Archive - February 2015

1
Both Washingtons top lists of schools producing most Peace Corps Volunteers
2
Aubrey Brown (Nigeria 1961-63) dies in Boston
3
Eileen Flanagan (Botswana 1984-86) Publishes New Memoir Renewable
4
Mike Meyer (China 1995-97) The Star of the Night
5
Talking with Susanne Aspley (Thailand 1989–91), author of Ladyboy and the Volunteer
6
Does Peace Corps Know RPCV Talent is a Resource and a Legacy?
7
Mike Meyer (China 1995-97) Writes In Manchuria: A Village called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China
8
Talking with Nicholas Duncan (Uganda 2010–12) about Tales from A Muzungu
9
Lost Girl Found Wins USBBY Outstanding International Book Award
10
Review: Death in the Dolomites by David Wagner (Chili 1965-67)

Both Washingtons top lists of schools producing most Peace Corps Volunteers

Both Washingtons top lists of schools producing most Peace Corps volunteers By Colby Itkowitz February 18 Washington Post President Kennedy hands his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, a pen after signing legislation at the White House giving the Peace Corps permanent status in September 1961. Kennedy joshingly praised Shriver, head of the corps, as “one of the most effective lobbyists Washington has seen.” Rep. Roman Pucinski, (D-IL.), is at center. Local colleges once again were among the top schools whose graduates became Peace Corps volunteers. But it’s the other Washington that produced the most Peace Corps members in 2014. Schools in Washington State took the top spot across all undergraduate categories: “The University of Washington reclaimed the top spot among large schools with 72 alumni currently in service, and Western Washington University and Gonzaga University again topped medium and small schools with 47 and 20 currently serving alumni, respectively,” the Peace Corps . . .

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Aubrey Brown (Nigeria 1961-63) dies in Boston

RPCV Aubrey Neblett Brown III (Nigeria 1961-63), who is perhaps the first PCV ‘hero’, died on February 14 in Boston. He was 78. A celebration of Aubrey’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia. The family will receive guests beginning at 10 a.m. in the Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Aubrey’s name be made to World Student Christian Federation, USA, c/o Rev. Jorge Domingues, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1473, New York, NY 10115,  or World Can’t Wait, 305 West Broadway, #185, New York, NY 10013. Several years ago Murray Frank (Nigeria and HQ Staff 1961-64) wrote the story of Aubrey’s involvement in the famous ‘postcard’ incident for the Nigeria RPCV newsletter. Here is Murray’s account of what took place in Ibadan, Nigeria. • Nigeria in those first days of the Peace Corps by  Murray Frank October 14, 1961, was the day the postcard . . .

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Eileen Flanagan (Botswana 1984-86) Publishes New Memoir Renewable

Eileen Flanagan (Botswana 1984-86) is a Quaker writer and activist. Her new memoir, Renewable: One Woman’s Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope, tells the story of how living in an African village shaped her worldview and the difficultly she experienced trying to live simply back in the United States, especially after having children. Returning to southern Africa for her fiftieth birthday and learning how climate change was already affecting the region was part of what lead her to handcuff herself to the White House fence upon her return home. The book has been endorsed by Bill McKibben and other prominent environmentalists. Her previous book, The Wisdom to Know the Difference, was endorsed by the Dalai Lama. A graduate of Duke and Yale, Eileen leads the board of Earth Quaker Action Team, which uses nonviolent direct action to work for a just and sustainable economy. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and . . .

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Mike Meyer (China 1995-97) The Star of the Night

Mike Meyer (China 1995-07) just published In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China (don’t let the title frightened you away) and he just did himself, the Peace Corps, and everyone a great favor at the New York Public Library by giving an absolutely wonderful informative and honest presentation of his experiences in China as a PCV, and afterwards as a teacher living in Manchuria. If you can catch any of his readings and book signings that are coming up, please do, and read his new book, his first since his amazing book on the end of old Beijing. Yesterday, Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80) sent me the link to the NPR interview with Leonard Lopate where he talked about his book and his experiences as a PCV  in China. You can listen to it here:http://www.wnyc.org/story/privatization-transforms-rural-chinas-landscape Really, do yourself a favor and try and catch Mike when . . .

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Talking with Susanne Aspley (Thailand 1989–91), author of Ladyboy and the Volunteer

Susanne Aspley (Thailand 1989–91) published her Peace Corps novel Ladyboy and the Volunteer with Peace Corps Writers this past November.  In her responses for this “Talking with . . . ” piece she chose to eschew  incorporating my usual author-interview questions  — and it all turned out quite well! Thanks Susanne.— Marian • I served with the Peace Corps in Nakorn Sri Thammarat, Thailand, from 1989 to 1991 as a Community Development Volunteer in a small fishing village on the Gulf of Siam. I taught English classes and began several duck farms. I also discovered the cure for cancer, slayed dragons and brought peace to the Middle East but no one believes me. I have a B.A. in English with a minor in Film. My English degree was very helpful for my teaching. I feel good about accomplishing the second and third goal of the Peace Corps, but failed miserably with the . . .

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Does Peace Corps Know RPCV Talent is a Resource and a Legacy?

Does Peace Corps use the work being done by RPCVs in the field of international development and intercultural studies? This question is not rhetorical. My answer would be “No”.  In the Performance and Accountability Report FY 2014 (PAR-FY 2014), Peace Corps stated the following, page 25: “Outdate Intercultural training materials and practices: The academic field of intercultural studies has made great strides in recent years; however, the agency’ training materials and practices do not yet reflect the latest research and findings around creating, assessing, placing, training, and supporting Volunteers and staff to ensure they have the intercultural competence to successfully live and work in local communities. The agency is in the process of incorporating best practices from the intercultural field, but significant work remains for the agency to be a leader in the field.” If Peace Corps indicated in this report that the tremendous work being done by RPCVs would . . .

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Mike Meyer (China 1995-97) Writes In Manchuria: A Village called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China

Michael Meyer talks about his new book, In Manchuria: A Village called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China, with Ian Frazier. Meyer’s account of the time he spent living and teaching school in the rice-farming community of Wasteland, in China’s rural Northeast, weaves together history, politics, and personal lives in a vivid drama of loss and change. Michael Meyer first went to China in 1995 with the Peace Corps. He received a Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction after publishing his first book, The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed. He has also held a Guggenheim Fellowship.  His stories have appeared in The New York Times, Time, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Slate, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and on This American Life. He worked on In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China while in residence at the Cullman Center in 2010-2011. A staff writer for The New . . .

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Talking with Nicholas Duncan (Uganda 2010–12) about Tales from A Muzungu

In December Nick Duncan (Uganda 2010–12) published his Peace Corps memoir Tales from A Muzungu with Peace Corps Writers. Here Nick talks about his Peace Corps service and his Peace Corps memoir. • Where did you live and work in-country? I lived and worked in Iganga, Uganda, which is in eastern Uganda. It is a transport hub for travelers and truck drivers coming and going from northeastern Uganda and Kenya to Kampala, the capital of Uganda, in the south-central part of the country. To be more specific, I lived and worked in Nabirye, Iganga, which is about a 5-minute ride from Iganga Town. . What was your Peace Corp project assignment? I was an economic development Volunteer tasked with helping The Hunger Project in a variety of ways. The Hunger Project is a non-profit organization head-quartered in New York that is  committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. . . . .

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Lost Girl Found Wins USBBY Outstanding International Book Award

Beginning in 2006 USBBY has selected an honor list of international books for young people. The United States Board of Book for Young People (USBBY) Outstanding International Books List is published each year in the February issue of School Library Journal. The Outstanding International Books (OIB) committee is charged with selecting international books that are deemed most outstanding of those published during the calendar year. For the purposes of this honor list, the term “international book” is used to describe a book published or distributed in the United States that originated or was first published in a country other than the U.S. Lost Girl Found written by Leah Bassoff and Laura DeLuca (Kenya 1987-89) won for Grades 6-8. In a review written by Anne Waliaula, from the University of Wisconsin, and published in the African Access Review on November 26, 2014, the reviewer wrote in part about this novel: The . . .

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Review: Death in the Dolomites by David Wagner (Chili 1965-67)

Death in the Dolomites (A Rick Montoya Italian Mystery) by David P. Wagner (Chili 1965-67) Poisoned Pen Press 2014 250 pages $24.95 (hardcover), $14.95 (paperback), $8.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Geraldine Kennedy (Liberia 1962–64) • In the first chapter of Death in the Dolomites, David Wagner, with meticulous detail, guides us along the well-choreographed movements of an unidentified man clearly in the midst of nefarious activity. Without a single word spoken, we know a crime has been committed. The mystery man is taking great care to hide the evidence. It turns out to be the most captivating scene in this gentle mystery. Our hero, Rick Montoya, an Italian-American translator, is on a ski vacation in a charming Dolomite tourist village, home of his college roommate. An American banker is reported missing. Unbeknownst to Rick, his Italian uncle, a detective in Rome, has intervened to bring Rick’s services to the attention of . . .

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