Archive - November 2015

1
What Is Peace Corps Fantasies All About?
2
New Academic Book Slams The Peace Corps
3
Peace Corps Prep at Western Michigan University
4
Deep in the Red Zone
5
Peace Corps Times Looks at Women in Development
6
Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Learning About Africa
7
New books by Peace Corps writers — October 2015
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Jon Anderson (Gabon 1974-77) Two ‘Flash’ Stories
9
Follow Up on the GAO Report on Post PC Service Disability Benefits
10
Happy Birthday, Sarge…100 Years….Your PCVs Are Still Working Around the World

What Is Peace Corps Fantasies All About?

Dr. Geidel entitled her Introduction, “The Seductive Culture of Development” taking the title from a line by Nanda Shrestha in his In the Name of Development, “Are we ever going to realize the deep wounds that the seductive culture of development leaves on us? If we ever do, what can we do to heal such wounds?” In 1962, Nanda Shrestha was in sixth-grade, Geidel tells us, quoting from Shrestha’s 1997 memoir, when the Peace Corps arrived in Nepal, bringing with them “fancy chairs, desks, and tables” to inaugurate the first U.S.,-run vocational schools in Nepal and bikas, the ideology of development.” Dr. Geidel goes onto write (on the first page of her Introduction) “bikas not only created needs it could not satisfy, but also manufactured new subjectivity and new, terrible understandings of the conditions in which he and his community live.” Shrestha’s identification of Peace Corps development ventures a source of . . .

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New Academic Book Slams The Peace Corps

We have recently received review copies of Molly Geidel new book on the Peace Corps published by the University of Minnesota Press. Within the next month or so we will be reviewing the book as well as interviewing the author. Molly Geidel is from southern Vermont. She received her BA from Brown, her masters from UMass in Boston, and her PhD from Boston University. This book is a revised version of her PhD dissertation. Dr. Geidel taught briefly at Harvard and Cornell and moved to the UK this fall where she is an assistant professor in American studies at the University of Manchester. Molly’s argues the case in her book that while in the “popular imagination of the United States to this day, it [Peace Corps] is a symbol of selfless altruism and the most successful program of John F. Kennedy’s presidency,”….in reality the “agency’s representative development ventures also legitimated . . .

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Peace Corps Prep at Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan has become one of three dozen colleges and universities around the nation–and one of only two in Michigan–to offer a Peace Corps Prep program that will build hands-on experience in the health work sector, develop leadership skills and focus on intercultural competence and service learning in healthcare settings as announced in Western News, for and about WMU faculty and staff. This Peace Corps Prep program, launched by the Peace Corps in 2007, will be offered as a minor open to students in any major at the University. WMU will be the first school in the nation to house such a program in its interdisciplinary health care program. Applications are being accepted now for the first semester in which the program will be offered. One goal of the  program is to attract students from all seven degree-granting colleges at the University. The only other Michigan . . .

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Deep in the Red Zone

The multiple warnings will not stop me. I’m determined to go. “It’s a red zone for Peace Corps. We’re not allowed there for security reasons,” I’m told. I figure that I’m no longer under the jurisdiction of Peace Corps. Besides, I have a contact there. Weeks ago I wrote to the Office of Citizen Participation in the Barranquilla City Hall, explaining I worked as Peace Corps Volunteer fifty years ago in barrio Las Américas and that I wanted to contact the president of the barrio’s Junta of Community Action. I received no response. The morning after my arrival I head to the sixth floor of the bustling City Hall. I explain at the front desk what I want. I’m directed to a man nearby. “Jorge Romero is the one to talk to.” Yes, he had received my email. “You didn’t answer me.” “Elections are this Sunday and it’s been a . . .

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Peace Corps Times Looks at Women in Development

Twice a year, Peace Corps publishes Peace Corps Times, an overview of current Peace Corps Volunteer activities around the world. The current issue, June 2015 to December 2015, focuses on “integrating and promoting gender equality in international development.” It is well written and worth reading.  In a few weeks, Peace Corps will be publishing its Annual Performance and Accountability Report FY 2015. I find it interesting to compare the bureaucratic jargon of previous PAR reports with the clear writing of the current Peace Corps Times. Please note: The Media Library referenced in the magazine is a collection of photos. Email library@peacecorps.gov for assistance in finding historical text documents that are not currently online. Here is the link: http://files.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/media/PCTimes_2015_07.pdf

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Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Learning About Africa

Former Associate Director of the Peace Corps, as well as a college president and Senator from Pennsylvania, Harris Wofford, tells how Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) once told him how he  (Paul) read The Heart of Darkness and declared, “I want to go there!” Well, in Sunday, November 15, 2015 New York Times Book Review, Theroux in an interview responding to the question: If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be? has this reply: “Bring ’em Back Alive, by Frank Buck which I read when I was perhaps 10, made me want to leave home, go to Africa, and take risks in the bush. It’s a children’s book, not well written and probably full of whoppers, but it got my pulse racing. My life as a writer, as a man, began when I left home and spent the next six years . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — October 2015

To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com, click on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. • Sierra Leone: Inside the War (History and Narratives) by James Higbie (Sierra Leone 1969–73) and Bernard S. Moigula Underdown October 2014 454 pages $9.99 (Kindle) • Mata Naveena (novel) by Will Michelet [Richard Michelet Grimsrud, Jr.] (India 1965–67) Peace Corps Writers September 2015 310 pages $12.00 (paperback) •

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Jon Anderson (Gabon 1974-77) Two ‘Flash’ Stories

Jon Anderson is a liberation ecologist intent on empowering the impoverished through expanding their bundle of rights over resources; making markets work better for the poor; and linking to technical solutions and problem-solving. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in school construction in Gabon (1974 – 77) and was a rural animation volunteer in Mali in 1977.  He served with USAID, USDA, FAO, the MCC (Resident Country Director for Mali) and with the private sector in the US and Africa. He has taught at both Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. One of his favorite biological processes is fermentation.  This process helps him write. Almost Perfect By Jon Anderson As soon as he awoke and went downstairs, he saw a young, grubby kid at the door.  Here, kids replaced telephones – they seemed to be the most frequent means of . . .

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Follow Up on the GAO Report on Post PC Service Disability Benefits

Nancy Tongue and her Health Justice for Volunteers team have been working to establish adequate post service care for Volunteers who have service connected medical problems.  The GAO has issued an analysis on the benefits afforded RPCVs vs the benefits of Govermemt contractors such as State Department  and USAID.  Here is the first reporting we did on the issue : http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/report-from-congress-on-post-service-disability-benefits/ Now, Jonathan Pearson, National Peace Corps Association Advocate, has summarized the report. Read his commentary at: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/2015/11/study-examines-peace-corps-workers-comp-program/ Health Justice for Volunteers has reviewed the report and issued a response.  The response points out deficiency with the data in the report.  Follow the link at the bottom of Jonathan’s report to read their response.

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