Archive - 2020

1
Cindy Mosca (Ethiopia) returns to Woldiya in 2019 — A Most Beautiful Day
2
Trump’s move against China for its Uighur oppression makes him look like a hypocrite
3
Cindy Mosca (Ethiopia) shows us “How To Remember Our Tour”
4
NPCA announces “A Moment to Lean In: Courageous Conversations on Racial Equity in International Service”
5
Review — HOUSE OF THE ANCIENTS & OTHER STORIES by Clifford Garstang (Korea)
6
A Writer Writes — “Reading Masks,” a poem by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria)
7
Nominate the Best RPCV Books of 2019 — awards will be announced in August 2020
8
“A Train Took Me 5,000 Miles from Moscow to China—and to a Whole New Life” — Peter Hessler (China)
9
Why Did American University Professor Melillo Ignore Peace Corps Archives?
10
Review — THE TOUGHEST JOB I EVER LOVED by Jonathon Shacat (Gabon)

Cindy Mosca (Ethiopia) returns to Woldiya in 2019 — A Most Beautiful Day

  In 2019, Cindy Mosca (Ethiopia 1967-69) went back to Ethiopia for the first time in 50 years. Former Ethiopia PCV Rick Stoner and his wife Elsa put Cindy and her group in touch with Cheru, an Ethiopian tour guide, who took them all over the country, including Woldia. Cheru, in the red hat here in the video, with Cindy, and her young friend Susan Kosmoski, not an RPCV, and Cindy’s partner, Dennis Schulz (in the red shirt), had a beautiful day in Cindy’s Peace Corps home. Join their visit on YOUTUBE p.s. The next round is on Cindy.

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Trump’s move against China for its Uighur oppression makes him look like a hypocrite

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Steven Boyd Saum (Ukraine 1994–96) A high-security facility near what is believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained in China’s Xinjiang region.   June 20, 2020, By Sébastien Roblin (China 2013-15) Even when President Donald Trump finally manages to do the right thing, it’s rarely for the right reasons. Such was the case Wednesday, when he signed a law that allows for sanctioning as human rights violators Chinese officials responsible for running camps imprisoning up to 1 million Muslim Uighurs in the Xinjiang Province of western China. Trump’s been so inconsistent on what should be a core tenet of American foreign policy — opposition to large-scale internment of a minority population — that there’s some truth to claims from Beijing that Trump’s move this week was a hypocritical one motivated by a desire to weaponize the issue against China amid high-stakes trade negotiations. He . . .

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Cindy Mosca (Ethiopia) shows us “How To Remember Our Tour”

  After the Peace Corps,  Cindy Mosca (Ethiopia 1967-69) returned to teaching but eventually left teaching art and went into the field of ESL. She became the Director of the Bilingual Program in Cicero, Illinois. She has a son and a daughter who live in the Chicago area. She and her partner, Dennis live in Bloomington, Indiana. They both love to travel and you can find a record of their travels (including a return to Ethiopia) at ourbetter.blogspot.com/ Since retirement she has returned to painting. You can view samples at her web site. Cindy loves making videos for family and friends. She has transferred old slides for them into videos which can be saved to YouTube, a flash drive, a DVD or somewhere in the heavens via iCloud or Google.  

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NPCA announces “A Moment to Lean In: Courageous Conversations on Racial Equity in International Service”

  Please read the following announcement from the NPCA website about this program.  At the end of the announcement there is a link to register. • Now is the time for some tough questions. How do we confront systemic racism as it shapes the work we do — here and around the world? And how do we ensure that our community lives out principles of equity and justice?As part of our commitment to convening‌ ‌conversations‌ ‌around‌ ‌service and‌ ‌opportunity, National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is joining the Building Bridges Coalition and the International Volunteer Programs Association to host a dialogue about racial equity in international service. Speakers will share their experiences as Black volunteers and staff on service programs, and as organizational leaders with longstanding commitments to institutional and systemic change. Join us for this important dialogue. In the weeks ahead, NPCA is hosting a series of conversations around racial equity. Those will help shape the . . .

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Review — HOUSE OF THE ANCIENTS & OTHER STORIES by Clifford Garstang (Korea)

  HOUSE OF THE ANCIENTS & OTHER STORIES by Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976-77) Press 53 Publisher 172 pages May 2020 $17.95 (paperback)   Reviewed by Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80) “Bad men,” wrote novelist and short story writer Jean McGarry, “make for more interesting stories.” I imagine that Clifford Garstang would be inclined to agree. You could certainly make that case for many of the male characters in his new collection, House of the Ancients & Other Stories. Such a sentiment crossed my mind more than once as I read through this strange and often disturbing collection. But hold on. What, exactly, do we mean by bad? And just who, really, is qualified to pass such judgment? Those who live in glass houses, as the saying goes, should not be quick to throw stones. Are we not, as human beings, all flawed? The twenty-three stories in House of the Ancients reflect, . . .

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A Writer Writes — “Reading Masks,” a poem by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria)

  My brother-in-law suffered a bad stroke about a decade ago and was stricken with aphasia. In the last couple of years before his death in January 2019, he was in therapy and he made this mask. I thought it was a profound struggle of a “soul” shouting out to a world that had “forgotten him.” Jim’s soul must have been desperately wanting to speak to former friends or even family, and the mask reveals to me a plea for a touch of love, or a simple smile from that outer world that he will never see again. I hope the poem speaks for itself. Reading Masks by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1964-66   I. We think we read faces and focus on a people’s eyes, “the windows to the soul.” But each  mask speaks a different language, and each mask looks at us with a different set of eyes. Sometimes faces and . . .

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Nominate the Best RPCV Books of 2019 — awards will be announced in August 2020

  To further fulfill its goals to encourage, recognize and promote Peace Corps writers, RPCV Writers & Readers, the newsletter that was the precursor of PeaceCorpsWriters.org and PeaceCorpsWorldwide.org, presented its first annual awards for outstanding writing in 1990. A total of 163 awards have been given since that time. When possible, Peace Corps Writers Awards are presented at the RPCV Conference Awards Ceremony. The awards are: The Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award The Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award The Maria Thomas Fiction Award The Award for Best Book of Poetry The Award for Best Short Story Collection The Award for Best Travel Book The Award for Best Photography Book The Award for Best Children’s Book about a Peace Corps Country Other Awards Send you nomination(s) to John Coyne at jcoyneone@gmail.com (You may nominate your own book. Make sure you are nominating a book that was published in 2019.)

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“A Train Took Me 5,000 Miles from Moscow to China—and to a Whole New Life” — Peter Hessler (China)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Steven Saum (Ukraine 1994-96)   An epic journey by rail answers the question: Where am I going? Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) Businessweek, June 24, 2020   A moment on the Trans-Siberian railway line. Photographer: Oleg Klimov/Panos Pictures/ReduxWhen I was 25, I boarded a train, rode it to the last stop, and disembarked with a new sense of what to do with my life. This kind of thing can happen when you’re 25. It also helps if the journey lasts six days and 5,000 miles. The year was 1994, and I was traveling along the Trans-Siberian Railway. I had bought a one-way ticket from Moscow to Beijing. After passing through the western part of Siberia, the train would head south across Mongolia. Back then, the world seemed bigger: no cellphones, no online reservations. Things were heavier, too. In my ­backpack—Lowe Alpine, internal frame—I carried a tent, . . .

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Why Did American University Professor Melillo Ignore Peace Corps Archives?

   by Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963–65) Professor Melillo, Associate Professor at American University,  wrote an article, “How the US Government Sold the Peace Corps to the American Public” See:https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/how-the-us-government-sold-the-peace-corps-to-the-american-public/ She speculated on the motives behind the creation of the Peace Corps and the  reasons Americans volunteered or did not to serve.  Bill Josephson, one of the architects of the Peace Corps and the absolute authority on its early history, wrote a rebuttal to the article. A discussion followed included remarks by Professor Melillo.  See: https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/discussion-on-how-the-us-government-sold-the-peace-corps-to-the-american-public/ I do not understand why Professor  Melillo ignored the Peace Corps Community Archives at American University, where she is an Associate Professor.  The Professor may also have done research at the JFK Library, but she ignored the RPCV Oral History Project archived at the JFK Library. Visit the American University collection. https://blogs.library.american.edu/pcca/?_ga=2.253647113.1870185124.1506009714-1469212090.1469636313 Peace Corps Community Archives AU Library “The Peace Corps Community Archive curated by . . .

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Review — THE TOUGHEST JOB I EVER LOVED by Jonathon Shacat (Gabon)

  The Toughest Job I Ever Loved: A Peace Corps Memoir Jonathon  Shacat (Gabon 1998–2000) Amazon 2017 181 pages $9.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • Jonathon Shacat, who is now a journalist, has self-published a well written memoir of his Peace Corps experience in Gabon, central Africa. He was a fish culture extension agent, helping villagers build clay-lined ponds and raise tilapia, from 1998 to 2000. I’ll get my gripes out of the way first. The book does not contain any maps of Gabon, any photos, or even page numbers! But it is an entertaining account that maintains its upbeat tone through incidents involving eating grubs and insects, mixing antelope blood with rice, a machete wound, a bout with Dengue fever and ridding himself of round worms. Though the author’s Peace Corps experience was almost a quarter century after my own, like . . .

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