Archive - October 6, 2020

1
Bill Josephson’s letter to The New York Times
2
Movie Review — A TOWERING TASK: THE STORY OF THE PEACE CORPS
3
“Nine Days in Wuhan, the Ground Zero of the Coronavirus Pandemic” by Peter Hessler (China)

Bill Josephson’s letter to The New York Times

  Letter to the Editor The New York Times October 5, 2020   This relates to Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s, “As Peace Corps Gears Up to Redeploy, Its Health Care is Questioned,” that appeared in our Sunday home delivery edition of The New York Times on October 4, and was printed digitally October 2, revised October 3.  The story is an excellent, if saddening report. Two people are completely absent from the article. The director of the Peace Corps in the Comoros and the Peace Corps Director herself, Josephine Olsen. During the formative years of the Peace Corps, 1961-66, volunteer deaths and serious injuries were the responsibility of the Peace Corps Director himself, Sargent Shriver, and myself as founding counsel. The only Peace Corps Washington staff person mentioned in the article is the regional director, a third or fourth ranking official. I happened to be the Senior Duty Officer on a weekend when . . .

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Movie Review — A TOWERING TASK: THE STORY OF THE PEACE CORPS

Directed by Alana DeJoseph (Mali 1992-94) Reviewed by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia 1965-67) • A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps took on a towering task: to tell the story of a 57-year-old government agency where virtually all the people involved were short-timers. Volunteers served two  years, with a few, very few, extending to a third year, and staff were limited to 5 years of service. What RPCVs like me remember is our window of service in the country we served, but the story is much bigger than a single slice of time. Director Alana DeJoseph obviously knows that the best way to portray history is through the stories of participants threaded together, and makes generous use of interviews and film clips beginning with those present at the creation and including volunteers, host country nationals, and staff of every era. It opens with Sarge Shriver earnestly explaining the purpose of the Peace Corps, then moves to John . . .

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“Nine Days in Wuhan, the Ground Zero of the Coronavirus Pandemic” by Peter Hessler (China)

  By Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) New Yorker Magazine October 5, 2020 On my second visit to the site of the former Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, at the intersection of New China Road and Development Road, in central Wuhan, I wore a mask and a pair of sunglasses with a loose frame. It was late August, and three security guards in black uniforms sat at the entrance. They examined my passport, checked my temperature, and asked me to scan a QR code that connected to a registration system. The system, though, required a national I.D. number, and the guards seemed uncertain what to do with a foreigner. I handed over the sunglasses and explained that they needed to be repaired. The earliest documented clusters of coronavirus infections had occurred in the Huanan market. During my first visit, a week earlier, I had left after attracting the attention of a man . . .

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