Archive - October 2019

1
“Justice for Pidgie D’Allessio” by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon)
2
Review — HONOLULU DRAGON by Joseph Theroux (Samoa)
3
National Service Commission: More information
4
Hello, Tanzania RPCVs….An African Scholar Wants To Talk To You!
5
The Peace Corps Re-Establishes Program in Solomon Islands
6
BLUE COUNTRY by Mark Wentling (Honduras)
7
“Learning to Make Lasagna in Kyrgyzstan” by Jia Tolentino (Kyrgyzstan)
8
ASIA WITHOUT BORDERS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
9
A Writer Writes – “The Potato Caper” by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru)
10
RPCVs of North Carolina and of Colorado have scheduled showings of “A Towering Task”

“Justice for Pidgie D’Allessio” by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon)

  Justice for Pidgie D’Allessio by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965–67)   I thought I’d finished writing, Girls of Tender Age, ten years ago. Then an email appeared in my inbox with a subject line so unexpected, so shocking, really, that it took me a few minutes to dare touch my fingers to the keyboard. First I went and poured a second cup of coffee, took a couple of gulps, sat down at my desk again and opened the message. The story was not over. A new ending was out there, a miserable one. I bought a new notebook and a box of Pilot G-2s, #10, Bold; I write all my first drafts in longhand. The memoir centered on the murder of Irene Fiederowicz in Hartford, Connecticut. Irene was my friend, my neighbor, and my classmate. The last time I saw her was the day we went on our field trip . . .

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Review — HONOLULU DRAGON by Joseph Theroux (Samoa)

    Honolulu Dragon by Joseph Theroux (Samoa 1975–78) Kilauea Publications August 2019 329 pages $12.00 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) • I’ve always been grateful that the Peace Corps sent me to Ethiopia with its culture of great richness and charm. But after reading Joseph Theroux’s engaging novel set in the South Pacific, I’m almost envious of his having landed in Samoa in 1975. His obvious love of the easy-in-the-islands way of life is infectious — not that Theroux shies away from the political and social turbulence that’s part of the region’s checkered history. It’s just like Ethiopia in that regard, and also of course the United States of America. Honolulu Dragon is the third in Theroux’s series featuring Robert Louis Stevenson and his actual step-son Lloyd Osbourne in which the two writers solve crimes. Other real-life characters show up in this tale of Honolulu . . .

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National Service Commission: More information

National service: Rebuilding America’s civic fabric The Brookings Institution hosted a panel discussion among the member of the National Commission on Military Service, National Service, and Public service.  The video should be able to be viewed by clicking on the phrase” Continue reading” in the announcement or https://www.brookings.edu/events/national-service-rebuilding-americas-civic-fabric/   The wide ranging discussion included strong opinions in favor of making a year of “service” mandatory for graduating high school seniors.  If there was also discussion on how the government would pay for such a mandate, let alone enforce it, I missed it. Mark Gearan, former Peace Corps Director, is Vice Chair of the Commission and  spoke about the efforts of the Commission for National Peace Corps Association, here:  https://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/articles/national-service-an-interim-report-on-the-commission-hearings See also: https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/?s=National+Commission+on+Military%2C+National+and+Public+Service  

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Hello, Tanzania RPCVs….An African Scholar Wants To Talk To You!

A Tanzania national and professor of African history at William Paterson of New Jersey is doing research for purposes of publishing a book on the history of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Tanzania. This endeavor is both personal and scholarly. He was taught by a Peace Corps teacher in middle school at Chilonwa in Dodoma, Tanzania. He says that his Peace Corps teacher, Mr. Thomas Houlihan, made a great difference in his schooling experience and motivated him to do the best he could. Also, as the first American that he met Houlihan impressed him as an amiable representation of American friendliness. That being said, his scholarly interest in the history of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Tanzania is due to the fact that their contribution to Tanzania’s development has eluded the attention of students of Tanzania history, with the exception of a few memoirs by returned PCVs. He would like . . .

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The Peace Corps Re-Establishes Program in Solomon Islands

Almost 20 years after departing Solomon Islands, the Peace Corps announced it will re-establish operations in the South Pacific nation. Peace Corps’ efforts in Solomon Islands will initially focus on education and will recruit short-term Volunteers with experience in Peace Corps’ education sector to help re-establish the program. This first group of Volunteers is scheduled to arrive mid-2021. In late 2021, the second group of Volunteers is slated to arrive. They will undergo three months of comprehensive cultural, language and technical training before they are given their two-year assignments. From 1971 to 2000, more than 700 Peace Corps Volunteers served in Solomon Islands.

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BLUE COUNTRY by Mark Wentling (Honduras)

Blue Country by Mark Wentling (Honduras 1967–69, Togo 1970–73; PC Staff: Togo, Gabon, Niger 1973–77) Page Publishing 204 pages August 2019 $16.95 (paperback)   Unexpected twists and turns keep the reader guessing about what will happen next. Throughout this entertaining novel is weaved a one-way dialogue between a dying prisoner who tells repeatedly his sad story to a hungry jailhouse rat, which only lives to eat. The story moves from the death and destruction of one town to the amazing rebuilding of a new town by survivors who lived to tell the tale. The human foibles of many of the book’s characters are displayed. Miracles make possible survival, love, and marriage, but evil lurks beneath the surface, and unforeseeable events determine the future of a people and their country. Heroes live and die by the hand of hidden forces beyond their control. The eyes of an innocent young man, offspring . . .

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“Learning to Make Lasagna in Kyrgyzstan” by Jia Tolentino (Kyrgyzstan)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bea Hogan (Uzbekistan 1992-94)  • Learning to Make Lasagna in Kyrgyzstan In the Peace Corps, cooking gave me a sense of purpose. Or did it just distract me from the purpose that had brought me halfway across the world? by Jia Tolentino (Kyrgyzstan 2010)   I have never been less enamored of “seasonal and local” than I was the winter of 2010. I was living in a small village in the western mountains of Kyrgyzstan, teaching English in the Peace Corps. I had moved to the Central Asian state the previous March, and my arrival had coincided with the beginning of a period of instability there: a coup, a rash of nationalist violence, two militarized evacuations for my earnest cohort. (I had also, due to reasons admittedly within my control, almost gotten kicked out of the program on multiple occasions.) I had lost some . . .

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ASIA WITHOUT BORDERS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

    Asia Without Borders Crossing the South Asian Expanse by Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96) 2018 SK Journeys 327 pages $14.00 (paperback)   “Someday there will be an Asia without borders, one, big happy family,” was the Thai immigration official’s reply to author Steve Kaffen’s comment that this was the most relaxed international border Steve had ever crossed. The Thai official and his Malaysian counterpart had established an open border used by bicycles, vehicles, and pedestrians across the east coast’s Sungai Golok Bridge. In a further goodwill gesture, they passed Thai coconuts and Malaysian bananas to each other throughout the day. Join Steve Kaffen (Russia  1994-96) on an autobiographical journey across South Asia. Explore the region’s great historical sights, marvel at its landscapes, meet its residents in often humorous encounters, and have a succession of adventures along the way. Visit Thailand’s Mekong region and the great temples of Bagan in . . .

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A Writer Writes – “The Potato Caper” by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru)

 The Potato Caper by Evelyn LaTorre (Peru 1964-66)) The morning of March 25, 1965, dawned dry and warm in the town of Abancay, altitude, 7,000 feet, where I lived as a Peace Corps volunteer. The moisture that fell during the night had been unexpected because the rainy season in the Andean mountain area of Peru had usually ended by February. The cloudless day meant my clothes would dry if I washed them. So I snatched the galvanized steel bucket from the porch and headed to fill it from the nearby faucet in the big water basin. “After laundry duty,” my roommate Marie shouted from inside our 12×15-foot cinderblock home, “let’s hike up the side of one of the mountains.” “Good idea,” I said, turning on the faucet. “We can pack some cheese sandwiches, apples and cookies and have a picnic.” I filled the bucket with water, still frigid from its . . .

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RPCVs of North Carolina and of Colorado have scheduled showings of “A Towering Task”

10/14/10 Update for Colorado:  The 50 tickets obtained by RPCV of Colorado were sold out, almost immediately.  They may have additional tickets, contact them at rpcvcolorado.org If no tickets are available via RPCVs of Colorado, tickets for  A Towering Task go on sale at 12:30 pm, today Monday, October 14, 720.381.0813  for non-members of Denver the Film Festival. __________________________________________________________   RPCVs of North Carolina will sponser the first SE showing of “A Towering Task”.The film will be shown on October 22, 2019, 6pm to 9pm EDT.  Here is the link for more information: https://www.ncpeacecorps.org/events/a-towering-task-the-story-of-the-peace-corps-film-screening-happy-hour From the website: “Meet us at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Raleigh for a movie night: the first southeast U.S. showing of “A Towering Task, The Story of the Peace Corps,” with a reception preceding the film from 6pm – 7pm. The screening starts promptly at 7, with no late admittance. This event is sponsored as a community service by . . .

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