Archive - February 2020

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Purchase Peace Corps Chronology by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)
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Sarasota Observer recognizes Gulf Coast of Florida RPCVs
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Review — WELCOME TO THE WRITER’S LIFE by Paulette Perhach (Paraguay)
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“Moritz Thomsen: His Letters and His Legacy“ (Ecuador)
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“Charles Murray (Thailand) Returns!”
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Where were you on March 1, 1961?–The date the Peace Corps was created?
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Pompeo aims to cut funds for honoring RPCV Chris Stevens (Morocco)
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CBS Morning News: A Peace Corps Reunion — RPCV & Former Student (Iran) on Valentine’s Day
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50 States, 50 Love Stories The New York Times (Valentine’s Day)
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Peace Corps’ sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback

Purchase Peace Corps Chronology by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)

As we slid towards March 1, 2020, fifty-nine years since JFK signed an Executive Order creating the Peace Corps, I have a suggested for all RPCVs who want to hold onto the history of the agency. Buy a copy of Larry Lihosit’s chronology of the agency that covers the years 1961-2010. This is, I think, the only source of dates and facts on how the agency grew and developed, listing the Peace Corps changes that happened in every country where Volunteers served from 1961 to 2010. For example, here are three examples of what you’ll find in the book. Aug. 28, 1961 The first groups of Peace Corps Volunteers sent to Ghana and Tanzania, Africa. Summer, 1967 Volunteers in Chile circulated a petition to protest the Vietnam war. Jack Vaughn, Director, sent a letter to all countries assuring volunteers that they had the right to free speech but as public employees should . . .

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Sarasota Observer recognizes Gulf Coast of Florida RPCVs

    Returned Peace Corps volunteers continue service at home SARASOTA OBSERVER by: Amanda Morales Staff Writer Years after serving abroad, Peace Corps volunteers work on projects throughout Sarasota. • Jan Mazer, who served in Uganda from 1993 to 1995 for the Peace Corps, remembers how difficult it was to transition back to American society when she returned. “It changes you so much,” she said. “That’s the one thing we all share with the Peace Corps; we are not the person who went in. We come back an entirely different human being.” More than 20 years later, Mazer admits that when it rains, she has the urge to stick a bucket outside to catch water, a habit she formed while serving in Nejje, Uganda, as an education teacher trainer. The other habit she and fellow returned Peace Corps volunteers can’t shake is the call to help. In 2006, the Returned Peace Corps . . .

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Review — WELCOME TO THE WRITER’S LIFE by Paulette Perhach (Paraguay)

    Welcome to the Writer’s Life: How to Design Your Writing Craft, Writing Business, Writing Practice, and Reading Practice Paulette  Perhach (Paraguay 2008–10) Sasquatch Books 2018 320 pages $18.95 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by James W. Skelton, Jr. (Ethiopia 1970–72) • Most of us have read books about how to write or be a writer, but this book by Paulette Perhach is by far the best “writer’s book” I’ve ever read. When I began reading it, I was pretty sure I could claim to have already become a writer, but before I was halfway through the text I realized I’m still trying to be a writer. By the time I finished reading Welcome to the Writer’s Life, it was clear that it’s not just another writer’s book or a rule book, it’s much more than that, it’s a writer’s ultimate instruction manual on becoming a successful writer. The amount . . .

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“Moritz Thomsen: His Letters and His Legacy“ (Ecuador)

Moritz Thomsen: His Letters and His Legacy by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73) First published: January 2020 edition of Scarlet Leaf Review Moritz Thomsen was an extraordinary writer and influential expatriate who spent thirty years in Ecuador studying the culture and identifying with the people with whom he lived. Although Thomsen only wrote five books, which have been compared to the works of Thoreau and Conrad, he was an avid letter writer. His missives numbered in the multiple thousands, though according to one letter, he was only able to respond to five letters a day on his typewriter, often in the hot, humid jungle of Ecuador. And yet, despite his propensity for separating himself from the outside world—or perhaps because of his isolation—he corresponded with numerous authors, publishers, and professionals. Upon returning from one trip abroad he said he found close to 400 letters to answer. According to author Tom . . .

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“Charles Murray (Thailand) Returns!”

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Jeanne Paul (Brazil 1964-66)   Charles Murray Returns, Nodding to Caution but Still Courting Controversy A review in the New York Times, February 13, 2020 by Parul Sehgal     Just when the world seems poised to boil over with political rancor and outrage, along comes Charles Murray — right on time — with a new book titled “Human Diversity.” Yes, that Charles Murray, who in 1994 co-authored “The Bell Curve,” with Richard J. Herrnstein, arguing in two notorious chapters that I.Q. differences between the races were mostly innate and mostly intractable. (They allowed that environmental factors play a part in I.Q., but held that the “balance of the evidence” put a genetic factor of 60 percent “on the low side.”) Social programs like welfare or early education intervention ought to be scrapped not only because they were fruitless but because they encouraged women . . .

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Where were you on March 1, 1961?–The date the Peace Corps was created?

Tell us your Peace Corps story (and if you weren’t around back then!)…what did you think of the Peace Corps idea? Why did you join? Today, the agency has been in 141 countries…which one was yours? Over 230,000+ have been Volunteers. When were you a PCV? Tell us in 500 words or less what your service has meant to you. Why is the Peace Corps important for all of us? Send a photo of yourself from your Peace Corps years. Share your story with future generations of PCVs.

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Pompeo aims to cut funds for honoring RPCV Chris Stevens (Morocco)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Tino Calabia (Peru 1963-65)     Pompeo Aims to Cut Funds for Program Honoring Envoy Killed in Benghazi The secretary of state rose to prominence investigating the 2012 Benghazi attack. Now he’s on board with an administration plan to eliminate funding for a program honoring Chris Stevens (Morocco 1983-85). BY COLUM LYNCH, ROBBIE GRAMER Foreign Policy Magazine FEBRUARY 14, 2020     As a little-known congressman from Kansas, Mike Pompeo once said his top priority was getting to the bottom of the killing of J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, calling them heroes who had been let down by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Democratic leaders who put politics above the safety of their own people. But as U.S. secretary of state, Pompeo is now pressing Congress to eliminate a $5 million contribution to a charity dedicated to Stevens’s memory. . . .

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50 States, 50 Love Stories The New York Times (Valentine’s Day)

Thanks to Marnie Mueller for the ‘heads up’ (Ecuador 1963-65)    50 States, 50 Love Stories New York Times, Valentine’s Day From sea to shining sea, here’s a tour of unforgettable fiction that explores matters of the heart. In the list of ‘love story’ by novelists from all of our states, Colorado comes up with a real winner, RPCV Kent Haruf (Turkey 1965-67) Colorado Kent Haruf, “Our Souls at Night” Kent Haruf’s final novel opens with an evening visit between neighbors in their 70s. Our reviewer wrote: “Both are widowed — Addie is 70, Louis about the same — and Addie makes the surprising proposal that they begin sleeping together, without sex, just to talk in the dark and provide the sleep-easing comfort of physical company. … We get to watch these two, night by night, pass through phases of awkwardness, intimacy and alliance.” In the summer of 2014 Haruf . . .

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Peace Corps’ sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Michael Varga (Chad 1977-79) Peace Corps’ sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback BY REBECCA BEITSCH – 02/12/20 06:00 AM EST 123 The Peace Corps’ abrupt decision to end its program in China has spurred confusion, including from lawmakers who question whether the agency is caving to political pressure from Florida’s two Republican senators. Congress was informed of the decision on Jan. 16, when the agency sent a note to the appropriations committees that it would be withdrawing from China, ending a program where volunteers teach English to university students in some of the nation’s poorest interior provinces. The drumbeat to get the Peace Corps out of China was led by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who has pressed to strip it of independent status under the White House while blocking it from placing volunteers in any “hostile nations.” Scott has introduced legislation to place the Peace Corps under . . .

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