Archive - 2016

1
Review — I AM ME BECAUSE OF YOU by Karen Lawrence with Jennifer Nelson (Kyrgyzstan 2004–06)
2
Inspector General Recent Report on the Peace Corps
3
Joshua Berman (Nicaragua 1998-2000) Publishes Crocodile Love: Travel Tales from an Extended Honeymoon
4
Bob Vila (Panama 1969-70) And His Hemingway Connection
5
Don Schlenger (Ethiopia 1966-68) Speaks His (and Our) Minds

Review — I AM ME BECAUSE OF YOU by Karen Lawrence with Jennifer Nelson (Kyrgyzstan 2004–06)

I Am Me Because of You: A Daughter’s Peace Corps Journey through the Eyes of Her Mother (Peace Corps biography from letters and phone calls, with photos) by Karen Lawrence with Jennifer (Lawrence) Nelson (Kyrgyzstan 2004–06) Beaver’s Pond Press 2015 364 pages $24.95 (paperback) — email iammebecauseofyou@gmail.com to purchase reviewed by Catherine Onyemelukwe (Nigeria 1962–64) . • I Am Me Because of You provides a valuable resource for the parents of Peace Corps Volunteers, though for those who are frightened to know what lies ahead they might want to wait until their offspring has been in the country a few months before reading! For those less nervous, the book can be a guide to the ups and downs of following a Volunteer through training and deployment. I love the cover of I Am Me Because of You. The dusty gold with the brown edges and snapshots superimposed on a world . . .

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Inspector General Recent Report on the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps’ Office of Inspector General (IGO) today is directed by a woman named Kathy A. Buller. The IG Office does not report to the Peace Corps Director, though they work in the same building and I am told Kathy and Carrie are friendly. You might they are “equal” though, as we know, some are more “equal” than others. Ms. Buller has a reputation, I’m told, of wanting to increase her own status in DC by being a touch SOB. (Not surprising, knowing government career types.) The IG Office has few friends. (Where is the famous Charlie Peters and his gang of Evaluators from the early days of the agency? We need them again. Everyone loved Charlie! ) IG employees get a lot of flak. And there are plenty of stories about them.  When I was in DC several years ago I heard about another IG, another woman, and . . .

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Joshua Berman (Nicaragua 1998-2000) Publishes Crocodile Love: Travel Tales from an Extended Honeymoon

In 2005, Josh (Nicaragua 1998-2000) and his bride, Sutay Berman (The Gambia 1996-98), canceled their wedding reception, diverted the money to plane tickets, and applied to volunteer around the world. Crocodile Love: Travel Tales from an Extended Honeymoon brings the reader along to: Explore Sutay’s unique family legacy in Pakistan, opening many strange doors, Experience the world’s great religions through a traveler’s lens, Volunteer for three months on a tea plantation in India and for two months with Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, Stride unannounced into the mud-hut Gambian village where Sutay had once lived as a Peace Corps Volunteer, ten years before. Crocodile Love was published by Tranquilo Travel Publishing Josh’s independent publishing platform based in Boulder, Colorado. Berman is a columnist for The Denver Post and author of five books with Avalon Travel Publishing, including Moon —  Nicaragua, Moon — Belize, and coming in April, Moon — Colorado . . .

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Bob Vila (Panama 1969-70) And His Hemingway Connection

It’s been a year since the U.S. and Cuba began normalizing relations. Tourism, business and cultural exchanges are booming. And there is another curious benefactor of those warmer ties – Ernest Hemingway, or at least, his legacy. The writer lived just outside of Havana for 20 years, and that house, called the Finca Vigia, has long been a national museum. But years of hot, humid Caribbean weather has taken a toll on the author’s thousands of papers and books. A Boston-based foundation is helping restore those weathered treasures, and who better to lead that effort than the original dean of home repairs: Bob Vila, of public televison’s This Old House. He tells NPR’s Carrie Kahn that he has a personal connection to Cuba. “I’m American-born Cuban,” he says. “My Havana-born parents emigrated during the latter part of World War II, and I was born in Miami, raised there and partially in . . .

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Don Schlenger (Ethiopia 1966-68) Speaks His (and Our) Minds

“Have you no sense of decency, sir?” was the question asked of Senator Joseph McCarthy by army lawyer Joseph N. Welch during the infamous Army-McCarthy Hearing of 1954. A question most Americans might asked today of that loathsome and insufferable Republican candidate Donald John Trump. It is not a question, however, that will be asked by the news media or 24/7 cable networks. They see Trump’s raging’s as an easy and quick way to increase ratings and revenue. The pundits say Trump speak of the ‘rage’ in blue collar America, but, in truth, Trump represents nothing and nobody.  Like the Wizard of Oz, there’s nothing behind the curtain. Donald Trump is an empty suit.  He will not win a primary or collect more than a handful of delegates in this campaign season of 2016.  He will, however, try and leverage the ‘support’ he allegedly has to ‘make a deal’ with . . .

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