Archive - June 2017

1
Tom Weck Wins Golden Script Screenplay Writing Prize (Ethiopia)
2
New books by Peace Corps Writers — May 2017
3
Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala) at HP – not Hewlett/Packard!
4
Review — KILL THE GRINGO by Jack Hood Vaughn (PC Director)
5
Review — SPIES AND DESERTERS by Martin Ganzglass (Somalia)
6
Review — YOVO by Stephen F. Dextor, Jr. (Togo)
7
RPCV NYC announces 6th Annual Story Slam
8
Paul Theroux on New Yorker Radio Hour (Malawi)
9
Luncheon in Celebration and Remembrance of Mary Ann Orlando
10
Review — EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR THE BEST by Philip R. Mitchell (Ecuador)

Tom Weck Wins Golden Script Screenplay Writing Prize (Ethiopia)

Thomas Weck (Ethiopia 1965-67) has just been awarded a prize as Finalist in the Golden Script Screenplay Writing Contest for his screenplay, The Medal.  The screenplay is the fusion of a love story and a coming of age set in the First World War.   He has entered a number of other screenplay writing contests where he will hear the results later this summer.  He entered into these competitions with his screenplay, The Medal, as well as his second screenplay, Horace & Baby Doe, based on a true story of the most remarkable and improbable love affair set in the waning days of the Wild West.  

Read More

New books by Peace Corps Writers — May 2017

  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 from your purchase that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. We are now including a one-sentence description — provided by the author — for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order the book and 2) to volunteer to review it. 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. • Portraits of Innocence: The Children of Ahero Photos Bie  Bostrom (Kenya  2004–06) CreateSpace May, 2017 42 pages $20.00 (paperback) Here are African children in their daily activities: balancing pails of water on their heads; watching after younger siblings; toting twigs . . .

Read More

Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala) at HP – not Hewlett/Packard!

  Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala 2006–08) is a freelance writer and contributor to HuffPost (nee Huffington Post). He recently posted a quick piece on Trump, the Peace Corps and soft power. You can: read Taylor’s article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-doesnt-understand-american-soft-power_us_5934a189e4b0649fff211a96 access all his HP articles at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/taylor-dibbert   and follow him on Twitter @taylordibbert.

Read More

Review — KILL THE GRINGO by Jack Hood Vaughn (PC Director)

  Kill the Gringo: The Life of Jack Hood Vaughn Jack Hood Vaughn with Jane Constantineau Rare Bird Books May 2017 389 pages $17.95 (paperback), $11.03 (Kindle) Reviewed by Randy Marcus (Ethiopia 1966-67) • “Everybody knows that Sargent Shriver was the first director of the Peace Corps. Only my wife remembers who the second one was.” SO COMMENTED JACK VAUGHN years after his Peace Corps stint.  Sargent Shriver, John F. Kennedy’s brother-in-law, was a charismatic whirlwind who had built a national reputation as the creator and embodiment of the Peace Corps. Compared to Shriver, Jack Vaughn was no rock star. He certainly had the creds: an experienced USAID hand, a regional director in the Peace Corps under Shriver, Ambassador to Panama, and an Assistant Secretary of State. He was, however, a prosaic Lyndon Johnson protégé, not a glamorous Kennedy acolyte with the glow of Camelot. I had started my Ethiopia-bound Peace . . .

Read More

Review — SPIES AND DESERTERS by Martin Ganzglass (Somalia)

  Spies and Deserters: A Novel of American Revolution by Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966-68) Peace Corps Writers Books April 2016 378 pages $14.95 (paperback) Reviewed by William Seraile (Ethiopia 1963–65) • MARTIN GANZGLASS, AN ACCOMPLISHED NOVELIST, has crafted a well-researched and easy-to-read novel about the American war for independence. Unlike the traditional story of freedom loving Americans chafing under the rule of the British crown, Ganzglass shows that the struggle for independence was a war of brutality, deprivation and hypocrisy. The combatants were not all white: Five thousand freed and enslaved persons of color sided with the rebels. Another four thousand served in the navy and militias acting as spies, cooks and servants in aiding the American cause. Crispus Attucks, a man of color, died in the 1770 Boston Massacre. Both Peter Salem and Salem Poor were at the Battle of Bunker Hill with the latter responsible for the death of . . .

Read More

Review — YOVO by Stephen F. Dextor, Jr. (Togo)

Yovo Peace Corps novel by Stephen F. Drexter, Jr. (Togo 1988-91) A Peace Corps Writers Book 2017 385 pages $21.00 (paperback) Review by Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77) • YOVO, WHICH MEANS “white person” in Togo, is the story of Rick “Oly” Olymeyer’s Peace Corps experiences in Togo and his difficulties in adjusting to American life and culture once he returns to America. I knew this was going to be an interesting book because Stephen writes that he started writing on a napkin in the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge in the summer of 1998 and that edits of the final draft were completed in Malaysia on April 13, 2016. Reading this book brought back so many memories of my own Peace Corps experiences, the isolation, the homesickness and the illnesses. Oly served as a construction volunteer in Togo and built bridges and schools and I laughed out loud when he . . .

Read More

RPCV NYC announces 6th Annual Story Slam

  Returned Peace Corps Volunteers take the stage to share true stories of service abroad The 6th Annual RPCV Story Slam will be held on Saturday, June 24. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. at Hostelling International New York City. It is located at 891 Amsterdam Ave. in Manhattan.  Suggested contribution of $5 for entry and drinks also available for a donation. Proceeds will support a current Peace Corps project abroad. When RPCVs tell stories, they humanize and illuminate places and people with that grassroots, Peace Corps perspective. Chuckle, cringe and even cry as RPCVs relive some of their most meaningful, bewildering and trying moments. “RPCVs are a goldmine of heart-rending, poignant and comical moments that expose us to our own limits and help us push past them,” said Sarah Porter who served in Macedonia from 2005 to 2007. “We tell it like it is, . . .

Read More

Paul Theroux on New Yorker Radio Hour (Malawi)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80) A short interview was this morning on New Yorker Radio Hour with Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) talking about his new book, including some insights into his family relations, how he became a writer, his love of travel (he doesn’t mention PC directly), his anonymity in Hawaii and abroad. In case you missed it: http://www.wnyc.org/story/paul-therouxs-darkest-travel-book-set-home

Read More

Luncheon in Celebration and Remembrance of Mary Ann Orlando

In Washington, D.C. today, June 2, at the Dacor House there is a special luncheon being held in celebration and remembrance of Mary Ann Orlando, the legendary personal assistant of Sargent Shriver who died on April 19, 2017, in Chevy Chase, Maryland. When Sargent Shriver moved from Chicago, Illinois to Washington, D.C. and became the Director of the Peace Corps he brought only one person with him, and that was Mary Ann Orlando. Mary Ann was born and raised in Chicago and went to work in 1946 at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. In 1948 Shriver took charge of the Mart, owned by his father-in-law, and Mary Ann became his secretary. At the start of the Peace Corps in 1961, she had already worked for Sarge for 13 years. Her title was Confidential Assistant to the Director. Mary Ann would go with Shriver to OEO, and later with him to his private . . .

Read More

Review — EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR THE BEST by Philip R. Mitchell (Ecuador)

  Everything Happens For The Best: A Cross-Cultural Romance During the Early Years of the Peace Corps by Philip R. Mitchell (El Salvador 1964–66) Page Publishing February 2017 $22.12 (paperback), $36.95 (hardcover), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bob Criso (Nigeria 1966-7, Somalia 1967–68) • THIS MEMOIR OPENS with Peace Corps Volunteer Philip R. Mitchell returning to his home one night in Bahia, Ecuador when he realizes he is being followed by Leonardo, a disruptive student he kicked out of class earlier in the year. Leonardo, furious at the time, threatened to kill him. Another student informed Mitchell that Leonardo’s older brother had recently been released from prison. Later on, we learn that Leonardo’s mother is a local prostitute whose services Mitchell has utilized. Mitchell takes out his pocket knife, opens the blade and prepares for an attack, but we have to wait until the end of this four hundred and twenty-eight page book to . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.