Archive - 2019

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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
3
New Books by Peace Corps Writers — February 2019
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Saying Goodbye to Harris Wofford
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Remembering Harris Wofford
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Harris Wofford Memorial Service (Ethiopia)
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Review–Tacoma Stories by Richard Wiley (Korea)
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Kristen Roupenian (Kenya) at Mid-Manhattan Library
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Review — BROOKLYN, NY TO BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL by Franklin Rothman (Brazil)
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Review — HONORABLE EXIT by Thurston Clarke (Tunisia)

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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Remembering Harris Wofford

    I was among the first Peace Corps Volunteers, a new concept of international cooperation crafted by Sargent Shriver and Harris Wofford together with Warren Wiggins, Bill Josephson and others in two rooms of the Mayflower Hotel just days after the election of John F. Kennedy in the winter of 1961. We were in our twenties for the most part, volunteering without any real idea of what we were doing but following Kennedy’s challenge “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Harris Wofford became our leader, our guide, our father confessor and our friend. Little did we know about him or his family when we first arrived in Africa. He was less than a decade older than most of us. I remember once, just days after arriving in-country, walking with a handful of other PCVs from the university dorms at . . .

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Review–Tacoma Stories by Richard Wiley (Korea)

Tacoma Stories by Richard Wiley (Korea, 1967-69) Bellevue Literary Press, 2019 270 pages $16.99 (paperback)   Reviewed by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) I can’t get through a day without it. Reading, that is. Sometimes, I have a hard time going pageless for a couple of hours. I’m so habituated to reading, I can forget why I do it. Tacoma Stories just reminded me why: one reads in the hope of delight. And that’s what Wiley’s new book provides. The linked stories that make up the collection are deeply pleasureful reads. How does he do it? One way is with the sentences. Wiley writes nothing like Kafka, but the unexpected leap from one sentence to the next in Tacoma Stories can evoke Kafka’s extraordinary, nerve-jangling transitions. Apposite sentences end paragraphs where they need to be ended. They describe a character. They figure in dialogue. Real readers, true recidivists who cannot resist . . .

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Kristen Roupenian (Kenya) at Mid-Manhattan Library

      I went to the NYC Mid-Manhattan Library on Monday, February 25, 2019 and heard Kristen Roupenian (Kenya 2003-05) read from her new collection of short stories You Know You Want This, and be interviewed by Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker’s fiction editor. About eighty-five people crowded into the library room for the reading and discussion. The majority were women in their twenties. Kristen was entertaining and informative and appreciated by all as she told of her journey to ‘overnight’ success with the publication of “Cat Person” that appeared in the December 2017  issue of The New Yorker. A short story that quickly became an internet sensation. Ms. Treisman said that the story has the second highest ‘hits’ of New Yorker articles over the last five years on the magazine’s internet site. The short story centers on a young woman’s experience dating in a sleepy college town, but with decidedly skin-crawling . . .

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Review — BROOKLYN, NY TO BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL by Franklin Rothman (Brazil)

    Brooklyn, NY to Bocaiúva, Brazil: A Peace Corps Love Story Franklin D. Rothman (Brazil 1967–69) (Peace Corps memoir) Peace Corps Writers May, 2016 248 pages $14.95 (paperback) Reviewed by Almaz Zewdie Sullivan (Ethiopia 1996–98) • Franklin D. Rothman’s book, Brooklyn, NY to Bocaiúva, Brazil: A Peace Corps Love Story, brings back a lot of memories.  From the start, any Peace Corps Volunteer will relate to aspects of his story. Frank’s chance encounter with Lena, who is Brazilian, at the theater brings back positive memories of how open we tend to be as PCVs and travelers in general. He and Lena meet, they click and immediately the couple begins the exciting challenge of finding commonalities and building a relationship. Despite the differences in their upbringing, it is inspiring to read a story of how a love can flourish.  It is refreshing to see the level of commitment and the positive energy on . . .

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Review — HONORABLE EXIT by Thurston Clarke (Tunisia)

    Honorable Exit: How A Few Brave Americans Risked All To Save Our Vietnamese Allies at the End of the War e by Thurston Clarke (Tunisia 1968) Doubleday Publisher April 30, 2019 448 pages $30.00 (hardback), $14.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1965-66) • In wars we expect to read about heroes in combat. In Honorable Exit Thurston Clarke’s mines the depth of emotion that drove dozens of Americans in Vietnam to acts of heroism by risking life and careers to find ways to evacuate South Vietnamese who had connections with Americans and who would have been imprisoned or killed by the North Vietnamese. Clarke tells the story of A Few Brave Americans who during the last weeks of April 1975 smuggled 130,000 Vietnamese co-workers, secretaries, orphans, families — anyone who might become victims of North Vietnamese revenge through the perilous streets of Saigon and other cities. Don’t let the subtitle fool . . .

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