agency began engaging RPCVs in the development of the new strategic plan with three focused discussions with RPCVs during the career conference in February.  Moving forward, the agency will gather additional feedback on the draft strategic plan from RPCV groups in late summer and Fall 2013.  We will also be providing an email address where individual RPCVs can send their input.” . . .

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PC Director Writes Her Vols! The Word From HQ

Dear Volunteers: As many of you are aware, annual funding for the US government expired on September 30, 2013. This has affected Peace Corps operations, as it has all federal government activities. I want you to know that we have made a conscious decision to prioritize continuous operations in our host countries over headquarters activities.  In fact, over 90 percent of Peace Corps’ US-based staff – both in Washington and in our regional recruiting offices – have been furloughed. This action, combined with good financial planning, has allowed us to keep Volunteers in the field throughout the government shutdown. I am very hopeful that Congress will come to a resolution shortly and all of our staff can return to work. Please be assured that all activities necessary to ensure your ongoing health, safety and security will continue without interruption, as your well-being is our highest priority.  Volunteers should see no . . .

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Development Is Down This Road

by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987–1990) This essay won the 1992 Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Short Work about the Peace Corps Experience. • FEW RECOGNIZE ME without my trademark Suzuki. Now I have this red Yamaha DT they gave me to replace it. I’m still white, though, or so they keep insisting as I pass by the shouting voices trying to get me to stop to do a favor, chat, or taste the latest in palm wine. I know I have a bike, but how do you say “I’m not a taxi” in the local language? I’m late, I’m in a hurry, I’ve got to help a women’s group plant rows of plantains and pineapple in their community farm. This road could jostle my insides right out of me. My thighs are sore from being abused as non-stop shock absorbers. Yet, nothing beats a forestial commute: a time to . . .

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