Archive - December 21, 2020

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“Peace Corps Christmas” by Jeanne D‘Haem (Somalia)
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New Novel — STREETS OF GOLFITO by Jim LaBate (Costa Rica)

“Peace Corps Christmas” by Jeanne D‘Haem (Somalia)

  by Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia 1968-70) On Christmas Eve my family gathered at my grandmother’s house on Jane Street in Detroit, Michigan. Her Christmas tree glittered with multicolored bubble lights. The uncles sat in the small living room, my aunts and grandmother tasted and talked in the kitchen. Cousins played with the wooden blocks and the Indian doll in the wooden toy box in the den. Sometimes there were new babies to hold. I was 22 the first time I could not attend, as I was a Peace Corps volunteer serving in Somalia, and  I wanted to at least send a Christmas gift to Grandma Carter. Newspaper cones of tea, alcohol for the tilly lamps, or the blue and green patterned cloth for sale in my village did not seem worth sending across two oceans. However, when my neighbor showed me what she gathered from distant trees, I realized I could . . .

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New Novel — STREETS OF GOLFITO by Jim LaBate (Costa Rica)

  Streets of Golfito: A Novel by Jim LaBate focuses on two individuals who meet in Golfito, Costa Rica in 1974. Jim (Diego) is a 22-year-old Peace Corps Volunteer from upstate New York, and he has been assigned to introduce sports other than soccer to the young people. By contrast, Lilli is a shy, beautiful, 17-year-old Costa Rican girl who wants to learn English and escape her small town, a banana port on the Pacific side near the Panamanian border. In alternating chapters, the first third of the book shows these two characters growing up in their respective countries. Then, after they meet, Lilli experiences a tragedy that will drastically change her life, and Jim does all he can to help her survive and thrive in her new circumstances. • Streets of Golfito: A Novel by Jim LaBate (Costa Rica 1973-75) Mohawk River Press 252 pages October 2020 $9.99 (Kindle); $19.95 . . .

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