Archive - February 28, 2021

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The Peace Corps at 60 — Bonnie Black (Gabon)
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Ghana I — The First Peace Corps Volunteers
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Review — QUICK & QUOTABLE by William Hershey (Ethiopia)

The Peace Corps at 60 — Bonnie Black (Gabon)

    A Peace Corps Memory by Bonnie Black (Gabon 1996-98)   Sixty years ago, on March 1, 1961, President Kennedy — heartthrob to me and all of my fellow teenage girlfriends at the time — established the United States Peace Corps. I was not among the thousands of idealistic young people who flocked to answer JFK’s call to “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” and sign up for Peace Corps service. No. In characteristic glacial fashion, I took a lot longer. I was fifty years old when I joined. Looking back now, I can see it was a risky decision, for which I was rightly criticized by some friends and family. For one thing, if I hadn’t dropped out of the workforce for two years to become a Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon, Central Africa, from 1996-98 — and . . .

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Ghana I — The First Peace Corps Volunteers

  by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64), editor • In mid-August 1961, Ghana I was ready for Ghana. Nobody was more pleasantly surprised than the Africanists, who at the outset had believed that it would take nearly two years to prepare the Volunteers adequately, given the fact of their youth, inexperience, Kennedy connection, and accompanying media hype. Too much, it was felt, hung on their performance. The Ghana I group, numbering fifty, had become “one”; there was an unspoken sense of being special due to their having been so closely associated with America’s top four people in African studies and the ever-attentive point man from Washington headquarters, Pat Kennedy, first Director of the Office of Peace Corps Volunteers. They hadn’t paused to absorb the daunting fact that they would be absolutely the first Volunteers (Tanganyika I had started and finished its training program earlier but would trail Ghana I to Africa . . .

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Review — QUICK & QUOTABLE by William Hershey (Ethiopia)

  Quick & Quotable: Columns from Washington, 1985–1997 (Bliss Institute series) William L. Hershey (Ethiopia 1968–70) The University Of Akron Press March, 2020 246 pages $24.74 (paperback) Reviewed by Kathleen Johnson Coskran (Ethiopia 1965-67) • Quick and Quotable is just that, and I would add amusing, insightful, and always interesting even if the main “characters” are new to the reader. The temptation for the reviewer is to simply quote Hershey’s best quotable lines, but then the review would  be almost as long as the book. The columns are from Hershey’s 13 years (1987—1997) as the Akron Beacon Journal’s Washington correspondent. He was charged to report news pertinent to Akron readers and wrote weekly columns “to take a look behind the headlines,” to engage and inform as well as entertain, and he thought of them “as sending letters back home from a foreign country.” For the reader in 2020, at least a . . .

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