Archive - May 2015

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D.C. NEPAL FUNDRAISER–WEDNESDAY, MAY 27
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The Calm of Cutting Dead Lavender Flowers
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Ethiopian Immigrant Plans To Join The Peace Corps, Awarded Gates Millennial Scholarship
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Alana DeJoseph (Mali 1992-94) Drinking Tea The Mali Way
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A Mother’s Kept Promise by Rudolph Keith Dunn (Dominican Republic 1990-92)
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Panel Discussion at Thirsters on the Relevance of Peace Corps
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Gerald Karey writes: Neighborhood Dogs
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More on Peace Corps Prep
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Resisting the Tortoise Hibernation Instinct in 15 Simple Steps
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Kent Haruf’s (Turkey 1965-67) Last Novel, Days Before His Death

D.C. NEPAL FUNDRAISER–WEDNESDAY, MAY 27

I received this information from a dear friend, Busy Graham, who is a Takoma Park, Maryland resident and the daughter of  Dick Graham one of the early Peace Corps Country Directors (Tunisia 1963-65) working with Sarge at HQ from 1961-63. Busy’s mother later worked at the Peace Corps, recruiting CDs, and was responsible for hiring many of the first women directors for the agency. Busy is now involved with hosting a fundraiser for Nepal this coming Wednesday, May 27 in the DC area (Takoma Park/Silver Spring) — she is trying to reach as many RPCVs and Staff who live in the DC area to let them know about this event. Wednesday, May 27, 7:00-9:30pm NEPAL EARTHQUAKE RELIEF — FUNDRAISING CONCERT Seekers Church 276 Carroll St. NW DC (across from Takoma metro & BusBoys & Poets) Featuring the BlackJacks band, LEA, Mary Amato, and friends — plus Nepali singer, Ramesh Pariyar and . . .

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The Calm of Cutting Dead Lavender Flowers

The lavender bush in our front yard maintains a magnificent state of endless blooming. Not only is it pleasing to my eyes; it provides a bounty of pollen for the honey bees. It is fall here now, and the choice of flowers for the bees and butterflies has diminished. I stand before the bush, scissors in hand, the soft warmth of the fall sun on my back. I do not want to prune the lavender, so must cut the dead flowers one by one. I work with care so as not to disturb the industrious bees as they labor with their velvet touch. The flowers nod in acknowledgement to the visiting bees. Like the bees, I must work with patient precision, paying delicate attention to detail. I inhale deeply the lavender scent and watch how the furry creatures go about their business of gathering. I feel immensely rich, having the . . .

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Ethiopian Immigrant Plans To Join The Peace Corps, Awarded Gates Millennial Scholarship

African Immigration Trend Has A Strong Base In D.C. Area WAMU 88.5 By: Armando Trull May 20, 2015 Over the past 40 years, the number of black immigrants coming to the United States has quadrupled. The majority of them have arrived from Jamaica and Haiti, but now the origin countries are changing. Africa is now represented more than ever before. The new trend has already taken hold in D.C., where African immigrants have accounted for much of the growth in the region’s black immigration, says Mark Hugo Lopez, research director at the Pew Research Center, which recently released a study on the data. “The growth in the number of African immigrants, black African immigrants has really been the driver in the growth of the black immigrant population overall, which now stands at 3.8 million,” Lopez says. In the D.C. region almost 15 percent of blacks are foreign born – that’s . . .

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Alana DeJoseph (Mali 1992-94) Drinking Tea The Mali Way

The Barefoot  Mali PCV Alana DeJoseph (Mali 1992-94) A small enterprise development PCV, Alana DeJoseph in Mali was not use to camel, but she did love her afternoon tea and as she says, “combining the two proved to be a bit of a challenge.”

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A Mother’s Kept Promise by Rudolph Keith Dunn (Dominican Republic 1990-92)

Rudolph Keith Dunn (Dominican Republic 1990-92) is a Spanish teacher at Starling International Learning and Childcare Center in Richmond. He also tutors children in creative writing. A former freelance journalist for various newspapers over the years, as well as an ESL instructor with Catholic Charities and a Reading and Writing Tutor with the Richmond Public School system. This story, “A Mother’s Kept Promise” was published in the 2015 March edition of the Linden Avenue Literary Journal. It  won the Virginia Writers Club Literary Competition in 2013. A Mother’s Kept Promise by Rudolph Keith Dunn Roaring flames devoured his mother’s flesh, and the small boy smiled. Achebe noticed the soft brown skin was now black and charred, the delicate nose, full lips, and piercing eyes had disappeared. The beautiful, elegant, form of Ashanti, the envy and pride of her village, was no more than a roasting dark mass of skin, muscle, . . .

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Panel Discussion at Thirsters on the Relevance of Peace Corps

The Columbia River Peace Corps Association, based in Portland, Oregon is promoting a presentation at Thirsters on Thursday, May 28th, 2015. For those of you lucky enough to live in Portland, here is the information from the Columbia River Peace Corps Association’s newsletter: (Columbia is spelled correctly here, it refers to the River, not the country.) “Maria and James Beebe (RPCVs Philippines) are leading a panel discusion at a Thirsters meeting on May 28 on the relevance of Peace Corps. They need volunteers for the panel discussion and help with the short presentations. Please email beebe@gonzaga.edu ( It may be necessary to copy and paste this email address.) Brief introduction to the history of Peace Corps, including the three goals. Brief comments on the contribution to Peace Corps of Robert Textor, the founder of Thirsters, Brief comments on the current status of Peace Corps and the local Columbia River Peace Corps . . .

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Gerald Karey writes: Neighborhood Dogs

Neighborhood Dogs by Gerald Karey (Turkey 1965-67) • POODLES, I THINK, were bred to be work dogs, although I’m uncertain what work they did. They were not intended to be primped, pampered and coiffed to within an inch of their dog lives, trimmed of most hair except for little puffs at their paws, rumps, shoulders and tails, and minced around at dog-shows like some foppish dandy at the French royal court. That’s no way to treat a dog. Adding insult to injury, recently I saw a tricked-out poodle in the neighborhood whose owner (and surely it wasn’t the dog’s decision), dyed each of those puffs of hair orange shading into purple. I was tempted to round on him (the owner, not the dog), accuse him of animal cruelty (or at least deep humiliation), and call the animal control agency and have the dog taken away. I didn’t, of course. The . . .

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More on Peace Corps Prep

Clayton Kennedy (El Salvador 2010-12) who is, he informed me, “just an outreach specialist, not the director of University Partnerships” Sorry, Clayton, I just wanted to give your CV a boost). Also, Clayton tell me, “Peace Corps Prep and Campus Ambassadors have both been in the Office of Diversity and National Outreach, where I have worked since my arrival last June. However, these two programs and I are transitioning over to the Office of University Partnerships, which is simultaneously coming over to VRS. The position of the Director of University Partnerships is currently open and just about to be posted.” Okay, are we all thoroughly confused by this Washington gobbledygook? Good. But what (in simple plain English) is how you would describe Peace Corps Prep? I asked Clayton who was nice enough to reply, “Peace Corps Prep is a partnership program that prepares undergraduate students for intercultural service abroad. We provide . . .

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Resisting the Tortoise Hibernation Instinct in 15 Simple Steps

Our tortoise, Speedy Gonzalez, has not gained enough weight after his summer long bout with pneumonia, dehydration and kidney disease. According to the veterinarian, he won’t survive months of hibernation. I’ve followed instructions to construct a terrarium for him, a winter hangout. 1. Buy a very large plastic box (33 x 20 in. minimum). 2. Take this unwieldy box to the vet’s shop where she demonstrates how to attach two clamp lights, (one for light and one for heat), a thermometer and a timer.  Purchase this equipment and a multiple extension cord. 3. Assemble terrarium at home, lining the bottom of the box with shredded newspaper. 4. Add a shoe box cut in half for Speedy’s sleeping quarters and plates for water and food. 5. Insert Speedy. 6. Check the next morning. The thermometer is way below the 27 degrees C necessary to activate Speedy’s metabolism. He isn’t eating. 7. . . .

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Kent Haruf’s (Turkey 1965-67) Last Novel, Days Before His Death

In the Friday, 15, 2015, issue of the WSJ writer Jennifer Maloney has a long and touching article entitled, “A Dying Writer’s Last Chapter” that is about Kent Haruf (Turkey 1965–67) and the novel he completed days before his death, Our Souls at Night. In the novel, Kent explores a highly personal story: finding love late in life. We reviewed the novel on this site several months ago. Take a look at the review by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000–02, Madagascar 2002–03). Kent grew up in a steel-mill town in Colorado and went to Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln where he (like many writers) discovered Faulkner and Hemingway. He studied English and then joined the Peace Corps. It was in Turkey that he started writing short stories and while there he applied for admission to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He was rejected by them. He got a job. He got . . .

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