Archive - March 25, 2020

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From today’s NY Times (3/25)
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RPCV Courtney Eker writes “Devastated, not fired” (Panama)
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Paul Theroux Reviews “A Towering Task” (Malawi)

From today’s NY Times (3/25)

Go to the New York Times site for the article with pictures –     ‘None of Us Saw It Ending This Way’: Peace Corps Volunteers Evacuate Abruptly By Mariel Padilla for the New York Times March 25, 2020 Updated 2:12 p.m. ET • When the agency suspended all operations for the first time in its history, more than 7,000 volunteers in about 60 countries packed their bags, said their goodbyes and rushed to get home. The urgent update from the Peace Corps landed abruptly in the email inboxes of volunteers on March 15: It was time to evacuate. Miguel Garcia, a 27-year-old volunteer leader for the corps in the Dominican Republic, had just reassured someone that the corps would be staying on the job. With a sinking heart, he read the detailed instructions three times. The tears would come later. Now he had a job to do. He had 24 . . .

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RPCV Courtney Eker writes “Devastated, not fired” (Panama)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Jim McCaffery (Ethiopia 1966-69)     Devastated, not fired March 23, 2020 by Courtney Eker (Panama) • It was 9 PM and I was sitting on a plastic lawn chair with my favorite family, barely able to communicate over the sound of loud accordion “típico” music, when my phone started buzzing out of control in my pocket. I remember thinking I did not want to take it out because I wanted to enjoy my evening, as it would be one of the last family gatherings I would have in my site before leaving the following Saturday. I was one week away from finishing my two years of service in Peace Corps Panama. I looked at the screen anyway, only to read the text, “You may pack two checked bags and one carry on. You must get on your earliest transport out of site whether . . .

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Paul Theroux Reviews “A Towering Task” (Malawi)

A Towering Task Reviewed by Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) “A Towering Task” puts a human face on the Peace Corps – and makes sense of its history of idealism, improvisation, politics, and at times its failings. It is the most coherent and satisfying documentary I know, of the Peace Corps, and I can’t imagine a better one. For its truth and its scope, its arc is complete – from the germ of an idea to help the world, spoken late at night by JFK on his presidential campaign, to its execution later, an Act signed into law and carried out – thousands of young women and men leaving for remote places, to teach, to advise, to inspire – and to be inspired themselves by their work. I was an early volunteer, my group was “Nyasaland III” (1963) – we went to Central Africa and saw Nyasaland become the independent republic of Malawi; . . .

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