Archive - February 2019

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Peace Corps funded at $410,500,000!
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New books by Peace Corps writers — January 2019
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Review — ADORABLE AIRPORT by Jacqueline Lyons (Lesotho)
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Review — A FEW MINOR ADJUSTMENTS by Cherie Kephart (Zambia)
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Peace Corps supports Women’s Global Development and Prosperity
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“The Other Kristen” by Kristen Roupenian (Kenya)
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RPCVs needed in El Paso
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So much for what Colombia RPCVs think of this film — from Vulture
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Encounters with Harris Wofford by Neil Boyer (Ethiopia)
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How narco movie BIRDS OF PASSAGE “tramples the truth” (Colombia)

Peace Corps funded at $410,500,000!

    H.J.Res.31 – Consolidated Appropriations Act 2019 • For the Peace Corps (including transfer of funds) For necessary expenses to carry out the provisions of the Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. 2501 et seq.), including the purchase of not to exceed five passenger motor vehicles for administrative purposes for use outside of the United States, $410,500,000, of which $6,000,000 is for the Office of Inspector General, to remain available until September 30, 2020: Provided, That the Director of the Peace Corps may transfer to the Foreign Currency Fluctuations Account, as authorized by section 16 of the Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. 2515), an amount not to exceed $5,000,000: Provided further, That funds transferred pursuant to the previous proviso may not be derived from amounts made available for Peace Corps overseas operations: Provided further, That of the funds appropriated under this heading, not to exceed $104,000 may be available for . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — January 2019

  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 now include 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 Marian at peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. • Fury John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) Crossroad Press 289 pages January 27, 2019 $4.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindl A single, upwardly mobile professional woman, Jennifer Winters is typical of her kind until she falls victim to events that aren’t typical at all . . .

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Review — ADORABLE AIRPORT by Jacqueline Lyons (Lesotho)

    Adorable Airport By Jacqueline Lyons (Lesotho 1992–95) Barrow Street Press 90 pages $16.95 (paperback)   Reviewed by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) • What could be cuter than contemplation? Quick: describe an airport with an adjective that begins with “A.” Awful? Agonizing? Aggravating? Did anyone say “adorable”? Jacqueline Lyons did. And Adorable Airport, her fourth book of poems, makes a strong case for the unexpected title. From its cover, a painting of the inside of an airport with its gentle greens and blues, its escalators and baggage carousels, and its contented characters, Lyons’ book appears aimed at children. But only a very precocious child would understand and appreciate Lyons’ sophisticated and enchanting musings on time, seasons, love, and, yes, airports. Like Lyons’ book, an airport is a stop between places, between going and coming, between home and holiday. Adorable Airport suspends time in order to reflect on it the . . .

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Review — A FEW MINOR ADJUSTMENTS by Cherie Kephart (Zambia)

    A Few Minor Adjustments: A Memoir of Healing by Cherie  Kephart (Zambia 1994) Bazi Publishers September 2017 254 pages $15.95 (paperback), $24.95 (hard cover), $4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • Cherie Kephart is the ultimate survivor. She lived through a brutal rape followed by a serious car accident while in college. Then survived both a nasty case of explosive diarrhea and possible malaria while a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. Ten years after her Peace Corps experience she faced a myriad of severe symptoms which defied diagnosis. Through it all she keeps struggling gamely to find a treatment that will allow her to lead some semblance of a normal life and be a useful person in the world. The title, “A Few Minor Adjustments,” is ironic, borrowed from a Peace Corps pamphlet discussing the life style changes a Volunteer faces in their . . .

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Peace Corps supports Women’s Global Development and Prosperity

    February 7, 2019 WASHINGTON – Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen released the following statement on the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative introduced today during a launch event at the White House with President Donald J. Trump, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, leaders from across the U.S. government, and global stakeholders. “Since its formation in 1961, the Peace Corps has advanced the empowerment of women as a pillar of development, recognizing that expanding opportunities for women can transform their futures and the futures of their families. Having served the Peace Corps in various capacities, I am especially honored to reaffirm this commitment through the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative, a whole-of-government approach to advancing workforce development, promoting women’s entrepreneurship and access to capital, and removing barriers that prevent women from fully participating in the economy.   “I want to thank Ella Zande for joining us . . .

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“The Other Kristen” by Kristen Roupenian (Kenya)

Thanks for a ‘heads up’ from Bea Hogan (Uzbekistan 1992-94)     The Other Kristen Kristen Roupenian joined the Peace Corps to serve her fellow man, but she found herself trying to best the ultimate woman instead. • When I arrived in Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) in 2003, I was the youngest in my group. Life in an unfamiliar culture can be infantilizing: You’re dependent on others to teach you basic skills (this is how you dress, wash, use the toilet), your new language reduces you to baby talk (“Please where bus please?”), and you end the day exhausted by the glut of information your puny brain has taken in. Still, at 21, I was adept at dependence and incompetence, and in this case my expertise served me well. I was assigned to a site in rural western Kenya that was affiliated with an orphans center named . . .

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RPCVs needed in El Paso

    Office of the Bishop Diocese of El Paso Catholic Pastoral Center February 16, 2019   Dear former Peace Corps Volunteers: My cousin, Patricia Silke Edmisten, a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru 1962-64),  suggested I write you. I presently serve as the Catholic Bishop of El Paso in Texas. Without doubt you have been attuned in recent months to news about the large number of asylum-seekers we are witnessing presently seeking refuge in the United States. It seems that the El Paso region has become a major crossing point along the 2,000 mile border our country shares with Mexico. El Paso has always been a place of encounter and of passage as our very name suggests, but the numbers of families, many with young children, we are witnessing are considerably higher than in the past. The majority are fleeing unendurable levels of violence, instability and the resulting economic collapse . . .

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So much for what Colombia RPCVs think of this film — from Vulture

Birds of Passage Is a Knockout By David Edelstein Photo: Orchard The Colombian-born director Ciro Guerra makes films about the brutal corruption of what First Worlders call the Third World but Guerra would call the essential one: of indigenous peoples who can recognize their ancient origins in the families and objects and landscape around them and then — suddenly, dizzyingly, catastrophically — can’t. His new film (co-directed by Cristina Gallego), Birds of Passage, is part ethnographic documentary, part The Godfather. People who seem (to us) strange and primitive metamorphose into a familiar breed of gangster — the kind that pop culture (American, Mexican, Chinese, you name it) gives undue stature. As in Guerra’s last film, Embrace of the Serpent, the disjunction between enduring ways and modern, ephemeral fashions and equipment and stuff is not just jarring but toxic, a shock to the system that will almost certainly kill the host. Guerra and Gallego frame Birds of Passage with the breathy . . .

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Encounters with Harris Wofford by Neil Boyer (Ethiopia)

Encounters with Harris Wofford By Neil Boyer My first encounter with Harris came in the spring of 1962, when I was a third-year student at New York University School of Law. I stopped in the dormitory where I lived (Hayden Hall) and found in my mailbox a message asking me to call Harris Wofford. I had no idea who he was, and there was no return phone number or any other reference to anyone of that name. So I began a search of the white pages in the Manhattan phone directory, found a listing for a Harris Wofford and called the number. The man who answered was pleasant but as puzzled about this call as I was. I guessed that this had something to do with the Peace Corps since I had applied but not heard anything in return.  Aha, the man said, “I think you want my son. He’s . . .

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How narco movie BIRDS OF PASSAGE “tramples the truth” (Colombia)

  How Narco Movie BIRDS OF PASSAGE “tramples the truth” (Guest Column) The Hollywood Reporter 2/14/2019 by Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964–66), Abby Wasserman (Colombia 1963–65) and Arleen Chesto (Colombia 1964–66)   The critically lauded film falsely accuses the Peace Corps for starting the drug trade in Colombia and misappropriates a long suffering indigenous tribe, write three former Peace Corp Volunteers. Birds of Passage, Colombia’s short listed entry for best foreign film in the upcoming Academy Awards that received a U.S. release on Feb. 13, has garnered praise for its truth and beauty. In reality, it is a movie that distorts history, truth and honesty in storytelling. It’s one thing to enhance history, exaggerate the facts and take artistic license for cinematic effect while honoring the essential spirit of a story. It’s quite another to trample the truth. Birds of Passage falsely accuses the Peace Corps for starting the drug trade in Colombia in 1968, and aggressively . . .

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