Archive - January 2021

1
“An Education of Sorts” by Keith Quatraro (Tanzania)
2
Passing of a Great Peace Corps Writer & Editor — Aaron Barlow (Togo)
3
Time in a Bottle by Jamie Kirkpatrick (Tunisia)
4
Janelle Jones (Peru) joins Biden Administration as Chief Economist at DOL!
5
Samra Brouk (Guatemala) Is newly elected to the New York State Senate
6
RPCVs march in 1993 Inaugural Parade
7
Tell Your Peace Corps Story
8
Review — ANDEAN ADVENTURES by Allan Wind (Ecuador)
9
RPCV Navarro (Thailand) leaves the White House with his loot (Thailand)
10
Trump to freeze Peace Corps budget before leaving office

“An Education of Sorts” by Keith Quatraro (Tanzania)

  At the age of 31, the Peace Corps lured me in with their soul-taunting mantra “Life is Calling.” Before I joined, I was comfortably numb with my lifestyle. I volunteered at an after-school tutoring center, helped with various writing projects at local schools, and tended bar full-time to support my fledgling teaching habit. The Peace Corps sent me to Tanzania and I couldn’t have been happier. After nine weeks of extensive in-country language and cultural training, my classmates and I were sent to live in different villages throughout Tanzania. I said goodbye to my gracious Tanzanian family who let me live and learn with them near the coastal town of Muheza. Still naïve, a tad idealistic, and quite culturally dumb, I set out for Matui, a waterless village in the center of Tanzania. Western culture and ideologies were only pondered and fantasized in Matui. Dazed and confused, frustrations and . . .

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Passing of a Great Peace Corps Writer & Editor — Aaron Barlow (Togo)

  by Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) •   Aaron Barlow (Togo 1988-90) has died. His life had many chapters in it, including owner of the bookstore/café Shakespeare’s Sister; Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; cultural studies scholar and professor of English at New York City College of Technology; and Peace Corps Volunteer. There will be others who will memorialize Aaron’s life as a mentor, writer, and professor. What I want to recount here is how Aaron Barlow saved my bacon as I tried to navigate the narrows of publishing the four books in the Peace Corps at 50 Story Project. Begun in 2007 for the 2011 50th Anniversary, the story project seemed to me a slam dunk for publication. What house would not want a ready audience of 200,000 RPCVs? Zero, as it turned out, until Traveler’s Tales agreed to publish the work. By . . .

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Time in a Bottle by Jamie Kirkpatrick (Tunisia)

  by Jamie Kirkpatrick (Tunisia 1970-72; APCD 1974-76) October 27, 2020 • It’s a sobering thought but I’ve reached the point in my life where I can count time in half centuries. To wit, it was fifty years ago almost to the day that I arrived in Tunisia. I was on my way to becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer: the first six weeks of my service had been spent in intensive language and cross-cultural training in America. For the next six weeks, I would be in total language immersion in my new host country. Did I mention that was fifty years ago? Sigh. Looking back, those fifty years have flown by. Four of them were spent in Tunisia, the first two in the Kasserine, a small town in the rugged mountains hard by the Algerian border and famous for a pivotal battle in World War II. Then there were two . . .

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Janelle Jones (Peru) joins Biden Administration as Chief Economist at DOL!

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Monica Mills (PC/HQ 1995-2000)   “I’m very excited to announce I have joined the Biden Administration as the Chief Economist at the Department of Labor! I am excited to help build back a better economy where workers, especially those usually left behind, are safe, secure, & empowered at the workplace. Let’s get to work!” Janelle Jones was an economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute through 2018. She is an economic analyst working on a variety of labor market topics within EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE) and the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN). She was previously a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), where she worked on topics including racial inequality, unemployment, job quality, and unions. Her research has been cited in The New Yorker, The Economist, Harper’s, The Washington Post, The Review of Black Political Economy, and other . . .

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Samra Brouk (Guatemala) Is newly elected to the New York State Senate

From Spectrum News in New York State:   “State Senator Samra Brouk is a freshman Democrat from Rochester who has spent much of her life working on behalf of others. After graduating from Williams College, Brouk volunteered with the Peace Corps in Guatemala, where she was a health educator. After her return to New York, she founded a non-profit, which enables seniors to age in place. Most recently, Brouk raised money for Chalkbeat, a grassroots journalism organization devoted to education.: Brouk spoke with Capital Tonight host Susan Arbetter about what she hopes to bring to Albany.  Here is the interview: https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/ny-state-of-politics/2021/01/04/meet-new-state-senator-samra-brouk–sd—55 • Please note:  Thank you to the group RPCVs for Political Action for this  important news. They posted on their Facebook page a link to the ZOOM ceremony in which Senator Brouk was sworn to office. I believe it is also noted in the ceremony that Senator Brouk is . . .

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RPCVs march in 1993 Inaugural Parade

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Mike Wolfson (Peru 1964-66)     This picture, made as a poster courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, was taken at President Bill Clinton’s inaugural parade on January 20, 1993. The organization was then the National Council of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, now the National Peace Corps Association. Mike borrowed the 6 x 8-foot outdoor flags and 9-foot aluminum flag poles from the U.S. Department of State.  There were, he believes, 110 flags representing all of the countries that Peace Corps volunteers had or were serving in. He had all of these flags and poles in his living room the day before the inauguration where Ken Hill (Turkey 1965-67) and he put country labels on each flag, attached them to the 110 poles, and put them in a truck that Ken stored overnight and took to the parade staging area the next morning. He did . . .

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Tell Your Peace Corps Story

  As we approach the 60th Anniversary of the agency — which was officially born on March 1, 1961—Peace Corps Worldwide wants to capture for history the stories of as many Volunteers as possible. Your experiences need to be preserved because, thanks to your service, the Peace Corps has become the most significant and successful cross-cultural venture ever undertaken by the United States. And in today’s nationalistic world, the example of Peace Corps Volunteers is more important than ever. The Peace Corps is about service, but it is also about friendship. For 60 years, Volunteers have lived with host-country families, shared their lives and experiences, and showed our hosts that we were more like them than we were different. We were younger than many of our hosts, often less experienced in life, and sometimes needing their help to navigate their culture. But we went, and we were ready to work, . . .

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Review — ANDEAN ADVENTURES by Allan Wind (Ecuador)

  Andean Adventures: An Unexpected Search for Meaning, Purpose and Discovery Across Three Countries Allan “Alonzo” J. Wind (Ecuador 1980–82) Self-published August 2020 270 pages $14.99 (paperback), $4.19 (Kindle Reviewed byD.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • Allan Wind knew he wanted to join the Peace Corps from pretty early in his life. But he expected that he would serve two years abroad and then return to the US and continue his career. He became a Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) and served for two years in Ecuador but after that he did not return home. He stayed on in Ecuador, working in development, later working in Bolivia and Peru as well. This is a memoir of the early years of Wind’s lifelong career in development. He begins his journey after college in 1980. From the beginning he is an agitator, always trying to go beyond his job description to . . .

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RPCV Navarro (Thailand) leaves the White House with his loot (Thailand)

Peace Corps Thailand 1972-75 Jim McCaffery (Ethiopia 1966-68) told me that this photo (below) is the real one Peter Navarro was taking out of the White House. It was (we think) hanging in the Oval Office.

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Trump to freeze Peace Corps budget before leaving office

  President Trump on Thursday moved to freeze $27.4 billion worth of government programs in the last week of his presidency using a budget maneuver called rescission. Under the 1974 Budget and Impoundment Control Act, the president can request that Congress rescind, or wind back budget authority over certain programs. While Congress considers the request, the programs can be frozen for up to 45 days, at which point the request expires if Congress does not act. In a letter to congressional leadership, Trump specifically requested 73 cutbacks to the 2021 federal budget. The 73 proposed rescissions largely align with the annual budget proposal Trump has set out, which proposed extreme cuts to domestic programs. Congress roundly rejected the cuts each year. The letter asked leaders in the House and Senate to impound funds from almost every Cabinet-level agency including the Environmental Protection Agency. The request also included cuts from the National Endowments for the Arts and . . .

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