Archive - 2021

1
Talking to Ted Wells (Ethiopia) author of POWER, CHAOS & CONSENSUS
2
An Update from the RPCV Oral History Project
3
60 Years of Peace Corps History Preserved Through New, Continuing Partnerships With UK Libraries’ Nunn Center
4
The Volunteer Who Became an Ambassador to Five Countries — Chris Hill (Cameroon)
5
The New Yorker — Paul Theroux turns 80
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Review — TALES OF TOGO by Meredith Pike-Baky
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Talking with Carl Murry (Pakistan) about THE G-K PROJECT
8
The Volunteer Who Became a Ten-term Congressman — Sam Farr
9
Peace Corps Volunteers will Aid FEMA with COVID Response
10
Coyne Signs Off

Talking to Ted Wells (Ethiopia) author of POWER, CHAOS & CONSENSUS

  Ted, where are you from in the States? I was born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in a small town called Sharon 20 miles south of the city. I started a 5 year degree in Architecture at the University of Oregon in Eugene, but finished it at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where I met my wife-to-be, Helen, who was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, but had moved to Colorado just before I arrived. Why the Peace Corps? I was strongly opposed to the Vietnam War and would have emigrated to Canada with my wife of ten months had we not both been accepted into the Peace Corps immediately after I graduated from university. Thankfully, my Draft Board accepted this as an alternative to Vietnam. Why Ethiopia? We would have accepted any assignment anywhere in the Peace Corps, but Community Development work in Ethiopia was the only choice . . .

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An Update from the RPCV Oral History Project

  The RPCV Oral History Project was begun by Robert Klein (Ghana I) more than twenty years ago.  After his death in 2012, RPCVs continued his work, collaborating with the JFK Library and now the University of Kentucky.  The Oral History Project is a NPCA Affiliate group.  All RPCVs are eligible to participate. The Oral History team includes RPCVs Evelyn Ganzglass, Pat Wand, and Cedar Wolf. To learn more about the archive CLICK HERE Here is more information from the Oral History Project newsletter: “Over the past few months, we’ve been focusing primarily on two topics: COVID-19 Evacuees, and Many Faces Peace Corps. We have interviewed 60 PCVs who were evacuated from their sites due to Peace Corps suspension of programs in March 2020.  The Many Faces of Peace Corps collection focuses on the diverse Peace Corps community, particularly those from under-represented populations.  Excerpts of some of those interviews have been compiled into . . .

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60 Years of Peace Corps History Preserved Through New, Continuing Partnerships With UK Libraries’ Nunn Center

  The University of Kentucky is the home of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History.  It has now partnered with the RPCV Oral History Project. Here is the story from University of Kentucky’s Campus News. • LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 2, 2021) — On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order that established the Peace Corps as a volunteer agency in the U.S Department of State. Sixty years later, as the agency celebrates its diamond anniversary, University of Kentucky Libraries’ Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History is continuing its work with local and national partners to preserve many of the stories and experiences of the more than 241,000 Americans who have served in the Peace Corps. From stories of volunteers evacuated from their host countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to accounts from some of the first groups to volunteer with the . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became an Ambassador to Five Countries — Chris Hill (Cameroon)

by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65) • After graduating from Bowdoin College with a degree in Economics, Christopher R. Hill then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon from 1974 to 1976. He credited his work with Peace Corps for teaching him his first lesson in diplomacy. As a Volunteer, Chris worked with credit unions. When he discovered that one Board of Directors had stolen 60% of their members’ money, he reported on the malfeasance to their members — who promptly re-elected the board because they had reflected the carefully balanced tribal interests, and it really did not matter to the members if the Board Directors ran a good credit union or not. Chris commented: “When something’s happened, it’s happened for a reason and you do your best to understand that reason. But don’t necessarily think you can change it.” Chris joined the State Department in 1977, serving as Secretary . . .

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The New Yorker — Paul Theroux turns 80

  Facing Ka‘ena Point: On Turning Eighty   My life has involved enormous upsets and reverses — illness, wealth, and near-bankruptcy, the usual snakes and ladders that people endure—except that I have been privileged to write about them. By Paul Theroux April 6, 2021  

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Review — TALES OF TOGO by Meredith Pike-Baky

  Tales of Togo: A Young Woman’s Search for Home in West Africa Meredith Pike-Baky (Togo, 1971-73) A Peace Corps Writers Book September, 2020 280 pages $14.00 (paperback) Reviewed by Bill Preston (Thailand 1977–80) • In the Preface to this candid and heartfelt memoir, Meredith Pike-Baky writes, “The tales in this collection are like the beads of a necklace, les perles d’un collier, whole in themselves, and at the same time integral parts of a longer story when threaded on a string.” A spot-on metaphor (or simile, to be precise) which, together with the many-colored beaded necklace cover image, illustrates the twists and turns, the ups and downs and sometimes sideways arc of her time living and teaching English in Togo. Former Peace Corps volunteers will easily identify with many aspects of these tales — including, (in no special order), the challenge of learning new language(s), the heightened self-consciousness of feeling . . .

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Talking with Carl Murry (Pakistan) about THE G-K PROJECT

Carl talks about his new book • Carl, where and when did you serve in the Peace Corps? I served in East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh, from 1962 to 1964. I also served as Associate Peace Corps Director for agriculture, education and appropriate technology in Swaziland from 1978 to 1981, and served as a trainer for CAST, CREST, and pre service training in the 1980s. What was your Peace Corps project assignment? Training agriculture extension agents in the Ganges-Kobadak Irrigation project. The assignment evolved into developing farmer Clubs to support new and improved agriculture practices in their areas, starting a technical library, publishing a monthly newsletter, Recognizing “Master” farmers and being the team leader. What kind of work did you do? Initially we set up irrigation committees to distribute water from the tertiary canals to small, highly fragmented fields. This required a high level of cooperation. Each committee discussed . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became a Ten-term Congressman — Sam Farr

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • Sam Farr joined the Peace Corps in 1964 and served for two years as a Volunteer in Colombia. He was assigned to a poor mountain barrio near Medellin, teaching residents basic rural community development skills. Once back home, his public service began in the California Assembly where he worked as a staffer on budget issues for a decade. In 1975, he ran for and won a seat on the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. In 1980, he was elected to the California State Assembly, where he became a champion for the organics industry and wrote one of the country’s strictest oil spill liability laws. He served in the Assembly until his election to the Congress in 1993. It was a Special Election when former Congressman Leon Panetta resigned to become then-President Clinton’s budget director. Sam was then re-elected to his first full term . . .

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Peace Corps Volunteers will Aid FEMA with COVID Response

News Release from Peace Corps. https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/peace-corps-volunteers-aid-us-covid-19-response-deploying-fema-supported-community-vaccination-centers/ March 31, 2021 The partnership marks second time in Peace Corps’ 60-year history that the agency has deployed volunteers in U.S., the first following Hurricane Katrina. WASHINGTON – Today, the Peace Corps and FEMA announced they have struck a historic partnership to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. For the second time in the agency’s history, Peace Corps volunteers will serve a domestic deployment, at FEMA’s request – the first following Hurricane Katrina and now at federally supported Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) across the country. “The Peace Corps works hand-in-hand with communities on their most pressing challenges, and right now the U.S. faces some of the biggest challenges in our country’s history,” said Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn. “The volunteers who contribute to this effort will bring valuable cross-cultural experience, language skills and adaptability fostered during their time overseas as they contribute to an equitable . . .

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Coyne Signs Off

I’m closing down with this email my steady diet of blog posts, but you’re not rid of Peace Corps WorldWide. The website will stay ‘live’ with Marian Beil. She will announce new books from Peace Corps Writers and other news. The other good news to share is that American University will take all the items we posted and preserve them on their Peace Corps History site. You can reach the collection here at any time. https://wayback.archive-it.org/1435/*/https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/ Meanwhile, you can search for new articles and book reviews by the RPCV community on this site. In August I will announce the winners of our Writers Awards for books published in 2020. ( I might even sneak on when no one is watching and post an article or two, but don’t tell Marian.) If you have something to publish, contact Marian directly. Her email is marian@haleybeil.com You can also read our first website: . . .

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