Archive - 2020

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Kentucky EPCV is interviewed by Spectrum News 1
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A Writer Writes–Living with Africa for a Lifetime by Mark G. Wentling (Africa)
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“We’ve Now Brought Over 10,000 Americans Home”
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Evacuated Peace Corps volunteers face uncertainty back home
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Paul Theroux in Uganda–A World Turned Upside-Down
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Volunteer recounts being part of global Peace Corps evacuation (Peru)
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RPCV Community Outreach to Evacuated Volunteers, EPCVs
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Jack Allison Sings To Stop The Coronavirus (Malawi)
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Huff Post — “Recalled Peace Corps Volunteers Are Thrown Into A Terrifying New Reality”
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Stories from PCVs coming home early

Kentucky EPCV is interviewed by Spectrum News 1

    Here is the story from Spectrum | News 1 —   Kentuckian in Peace Corps Shares Tale of Evacuation BY EILEEN STREET Published 10:10 AM ET MAR. 31, 2020   LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Peace Corps, a federal program for Americans to volunteer abroad, announced on March 15 that it was temporarily suspending all operations and evacuating all volunteers, a first in its history. According to the Peace Corps’ website, it was because of airport closures globally amid COVID-19, which could restrict evacuations for any non-COVID-19 illnesses for volunteers. One of the approximately 7,300 volunteers evacuated from 61 countries was Louisville native Shelby Durbin. “I was in my dream job, you know, in a culture that I was really connecting to, and that was kind of robbed from me,” said the 23-year-old, who has been back in Kentucky for less than two weeks. “So we got the evacuation notice a . . .

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A Writer Writes–Living with Africa for a Lifetime by Mark G. Wentling (Africa)

Living with Africa for a Lifetime by Mark G. Wentling (Honduras 1967–69, Togo 1970–73; PC Staff: Togo, Gabon, Niger 1973–77) My friends say I was born and raised in Kansas, but I was made in Africa. After a lifetime of doing almost nothing except dreaming, thinking, reading, writing about and working in Africa, I can see why this is said about me. I first stepped on the continent in 1970 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo and stayed much longer than expected. I ended up knowing firsthand in varying degrees each of Africa’s 54 countries. My marriages to African women, the raising of our children in Africa and my close involvement with my extended families taught me a great deal about what makes Africa tick. I never planned to spend a lifetime so wrapped up with Africa. One thing led to another and most of the time I did . . .

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Evacuated Peace Corps volunteers face uncertainty back home

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Mark Wentling (Honduras 1967-69) Evacuated Peace Corps volunteers face uncertainty back home For the first time in its nearly 60-year history, the Peace Corps suspended all operations and evacuated volunteers as the coronavirus pandemic spread around the globe. NBC News reporters Julia Jester and Maura Barrett spoke with returning Peace Corps volunteers about what it’s like to suddenly be back in an America that they don’t recognize. Read in NBC News: https://apple.news/Am4tMaTIeQrqRdZKr_MnF0A

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Paul Theroux in Uganda–A World Turned Upside-Down

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bea Hogan (Uzbekistan 1992-94) A World Turned Upside-Down In 1966, the writer Paul Theroux was in Uganda at a time of curfew and violence. It shaped his thinking about travel writing’s imperative to bear witness. Smoke rising in Uganda during the 1966 upheaval.Credit…Priya Ramrakha/Getty By Paul Theroux New York Times March 30, 2020 In this season of infection, the stock market little more than a twitching corpse, in an atmosphere of alarm and despondency, I am reminded of the enlightenments of the strict curfew Uganda endured in 1966. It was, for all its miseries, an episode of life lessons, as well as monotonous moralizing (because most crises enliven bores and provoke sententiousness). I would not have missed it for anything.   That curfew evoked — like today — the world turned upside-down. This peculiarity that we are now experiencing, the nearest thing to a world . . .

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Volunteer recounts being part of global Peace Corps evacuation (Peru)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Matt Losak (Lesothe 1985-88) Volunteer recounts being part of global Peace Corps evacuation by Dennis Webb, The Daily Sentinel 3/29/2020   Steve Vanderleest was serving in the Peace Corps in Peru when he was sent back home to Colorado because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Vanderleest worked in water systems, sanitation and hygiene during his time in the Peace Corps. In this picture, he’s shown helping demonstrate how to shake hands dry after hand-washing. Up until this month, Steve Vanderleest was reveling in his experience in the Peace Corps, helping people in the high-country town of Cajabamba, in Peru, and taking in the Peruvian scenery and culture. All of that changed this month thanks to the COVID-19 crisis. Before he knew it, he found himself in Grand Junction, where he’s been spending two weeks in self-quarantine, as part of the first- ever total evacuation by . . .

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RPCV Community Outreach to Evacuated Volunteers, EPCVs

The RPCV Community immediately reached out to the Volunteers as the evacuation was announced and begun.  RPCV Joshua Johnson (2009-2011) generated a Face Bookpage which is the “go-to” site for EPCVs. It is a private group and  now has over 8000 members.  This is what it offers: Fellow RPCVs share their concern and their support for the EPCVs, establishing that the EPCVs are not alone. Fellow RPCVs are offering support via leads on jobs, obtaining health care, and places to “self-quarantine”. ( EPCVs have been ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days.  Peace Corps should reimburse for expenses associated with this as some EPCVs can not go home because relatives may be at high risk.  Finding places immediately upon re-entry can be a problem.) The Facebook page organizes these offers. EPCVs are posting specific requests for help in specific locations. Any RPCV can offer help  by becoming a member of the . . .

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Jack Allison Sings To Stop The Coronavirus (Malawi)

    Jack Allison (Malawi 1966-69) presently serves as Professor Emeritus of Emergency Medical Care, College of Health & Human Sciences, Western Carolina University, where he teaches, performs research, and spearheads faculty development. In 2012 he volunteered during the month of February with Medical Teams International in Kenya and Somalia where he provided both emergency medical care and public health education to Somali refugees; and in October he volunteered with Marion Medical Mission on a public health project in Malawi and Zambia where he helped to install 112 shallow water wells. Allison’s avocation is singing/songwriting. He has written over 100 songs and jingles, and recorded over 80 of those. Since 1967 he has raised $150,000.00 with his music, and he & his wife, Sue Wilson, have given away all of these monies to various charitable organizations, including $30,000.00 to help feed Malawian children who have been orphaned because their parents have . . .

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Huff Post — “Recalled Peace Corps Volunteers Are Thrown Into A Terrifying New Reality”

    Recalled Peace Corps Volunteers Are Thrown Into A Terrifying New Reality The 7,300 volunteers face lost stipends, housing and health benefits amid a pandemic and economic crisis.   By Alex Leeds Matthews   Reporter Alex Leeds Matthews served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco from January 2014 to October 2015.    

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