Archive - December 2019

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PCVs pull out of most counties in Liberia amid difficulties accessing money
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NY Times Recognizes Two RPCV Writers
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Incredible India and Boundless Bhutan by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
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Peace Corps Volunteers as Global Citizens
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New Novel by Robert Cochrane (Morocco)
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First Peace Corps Film: The Making of “Give Me A Riddle”(Nigeria)
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West Side Runners keep making big strides (Liberia)

PCVs pull out of most counties in Liberia amid difficulties accessing money

    Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dale Gillis (Liberia 1964-67)   Photo by Gbatemah Senah MONROVIA, Montserrado – The economic and financial crisis in Liberia has spread beyond the banking sectors and into Liberia’s struggling education sector, with a direct impact on the work of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers teaching in schools in rural Liberia. In a statement from the Peace Corps Liberia office posted on Facebook on Thursday, Dec. 5, the group confirmed that a significant amount of its volunteers are being recalled from all other counties except three. Peace Corps attributed the move to the acute shortage of cash in the country, and the associated difficulties with accessing money from commercial banks. It appears the crisis has significantly impacted the Peace Corps’ ability to sustain its volunteers working outside of Monrovia. “Consequently, the Peace Corps has made the decision to reduce temporarily the number of volunteers . . .

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NY Times Recognizes Two RPCV Writers

In the December 6, 2019,  Holiday Books issue of the NYTIMES, the TIMES features Paul Theroux’s (Malawi 1963-65) book: On The Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey in Monica Drake’s list of best travel books. Drake, an assistant managing editor at The Times, and a former editor of the Travel section writes, “Paul Theroux, who is adept at immersing you fully within a setting by the time you’ve finished the first page, recounts a sprawling road trip that delves headlong into the current debate about immigration from Mexico. Reading this work feels like the opposite of scrolling through a photo feed.”         In the 100 Notable Books of 2019 is OUR MAN: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer (Togo 1982-83). Summing up, the TIMES writes, “Packer’s portrait of the well-known American diplomat offers a ‘warts and all’ picture, describing a highly . . .

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Incredible India and Boundless Bhutan by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

Incredible India and Boundless Bhutan By Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96) SK Journeys Publisher 101 pages $10 (paperback)         Journey with the author to two of the world’s most intriguing countries, presented in over 150 original photos with detailed explanations. Explore the far corners and vast interior of India, visit its historic sites and impressive landscapes, meet its residents and observe their lifestyles, and have interesting experiences along the way. Then, explore the dramatically scenic Kingdom of Bhutan, where the measure that matters most to its people is the Gross National Happiness Index. Incredible India and Boundless Bhutan. It is free today and Sunday as a Kindle ebook. You can download it to most computers, tablets, and cellphones. Here is the link. https://www.amazon.com/Incredible-India-Boundless-Bhutan-Kaffen-ebook/dp/B082D8W3B9/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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Peace Corps Volunteers as Global Citizens

    CELEBRATING THE THIRD GOAL Peace Corps Volunteers as Global Citizens “I therefore propose . . . a Peace Corps of talented young men and women willing and able to serve their country . . . as ‘ambassadors of peace.’” — John F. Kennedy in his campaign speech at the Cow Palace, November 2, 1960 A day after his inauguration, President Kennedy called Sargent Shriver and asked him to start figuring out if the Peace Corps idea really made sense. Shriver immediately called Harris Wofford, who had worked on the campaign, and the two of them reached out to others. Among those were Warren Wiggins and Bill Josephson, who had written a 30-page proposal, “The Towering Task,” which became the new agency’s blueprint. This task force established three official goals for the Peace Corps, which Wofford later summarized in his book Of Kennedys & Kings: First Goal: It can . . .

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New Novel by Robert Cochrane (Morocco)

  About Sayonara Sacrifice by Robert Cochran (Morocco 1981-83)   In 1927 Pitcher Hiromitsu “Hiro” Tada, a Japanese foreign student, and his German-American catcher Horst “Heck” Riedl form an unbreakable friendship when their Oregon college team gives Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and their touring AL All-Stars all they can handle. In 1931 they team up again, this time in Japan. To Heck, 1930s Japan seemed a splendid place to be a blond baseball star with coins to jingle. The hooch was good, the women intriguing, and the Savoy Room at the Tor had plenty of both. He only had to follow one simple rule: steer clear of politics. What could possibly go wrong? Nativism could run amok. Fascists could take control of your life. War could tear you away from all the people you love. You could become a propaganda prize. Or an OSS prize. You and all your family . . .

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First Peace Corps Film: The Making of “Give Me A Riddle”(Nigeria)

To Preserve and to Learn Making David Schickele’s Peace Corps Film by Roger Landrum (Nigeria 1961–63) • A COUPLE OF YEARS AFTER WE SERVED together as PCVs in Nigeria, David Schickele asked me I would be part of a film project he was proposing to the Peace Corps. The basic concept was to capture the adventure of crossing into another culture and the rewards gained from escaping the cocoon in which Americans living abroad typically enclose themselves. It is an experience common among many PCVs to one degree or another, and for the Peace Corps, this film could be used to recruit the next wave of Volunteers, focusing on its two mandated cross-cultural goals rather than the more commonly publicized development assistance goal. Our personal experiences in Africa had been a revelation to us in numerous ways, and David wanted to make a documentary providing Americans with a new perspective . . .

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West Side Runners keep making big strides (Liberia)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Glenn Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988-91) West Side Runners keep making big strides Herald and News   Bill Staab, right, talks with a group of Ethiopian runners after a short workout at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx borough of New York, Tuesday. AP NEW YORK (AP) — A no-name entrant at this month’s New York City Marathon — literally, he didn’t even qualify to have his name printed on his bib — Girma Bekele Gebre crashed the elite field and finished third in the largest 26.2-mile race in the world. A week later, the Ethiopian runner sat in Bill Staab’s (Liberia 1963-65) Upper West Side apartment, smiling and nodding while Staab recounted details from his stunning podium finish. “It’s a life-changer,” Staab said. Staab, the 80-year-old president of the West Side Runners Club, has helped numerous careers during his 42-year term, making the American dream . . .

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