Archive - January 2014

1
Review of Earl Kessler’s (Colombia 1965-68) LETTERS FROM ALFONSO
2
Review of Dan Close's (Ethiopia 1965-67) Novel: The Glory of the Kings
3
Talking With Kay Dixon (Colombia 1962-64) Author Of Wanderlust Satisfied
4
The Peace Corps Wants You!
5
Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962-64) publishes WANDERLUST SATISFIED with Peace Corps Writers
6
Review of Bernard F. Blanche's (Brazil 1965-67) Iracema's Footprint
7
Talking With Angene Wilson (Liberia 1962-64) Author of Africa on My Mind: Educating Americans for Fifty Years, Living Peace Corps' Third Goal
8
Lori DiPrete Brown's (Honduras 1983-85) Novel, Caminata
9
Why Is RPCV Reed Hastings (Swaziland 1983-85) Doing This To Us?
10
Rowland Scherman's (PC/W Staff 1961-64) Timeless Photography

Review of Earl Kessler’s (Colombia 1965-68) LETTERS FROM ALFONSO

  Letters From Alfonso: Learning to Listen By Earl Kessler (Colombia 1965-68) Terra Nova Books, Santa Fe, New Mexico $13.04 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle) 245 pages October, 2013 Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66) • Earl was a third year Peace Corps Volunteer, with energy to make changes in the world and in his life. A basic Community Development Volunteer, he was first assigned to the Colombian Department of Huila were the Violencia was in full swing. Letters from Alfonso does not cover much about his first two years, though the experience comes with him when he is assigned to a new community near Cartagena on the north coast of Colombia. He tells us that as a Community Development Volunteer he knew better to wait and get to know the community, to listen. He makes a point that most NGO’s (Non-Governmental  Organizations) and Multi National agencies fail to see and understand…listen . . .

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Review of Dan Close's (Ethiopia 1965-67) Novel: The Glory of the Kings

The Glory of the Kings By Dan Close (Ethiopia 1965-67) Tamarac Press $19.95 (paperback) 401 pages 2013 Reviewed by Phillip LeBel (Ethiopia 1965-67) Even if one has never been to Ethiopia, one can learn much by reading Dan Close’s historical novel, The Glory of the Kings.  For those who have, much could still be learned by his careful weaving together of various sources to give us a vivid picture of how Adwa was so important to Ethiopia’s future and a key to understanding the present dynamics of society in the Horn of Africa. Author of several previous books [1], Dan Close has put his knowledge of the 1896 Battle of Adwa into a compelling fictional narrative.  Drawing on Ethiopia’s official history, the Kebra Negast, from which the title of his book is derived, he weaves together many known details of the battle with characters drawn from his personal experience in . . .

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Talking With Kay Dixon (Colombia 1962-64) Author Of Wanderlust Satisfied

Kay, where did you serve in the Peace Corps? I was in Peace Corps in Medellin, Colombia from 1962-64 as part of an urban community development project. Did you join right after college? Yes, I grew up in Vandergrift, that’s a small town in western Pennsylvania and went to Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. And you joined because of Kennedy? Not only was Kennedy’s call to service resonating with me, I was intrigued with the idea of living and working in a foreign country. It was an opportunity to explore the world as well as perhaps make a contribution in a developing country. Tell us a story or two from your Peace Corps tour. Ones that sum up your experience. I have two stories. One is about our Country Director, Chris Sheldon. He was admired and appreciated by all PCVs in Colombia. His pre-Peace Corps experience has been detailed in the movie . . .

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The Peace Corps Wants You!

Did you get this postcard from the agency? The one that reads: DID YOU KNOW THE PEACE CORPS ONLY HAS EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR 1 IN 4 RPCVS? (Knowing the Peace Corps, I’m surprised it is that many addresses.) So, what the Peace Corps wants is for all of us to contact the agency and give them our email address. I think it’s a good idea. The Peace Corps also (if you say yes) will share your email with the NPCA, which I also think is a good idea. My guess is that the NPCA has only 1 in 10 addresses. So, if you haven’t (yet) received the post card, go on-line to: peacecorps.gov/rpcv/info And if you do it right away, the Peace Corps will put your name into a drawing for special prizes! Wow! What would that be? Your photograph with Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet? Or Two (More) Free Weeks . . .

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Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962-64) publishes WANDERLUST SATISFIED with Peace Corps Writers

Wanderlust Satisfied is the story of Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962–64), one of the first Peace Corps Volunteers, and her  personal search through her two years of service, and how that experience changed everything about the rest of her life. Like so many Volunteers, she determined to follow her own ideals and dreams and unlearn the “Shoulds” and “Have-tos” she had been assigned by society. Kay was reared in a small town in western Pennsylvania, in the 1950s, during simpler times when a long distance telephone call was a big deal, and television sets displayed only three channels — all of them featuring stories about the Cold War, Nikita Khrushchev, and the Berlin Wall on the evening news. At the same time our country was caught in the struggle for basic civil rights for all peoples as Martin Luther King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference worked to register voters . . .

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Review of Bernard F. Blanche's (Brazil 1965-67) Iracema's Footprint

Iracema’s Footprint (Peace Corps novel) by Bernard F. Blanche (Brazil 1965–67) Eloquest Books $21.95 460 pages April 2010 Reviewed by Deidre Swesnik (Mali 1996-98) Think Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets John Grisham. Throw in a touch of John Wayne and you’ve got yourself Iracema’s Footprint. Iracema is both the name of an Amazon warrior and the name of the village at the center of the book.  Like the villagers who spend every night in the town square circling round and round the towering statue of Iracema, the main characters swirl around in a current of dizzying misunderstanding throughout the story. At the beginning of the book, we arrive in the village of Iracema on a bus with Marcus. He’s a twenty-something community health worker from Sao Paolo going to this remote town in Brazil’s Northeast region. Soon after his arrival, he meets Ben, the local Peace Corps Volunteer. The metropolitan Paulista . . .

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Talking With Angene Wilson (Liberia 1962-64) Author of Africa on My Mind: Educating Americans for Fifty Years, Living Peace Corps' Third Goal

Where were you a PCV and what were your years and assignment? I was a PCV in Liberia I from 1962 to 1964, teaching junior high and high school social studies at Suehn Industrial Academy, a mission boarding school run by African American missionaries. Tell us a little about your background. I grew up in Lakewood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, and got my BA in History at the College of Wooster, also in Ohio. I got my MA in History and African Studies at Michigan State after my Peace Corps service and my PhD in Humanities Education at Ohio State after our tours in Sierra Leone and Fiji where my husband Jack was Associate and then Peace Corps Director and where I taught in teacher training colleges. You joined the Peace Corps with your husband? Well, yes, my future husband. We applied in March 1961 when we, Jack and . . .

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Lori DiPrete Brown's (Honduras 1983-85) Novel, Caminata

Caminata, A Journey By Lori DiPrete Brown (Honduras 1983-85) Global Reflections Press $10.50 (paperback); $3.99 (Kindle) 227 pages 2013 Reviewed by Dennis Harrison-Noonan (Costa Rica 1978-80) In her first published work of fiction, Caminata, A Journey Lori DiPrete Brown tells the story Beth Pellegrino and her first year after college living and  working with Mother Maria and the Sister of the Living Cross in an orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Her story begins on the day she arrives in Honduras.  We meet the girls of the house where she will serve as their encargada. We are introduced to Luz, Felicia, Rosa and Vera, 4 teenage girls whose journey to find their roots will engage Beth in her own pilgrimage of faith and personal discovery. The author is thorough in offering answers to questions that we as curious readers have concerning Beth’s decision to leave her college love, Jake, her comfortable lifestyle . . .

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Why Is RPCV Reed Hastings (Swaziland 1983-85) Doing This To Us?

Okay, given that Reed Hastings was a PCV  in Swaziland from 1983-85, and was lucky enough to get static BBC radio on his short-wave, we can understanding why he might thing Binge-Viewing Television is the answer to our society. But didn’t all of us suffer some life-long weirdness from static radio while overseas? And we are still (almost) normal. I’ll admit that I’m a big fan (and secret binge-watcher) of “House of Cards” but that’s only because I’m a part-time curmudgeon and a full-time critic of our own “House of Brain-Dead Congress.” Nevertheless, I see what Reed and his buddies deep down in Silicon Valley are doing: ruining the world for the rest of us. How? I see it coming. First we get Binge-TV (thanks, Reed) and next we get retail marijuana, now Colorado, next every state of the Union. Everyone will be stoned or dumb-down by t.v. watching. Couch . . .

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Rowland Scherman's (PC/W Staff 1961-64) Timeless Photography

Rowland Scherman was the first Peace Corps photographer. He started in 1961 at the agency and he traveled the world. Rowland helped establish the image that the world had (and has) of what the Peace Corps is, and who we are as PCVs. A book of his work, with his running narrative, has just been published. It is entitled, TIMELESS Photography of Rowland Scherman and the forward is by Judy Collins. It was published by Peter E. Randall for $29.95. You can find it at www.PERpublisher.com. In the book Rowland talks about how he got a job with the Peace Corps. This was in March 1961. Like so many others, I was thrilled by JFK’s inaugural speech. I wasn’t a “professional” photographer, really. I had been a studio assistant for a fashion guy, and I made a few dollars doing portraits “on location” on the streets of New York City. . . .

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