Archive - July 2020

1
The Peace Corps remembers Martin Luther King, Jr.
2
OWL OF THE EASTERN ICE by Jonathan Slaght (Russia) — a review
3
RPCV(Togo) pet owner’s fight with CDC ends
4
A Writer Writes: “The Even Keel of a Well Told Lie” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
5
IN EVERY HILL A BURIAL PLACE — Publishers Weekly talks with Peter H. Reid (Tanzania)
6
The profile of the first group to go to the Philippines in 1961
7
HYPOGRIF IN BUBBAVILLE by Grif Stockley (Colombia)
8
“The Peace Corps’s presence in China was good for the US” by Reed Piercey (China)
9
EVERY HILL A BURIAL PLACE by Peter H. Reid (Tanzania)
10
JESSE, A MAN GOOD ENOUGH by Will Michelet aka Richard M. Grimsrud (India)

The Peace Corps remembers Martin Luther King, Jr.

  A Timeless Reminder by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • As I was watching the Memorial Services for John Lewis in Ebenezer Baptist Church, it reminded me of an April day in 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. I was on PC/W staff and Director, Jack Vaughn called me into his office. He nominated me to form a Committee and raise funds for, at the time, an indeterminate Memorial in Dr. King’s honor. While time now masks the amount of funds our Committee succeeded in raising, I do recall that we wanted the Memorial to represent something that was timeless in Dr. King’s life. That led us to purchase a Gold Brick and present it to Officials at the Ebenezer Baptist Church.  They assured us that they would find a suitable site near the Podium for its placement. After that brief conversation, we lost personal contact with . . .

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OWL OF THE EASTERN ICE by Jonathan Slaght (Russia) — a review

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Steven Boyd Saum (Ukraine 1994-96)   Owls of the Eastern Ice by Jonathan C Slaght review – an extraordinary quest Drinking ethanol and saving the world … an old-school, tautly strung adventure in pursuit of the largest species of owl review by Helen Macdonald, 22 July,  The Guardian   Jonathan Slaght has the best author photograph I’ve ever seen. Pale, bearded, dressed in black, he gazes at the camera with forbidding intensity. Behind him are snowy woods and running water. Arms crossed, hands deep in a pair of unwieldy leather gauntlets, he holds against his chest a huge owl. Its feathers are shaggy and wet, and from its mouth protrudes the tail end of a silver fish. There’s something puppet-like about this creature, like a living Jim Henson creation, but it also resembles a beast pulled straight from the pages of a medieval bestiary – . . .

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RPCV(Togo) pet owner’s fight with CDC ends

  By Benjamin Cox on July 28, 2020 WLDS.com Audra Elam with her dog, Socrates, on her porch in western Africa before attending a local festival in 2019. (Ian Fingado) A Beardstown woman reunited with her dog today after a fight with the federal government over pet importation rules at the CDC. 27 year old Audra Elam (Togo 2019-20) of Beardstown reunited with Socrates after a month-long quarantine at The ARK at JFK Airport in New York. Elam’s journey with Socrates stirred public concern about how the government handles the importation of pets and possible policy changes on the issue with the CDC. The story of Elam and Socrates began in 2018 when Elam arrived in Togo, Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer. A common practice in the Peace Corps program is that volunteers will inherit the house, furniture and even pets from previous volunteers in their host country. Such . . .

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A Writer Writes: “The Even Keel of a Well Told Lie” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

  by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978–80) The Oddville Press Summer 2020   NOBODY HITCHHIKED ANY MORE, not through this America so full of dread and bad history. That did not necessarily mean the thing could not be done. Thumb out. If a person were leaving Broadhope County in south Virginia headed toward a destination he was as yet unable to visualize, it could not hurt to try for a lift. Not on the highway, where police prowled, just a plain old country road. Thumb out. He put the odds at slim to none that somebody would stop and pick him up, this close to a dense wood of loblolly pines, under a gray sky in late October, a quarter mile from a broken-armed scarecrow in a field of corn- stalk stubble. Guilt by association. Slimmer still, those odds, that it would be a woman who stopped, but she did. He did . . .

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IN EVERY HILL A BURIAL PLACE — Publishers Weekly talks with Peter H. Reid (Tanzania)

by Lenny Picker Publishers Weekly Jul 24, 2020   In Every Hill a Burial Place: The Peace Corps Murder Trial in East Africa (Univ. of Kentucky, Sept.), [Peter] Reid revisits a 1966 murder in Tanzania that rocked the program. Both Peace Corps volunteers involved—Bill Kinsey, who was accused of murdering his wife, Peppy—were white. What role did race play in the investigation and trial? There was an interesting dynamic in Tanzania at the time. The country had recently thrown off the chains of European colonialism and was working hard to show its independence and the power of the African leadership. These factors played into the case. There were few African lawyers and even fewer judges. The defense attorneys, expert witnesses, and the judge were almost all white, and all had far more experience than the Africans on the prosecution side. I’m not sure the case demonstrates so much white privilege as the . . .

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The profile of the first group to go to the Philippines in 1961

  PHILIPPINES Peace Corps Volunteers in the Philippines will assist in improving the quality of English spoken in rural areas and in raising teaching standards in both English and general science. They will help Filipino teachers of rural elementary schools teach their students to speak better English and increase understanding of scientific principles. Volunteers will be assigned as educational aides on Filipino teaching staffs in four minor regions. They will supplement, not replace, Filipino teachers. The Philippine Government is urging a general, rapid and comprehensive upgrading of education, especially in rural schools where teaching of  English and science is not yet of sufficiently high standard to prepare pupils for technical study. In the Philippines, English is the language of technology, trade, commerce and culture, but during the last five decades the influence of local languages and dialects has so altered spoken English that it is fast becoming incomprehensible to outsiders. . . .

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HYPOGRIF IN BUBBAVILLE by Grif Stockley (Colombia)

  Explaining Elaine by Rex Nelson Arkansas Democrat-Gazette • Grif Stockley was born into the cotton culture of the Mid-South. His father, Griffin Jasper Stockley Sr., owned a cotton plantation at Lake Cormorant in the Mississippi Delta when the younger Stockley was born in October 1944. The family later moved across the Mississippi River to Marianna, where the father committed suicide during the final stages of cancer. Grif Stockley was 17 when his father died. Stockley excelled in school, serving as president of the student body and enrolling at what’s now Rhodes College at Memphis following high school graduation in 1962. Stockley entered the Peace Corps in 1965 after completing his bachelor’s degree in three years. He worked in Colombia for two years before being drafted into the U.S. Army. After his two-year tour of duty, Stockley began law school at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He went to . . .

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“The Peace Corps’s presence in China was good for the US” by Reed Piercey (China)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Steven Saum (Ukraine 1994-96) by Reed Piercey (China 2019-2020) July 23, 2020 12:00 AM This month’s proposed State Department funding bill devotes less than two of its 326 pages to the Peace Corps. It does, however, contain a brief but significant provision: “None of the funds made available by this Act or prior Acts under this heading may be used to permanently close the United States-China Friendship Volunteer Program.” Never mind that the U.S.-China Friendship Volunteers, another name for the Peace Corps’s China program, has already been closed down. To anyone reading Tom Rogan’s recent opinion piece in the Washington Examiner, this sentence is made out to be an attempt by House Democrats to weaken American national security. In fact, the Peace Corps’s presence there advanced our country’s interests, values, and security in a number of crucial ways. As Peace Corps staff and volunteers have long known, . . .

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EVERY HILL A BURIAL PLACE by Peter H. Reid (Tanzania)

  “Every Hill a Burial Place combines the suspense of a fictional legal thriller with a fascinating look at the early days of the Peace Corps in Africa.” —Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author of A Reasonable Doubt and a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Liberia, 1965–1967)   On March 28, 1966, Peace Corps personnel in Tanzania received word that volunteer Peppy Kinsey had fallen to her death while rock climbing during a picnic. Local authorities arrested Kinsey’s husband, Bill, and charged him with murder as witnesses came forward claiming to have seen the pair engaged in a struggle. The incident had the potential to be disastrous for both the Peace Corps and the newly independent nation of Tanzania. Because of the high stakes surrounding the trial, questions remain as to whether there was more behind the final “not guilty” verdict than was apparent on the surface. Peter H. Reid, . . .

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JESSE, A MAN GOOD ENOUGH by Will Michelet aka Richard M. Grimsrud (India)

  Jesse La Follette, an imagined social reformer, advocates for a program of transformative political change for Wisconsin in the mid-twentieth century that is eerily reminiscent of the early Christian Prophets. When he threatens too many of the powers that were then, though, he escapes the fate that Jesus Christ suffered two thousand years before only by the skin of his teeth and flees to a surprising and ironic refuge nearby to quietly continue his teaching. While in India as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Will Michelet learned about language as a means of connection to others and as a result became able to communicate to all of its various castes. This facility affected a commitment to the equal importance of each and every person in him. You will see this thread in his Jesse, a Man Good Enough. www.gloryboundpublishing.com • Richard M. Grimsrud writing as Will Michelet practiced employment and . . .

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