Archive - March 2015

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Patrick McClanahan (Mozambique 2010-12) Fights Mefloquine and the Peace Corps
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David Edmonds publishes LILY OF PERU
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John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) Video Class on How To Write A Novel in 100 Days
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Peace Corps temporarily suspends its program in Jordan
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Remembering Peace Corps Evaluator Novelist Mark Harris
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Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) New Book: My Life as a Pencil
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Warren Wiggins Learns How To Say, "Father Ted"
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Gerald Karey writes: Bam! Pow! Smack! Slam! Splat!
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Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) Goes Home
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Caught on Camera In The East Room Of The White House

Patrick McClanahan (Mozambique 2010-12) Fights Mefloquine and the Peace Corps

Patrick McClanahan (Mozambique 2010-12) joined the Peace Corps in September 2010, shortly after graduating from Penn State with a degree in physics. While in Mozambique, he taught 11th grade math in the village of Machanga along the banks of the Rio Save. His service was cut short by a reaction to the antimalarial medication mefloquine. The effects of this drug left him unable to work for months after returning to the US and they still affect him to this day. When Patrick returned home, he quickly learned that his experience with mefloquine in the Peace Corps was not unique, nor even unusual — but it was preventable. There are safer options to the drug, and since returning it has been his goal to protect future Volunteers from the harm that he and countless others have experienced. The following is a note that Patrick sent me. For Patrick it began last . . .

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David Edmonds publishes LILY OF PERU

While most authors produce fiction to provide readers with nothing but a quick thrill, David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) is quickly building a reputation for intricate adventures that, as one reader put it, shouldn’t be read if one expects a good night’s sleep. His extensive travels in, and assignments to, Peru in the 1980s and 1990s exposed him to a culture in which kidnappings, assassinations, bombings, and torture were an everyday occurrence. While Edmonds won’t say how much of the narrative is true, these experiences provided the inspiration for what is now Lily of Peru in which love and terrorism collide in the international love story of a Florida university professor’s struggle to rescue the love of his life from a brutal war between the Peruvian government and a bizarre terrorist organization. “I’ve left him. It’s over. If you still want what we’ve been talking about, I’m ready. No more . . .

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John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) Video Class on How To Write A Novel in 100 Days

ANNOUNCEMENT FOR JOHN COYNE’S SKILLSHARE CLASS I want to mention that I’ve recorded a video class at Skillshare.com entitled How To Write A Novel in 100 Days. The class is about one hour long broken into 10 short videos. You can check out the site free and see if you want to take the class. The class is based on my book How To Write A Novel In 100 Days. Skillshare is a fascinating site. You might want to take other classes, or teach a course yourself. But if you are thinking of writing a novel-or know someone who might be interested–go to Skillshare and check out my course. You can do it for free, but you do have to look at my face and hear what I have to say. Well, nothing is totally without hardship. Thanks. Here is a link for free enrollment into the class: http://skl.sh/1EvgvdC It can . . .

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Peace Corps temporarily suspends its program in Jordan

Peace Corps temporarily suspends its program in Jordan AP STORY OMAR AKOURMar 8th 2015 9:57AM AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – The U.S. Peace Corps said it is temporarily suspending its program in Jordan because of the “regional environment,” highlighting growing security concerns among some foreigners after Jordan raised its profile in the battle against Islamic State militants. The Peace Corps announcement came after the U.S. Embassy in Jordan warned last month of a potential threat of attacks against “high-end malls” in the capital Amman. Jordan has long been perceived as an island of relative stability in a turbulent region, a country that offers shelter to war refugees from neighboring countries. Harm to that image could pose a growing threat to important branches of Jordan’s economy, including tourism and related businesses. Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani declined to comment Sunday on the decision by the Peace Corps, which was posted on the . . .

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Remembering Peace Corps Evaluator Novelist Mark Harris

One afternoon back in 1963 novelist Mark Harris received a telephone call from Sargent Shriver inquiring whether he’d be interested in writing a special report about the Peace Corps. Mark gladly accepted, then waited five months while his loyalty and sanity were investigated (been there, done that), and then he went overseas  to West Africa where he wandered around for ten days in a country he later called ‘Kongohno’ and he also  wrote his one-and-only Evaluation Report for Charlie Peters. Mark Harris retells all this in a book entitled, Twentyone Twice published in 1966. The book has two sections. One is about getting through security, the second is about Africa. The fictional name that he used of the West African country he visited is Kongohno…I’m not sure of the actual country, but I believe it was Sierre Leone. Old timers in the Peace Corps might know the real name of the country Mark Harris visited as a Peace Corps Evaluator in . . .

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Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) New Book: My Life as a Pencil

A former English teacher and newspaper and magazine journalist, most recently for 22 years at People Ron Arias has published the following books: The Road To Tamazunchale, a novel nominated for a National Book Award; Five Against the Sea, a true survival saga; Healing from the Heart, with Dr. Mehmet Oz; Moving Target: A Memoir of Pursuit, and White’s Rules:Saving Our Youth, One Kid At A Time, with Paul D. White. An amateur potter, he lives with his wife Joan in Hermosa Beach, CA, while their filmmaker son Michael resides in Japan, which increasingly has become a second home for them. This book is about Ron as a reporter, or as he writes, a ‘pencil’. It is a collection of outtakes and back-stories from decades of reporting in global hot spots, most recently for 22 years at People magazine. Arranged chronologically, starting in 1959 with a wine-drinking encounter with Ernest Hemingway in Spain, the stories . . .

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Warren Wiggins Learns How To Say, "Father Ted"

The death of Father Ted Hesburgh brought back to mind a story I heard about Father Ted and Warren Wiggins that happened in the early days of the agency. As we all know, the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, “Father Ted” who transformed the University of Notre Dame into an academic power during his 35 years as president, died last week. Father Ted was also a key figure in the creation of the Peace Corps. In 1997 I interviewed the late Warren Wiggins about his role in the early days of the agency. For those who do not know, Warren, with Bill Josephson, wrote “A Towering Task” which was a working paper that they sent to Sargent Shriver in early ’61 as Sarge was in the beginning stages of designing the agency. Wiggins came “on board” then, and eventually became the Deputy Director. When I interviewed Warren in 1997, I asked him . . .

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Gerald Karey writes: Bam! Pow! Smack! Slam! Splat!

A Writer Writes Bam! Pow! Smack! Slam! Splat! by Gerald Karey (Turkey 1965–67) How do you know you’re getting older? Let me count the ways. Here’s one certain way — you’re slowing and everything else is speeding up: Traffic — Someone told me that traffic only seems faster because your reflexes slow with age. Maybe, but if I’m tooling along at, say,  70 mph in a 65 mph zone, I will be passed on my right and on my left by vehicles traveling, I’d say, at 80 and 85 mph, along with the obligatory tailgating. Technology — Check out your basement or attic, or visit a recycling  center. Stacks and stacks of yesterday’s must haves, waiting to be shipped off to God knows where to be stripped for reusable metals, plastic, wiring, perhaps to wind up in tomorrow’s shiny new electronic toys, where they will begin their life-cycle all over . . .

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Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) Goes Home

In the current issue of The New Yorker (March 9, 2015) there is an absolutely wonderful and long piece by Peter Hessler on his return to China for a book tour last September. It is entitled “Travels With My Censor” and focuses on changing censorship in-country, but this piece really is much more than that. Peter spent a total of 11 years in China, first as a college teacher in Fuling, later as a journalist, and then later still to research and write his three books on China. Today, Peter and his family live in Cairo and he is a staff writer for The New Yorker. His latest book is Strange Stones: Dispatches from East and West. His Peace Corps memoir, and first book, is entitled River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. Read it. The book is one of the best memoirs of the Peace Corps experience to come . . .

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Caught on Camera In The East Room Of The White House

Attending the announcement of Let Girls Learn in the East Room of the White House today were Peace Corps Director, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, and these ‘old hands’ from the Glory Days of the agency. Former Senator, architect of the agency, CD Ethiopia, Harris Wofford, Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Colombia RPCV Maureen Orth, and former Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan photo courtesy of Maureen Orth

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