Archive - April 2014

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Review of Barbara E. Joe's (Honduras 2000-03) Confessions of a Secret Latina
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StoryMondo–Where RPCV Writers Might Publish
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The Peace Corps Announces 2014 Top Hispanic-Serving Institutions for Volunteers
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Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) Finalist for 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
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Ancient Fire by William Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64)
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He Could Have Joined the Peace Corps!
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Review of John Krauskopf’s (Iran 1965-67) Iran-Stories from the Peace Corps
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Remembering B. J. WARREN-R.I.P.
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John Kerry's Remarks at Peace Corps Swearing-in Ceremony
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Barbara E. Joe's (Honduras 2000-03) Confessions of a Secret Latina

Review of Barbara E. Joe's (Honduras 2000-03) Confessions of a Secret Latina

Confessions of a Secret Latina: How I Fell Out of Love with Castro & in Love with the Cuban People by Barbara E. Joe (Honduras 2000–03) CreateSpace $15.77 (paperback), $5.99 (Kindle) 434 pages 2014 Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964–66) I agree 100% with Barbara Joe, the real criminals are the Castro brothers . . . Fidel and Raul! What they have done to the people of Cuba cannot be tolerated . . . simply said, they have been cruel and inhumane to the very people that brought them to power.  A recently released Afro-Cuban former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, Dr. Oscar Biscet, said that 85% of Cuban prisoners are of African descent.  And many prisoners are behind bars not because they committed a crime, but because the Castro brothers feel the individual may perhaps in the future commit a crime against the Peoples Republic of Cuba . . . lock them up before they . . .

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StoryMondo–Where RPCV Writers Might Publish

Dear Writers, This is to introduce StoryMondo, an exciting new website where you can publish your short stories and verse. But the writing we publish is special. It must have a “sense of place” – it must in some way illustrate features or evoke the atmosphere of a particular location. We publish two kinds of writing: Short stories: up to 1,500 words long, these can include folk tales and legends, new or adapted from the old; travellers’ tales about places you have visited; and descriptions or stories that say something about where you grew up or where you live Verse: haiku, sonnets or other forms of poetry, containing any or all of the elements above Your writing can be about any topic – but it must always have a connection with real physical places such as cities, mountains, rivers, buildings and countries – and so can be shown by a . . .

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The Peace Corps Announces 2014 Top Hispanic-Serving Institutions for Volunteers

Press Office of The Peace Corps FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2014 The Peace Corps Announces 2014 Top Hispanic-Serving Institutions for Volunteers WASHINGTON, D.C., April 16, 2014 – The Peace Corps today announced its 2014 rankings of the top volunteer-producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). San Diego State University claimed the top spot among HSIs with 33 undergraduate alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers. California State University, Long Beach ranked No. 2 with 31 currently serving volunteers, and the University of New Mexico took the third spot with 26 currently serving volunteers. California is home to seven of the top ten HSIs in this year’s rankings. The state produces more Peace Corps volunteers than any other state nationwide with 973 residents currently serving. Since the Peace Corps was established in 1961, more than 28,000 California residents have served overseas as Peace Corps volunteers. “I applaud these Hispanic-Serving Institutions for elevating the value of . . .

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Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) Finalist for 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) yesterday was named a finalist for the 2014 pulitzer-150Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Shacochis was nominated for his work The Woman Who Lost Her Soul. Published by Atlantic Monthly Press, the novel spans 50 years and three continents. The book explores the murky world of American foreign policy before 9/11, using provocative themes to raise difficult moral questions. The 2014 prize went to Donna Tartt, for her novel The Goldfinch. Pulitzer winners and finalists are announced simultaneously. Shacochis attended the University of Missouri and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and currently teaches creative writing at Florida State University. The Publishers Weekly starred review says of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul: “A brutal American-style John le Carré, Shacochis details how espionage not only reflects a nation’s character but can also endanger its soul. Gritty characters find themselves in grueling situations against a moral and physical landscape depicted . . .

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Ancient Fire by William Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64)

[Will Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64) is a writer living now in Boston. I recently published on this site two stories written by Will that are set in New York City at the time of the fifties/sixties-era folk-music revival, the time that is portrayed in the  film, Inside Llewyn Davis. Will, like many PCVs who were overseas at the time of Kennedy’s assassination, are haunted by those days when we were all outside the ‘family’ when death came to our president. Will solved that problem by writing a novel about Kennedy. What follows is the first chapter of Kennedy in the Land of the Dead. I asked Will to write and tell us how his book came to be.] I wrote this chapter a number of years after Kennedy’s death trying to recreate the tenor of feelings that came up for me that day as well as some of the remembered thoughts and . . .

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He Could Have Joined the Peace Corps!

Yesterday’s Sunday’s, New York Post, April 13, 2014 issue carried a piece entitled: “THE SPERMINATOR Father of 99 children tells all.” Ed Houben is his name and he lives in Holland and is, says the Post, “Europe’s most prolific sperm donor, and one who prefers to contribute the old-fashioned way.” He now has children in Australia, Israel, Canada, Austria, Germany, Belgium, France,Luxembourg, Italy, England. Houben charges no money for his services, partly because it’s illegal to buy and sell human material in the Netherlands and partly because he see himself as a true humanitarian. “I could have joined the Peace Corps,” he says. “But I stumbled into this.” What he does is something like this: If a woman arrives alone–which she rarely does–he will have sex with her in the master bedroom of his apartment. Far more common are couples, and logistics can be complicated. While Houben and the woman . . .

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Review of John Krauskopf’s (Iran 1965-67) Iran-Stories from the Peace Corps

  Iran – Stories from the Peace Corps by John Krauskopf (Iran 1965-67) Lulu Publisher, $20.00 296 pages 2013 Reviewed by Deidre Swesnik (Mali 1996-98) • “Terry O’Donnell was an elfin man, small of stature, who walked with a limp. An adventurer and a romantic, he had found in Iran the perfect venue for his romanticism.” So begins one of the more compelling stories in Iran – Stories from the Peace Corps by John Krauskopf. Krauskopf seems at his best when he is describing a character or recouting a particular moment in time. There are a number of great stories in this book that do one or the other. “In Some Ways We Are Not So Different” is the story of Terry O’Donnell, the elfin man who is himself telling a story. He tells the story of an American who is bombastically critical of Iranian culture, when he clearly doesn’t really know . . .

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Remembering B. J. WARREN-R.I.P.

Remembering B.J.Warren (Peru 1962-64) Dick Irish, Philippines (1962-64) I knew of B.J. Warren three years before I met her. B.J.’s “super volunteer ” reputation proceeded her end of service as a PCV in Peru and grew in size in the Dominican Republic where she served on the staff. Lyndon Johnson infamously sent the Marines into the DR to rescue North America from Red Domination. Americans fled the island, but Peace Corps remained. B.J. may or may not have said, “We don’t have a dog in this fight!” B.J. was already a legend and the first or second person we hired at TransCentury – – purely on the basis of reputation. That a person without a self-promotional bone in her body could possibly live up to and exceed her already high standing was not the least of her accomplishments. At our company and later at Management Systems International, she made a basket-full of cash for her employers. B.J. managed countless . . .

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John Kerry's Remarks at Peace Corps Swearing-in Ceremony

Remarks to Swearing In of New PCVs John Kerry Secretary of State Ministry of Youth and Sports Rabat, Morocco April 4, 2014 Chris, thank you very much. Thanks for your service, and thank you for the introduction. And Minister Ouzzine, it’s a great pleasure to be here with you. Thank you very, very much for being part of this. And all of our guests, distinguished guests – oh, there’s President Kennedy over here. I’m just looking over there. (Laughter.) This is really cool. I want you to know I’m really excited about this. I’m thrilled that somehow it coincided and we were able to work out that I have the privilege of swearing you in. And when I heard I was swearing in 101 Peace Corps volunteers, I immediately thought of 101 Dalmatians. (Laughter.) I couldn’t help it. Sorry about that. That has nothing to do with anything, all right? . . .

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Barbara E. Joe's (Honduras 2000-03) Confessions of a Secret Latina

CONFESIONES DE UNA LATINA SECRETA Originally published 4/2/14 by elNuevoHerald.com Por Olga Conner Barbara E. Joe es la “latina secreta” que trajo su nuevo libro. Confessions of a Secret Latina: How I Fell Out of Love with Castro and in Love with the Cuban People, a Books & Books. Me invitó Silvia Sarasúa, relacionada con la causa de los derechos humanos. Barbara Joe es una activista también de más de 30 años con Amnesty International USA, que ha trabajado con los Cuerpos de Paz en Honduras, sobre lo que publicó otro libro, Triumph and Hope. Al llegar a la librería me sorprendió ver allí a Jorge Valls y a Ernesto Díaz Rodríguez, poetas que estuvieron años en prisiones políticas cubanas. Ellos son parte del libro de Joe, que surgió al tener una airada confrontación con un antiguo amigo sobre su participación en un filme documental sobre las “damas de blanco” . . .

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