Archive - June 2020

1
Mark Wentling (Togo) publishes AFRICA MEMOIR: 50 Years, 54 Countries, One American Life
2
“Exceptionalism Redux” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
3
“The Sunny Side” by Ryan Gahris (Ethiopia)
4
Sarge, Tell Us What To Do!
5
CD Doug Teschner’s (Ukraine & Guinea) Words of Wisdom — Leadership during a Pandemic
6
New from Clifford Garstang (Korea) — HOUSE OF THE ANCIENTS & OTHER STORIES
7
Common Sense Media Reviews “A Towering Task”

Mark Wentling (Togo) publishes AFRICA MEMOIR: 50 Years, 54 Countries, One American Life

  Africa Memoir tells the life story of Mark G. Wentling (Togo 1970-73) from Kansas who grew up to travel, work, and visit all 54 African countries. Derived from over a half-century spent working and living on the African continent, Wentling devotes a chapter to each country describing his firsthand experiences, eye-opening impressions, and views on future prospects. This one-of-a-kind memoir will appear in three volumes, the first, Algeria – Liberia to be published in August 2020; the second, Libya – Senegal to be published in October 2020; the third, Seychelles – Zimbabwe to be published in December 2020. Vol. I. Algeria–Liberia: $21.95 (paperback), $9.99 (eBook) Vol. II. Libya–Senegal: $21.95 (paperback), $9.99 (eBook) Vol. III. Seychelles–Zimbabwe: $21.95 (paperback), $9.99 (eBook) For the full set: $55.99 (paperback), $25.49 (eBook) To order any or all books go to Open Books. Visit all 54 African countries with an adventurous American guide who has spent over . . .

Read More

“Exceptionalism Redux” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

  by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978–80) Evergreen Review   Sue McNally – Maroon Bells, CO (2014)   O, let America be America again — The land that never has been yet — And yet must be — the land where every man is free. — Langston Hughes from “Let America Be America Again”   In 1990, in the run-up to the first Gulf War, I did a long string of media interviews. I was working as embassy spokesman in Tegucigalpa, and interest in hearing the US case for intervention in Iraq was high. The State Department was regularly sending out updated talking points by cable to be used by people like me. I memorized those points, made them my own in Spanish, then went to the newspapers, the radio, and TV stations ready to be grilled. I was aware, of course, of anti-intervention sentiment in the US and did not dismiss the . . .

Read More

“The Sunny Side” by Ryan Gahris (Ethiopia)

  Sitting just to be still, unknowingly, atop an ant hill — the spiders above were spinning their silk. Ahead was an untilled meadow, overgrown and waist-high with nettles. Hiding away microscopic marvels — things just being things. Left to be and compete for the simplest of needs. Predisposed to balance between extremes. Day and night. Hot and cold. Dry and wet. Here and there. But, who really cares? As I stared, my eyes unleashed the anti-abyss — the negative imprint of a tired mind, out sick. But once a lone cloud lured my vacant gaze, it bulldozed through the invisible maze. An ink blot set against a blinding blue blaze. Morphing to mirror my revolting cynical state. Inching closer, as if it had something wise to say… The wind whipped in advance to trigger a chill. Every hair was raised to a static standstill. The elevated scent of a . . .

Read More

Sarge, Tell Us What To Do!

In these sad days of the virus, Donald Trump, and demonstrations and riots on our streets, I thought I might publish the speech given by Sarge Shriver at the second national conference of RPCVs held at Howard University. Thanks to Geri Gritchley (Senegal 1971-73) who had Sarge’s address to the packed auditorium, I am able to share his words of wisdom, hope, and common sense at this moment when our elected leaders appear to have few ideas of their own. Read what Sarge had to tell us that long-ago afternoon in D.C. when we listened to him and realized how fortunate JFK and the New Frontier had him to create the agency that changed all of our lives for the better. — JC Note. •     HONORABLE SARGENT SHRIVER SECOND NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF FORMER PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS AND STAFF SATURDAY, JUNE 20, 1981 HOWARD UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON, D.C.   It’s a . . .

Read More

CD Doug Teschner’s (Ukraine & Guinea) Words of Wisdom — Leadership during a Pandemic

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77)   Leadership during a Pandemic Will you be ready when a crisis strikes? June 3, 2020  Doug Teschner (Ukraine & Guinea 2008-16) NHBusiness Review   Watching the Covid-19 pandemic unfold has a déjà vu feeling for me. From 2008 to 2016, I was a Peace Corps country director and, in July 2014, transferred from Ukraine to Guinea in West Africa. Soon after I arrived, there was a spike of Ebola cases, and we evacuated the Peace Corps volunteers back to the United States. I stayed behind with the American and Guinean staff, and we collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on an innovative community education effort that helped end the Ebola epidemic in 2016. Of course, I had moments of concern for my own health, fueled by “media optics” and pleas from some back in the U.S. . . .

Read More

New from Clifford Garstang (Korea) — HOUSE OF THE ANCIENTS & OTHER STORIES

  Clifford Garstang is the author of the novel in stories, What the Zhang Boys Know, winner of the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction, and the short story collection In an Uncharted Country. He is also the editor of Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, a three-volume anthology of stories set around the world. A former Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea (1976-77) and an international lawyer, Garstang lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Nobody’s perfect, but some of us — mostly men —are blinded by our hubris and baser urges. Judgment is impeded. Mistakes are made. The stories in House of the Ancients and Other Stories, many of them set outside the U.S., explore some of the consequences of these common failings.   House of the Ancients & Other Stories by Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976-77) Press 53 Publisher 172 pages May 2020 $17.95 (paperback)   . . .

Read More

Common Sense Media Reviews “A Towering Task”

The focus of Common Sense Media is information and recommendations for parents. There is also a comment section for children! From the Movie review by Lynnette Nicholas, Common Sense Media “This timely, informative (if slow) documentary sheds light on a truly unique American agency and the goal of using it to create global citizens striving to make an impact on future generations. The film’s overall tone is inspirational, and screenwriter Shana Kelly does a very detailed job of weaving together the personal experiences and testimonials of past and present volunteers, clearly creating correlations with the political climates of particular time periods and their direct impact on global cultures and communities. Not only does A Towering Task showcase the powerful function of the Peace Corps and its history, it also shares the agency’s many struggles, including its high leadership turnover. Vanessa Carr’s cinematography is a great asset to the film. Beautiful aerial shots capture unique locations around the world. A Towering . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.