Archive - 2016

1
Review of Richard Lipez’s New Novel: www.Dropdead
2
Making Lemonade In The Maiatico Building, Part 2
3
RPCV Creates The America Team for Displaced Eritreans (Eritrea)
4
Making Lemonade In The Maiatico Building, Part I
5
Review: MAKING LOVE WHILE LEVITATING THREE FEET IN THE AIR by Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan)
6
The Passing of Brent Ashabranner (Nigeria)
7
Support Towering Task–A Peace Corps Documentary
8
New books by Peace Corps writers — November 2016
9
“Jungle Softball” by Anson Lihosit (Panama)
10
“The Gift” by Keith Dunn (Dominican Republic)

Review of Richard Lipez’s New Novel: www.Dropdead

WWW.DROPDEAD by Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) Writing as Richard Stevenson MLR Press Publisher November 2016 (Kindle) $6.99,  $14.99 (Paperback) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73) • This book is part of “The Donald Strachey Mystery Series” which includes fourteen books, the first one being published in 2003. The author, Richard Lipez, AKA Richard Stevenson, is an openly gay author and RPCV Ethiopia, 1962-64. The mystery unfolds in the words of Detective Don Strachey, a droll, intrepid guide who takes the reader step by step in search of the killer of one of “KickAssQueer’s” young editors who have created a gay website for news, gossip and a forum to exchange opinions about GLBT life in America. As the plot artfully unfolds, PI Strachey must determine whether the murderer, and eventually kidnapper of the deceased editor’s companion, a harsh critic, gay or straight, is responsible for the young editor’s death and . . .

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Making Lemonade In The Maiatico Building, Part 2

The famous “Mayflower Gang” created the Peace Corps in 30 days in two rooms of the Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Avenue several blocks from the White House in February 1961. The ‘Gang’ was led by Shriver, Harris Wofford, Warren Wiggins, Bill Josephson and a half dozen others giving suggestions and making their points. These were ‘advisors’ like the Secretary of State Dean Rush; Father Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame;  Gordon Boyce, President of the Experiment in International Living; Albert Sims of the Institute of International Education; George Carter, a campaign worker on civil rights issues; Franklin Williams, an organizer of the campaign for black voter registration and a student of African affairs; Adam Yarmolinsky, a foundation executive. These advisers came from all corners (if not both rooms in the suite) and most of them wanted one clear statement of what the Peace Corps would be, but Sarge Shriver held the position that Peace — not Development . . .

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RPCV Creates The America Team for Displaced Eritreans (Eritrea)

The America Team for Displaced Eritreans, based in Southeastern Pennsylvania, assists Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers in the United States and around the world – through resettlement services, policy advocacy, and life-saving interventions on behalf of Eritreans in perilous circumstances. We are the only organization in the United States dedicated specifically to that mission. We have developed working relationships with governmental, inter-governmental, and non-profit organizations in the U.S. and abroad, and those relationships aid materially in the effectiveness of our work. The America Team is an all-volunteer organization that subsists entirely on privately donated funds.  We are not aligned with any U.S., Eritrean, or expatriate Eritrean political parties or organizations. The America Team is registered as a Section 501(c)(3) public charity with the United States Internal Revenue Service. The tree depicted in The America Team’s logo is known as Daero, which grows south of the town of Segeneitti.  It is famous in Eritrea . . .

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Making Lemonade In The Maiatico Building, Part I

I had an email recently from a young PCV asking for more stories about the Mad Men and Women of the early days of the agency. Well, there are lots of stories to tell. In those first days of 1961, everyone who went to Washington wanted to be part of the New Frontier, and particularly part of that new agency, the Peace Corps.  The new agency attracted the best and the brightest, or so they claimed. An early document of the agency said that the staff in D.C. and those staffers around the world was composed of “skiers, mountain climbers, big-game hunters, prizefighters, football players, polo players and enough Ph.D.’s [30] to staff a liberal arts college.” There were 18 attorneys, of whom only four continue to work strictly as attorneys in the General Counsel’s office and the rest [including Sargent Shriver] did other jobs. Also, all of these employees . . .

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Review: MAKING LOVE WHILE LEVITATING THREE FEET IN THE AIR by Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan)

  Making Love while Levitating Three Feet in the Air (Short stories) Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan 2002–04) Stephen F. Austin University Press December 2016 175 pages $18.00 (paperback) Review by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) • JEFF FEARNSIDE WAS A PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER in Kazakhstan from 2002 to 2004. He lives with his wife (an ethnic Russian Kazakhstani) and two cats in Corvallis, Oregon, where he teaches at Oregon State University, and is at work on a novel. Fearnside is an award-winning author and educator whose work in three genres — fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction — focuses strongly on place, culture, and the natural environment. He lived in Central Asia, traveled widely across Asia and twice bicycled throughout Great Britain. He earned degrees in creative writing from Bowling Green State University (BFA) and Eastern Washington University (MFA). Of the thirteen stories in Making Love While Levitating Three Feet in the Air, some are about relationships . . .

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The Passing of Brent Ashabranner (Nigeria)

Brent Ashabranner (1921 -2016) was Deputy Director of the Peace Corps between 1967 and 1969. Following service in World War II, graduate school and a brief period of teaching, Brent spent thirty years working overseas, including starting the first Peace Corps program in Nigeria and becoming director of Peace Corps programs in India. Prior to his retirement in 1985, Brent worked for ten years with the Ford Foundation in the Philippines and Indonesia. It was in retirement that he wrote more than 30 books on cross-cultural topics for junior readers, books that resulted in more than 40 awards. The following is from Peace Corps OnLine, a website produced by Hugh Pickens (Peru 1970-73) Brent Remembers: I have never had any doubt that the books I read as a boy influenced the direction of my life, including my life as a writer. I grew up in a small Oklahoma town, but I was fascinated . . .

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Support Towering Task–A Peace Corps Documentary

From  Producer and Director Alana DeJoseph (Mali 1992-94) TOWERING TASK MONTHLY NEWSLETTER: December 2016 ~ HAPPY HOLIDAYS ~ Please consider donating by the end of the year. Just in time for the holidays! We’re in the home stretch and would love your support to help get us there! It’s easy to donate, and your gift is tax-deductible. In return for your donation, we’ll create a gift for you. We’ll be compiling a VIDEO COLLAGE of all of you who donate. We’ll add this video to our website, include in an upcoming newsletter, and share it on our Facebook page – which you can then repost! All you need to do after donating is one of the following: * Email us a picture from your Peace Corps service at info@peacecorpsdocumentary.com; or * Post your photo to your own Facebook page, tag us, and say you donated to support A Towering Task. $1,000 or more: we’ll personally thank you in the documentary’s . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — November 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 a note to peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. •   Mail From Kyrgyzstan: My Life As An Over-50 Peace Corps Volunteer by Michael Licwinko (Kyrgyzstan 2008–10) Self-Published September 2016 448 pages $15.99 (paperback), $4.49 (Kindle) • One Million Frogs: Lessons About Entrepreneurship Learned the Hard Way Rhett Power (Uzbekistan 2000–01) and Peter Gasca Mill City Press June 2016 $12.99 (paperback) • Kingdoms in the Air: Dispatches from the Far Away by Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975-76) Grove Atlantic June 2016 383 pages $26.00 . . .

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“Jungle Softball” by Anson Lihosit (Panama)

  Jungle Softball by Anson Lihosit (Panama 2015-17) GETTING A BASEBALL MITT proved difficult. A Peace Corps Volunteer’s salary was not enough to buy a new one. Back in the United States, my father rummaged around the garage and blew dust off an old utility mitt I hadn’t used in years. He mailed it with a hometown baseball cap to the father of a Peace Corps pal since my pal was briefly going home to attend a wedding. He brought it back to Panama on the return flight. I had a four-hour long bus ride to the capital to pick it up, then four hours back to my tiny jungle truck stop, Torti, located halfway between Panama City to the west and the Darian Gap to the east —that stretch of roadless jungle between Panama and Colombia known for smugglers and armed rebels. Cleats were much easier. I bought some cheap . . .

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“The Gift” by Keith Dunn (Dominican Republic)

  The Gift by Rudolph Keith Dunn (Dominican Republic 1990–92) The muscles in Maria’s small body screamed in pain. Beads of sweat covered her forehead. With each step, she felt the weight of the pails of water weighing down heavily on her slight frame, as she struggled to carry them up the steep hill. This was her third trip to the river today. She knew it would be the hardest with the afternoon sun blasting down. The two pails held in her small hands pulled her arms, hard, towards the ground. It took every ounce of effort and focus to keep the third pail, balanced upon her head, from toppling. The sun seared the back of her neck, legs, and arms. Maria planted her bare, dusty, feet in the well-worn indentions in the ground, giving her the firm grip needed to launch another step up the hill. Finally, she breathed a sigh of relief . . .

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