Archive - March 2015

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Review of In Manchuria by Michael Meyer (China 1995-97)
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First Lady Michelle Obama Takes PC Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet To Japan To Promote "Let Girls Learn"
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Gerald Karey writes: The First Day
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Talking to Michael Meyer (China 1995-97)
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Review: Tories and Patriots by Martin Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68)
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Talking with David Edmonds author of LILY OF PERU
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Review: My Life as a Pencil by Ron Arias (Peru 1963-65)
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The Peace Corps and Rotary Together in Saturday's NYTIMES
9
Gerald Karey writes: Our un-United States: Secede, Nullify, Defy
10
Peace Corps Malaria Policy – PCVs and RPCVs respond 0n Peace Corps’ Passport Blog

Review of In Manchuria by Michael Meyer (China 1995-97)

In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China by Michael Meyer (China 1995-97) Bloomsbury Press, $28.00 365 pages 2015 Reviewed by Arnold Zeitlin (Ghana 1961-63) Foreigners, especially Americans, living for a spell in China, often are overcome with an irresistible urge to explain China and the Chinese to their countrymen, especially Americans, who may ask a question about how much of a threat China is, then nod politely and change the subject to the latest baseball scores. Many of these same foreigners, especially Americans, after their first year of living among the Chinese, enthusiastically conclude, “why they are just like us.” Then, a year later, they conclude, “they are not like us at all.” Among the latest Americans to tell us about the Chinese is Michael Meyer. He is a writer who first went to China in 1995 as a member of the Peace Corps to . . .

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First Lady Michelle Obama Takes PC Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet To Japan To Promote "Let Girls Learn"

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) – Michelle Obama won’t avoid Cambodia’s human rights record when she visits the southeast Asian nation this week, her final stop on a two-country trip to promote a new U.S. initiative to help millions of girls worldwide attend and complete school, the White House said Monday. The first lady, who is traveling without the president, is scheduled to arrive in Japan, her first stop, on Wednesday. On Friday, she heads to Cambodia. While the purpose of the five-day trip, from March 18-22, is to promote the “Let Girls Learn” initiative she and the president announced this month, Mrs. Obama will discuss the need for an open and inclusive political system in Cambodia and highlight basic values and principles that are important to the U.S., said Evan Medeiros, senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council. “She’s going to have ample opportunity . . .

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Gerald Karey writes: The First Day

A Writer Writes I wrote this about five years ago. It was, and is, the only time I have written at length about my Peace Corps service. Not that I didn’t value the experience, but I didn’t think it, or my contribution, was all that exceptional. I came, I taught English as a foreign language (just how well is not for me to judge), and I left. The Peace Corps was in Turkey for only eight years — from 1962 to 1970. The program was abandoned in an “increasingly fractious environment,” one former in-country director wrote. It was fueled by misunderstandings between the Peace Corps and the Turkish government, Peace Corps missteps (my TEFL group stormed Turkey with 200 Volunteers), a steady drumbeat of negative newspaper headlines, charges that Volunteers were CIA agents, and “Turkey’s descent into a morass of violence and radical politics,” the former director added. (If you’re . . .

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Talking to Michael Meyer (China 1995-97)

Michael Meyer 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 Time, The New York Times, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Slate, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and on “This American Life.” In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China has just been published by Bloomsbury Press. Today, Michael teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh and spends his free semesters in Singapore. I recently interviewed Mike about his career, China, and his books. • Mike, where did you serve as a PCV and when? Peace Corps China 2; 1995-1997. . Q. Now you stayed on in China . . . was this so you could write Last Days? No, post-Corps, I moved to Beijing in 1997 . . .

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Review: Tories and Patriots by Martin Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68)

Tories and Patriots: A Novel of the American Revolution by Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966-68) A Peace Corps Writers Book January 2015 354 pages $13.99 (paperback) Reviewed by Thomas E. Coyne • The “born again” patriots of this country who want to do away with Advance Placement history courses and sanitize the writing of the American story are really going to dislike this novel. Actually, it isn’t just a novel for author Martin Ganzglass is on a mission to produce accurate, readable history set in a vivid, true life atmosphere that gives the reader a “See it Now” experience. Tories and Patriots is the second in Ganzglass’s Revolutionary War series following last year’s Cannons for the Cause. The series follows Willem “Will” Stoner as he travels with General George Washington’s Continental army as a teamster and artillery man during the early days of chaotic fighting and retreating in this country’s . . .

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Talking with David Edmonds author of LILY OF PERU

How did it happen that David Edmonds writes a novel about Peru when he served in Chile? How did he get a PC assignment to make a movie? What was his connection with Lee Harvey Oswald? What were his skills that enabled him to set up a leather cooperative? And what about Lori Berenson? Find the answers to some of these questions — and many others in this interview with this multi-skilled RPCV. Where and when did you serve in the Peace Corps, Dave? I was a Chile IV Volunteer from 1963 to 1965 after training at Camp David in Puerto Rico. . What was your Peace Corps project assignment? Didn’t have one at first, so someone in PC/Santiago came up with the wonderful idea of making a promotional film about PC activities in Chile. I was assigned to that task along with fellow PCVs Mike Middleton, Mary Ellen Wynhausen, . . .

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Review: My Life as a Pencil by Ron Arias (Peru 1963-65)

My Life as a Pencil by Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) Red Bird Chapbooks March 2015 47 pages $12. 00 (paperback) Reviewed by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64) • I once asked Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) what he did at People Magazine and he said, and I quote, “I cover the Third World.” I laughed, thinking he was being sarcastic, and he was, but Ron was also being serious. Thanks to his fluency in Spanish, his experience in the Peace Corps, his traveling and working in Latin America, plus his ability, his need, perhaps, to go everywhere and do anything to get a story, made him a minor celebrity in the complex and competitive conglomerate of Time/Life. A few of Ron’s brushes with danger around the world are implied and hinted at in this collection of funny, insightful, touching and true stories entitled My Life as a Pencil, a chapbook recently published . . .

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The Peace Corps and Rotary Together in Saturday's NYTIMES

The Personal Business column in the 3/14/15 issue on “Retiring” written by Kerry Hannon is all about ‘older’ American retiring and doing serious volunteer work with the Rotary Club, Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps, the Senior Corps…and guess what: The Peace Corps. “The push for older volunteers began in 2011 (not true, we had a significant number of older PCVs in 1962) writes Hannon, “when the Peace Corps began working with AARP to connect more older volunteers with service opportunities. Today there are 7 percent of PCVs 50 or older. “I would like to see that closer to 15 percent,” said Carrie Hessler-Radelet, the Peace Corps’ director in the article. While the Peace Corps is just ‘one’ of the many opportunities where and how senior citizens might volunteer, is does have the advantage in this article of having the only photograph, and that is of Kate Burrus at . . .

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Gerald Karey writes: Our un-United States: Secede, Nullify, Defy

A Writer Writes Our un-United States: Secede, Nullify, Defy by Gerald Karey (Turkey 1965–67) In our great nation of some 300 million unruly, cussedly independent souls, someone is bound to be unhappy with government for one reason or another. In fact most are — whether it’s because of taxes, regulations, foreign policy, motorcycle helmet rules, posted speed limits or pot holes. It runs the gamut. To paraphrase a line from the Jacques Brel song, Sons Of . . . , “Who is the citizen without complaint?” But unlike other countries where complaining about the government can get you thrown into jail, in the U.S. ranting, venting and bitching about government is a national pastime. It may not change anything, you may not get any satisfaction, but, damn it, you can and will be heard. In fact, you can be heard in the White House, via a White House web site, . . .

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Peace Corps Malaria Policy – PCVs and RPCVs respond 0n Peace Corps’ Passport Blog

On August 13, 2013, the  Peace Corps Medical Director addressed the new FDA warnings on the anti-malaria drug,  mefloquine hydrochloride.  His statement was posted on the Peace Corps’s official blog, Passport.  Usually there are no responses to posts on the Passport blog as it usually is informative, but not interactive. For this article, however, PCVs and RPCVsc did comment and those  are important.  To read the article, without the formatting distractions, here is the text to link to: http://passport.peacecorps.gov/2013/08/09/staying-safe-preventing-malaria/ Here is the article,copied and pasted.  The formatting may be distracting. Staying safe, preventing malaria BY PEACE CORPS ON AUGUST 9, 2013 • ( 10 COMMENTS ) By Barry G. Simon, M.D., Peace Corps Medical Director, Office of Medical Services Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated its warning label on the anti-malarial drug mefloquine hydrochloride, and there has been a surge in news coverage lately about the side . . .

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