Archive - April 2019

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A Work in Progress: RPCV Authors
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Review — VODKA DIARIES by Richard Sayette (Russian Far East)
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Current New Yorker features Peter Hessler’s (China) new book
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NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst reports on volunteering at the border
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Museum of the Peace Corps Experience requesting donations
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Review — MAR-A-LAGO by Laurence Leamer (Nepal)
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Review — USE YOUR OWN VOICE by Dorthy Herzberg (Nigeria)
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A Distinguished Career: Patricia Garamendi (Ethiopia)

A Work in Progress: RPCV Authors

A Work in Progress: RPCV Authors Approximately 30 years ago, Marian Haley Beil and I (both Ethiopia 1962-64) began to identify Peace Corps Writers. It was our Third Goal Project to spread the story of the Peace Corps in developing countries by promoting the writings of RPCVs here at home.  We did this as two former volunteers, not connected to the Peace Corps agency or the NPCA. We began in April 1989 with a newsletter Peace Corps Writers & Readers and now on a website: www.peacecorpsworldwide.org We announce new books, have them reviewed, interview authors, and publish writings by RPCVs. We also started with Create Space/Amazon a line of Peace Corps Writers Books. Marian Beil is the creative publishing genius behind these projects. Annually we give cash awards in different categories for the best books published every year. We do not receive any money from these efforts, and gifts to . . .

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Review — VODKA DIARIES by Richard Sayette (Russian Far East)

    The Vodka Diaries: A Peace Corps Volunteer’s Adventures in Russia Richard  Sayette (Russian Far East 1994–95) Peace Corps Writers May 2018 330 pages $16.00 (paperback), $9,99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by James W. Skelton, Jr. (Ethiopia 1970–72) • I jumped at the chance to review Richard Sayette’s Vodka Diaries: a Peace Corps Volunteer’s Adventures in Russia because I made well over 120 business trips to Russia between 1989 and 2007, working on various international transactions as a lawyer, plus I served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia in the early 1970s. Since the time I spent in Russia was almost totally dedicated to working on oil and gas deals while residing in hotels in Western Russia, I was fascinated by the prospect of finding out what it was like for Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) to live and work in Eastern Russia in the mid-1990s. I was surprised when I . . .

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Current New Yorker features Peter Hessler’s (China) new book

    “The Refugee and the Thief,” a chapter in Peter Hessler’s (China 1996-98) new book is featured in the April 1, 2019 issue of The New Yorker. The book is entitled The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution.  It will be published in May. Manu fled Egypt a little bit at a time. First, he flew to Cyprus, because he knew a travel agent who helped him get a visa. Manu spent a few days in Larnaca, and he got a tattoo in Nicosia, and then he returned to Cairo. The next stop was Saudi Arabia. Visas were easy to get for Egyptians performing the ‘umrah’ pilgrimage, and Manu had a relative in the country. It may have been the first time in history that a gay man was going to Mecca as part of a plan to escape a Muslim country, but Manu wanted his passport stamped. . . .

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NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst reports on volunteering at the border

    Here is Glenn Blumhorst Report about his experience. From the NPCA webpage:   “There is a great need for Spanish-speaking volunteers to serve in hospitality centers at the southern border. NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988-91) recently took a leave of absence to lend a hand. Here’s his story and how you can volunteer with Annunciation House. “I can empathize with them; I’ve been in their shoes,” said Lupe, the Amtrak ticket agent in El Paso, Texas. I was dropping off Fortunato and his six-year-old daughter, Lourdes, for their four-day trip to Bellingham, Washington, with connections in Los Angeles, Oakland, and Seattle. I was moved by how kind and considerate Lupe was to these particular travelers – refugees who had made the arduous journey from their village in Guatemala to the United States, desperately seeking the safety and economic security that we Americans take for granted. “I can too,” I . . .

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Museum of the Peace Corps Experience requesting donations

    From the website of the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience — “The Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience was founded by returned Peace Corps Volunteers in 1999 in Portland, Oregon.  As a 501(c)(3) private, non-profit organization, the Committee has an established record of artifact acquisition, professional exhibitions and modest fundraising. The Committee expanded its focus to the national level in 2016 during Peace Corps’ 55th Anniversary.  Twelve dedicated returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) from across the country stepped forward to comprise a core planning group. The Committee dramatically increased its activities in 2017 with a planning retreat in Denver preceding the annual Peace Corps Connect conference.  Momentum built when Committee members met face-to-face for the first time and reconfirmed their commitment to building a museum, both online and physical. They formulated four strategic initiatives – Operations, Collections, Fundraising, Technology – which provide the road . . .

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Review — MAR-A-LAGO by Laurence Leamer (Nepal)

    Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1965-67) Flatiron Books Publisher 304 pages January 29, 2019 $27.99 (hardcover), $14.99 (Kindle). $32.45 (Audiobook)   Reviewed by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) • Mar-a-Lago provides history and insights into President Donald J. Trump that many readers say one must read if one wants to understand the great leader. Leamer’s research includes thirty-six pages of notes, a bibliography and an index, so you know he’s done his homework. Perhaps even more important, Leamer and his wife have lived in Palm Beach since 1994, and have had front row seats for the Donald Trump show since he turned his Mar-a-Lago estate into a club. Leamer never became a member of the club, but he has friends who are members, so he has had access to the tennis courts and dining room, and was able to . . .

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Review — USE YOUR OWN VOICE by Dorthy Herzberg (Nigeria)

    Use Your Voice! Political Poetry and More by Dorothy Herzberg (Nigeria 1961-63) CreateSpace 74 pages May 2018 $10.00 (paperback   Review by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • If you, like me, have been struggling to find your voice during the presidency of Donald Trump, this little volume of poetry may help. As the title suggests, author Dorothy Crews Herzberg has not only found her voice, she is using it to express her sentiments toward the President and his unconventional and often decidedly unpresidential behavior. Herzberg was born in 1935, so she has been observing our democracy for a very long time, and through many crises, including World War II. In the Preface to this book of poems she states, “I feel the election of 2016 has profoundly shaken the values, structure, and essence of democracy.” While she states her belief that our democracy will survive . . .

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A Distinguished Career: Patricia Garamendi (Ethiopia)

    Visionary Women Championed During Women’s History Month Published March 28, 2019 A Distinguished Career of Furthering Peace Throughout the World   “Just say peacemaker,” responded Patti Garamendi when she was asked how she would like to be introduced for an event recognizing National Women’s History Month at the Census Bureau. Clearly, the returned Peace Corps volunteer (Ethiopia, 1966–68), former associate director of the Peace Corps, and former vice chair of the Committee on World Food Security for the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization, sees “peacemaker” as one of the most important roles in her dynamic, impactful career. On March 5 to an audience of employees—some returned Peace Corps volunteers themselves—eager to hear her stories and advice. The event was sponsored by the Census Women Count Chapter of Federally Employed Women and the Equal Employment Opportunity Office. This year’s theme for National Women’s History Month, “Visionary Women: Champions . . .

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