Archive - February 2016

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 9
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Museum of the Peace Corps Experience in Portland, Oregon
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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 8
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Me, Myself and Memory
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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 7
6
Frank Mankiewicz’s (Staff 1961-65, DC & CD Peru) SO AS I WAS SAYING
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New books by Peace Corps writers — January 2016
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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 6
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The Cold Hand of History, Part 5
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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 4

Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 9

Ethiopia I Volunteers were as hard on each other as they were on the Ethiopians. At the Completion of Service Conference the Final Report filed in the Peace Corps Office read: “Many (PCVs) spoke openly about volunteers who they thought should have been sent home: the males who lived with prostitutes; the woman who was “obviously mentally disturbed; the “opportunist” who was unable to teach so was given a sinecure in the Ministry of Education. The Peace Corps,” one volunteer stated, “is not a goddamn rehabilitation center. ” Carol Miller Reynolds, who was a PCV in Debre Berhan, where students in early 1963 went on strike, would tell May-and May would tell me-that her comment was the most insightful of all he heard from PCVs. May interviewed Carol in 1987 and she told him, “The basic issues were deep seated and antagonistic to easy resolution. It had to do with . . .

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Museum of the Peace Corps Experience in Portland, Oregon

The National Peace Corps Association’s highlighted group for the month of February is Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience. This is how the group is described: “Bringing the world home and sharing the Peace Corps experience comes in many shapes and forms. In the northwest corner of the United States, a small yet mighty group of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) is focusing on presenting the Peace Corps to thousands by having a permanent museum. Read more about the Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience, our National Peace Corps Association affiliate group of the month for February.” Read more at: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/2016/02/npca-featured-group-committee-for-a-museum-of-the-peace-corps-experience/ The Peace Corps Act (Sec. 2517. Activities promoting Americans’ understanding of other peoples) “In order to further the goal of the Peace Corps, as set forth in section 2 of this Act [22 U.S.C. 2501], relating to the promotion of a better understanding of other peoples . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 8

The end of the Ethiopia 1 tour began with the Completion of Service Conference in April, 1964. The conference was conducted by Dr. Joseph English, chief Peace Corps Psychiatrist, and Jane Campbell of the Division of Volunteer Support. (Jane the following year would return to Ethiopia as an APCD.) May reports in his article that at the time the PCVs were uncertain about their future careers. He quotes John Rex writing to his parents in early ’64, “Can’t I write a book or travel, or do something different?” Most planned to spend the first few months following termination traveling through Europe. Some looked back and felt discouragement about what they had achieved in Ethiopia. Rex observed. “I certainly have benefited from the experience, but I ask myself if anyone else really has.” One of the PCVs interviewed by Gary May was Mary Lou Linman, who was a PCV in Debre . . .

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Me, Myself and Memory

A former Peace Corps colleague sent me the photo of a group of us on the beach in Cartagena, Colombia. There’s no doubt that the young, thin woman stretched out on the sand is me. But I have no recollection of that day trip to Cartagena fifty years ago. It’s as if I lost that day of my life. So many moments, days, people and events have vanished in the convoluted folds of my cerebral cortex. My grown son mentioned that I took him to the doctor several times as a child for his back ailments. I feel miserable because I don’t remember. I thought it was his brother that had the back problems. I’ve always believed that our memories are selective, recalling significant people and events in one’s life. Yet, this was my own son whose medical history I’d forgotten. When I say, “I don’t remember,” my sons must . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 7

This essay on the Peace Corps is entitled, “Passing the Torch and Lighting Fires: The Peace Corps.” And as I said it was written by Gary May. The essay is based on interviews he had with Ethiopian PCVs in the 1980s, as well as one Evaluation Report and a Close of Service report done in 1964. It is the last chapter in a scholar text entitled, Kennedy’s Quest For Victory: American Foreign Policy, 1961-63, published by Oxford Press. It would appear to suggest that this is the story of the Peace Corps during the first decade.  It is meant to ‘sum up’ the work of Peace Corps Volunteers, to explain what the Peace Corps was all about  under Kennedy, Shriver, and Wofford, the driving force in the creation of the agency. This is not true, of course, It is one partial description of the work of PCVs in one country. . . .

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Frank Mankiewicz’s (Staff 1961-65, DC & CD Peru) SO AS I WAS SAYING

  This February 16th Thomas Dunne Books will publish the memoir of the late Frank Mankiewicz, So As I Was Saying . . .: My Somewhat Eventful Life, written by Frank and Joel Swerdlow. The book tells the story of one of the very early Peace Corps staff members, the first CD in Peru, and later Latin America Regional Director who later went on to become Senator Robert Kennedy’s press secretary, as well as, for George McGovern, and who had a long career in media and politics. Much of what is written about in this book about his Peace Corps tour was first recounted in Coates Redmon’s Come As You Are published in 1986 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. What’s news here, at least to me, is the background involving Mankiewicz and LBJ during the Dominican Republic Invasion of 1965 when PCVs in-country were in almost unanimous support of the rebels . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — January 2016

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. See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? Send us a note at peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com. • • Circling Sicily (travel) Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) Createspace December 2015 42 pages $12.00 paperback • The Toughest Peace Corps Job: Letters from Somalia, 1969 Jim  Douglas (Somalia 1969–71) Inkwater Press December 2015 336 pages $16.95 (paperback), $27.95 (hardcover), $4.99 (Kindle) • The Girl in the Glyphs: A Novel David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) A Peace Corps Writers Book January 5, 2016 354 pages $12.99 paperback; $4.99 Kindle • Lirio Del Peru (Spanish translation of Lily of Peru) David C. Edmonds . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps Part 6

In Late October,1962, Sargent Shriver visited Ethiopia. He was determined to meet all 278 Volunteers recalled Donovan McClure, who accompanied Shriver from Washington. “He raced around in a jeep from sun-up to sunset shattering the poise of countless Volunteers by suddenly appearing in their classroom or at the doors of their houses, hand extended, “Hi! I’m Sarge Shriver. Greatameecha…President Kennedy is behind you all the way.” As Gary May reports. I was teaching English at the Commercial School when Shriver burst into my classroom, followed by Wofford and several Ethiopian officials from the Ministry of Education and our Headmaster. He came across the front of the classroom right at me, hand outstretched, just that, “Hi! I’m Sarge Shriver. Greatameecha.” I remember blurting out, “No kidding.” My tenth grade class was so stunned they didn’t jump to their feet as all Ethiopia students would do when an adult opened the classroom . . .

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The Cold Hand of History, Part 5

The Volunteers arrived in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa,” Gary May continues, “on September 7. (They had finished Training on August 20, 1962, when 278 were inducted into the Peace Corps. Training had started with 340 eight weeks earlier. While some had left Training on their own, most others were De-Selected in the final days.) As the PCVs arrived in Addis they were greeted by a gathering of American USAID and Embassy types. They disembarked, carrying musical instruments, cameras, and piles of luggage, and the sun appeared-“most unusual in this period of heavy Ethiopian rain,” one official remarked, as May quotes a cable from Addis to the Secretary of State, “conspired to make their arrival a festive occasion.” The volunteer passed quickly through customs. May quotes from John Coyne’s Ethiopia novel A Cool Breeze For Evening on how the new PCVS spoke to every Ethiopian that moved. “We were all trying . . .

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Cold Hand of History, The Peace Corps 4

The following week The New Yorker would quote Wofford’s line to the Trainees that they as PCVs in Ethiopia were the new frontier, and on July 9, 1962, the Washington Evening Star, in an article entitled, “Peace Corpsmen Trek West” APCD Bascom Story, as detailed by Gary May, explained the educational situation in Ethiopia to the Trainees where only 5 % of the children attended school, and “it was a tremendous responsibility when you consider that one half of all secondary school education will be carried on by Americans within four or five years.” The Peace Corps Staff expected that with the Volunteers the number of students enrolled in Ethiopia’s secondary schools would double. Getting ready to teach in Ethiopia, and double the number of students, the Trainees got up the next morning at 5:45 at Georgetown University and did forty minutes of physical training: push-ups, jogging, bending, turning, leaping…etc. . . .

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