Archive - March 17, 2021

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A Writer Writes: Letter from Pamplin by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
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What Worked and Why and What Did Not Work and Why

A Writer Writes: Letter from Pamplin by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

  It’s a fact of Peace Corps life that a volunteer must learn to get by in a world not his own, not her own. It’s never a perfect adjustment, not a completely comfortable fit. Often you make mistakes, some of which can be serious. Others are hilarious. (Once, at the dinner table with our training family in Asunción, as we were learning Spanish, my wife, Anne, commented that she had been taking notes in her diarrhea, which completely cracked people up and may still rank near the top in their hall of conversational fame.) In our case, our Peace Corps experience of feeling our way, doing our best to understand what was going on, turned out to be good practice for the foreign service, which we joined a few years after returning from Paraguay. Our Peace Corps country was nothing like Bolivia, or Honduras, or Spain, despite the common . . .

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What Worked and Why and What Did Not Work and Why

  Peace Corps was created in the golden glow of Post-World War II America. That war was won with our fossil fuel based industrial might. With the Marshall Plan, our ideals, our resources, our technology, we rebuilt our enemies, Germany and Japan,  into strong capitalist economics and laid the foundation for their democratic governments. Both countries became our strong, independent allies. At home, the GI Bill gave veterans a college education and support to own a home, building blocks for our growing middle class. Our economy was a golden cornucopia spewing forth millions of products, from a polio vaccine to pastel, scented toilet paper. In his Inaugural Address, President Kennedy acknowledged our wealth and our success with this call: Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need — not as a call to battle, though embattled we are — but . . .

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