Archive - March 2019

1
Review — A GAME IN THE SUN by John Coyne (Ethiopia)
2
RPCVs Helping Refugees In El Paso
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A Writer Writes — “Rhythm of the Grass: Letters from Moritz Thomsen” by Mark Walker (Guatemala)
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Review — FARISHTA by Patricia McArdle (Paraguay)
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Review — LADYBOY AND THE VOLUNTEER by Susanne Aspley (Thailand)
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New Issue of WorldView from NPCA
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Video of Senator Harris Wofford Memorial Service at Howard University
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BIRDS OF PASSAGE — Review of Movie that ties drug trade to PCVs
9
New Books by Peace Corps Writers — February 2019
10
Saying Goodbye to Harris Wofford

Review — A GAME IN THE SUN by John Coyne (Ethiopia)

    A Game in the Sun and Other Stories John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64) Cemetery Dance August 2018 $40.00 (hard cover)  Reviewed by Andreas Martin (Ethiopia 1965–68) • A Game in the Sun and Other Stories is a fascinating collection of material by John Coyne. John has had considerable success as a writer of novels and short stories in the horror genre, as well as a number of books on the topic of golf, (together, horror and golf make a pretty good description of my golf game). This particular collection spans nearly 60 years and consists of twelve stories previously published in mystery and horror magazines and anthologies. In addition, there are two recent original pieces appearing for the first time in print. John has led a varied life and these stories reflect some of his background. I was particularly taken by the stories set in Ethiopia because John and I . . .

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RPCVs Helping Refugees In El Paso

On February 16th, I posted an article and request from the Bishop of El Paso—sent to me by his cousin Patricia Silke Edmisten (Peru 1962-64). You can read the Bishop’s request here:https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/rpcvs-needed-in-el-paso/ On February 19th, Dale Gilles (Liberia 1964-66 & PC/W 68-73 & 90-93) reposted my request on two Facebook pages relating to Liberia RPCVs and Friends of Liberia (FOL) which he follow closely from Thailand where he lives. In both cases he received a few “likes” and comments, and recently he wrote me, “in the last couple of day, I have indeed, once again, seen firsthand the positive power of communication, the internet and Facebook. Funny how the pebbles we drop make such ripples.” The following thread of emails come from Sean Sullivan, a long time friend of Dale and Peace Corps colleague, who was on the staff in Liberia 1971-73, and was also on the Peace Corps Staff . . .

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A Writer Writes — “Rhythm of the Grass: Letters from Moritz Thomsen” by Mark Walker (Guatemala)

    Rhythm of the Grass: Letters from Moritz Thomsen by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73)   Moritz  Thomsen (Ecuador 1965–67) was an extraordinary writer and influential expatriate who spent thirty years in Ecuador studying the culture and identifying with whom he lived. His first book, Living Poor, is ranked as one of the premier Peace Corps experience books, with editions in the U.S., UK, Germany and France. It has sold over a hundred thousand copies in the U.S. alone. All four of his remarkable books have been compared to the works of Paul Thoreau and Joseph Conrad. Although Thomsen only wrote four books, he was an avid letter writer. His missives numbered in the thousands, though according to one letter, he was only able to respond to five letters a day on his typewriter, often in the hot, humid jungle of Ecuador. According to author Tom Miller, Thomsen was a “wicked” . . .

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Review — FARISHTA by Patricia McArdle (Paraguay)

    Farishta by Patricia McArdle (Paraguay 1972–74) Riverhead Books 401 pages Riverhead Books 2011 $16.00 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80) • In the Prologue to Farishta, we learn that twenty-one years earlier young career diplomats Angela Morgan and husband Tom were posted to Beirut. There, Tom was killed in a terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy; Angela, pregnant at the time, was injured and subsequently lost the child. Devastated, Angela was posted back to the State Department in Washington, DC. As the novel opens, Angela, now forty-seven and having worked at a series of unfulfilling dead-end positions at the State Department, learns that she is soon to be posted for a year with a British Army unit at a Provisional Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Mazār-i-Sharīf, Afghanistan. The PRT was a remote military outpost that conducted surveillance patrols in the northern provinces. Having hoped for an . . .

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Review — LADYBOY AND THE VOLUNTEER by Susanne Aspley (Thailand)

    Ladyboy and the Volunteer (Peace Corps Memoir) by Susanne Aspley (Thailand 1989–91) Peace Corps Writers November 2014 288 pages $13.99 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle Reviewed by Dean Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • Ladyboy and the Volunteeris a novel masquerading as a memoir. The protagonist, Susan, describes her adventures and misadventures as a Peace Corps Volunteer stationed in a rural village in Thailand in the 1990s. She gets to know many of the locals, but none is more interesting than Christine who helps support her family in the village by working as a prostitute in the city. Christine is a “ladyboy,” the term Thais use to describe transgender people born male, but dressing and living as females. The book is written in a conversational style, allowing the reader to experience emotionally what the protagonist is living. The imagery is vividly descriptive and at times raw. Because it . . .

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Video of Senator Harris Wofford Memorial Service at Howard University

Thank you for joining us last weekend to celebrate the remarkable life and legacy of Senator Harris Wofford at Howard University. I know we are all tremendously moved and inspired by the impact he had on so many people and on our country. Please feel free to share this video of the memorial service with your networks, and with those that were not able to join us in person. All of us at Voices for National Service pledge to carry Harris’ legacy and determination forward as we work together to expand opportunities for all Americans to serve, as he did throughout his extraordinary life.

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BIRDS OF PASSAGE — Review of Movie that ties drug trade to PCVs

    A controversial movie ties Colombia’s drug trade to the Peace Corps. It’s still a good movie. By Michael O’Sullivan Reporter, Washington Post February 27 at 1:33 PM   On the road to the Oscar shortlist for best foreign language film, the Colombian drug drama “Birds of Passage” has picked up a number of smallish awards and nominations, and it has ruffled some feathers along the way. Although it ultimately didn’t make the cut as one of this year’s five nominees, some publications, including the New Yorker, have lavished praise on the film, which tells the story of an indigenous Wayuu clan whose traditional values are corrupted by the lure of outside drug money. (Intriguingly, former husband-and-wife filmmakers Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego — whose previous collaborations include the gorgeous, Amazon-set black-and-white drama “The Embrace of the Serpent” — divorced while making “Birds.”) At the same time as the film has charmed reviewers, . . .

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New Books by Peace Corps Writers — February 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. • The Rink Girl: Stories Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991–93) Press Americana September 2018 $15.00 (paperback), $6.99 (Kindle) The Rink Girl may have a small geographic setting—an ice arena in an unassuming Ohio town—but it’s wide in thematic scope: from . . .

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Saying Goodbye to Harris Wofford

This Saturday, March 2, 2019, at Howard University over 1000 people gathered to celebrate the life and legend of Harris Wofford. Family, close and distant, life-long friends, former Peace Corps and National Service Volunteers, political friends and rivals, and strangers drawn to the college by the magic of the name: Harris Wofford. In over two and one-half hours, Harris was remembered, celebrated for his life of service to America and the world, and as he always was in life, the center of conservation, jokes, and comments, ‘did you hear what Wofford just said?’ It was an emotional and fun-filled afternoon for everyone who loved and respected Harris and wanted for themselves to do better in life and show him that we were worth of his attention and respect. He made us all better people. So many people were in the college auditorium that I could not begin to recount their . . .

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