Archive - 2019

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PCVs pull out of most counties in Liberia amid difficulties accessing money
2
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)
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“Mexico” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay) in The Oddville Press, Fall 2019
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WAGING PEACE — A film by Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone)
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MINSK AND THE EUROPEAN GAMES by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

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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“Mexico” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay) in The Oddville Press, Fall 2019

    The opening paragraph of “Mexico” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978–80)   IT WAS A CHAIN OF EVENTS, some of them taking place in Foster Raines’ mind and some in the world at large, none more real than another. It started with the death of Methuselah’s baby sister, whose name Foster never could remember. He happened to be sitting in the game room at Loblolly Village when she crossed the threshold on her walker and crashed to the floor dead as a bag of cats. A hundred and seven, people believed her to be, reserved but not unfriendly to the end. Nurses and orderlies rushed to revive her. No luck, unless you considered lucky the feat of expiring in a flash after a healthy century. Watching the commotion from his wheelchair, blanket tucked around his knees, Foster was obliged to look his own death in the face. The outcome . . .

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WAGING PEACE — A film by Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone)

    KERA TV presents WAGING PEACE: The Peace Corps Experience a film by Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone 1963-65), a Media Projects, Inc. production “We wanted to make a difference and change the world. And the world changed us.” — Allen Mondell • In 1961, President John F. Kennedy asked a generation of Americans to volunteer and make a difference on a global scale. Since then, more than 200,000 volunteers have answered his call. WAGING PEACE: The Peace Corps Experience weaves  personal letters, journals, emails and blogs written by Peace Corps Volunteers with profiles of four returned volunteers showing the enduring impact of these experiences on their own lives and the lives of others. “I’ve recounted our stories that capture the seemingly insurmountable challenges of ordinary Americans who were willing to endure vast cultural isolation, poverty, suspicion and, at times, antagonism–all in the hopes of making a small difference.” — Allen Mondell   Celebrating  the power of volunteerism . . .

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MINSK AND THE EUROPEAN GAMES by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

    The European athletic games took place in Minsk, Belarus, in June 2019. About 3,600 athletes competed in 15 sports, many of which were qualifying opportunities for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Join Steve Kaffen at the European Games, and experience the people, sights, and local color of historic and picturesque Minsk. Using over 200 original photographs and descriptions, the author showcases the host city and the Games’ exciting activities including four final events and the spectacular closing ceremony. Steve brings an unusual diversity of life and travel experiences to his writing. He has explored most countries and is a long-time member of the famed Explorer’s Club. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Russia ( 1994-96) and later as the Assistant Inspector General for Auditing at Peace Corps for its worldwide operations. Among interesting experiences, the author has monitored elections for the UN, written the soccer . . .

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