Archive - 2020

1
Review — LEARNING PEACE: Stories from My Time in Peace Corps Ethiopia by Krista Jolivette
2
Joe Kennedy (Dominican Republic) focusing beyond Peace Corps
3
Review — AFRICA MEMOIR by Mark G. Wentling (Togo)
4
Shenna Bellows (Panama) sees new post as Maine’s Secretary of State as dream job at a critical time
5
Living a Peace Corps Life After the Peace Corps (Mauritania)
6
“Why a Biden-Harris Administration should prioritize the Peace Corps”
7
Mark Jacobs (Paraguay) Live! on Evergreen Reading Program
8
RPCV Peter Navarro’s Criticism of Biden and Harris Violation of Hatch Act
9
The Tin Can Crucible by Christopher Davenport (Papua New Guinea)
10
ONCE IN A BLOOD MOON by Dorothea Hubble Bonneau (Tanzania)

Review — LEARNING PEACE: Stories from My Time in Peace Corps Ethiopia by Krista Jolivette

  Learning Peace: Stories from My Time in Peace Corps Ethiopia Krista  Jolivette (Ethiopia 2018-2020) Independently published August 2020 298 pages $9.99 (Facebook), $4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by James W. Skelton, Jr (Ethiopia 1970-72) • Krista Jolivette has penned an unusual book about her 21 months of Peace Corps service as a teacher in Ethiopia from 2018 to 2020.  I expected it to be a memoir, but the Preface reveals something different altogether. There, Krista writes about unpacking her things when she got home (in March 2020, she was evacuated from Peace Corps Ethiopia due to the coronavirus pandemic), and shares her vision for the book as follows: “And that is what I’ve done here in this book — gradually unpacked my Peace Corps experience for you . . . in a way that is both honest and vulnerable . . ..”  Then she discloses that she tried to write one . . .

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Joe Kennedy (Dominican Republic) focusing beyond Peace Corps

  While numerous people inside Washington have mentioned the possibility of outgoing Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III ( Dominican Republic 2004-06) serving as the next director of the Peace Corps, the post isn’t under discussion by the Biden transition and he is interested in other ways to serve the country, people familiar with the search tell Axios. Why it matters: What seemed like a bright political future for Kennedy prematurely dimmed in September when he lost his primary to replace Sen. Edward Markey. Now, the Massachusetts Democrat is considering his next move, prompting talk of the Peace Corps post or U.S. attorney in Boston — neither of which have been discussed with him, the people said. A person close to Kennedy said they had never heard U.S. attorney mentioned, and that while Kennedy loved his time in the Peace Corps, he would hope to serve the country in some other way . . .

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Review — AFRICA MEMOIR by Mark G. Wentling (Togo)

  Africa Memoir by Mark G. Wentling (Togo 1970-73) Open Books Publisher 255 pages August 2020 $9.99 (Kindle); $21.95 (Paperback) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73) • I’ve read and reviewed several of the author’s books over the years. We were both Peace Corps Volunteers in Central America and worked in West Africa, although Wentling went on to work and travel in 54 African countries over the years. My favorite book from his African Trilogy is Africa’s Embrace, which is fiction but reflects his experience working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa in the 1970s. The well-developed characters force the reader deep into the heart of Africa. Wentling worked with USAID and the State Department, so his book, Dead Cow Road, is an authentic and compelling work of historical fiction that focuses on the U.S. response to Somalia’s 1992 famine. Somalia is one of the most challenging, . . .

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Shenna Bellows (Panama) sees new post as Maine’s Secretary of State as dream job at a critical time

Shenna Bellows sees new post as Maine’s secretary of state as dream job at a critical time The former state senator and executive director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine says her goals include increasing voter participation and protecting privacy. • BY SCOTT THISTLE PORTLAND PRESS HERALD     Shenna Bellows (Panama 1999-01) has had a rewarding career defending civil liberties for Maine’s ACLU chapter, managing educational programs for disadvantaged youths at Learning Works in Portland, and educating the public about the value of human rights at the state Holocaust and Human Rights Center. But all of it was simply preparation for what she calls her new dream job: Maine secretary of state. A Democratic state senator from Manchester, Bellows said much of her recent work has particular relevance because it often focused on the importance of individual and collective decision making in times of injustice. “And how important . . .

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Living a Peace Corps Life After the Peace Corps (Mauritania)

More…   Heather Arney (Mauritania  2000-02), Kansas City, graduated from Wagner College, NYC with a degree in business management. After a job search that left her quite dissatisfied, she joined the Peace Corp to do something more meaningful. Heather worked with micro-finance, girl’s education, and played in a band that sang about AIDS awareness. From her early years in the Peace Corps, Heather has had an interest in microfinance. This paired with her constant pursuit of knowledge strengthens Heather’s role as the Senior Manager of Water.org’s Insights and Innovation team. Heather leads the team to create a robust evidence base that compels action to catalyze affordable financing for safe water and sanitation solutions. President and Co-founder of Girls to School, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting girls’ education and facilitating microfinance in West Africa. Enabled more than 800 girls to attend high-quality schools and linked their mothers to self-help groups that . . .

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“Why a Biden-Harris Administration should prioritize the Peace Corps”

  By William G. Moseley (Mali 1987–89)   Americans suffer from a tendency to look inward, an affliction recently exacerbated by isolationist political winds as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, America needs the Peace Corps as a vehicle: for its citizens to engage with and learn from the rest of the world; to cultivate the careers of young people who will be of vital service to the country; and to foster a more climate friendly international development approach. Herewith three arguments for why a Biden-Harris Administration should prioritize this federal agency and key steps to get there. FIRST, the Peace Corps can help the US emerge from four years of isolationism by re-building person-to-person bridges between Americans and other peoples. Since its creation during the Kennedy Administration in 1961, over 240,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in 142 countries. While the Peace Corps is . . .

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RPCV Peter Navarro’s Criticism of Biden and Harris Violation of Hatch Act

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dale Gilles (Liberia 1962-67)   White House trade adviser RPCV Peter Navarro’s criticism of Biden and Harris found to be a violation of Hatch Act White House trade adviser Peter Navarro (Thailand 1972-75) has become the latest Trump administration official found to have violated the Hatch Act, a federal law prohibiting federal employees from engaging in certain political activities. In a report made public Monday, a government watchdog, the Office of Special Counsel, said Navarro violated the law when he made political comments, “disparaging” then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris in television interviews while appearing in his official capacity. The report found Navarro had also disparaged Mr. Biden on Twitter. Moreover, Navarro continued to violate the Hatch Act after he learned OSC was investigating him for just that, the report said. “Dr. Navarro’s violations of the Hatch Act were knowing and . . .

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The Tin Can Crucible by Christopher Davenport (Papua New Guinea)

In 1994, a Peace Corps Volunteer named Christopher Davenport settled into the Eastern Highlands to live with a group of subsistence farmers.  He began to learn the language and develop a strong sense of connection with his inherited family.  One day, following the death of a venerated elder, the people of the village kidnap, torture, and ultimately kill a local woman accused of practicing sorcery. Devastated, Christopher tries to reconcile this unspeakable act with the welcoming and nurturing community he has come to love. But in trying to comprehend what he has witnessed through the lens of Western sensibilities, Christopher is unable to find the answers he seeks. Instead, he is left with one universal question: How do we continue to love someone who has done the unthinkable? In this true story, Davenport gives a considerate but courageously honest depiction of his transformative experience. He asks difficult questions about the role . . .

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ONCE IN A BLOOD MOON by Dorothea Hubble Bonneau (Tanzania)

  Once in a Blood Moon by Dorothea Hubble Bonneau (Tanzania 1966-68)is the winner of the  2020 American Fiction Award. The novel tells the story of an African American heiress of a prosperous plantation flees for her life when her mother dies and her father is murdered by racists eager to seize her estate. It is a novel that is set in 1807 on the Heaven Hill Plantation, upriver from Georgetown, South Carolina, and sixteen-year-old Alexandra Degambia walks a tightrope stretched between her parents’ ambitions. Her father, a prosperous planter, wants to preserve the heritage of his African ancestors. But her mother, who can pass for white, seeks to distance herself from her African roots and position herself in the elite society of wealthy free-women-of-color. Alexandra, however, has dreams of establishing her own place in the world as an accomplished violinist. She assumes her talent and her family’s wealth will pave . . .

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