Archive - September 2020

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RPCV (Honduras & PC/W Staff) indicted on voter fraud charges
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Review–The Long Arc of the Universe by Kathleen Stocking (Thailand & Romania)
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LEARNING PEACE by Krista Jolivette (Ethiopia)
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Barry Moline (Guatemala) “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me”
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Review — A HUNDRED FIRES IN CUBA by John Thorndike (El Salvador)
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CorpsAfrica Needs You
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Review — THE LONG ARC OF THE UNIVERSE by Kathleen Stocking (Thailand, Romania)
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Review — Havana Odyssey by Stephen E. Murphy (HQ Staff)
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SWAHILI ON THE PRAIRIE — Talking with David Asher Goldenberg (Kenya)
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Should the US abolish the Peace Corps?

RPCV (Honduras & PC/W Staff) indicted on voter fraud charges

  Mary Kate Lowndes, RPCV (Honduras 1989–91) and member of Peace Corps staff in Washington, has been indicted on one felony and three misdemeanor voter fraud charges CONCORD, NH — A Washington, D.C., woman has been indicted on four voter fraud charges after being accused of wrongfully registering to vote in New Hampshire in 2016 and voting during the 2018 general election, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. Mary Kate Lowndes, 57,  was indicted on a felony wrongful voting charge, two counts of misdemeanor wrongful voting, and a single count of misusing an absentee ballot. According to prosecutors, Lowndes filed a voter registration form in 2016 claiming to be domiciled at a shopping center on Crystal Avenue in Derry when she actually lived outside of New Hampshire, a misdemeanor charge. Investigators accused her of requesting and receiving an absentee ballot in the Nov. 6, 2018, general election and then . . .

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Review–The Long Arc of the Universe by Kathleen Stocking (Thailand & Romania)

The Long Arc of the Universe: Travels Beyond the Pale by Kathleen Stocking (Thailand 2006-07; Romania 2010-12) Stocking Press 384 pages’ January 2016 $19.95 (Paperback)   Reviewed by Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96) The Long Arc of the Universe is a well-written, detailed, example-filled, and meaningful account of the author’s travels on four continents over a span of 16 years. With the premise that there is kindness in the world, Kathleen Stocking seeks to affirm and experience her premise. It takes her from the prisons of California to two Peace Corps volunteer tours and, in the last chapter, home. I was struck by her methodology. Rather than seek out kindness, she crafted ways to give it, and one of the fascinations of the book is learning how her kindness is perceived and flows back to her. The results energize her to continue her outreach in another country and continent. In the last . . .

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LEARNING PEACE by Krista Jolivette (Ethiopia)

  Learning Peace is a story about a girl from the Midwest who moves to the desert of northern Ethiopia. It’s a story about someone who realizes that there is more to life than 3G network; it’s a story about camels meandering by and people sipping coffee and silly mistakes in foreign language class. But above all, this is a story about growth, inner transformation, and resilience. It’s a story about dozens of minibus rides through the rocky desert, hundreds of cups of coffee and conversation, and the many people along the way who taught me about peace. I wrote this book in the hopes of enlightening and teaching others about my Peace Corps experience. I won’t pretend that I saved anyone or changed anyone or taught anyone anything during my time in Ethiopia; to be honest, the most growth and change and renewal that happened was within me. So . . . .

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Barry Moline (Guatemala) “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me”

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Steven Boyd Saum (Ukraine 1994-96)   Barry Moline 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became the CEO of the California Municipal Utilities Association Authority Magazine September 21, 2020 • “It’s vitally important to connect with your staff and colleagues. If you build relationships, people will work more easily with you. This is a universal truth that not many people understand. It’s such a vital skill that I wrote a book about it called Connect! How to Quickly Collaborate for Success in Business and Life.” • Aspart of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Barry Moline. With 25+ years as a CEO, Barry has learned a lot about management and leadership. He leads the California Municipal Utilities Association, where he and his team work with publicly owned water agencies and electric utilities to . . .

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Review — A HUNDRED FIRES IN CUBA by John Thorndike (El Salvador)

  A Hundred Fires in Cuba by John Thorndike (El Salvador 1966-68) Beck & Branch Publishers 316 pages 2018 $9.79 (Paperback),$4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Stephen Foehr (Ethiopia 1965-67) • Idealism fitted to pragmatism, with the inevitable conundrums and conflicts for balance in the personal as in revolution, is the bedrock of John Thorndike’s novel A Hundred Fires in Cuba. The novel is a love story. Camilo Cienfuegos is a real historical person, and Clare is a fictional American photographer and mother of Cienfuego’s (which translates as a hundred fires) illegitimate daughter. Clare is the passionate flame of their affair; Camilo’s passion is the Cuban revolution. As one of Castro’s main comandantes, he was appointed, after the fall the dictator Batista, head of the national army, a conglomerate of ragged rebels and Batista’s defeated troops. Camilo and Clare’s affair began in New York, where Camilo, an illegal, worked in a restaurant’s . . .

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CorpsAfrica Needs You

  Liz Fanning served as a PCV in Morocco from 1993-95 and started CorpsAfrica to give young Moroccans (and all Africans) the opportunity to serve like she did, and to benefit from the transformative experience of service. CorpsAfrica builds on the Peace Corps model to deploy highly motivated young women and men to rural communities to facilitate small-scale, high-impact projects that are identified by local people and with a community contribution. The CorpsAfrica experience gives young adults an opportunity to learn valuable professional skills while expanding their understanding of their country. Since 2013, CorpsAfrica has recruited, trained and placed nearly 300 volunteers in Morocco, Senegal, Malawi, and Rwanda, to serve in their own countries and other African countries. During the coronavirus pandemic, the Volunteers have chosen to stay at their sites to provide vital information and promoting healthy practices to marginalized communities. They demonstrate the power of local volunteers and . . .

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Review — THE LONG ARC OF THE UNIVERSE by Kathleen Stocking (Thailand, Romania)

  The Long Arc of the Universe: Travels Beyond the Pale by Kathleen Stocking (Thailand 2006-07; Romania 2010-12) Stocking Press 384 pages’ January 2016 $19.95 (Paperback) Reviewed by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia 1965-67) • The Long Arc of the Universe: Travels Beyond the Pale is an ambitious title with reverberations from Theodore Parker and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. coupled with the expectation of going where you aren’t necessarily comfortable. It is also a big book for a collection of essays, 384 pages, 5 sections: California, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and Home. These are not exactly parallel divisions: a state, three continents, and then Stocking’s home, the tiny village of Lake Leelanau, a knuckle on the skinny finger of land, Leelanau Peninsula, that juts into the northeastern waters of Lake Michigan. But it works. It works extremely well. For some reason I started at the end, which I never do, and read . . .

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Review — Havana Odyssey by Stephen E. Murphy (HQ Staff)

  Havana Odyssey: Chasing Ochoa’s Ghost by Stephen Murphy (HQ Staff 2002-03) Self Published 296 pages July 2020 $17.95 (Paperback), $8.49 (Kindle); Reviewed by Sean Sullivan (Liberia 1970-72; staff 1970-76) • It took Odysseus 10 years of incredible adventures to make his way back to his home in Ithaca after winning the Trojan War, as the ancient Greek writer Homer relates. It took Stephen Murphy 10 days to return home after his epic journey in Cuba, as he recounts in his fascinating new book, Havana Odyssey: Chasing Ochoa’s Ghost. Both books, the former written 2500 years ago, the latter 25 days ago, mix fact with fiction and hold the reader spellbound. Fact: Murphy had a brief affair in 1989 with Cuban dissident Ana Sanchez when they met while he was the U. S. Information Agency’s TV director in Washington DC. Ana was the niece of Arnaldo Ochoa, Cuba’s most decorated and . . .

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SWAHILI ON THE PRAIRIE — Talking with David Asher Goldenberg (Kenya)

  NOTE: I urge you to read this insightful interview and watch Dave Goldenberg’s wonderful documentary, Swahili on the Prairie. This film is what the Peace Corps has been about all these years. While this is not your story, it is your story. All of us where there. All of us went overseas to countries we could hardly find on a map and came home with stories to tell. We came home having done a job no one expected we could do. We came home with friendships made and friendships that continue today. We are the Peace Corps. We are the legacy of JFK and the New Frontier. We are what America is all about. Read Marnie Mueller’s wonderful interview of David Asher Goldenberg and his insightful film Swahili on the Prairie. Yes, it is about these guys who went to Kenya to work on farms, but it is also about . . .

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Should the US abolish the Peace Corps?

Thanks for the “heads up” from Concetta Anne Bencivenga (Thailand 1992-94) The story behind one group’s grassroots effort to do just that Shanna Loga (Morocco 2006-08) Medium.com Sep 20 · For many Americans, the Peace Corps is a treasured institution. It represents the idealism, generosity, and curiosity of our nation and symbolizes our spirit of humanitarianism. We imagine bright-eyed volunteers selflessly digging wells in Cameroon or teaching English in Ecuador. With its founding by JFK and its current mission of “promoting world peace and friendship,” the Peace Corps holds a special reverence in the national consciousness. Objectively, the Peace Corps is an independent US government agency and volunteer program. Peace Corps volunteers receive three months of in-country, international training before serving two-year terms abroad in sectors including agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth development. The population of volunteers skews young, white, and female: the average age is 26, 65% are female, and . . .

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