Archive - August 2020

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REASONABLE DOUBT by Phillip Margolin (Liberia)
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MY LIFE ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM by Tracey Cohen (Namibia)
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Bob Frank (Nepal) retires from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management
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George Packer (Togo) . . . “This Is How Biden Loses”
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See the Documentary, Support the Museum
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Tim McCollum (Madagascar) builds a chocolate factory
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THE UPSHAWS OF COUNTY LINE: An American Family by Richard S. Orton (Liberia)
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Review — EVERY HILL A BURIAL PLACE by Peter H. Reid (Tanzania)
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Review — JESSE, A MAN GOOD ENOUGH by Will Michelet (India)
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Review — OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE by Jonathan Slaght (Russia)

REASONABLE DOUBT by Phillip Margolin (Liberia)

  A Reasonable Doubt (2020) is the third book in the series of legal thrillers featuring defense lawyer Robin Lockwood by The New York Times bestselling American author Phillip Margolin (Liberia 1965-67). I enjoyed this book and recommend it for your reading list. Click on the links to learn more about the author and his many books. About Philip Margolin I grew up in New York City and Levittown, New York. In 1965, I graduated from The American University in Washington, D.C. with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government. From 1965 to 1967, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. In 1970, I graduated from New York University School of Law. I went at night during my last two years in law school, and worked my way through by teaching junior high school in the South Bronx in New York City. My first job after law school was a clerkship with Herbert M. . . .

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MY LIFE ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM by Tracey Cohen (Namibia)

  In her third book Tracey Cohen (Namibia 2003-05) gets more personal about her own journey living on the autism spectrum. Her goal of exposing herself so candidly is to help others know that they are not alone in their journey and to help smooth their path. She aims also to help neurotypicals more clearly understand life on the autism spectrum. Full of pictures from Tracey’s childhood and adult life, this book will help anyone gain a much greater understanding of people on the autism spectrum. Chapters Include: Bewilderment and Difficult Relationships; Institutionalized as a Preteen; Education and Employment — Challenges and Achievements; My Journey to Diagnosis; My Top Six Challenges; Running — My Heart and Soul; and Best Practices for People with Autism. Tracey’s other books are Six Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome: 100 Lessons to Understand, and Support Girls and Women with Asperger’s and Six-Word Lessons on the Sport of . . .

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Bob Frank (Nepal) retires from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management

  Robert H. Frank (Nepal 1966–68) taught his first college course before graduating from Georgia Tech in 1966. A Cornell professor and influential teacher of economics since 1972, Frank retired from Cornell on July 1, 2020, after more than a half-century of teaching. A pioneer and champion of behavioral economics, Frank has written and spoken extensively in his many books, essays, and media interviews about moral sentiments, positional goods, expenditure cascades, the ever-widening income gap, the role of luck in our lives, and, most recently, the power of behavioral contagion. •   Bob Frank’s Legacy as a Teacher, Behavioral Economist, Economic Naturalist, and Author by Janice Endresen Ethical Systems August 25, 2020     In 1966, when Robert H. Frank arrived in Nepal to teach high-school math and science as a Peace Corps volunteer, he was surprised at how quickly he felt comfortable in his modest new home, even though conditions . . .

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George Packer (Togo) . . . “This Is How Biden Loses”

George Packer (Togo 1982-83) Staff writer for The Atlantic   Here is a prediction about the November election: If Donald Trump wins, in a trustworthy vote, what’s happening this week in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will be one reason. Maybe the reason. And yet Joe Biden has it in his power to spare the country a second Trump term. Events are unfolding with the inevitable logic of a nightmare. A white police officer shoots a Black man as he’s leaning into a car with his three sons inside — shoots him point-blank in the back, seven times, “as if he didn’t matter,” the victim’s father later says. If George Floyd was crushed to death by depraved indifference, Jacob Blake is the object of an attempted execution. Somehow, he survives — but his body is shattered, paralyzed from the waist down, maybe for life. Kenosha explodes in rage, the same rage that’s been igniting around the . . .

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See the Documentary, Support the Museum

  The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience will host a screening of “A Towering Task,” the award-winning Peace Corps documentary, viewable September 18 – 30, 2020. Income from ticket sales will allow us to create Museum exhibits next year during the 60thAnniversary of Peace Corps. Please help us get the word out. Distribute this message as widely as possible. Help us expand public awareness of the Peace Corps and its history-making impact. By selling tickets for an online showing, Cinema 21 theater in Portland, Oregon will donate all its earnings to the Museum. Ticket purchases will begin after September 1. Then you’ll receive another message including links to purchase $10 tickets from Cinema 21 for online streaming. The message will also invite viewers to a Zoom panel discussion on September 30 with Alana DeJoseph, documentary Producer, Glenn Blumhorst, President, National Peace Corps Association, and other returned Peace Corps Volunteers. It’s a win-win proposition—but . . .

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Tim McCollum (Madagascar) builds a chocolate factory

  Breaking the mold: How Beyond Good is reinventing the chocolate business   Building a chocolate factory has been part of Tim McCollum’s  (Madagascar 1999-2011) plan since he founded Beyond Good, formerly Madécasse, in 2008. On its own that’s not an easy feat, but the location for the company’s first state-of-the-art production facility added another layer of difficulty. Beyond Good set up shop in Madagascar, where it sources rare, wonderfully fruity Criollo cacao directly from farmers. Though Africa — West Africa, in particular — supplies 70 percent of the world’s cocoa, the “statistical equivalent of 0 percent” of the world’s chocolate is produced there, McCollum says. There are several reasons for that, ranging from a lack of infrastructure, the need to ship and install manufacturing equipment, employee training, and ultimately, the distribution of profits. “They all add up to it being a very difficult proposition,” McCollum says. “But creating serious value . . .

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THE UPSHAWS OF COUNTY LINE: An American Family by Richard S. Orton (Liberia)

    Guss, Felix, and Jim Upshaw founded the community of County Line in the 1870s in northwest Nacogdoches County, in deep East Texas.  As with hundreds of other relatively autonomous black communities created at that time, the Upshaws sought a safe place to raise their children and create a livelihood during Reconstruction and Jim Crow Texas. In the late 1980s photographer, Richard Orton visited County Line for the first time and became aware of a world he did not know existed as a white man.  He met some remarkable people there who changed his life. The more than 50 duotone photographs and text convey the contemporary experience of growing up in a “freedom colony.” Covering a period of twenty-five years, photographer Richard Orton juxtaposes his images with text from people who grew up in and have remained connected to their birthplace.  Thad Sitton’s foreword sets the community in historical . . .

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

  Every Hill a Burial Place: The Peace Corps Murder Trial in East Africa By Peter H. Reid (Tanzania 1964-66) University of Kentucky Press 332 pages September 2020 $35.10 (Kindle); $36.95 (Hardcover) A review by John Ratigan (Tanzania 1964-66) • Fifty-four years ago, in March 1966, in a small village in Tanzania, a young American woman died when she fell from a rocky hill where she and her husband of 16 months were picnicking. Peverly Dennett Kinsey, known to everyone by the descriptive nickname of “Peppy,” was a Peace Corps upper primary school teacher from Riverside, Connecticut, who had met and married her husband, Bill Kinsey, also a PCV upper primary school teacher, while they were in Peace Corps training at Syracuse University. Peppy had graduated only a few months before from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Bill was a ‘64 graduate of Washington and Lee University. At first, . . .

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Review — JESSE, A MAN GOOD ENOUGH by Will Michelet (India)

  Jesse, A Man Good Enough by Will Michelet [Richard Grimsrud] (India 1965-67) Glorybound Publishing 114 pages January 2020 $10.00 (Paperback), $0.00 (Kindle); Reviewed by, Bob Arias (Colombia (1964-66) • “One cannot patch an old shirt with new material, for the repair will not adhere to it!” Author Will Michelet [the nom de plume of Richard Grimsrud] served in India from 1965  to 1967), where as a Peace Corps Volunteer he developed an awareness and appreciation for the diversity of the communities in India. His compassion is shared with the readers as we walk the fields of Wisconsin, his home. In the story, Jesse La Follette is the community social worker who brings Christianity to the present time, but claims that he is not the Messiah. Jesse denies that he was the long-awaited Messiah. None the less, Jesse seems to be following the path as practiced by St. Luke . . . .

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Review — OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE by Jonathan Slaght (Russia)

  Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl By Jonathan Slaght (Russia 1999—02) Ferrar, Straus and Giroux August 2020 358 pages $28.00 (Hardcover)   Reviewed by Fuller Torrey, MD (Staff/Ethiopia 1964-66) For those of us whose Peace Corps experience involved villages in countries such as Bolivia, Ethiopia, India and Thailand, placing Peace Corps volunteers in Russia seems like a disconnect. But indeed between 1992 and 2003 722 Peace Corps volunteers served there, including Jonathan Slaght, the author of this most interesting book. He spent three years in Russia’s Far East, 4,000 miles from Moscow in remote villages, a full day’s drive north of Vladivostok. In fact, he was among the last volunteers to leave when Russia kicked the Peace Corps out after accusing it of using volunteers as spies. The only disappointing thing about this book is that the author writes almost . . .

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