Archive - 2019

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Poet & Prose Writer Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde Islands)
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Jeffrey Tayler’s(Morocco) IN PUTIN’S FOOTSTEPS
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Peace Corps’ Bill Moyers takes on Climate Crisis
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“The Eye Man” by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala)
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New books by Peace Corps writers — March-April-May 2019
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Steve Kaffen (Russia) publishes EUROPE BY BUS
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“What Writers Write & Why” by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador)
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Melinda Gates speaks to Women’s Issues on Book TV
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Richard Lipez (Ethiopia) publishes 16th Donald Strachey Mystery
10
Holbrooke as a Country Director in the Peace Corps

Poet & Prose Writer Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde Islands)

    Eleanor Stanford (Cape Verde Islands 2014-19) will be one of the five published writers to lead panel discussions at the September RPCV Writing Workshop in Maryland. Read her short poem below.— John Coyne      Sombre Hummingbird  Capão Valley, Brazil The Batista waterfall is half- erased, disappears before it hits the ground. Dona Aúrea loves to talk about how the world is ending. At my ear, this drab throb, the canyon swallowing the sun. I hold a glass of cachaça up to the sinking light: a cloudy eye. Once when we were young and unyoked we watched oxen mill the sugar cane to terrifying proof. Dona Aúrea, it’s true, the world is ending: in the cataract’s obliterating mist. In the kiss of the hummingbird’s fringed tongue. •   Eleanor Stanford is the author of three books of poetry, The Imaginal Marriage, Bartram’s Garden, and The Book of Sleep, . . .

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Jeffrey Tayler’s(Morocco) IN PUTIN’S FOOTSTEPS

Thanks to the ‘heads up’ of Marian Beil (Ethiopia 1962-64)     IN PUTIN’S FOOTSTEPS: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across Russia’s Eleven Time Zones St. Martin’s Press By Nina Khrushcheva and Jeffrey Tayler (Morocco 1988-90) 320 pages February 19, 2019 $18.89 (hardback); $14.99 (Kindle); $24.60 (Audio CD)     From the Book Section of The New York Times Summer Travel Nina Khrushcheva and Jeffrey Tayler’s fascinating account of their travels in 2017 between Kamchatka and Kaliningrad. In its pages, you’ll learn that you can see China quite clearly from Russia in the harbor city of Blagoveshchensk, six time zones east of Moscow and 500 yards across the Amur River from the Chinese city of Heihe. Ferries transport Chinese and Russian traders back and forth daily. Khrushcheva made that shuttle trip and does not recommend it — the pushing and shoving and rude border control brought her to . . .

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Peace Corps’ Bill Moyers takes on Climate Crisis

    Today marks the official launch of “Covering Climate Now”, a project co-sponsored by The Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation. Joined by The Guardian and others partners to be announced, “Covering Climate Now” will bring journalists and news outlets together to dramatically improve how the media as a whole covers the climate crisis and its solutions. The following is an abridged version of the conference keynote speech by iconic TV newsman Bill Moyers, as prepared for delivery.  • What if we covered the climate crisis like we did the start of the second world war? by Bill Moyers Wed 22 May 2019 11.10 EDT   I have been asked to bring this gathering to a close by summing up how we can do better at covering the possible “collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world,” to quote the noted environmentalist David Attenborough, speaking . . .

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“The Eye Man” by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala)

Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) will be one of the five published writers to lead panel discussions at the September RPCV Writing Workshop in Maryland. Read his Peace Corps short story below. — John Coyne     The Eye Man by Mark Brazaitis The eye man came to town with doctors and nurses who carried suitcases full of medicine and Bibles. They were accompanied by boys and girls who dressed up like daisies and frogs and sang religious songs in English in the park. The eye man wasn’t a doctor or nurse. And neither the doctors nor the nurses nor the boys and girls who dressed up like daisies and frogs knew, or would tell me, what he was. He was simply “the eye man.” He made eyes. I translated for the group of doctors and nurses during their two-day clinic in the Church of God, one of several Evangelical churches . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — March-April-May 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. • Honorable Exit: How a Few Brave Americans Risked All to Save Our Vietnamese Allies at the End of the War Thurston Clarke (Tunisia 1968) Doubleday Publisher 448 pages May 2019 $ 19.49 (Hardback), $14.99 (Kindle) A groundbreaking revisionist history of . . .

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Steve Kaffen (Russia) publishes EUROPE BY BUS

    Buses are transforming European travel, cruising its highways, country roads, and coastlines, and connecting its cities and towns. They offer comfortable seating, wide windows, immediate boarding, value pricing, and modern technology along intercity routes spanning the European continent. Using descriptive text of 50 bus trips and destination city visits over a two-year period, author/explorer Steve Kaffen weaves together a fascinating travel story while providing experiential guidance on how to take advantage of this exciting way to explore Europe. Some 600 photos of all the bus trips, cities, sights and local color complement the story. An excerpt from the book’s Foreword: “‘Europe by Bus’ is informative, joyous, and lots of fun, with wonderful photographs and valuable tips. Its broad coverage, in text and photos, of some of Europe’s most interesting places makes the book a fascinating story and an excellent planning tool.” An excerpt from the Introduction: “Steve Kaffen . . .

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“What Writers Write & Why” by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador)

    Approximately ten years ago, Marnie Mueller was invited as visiting faculty to Bennington College where she gave the following talk to the MFA students in the college’s prestigious graduate school writing program. — John Coyne • What Writers Write & Why by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65)   When I returned in the mid-1960s to the United States from a two year stint in the Peace Corps in Guayaquil, Ecuador, I was in a sorry way, deeply traumatized, subject to dark silent rages, nightmares, and a terror of being in crowds. At first I drank alone to calm the turmoil, then I found a shrink, and eventually I sought solace in reading novels. I found refuge in the books by young men of my generation who had fought in Vietnam, particularly in a work by Tim O’Brien. In Going after Cacciato I identified with his character being in such . . .

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Melinda Gates speaks to Women’s Issues on Book TV

(Thanks to Beverly Hammons (Ecuador 71-73) for this video reference) Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates, has written a book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, on her life and work with women around the world.  She discusses the book and her experiences working in the Developing World.  Empowering women and girls is a continuing program focus for Peace Corps.  For so many RPCVs, especially women, Gates’ experience and the concerns of the women with whom she talked and worked, will seem very familiar. More than fifty years ago, as a Peace Corps Health Education Volunteer, I would give “charlas”, little talks about health to women in my rural community.  After the talk, I would always ask what would they like to know.  The question varied, but always the same concern.  As one woman said, so eloquently,:  “I want to keep the children I have, alive, . . .

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Richard Lipez (Ethiopia) publishes 16th Donald Strachey Mystery

    It’s a family reunion in the era of American tribal politics, and what could go wrong? Plenty, including murder, when the Callahan clan convenes at a New England country inn and one of the most politically outspoken relatives is the victim of a bizarre poisoning. Timothy Callahan and his long-time spouse, Albany PI Don Strachey, contend not just with dampened spirits, but with injustice when a misguided local cop zeroes in on an innocent Callahan. PI Strachey has to unearth a complicated family’s hidden history, nail the real killer, and expose an act of long-contained violent rage in this disturbing tale of the way we live now. • Richard Stevenson (Richard Lipez) will meet and greet anybody willing to consider buying KILLER REUNION, the 16th Donald Strachey mystery, at The Bookstore, 11 Housatonic St., Lenox, Mass on Friday, June 7 at 5:30 p.m. • Killer Reunion A Donald Strachey . . .

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Holbrooke as a Country Director in the Peace Corps

    Reading though George Packer’s (Togo 1982-83) 590 page book: Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and The End of the American Century I came across two paragraphs on Holbrooke’s brief career working for the Peace Corps. On page 144 of his book, Packer writes how Holbrooke left his position with Kissinger and the State Department and decides to leave the country. George writes, “After working on staffs for five years, he [Holbrooke] also wanted to be in charge of something. That was impossible for an FSO-4, which he had just become, on the normal unimaginative embassy career path. So he looked into the Peace Corps, asked for a country program to run, and studied Arabic at the Foreign Service Institute….” He was given Morocco by Joe Blatchford, the Peace Corps Director, and he lasted one year (1970-71) on the job. Packer writes: There isn’t much to tell you about the . . .

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