Archive - March 2021

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“Predatory Elite” also bear the blame for migrant crisis, RPCV Juan Gonzalez (Guatemala) says
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Eric Torgersen (Ethiopia) — Honorary Chancellor of the Poetry Society of Michigan
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Review — UNDER THE WAVE AT WAIMEA by Paul Theroux (Malawi)
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A Conversation with Senator Chris Coons: National Service and the Biden Agenda
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A Journey of Love, Faith, Strength, and Determination by Grover Jackson (Kenya)
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Talking with Robert (Bud) Abbott (Nigeria)
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Review — FEVER AND OTHER STORIES FROM THE LAND OF MOBUTU by Peter Loan
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60 Years of The Peace Corps
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The Volunteer Whose Achievements Keep on Giving
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A Ghanaian medical doctor has recounted how her Peace Corps teacher transformed her life

“Predatory Elite” also bear the blame for migrant crisis, RPCV Juan Gonzalez (Guatemala) says

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65)   March 26, 20219: BILL CHAPPELL • Many migrants who come to the U.S. border from Central America are doing so because of “a predatory elite” who are tied to a host of problems in their home countries — not because of President Biden’s easing of Trump-era immigration policies, according to Juan Gonzalez, a top aide to Biden on immigration. “You have, frankly, a predatory elite that benefits from the status quo, which is to not pay any taxes or invest in social programs,” said Gonzalez, the National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere and a special assistant to President Biden. “Migration is essentially a social release valve for migrants,” he said, adding that remittances from their earnings in the U.S. drive more consumption in their home countries. When parents and young people look around in countries that lack paved . . .

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Eric Torgersen (Ethiopia) — Honorary Chancellor of the Poetry Society of Michigan

  With IN WHICH WE SEE OUR SELVES, Eric Torgersen begins with the formal structure of the ghazal as popularized by Agha Shahid Ali and unapologetically makes a more American thing of it, arguing in his Afterword that this transformation is as inevitable as what happens when the children of immigrant parents pass through an American junior high school: not everyone is pleased with the result.“I’ve tried to avoid faux- Eastern themes and tones,” he writes. Fluently metrical and effortlessly rhymed, at times in short, hard-hitting lines with refrains as brief as a single word, these poems leap off the page with speech as American as this: My gang all quit when I didn’t split the take right. We crashed and burned when I didn’t hit the brake right. Following the common practice of “signing” the poems in the final couplet, Torgersen allows a chorus of voices — selves? — . . .

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Review — UNDER THE WAVE AT WAIMEA by Paul Theroux (Malawi)

  Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 416 pages April 2021 $15.99 (Kindle); $$24.21l (Hardback); $28.00 (Audio CD) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73) • I’ve read and reviewed the last six books from the iconic travel writer, Paul Theroux, and was fortunate enough to snag a copy of the uncorrected proof of his next book, which will be available in mid-April. Initially, I was unenthusiastic about reading about the life of an aging surfer in Hawaii, but after reading On the Plain of Snakes about Mexico, I felt sure he’d manage to turn Hawaii into one of his ebullient tomes—and I was not disappointed. After all, the author has lived there for over 30 years, during which time he’s been gathering stories and materials about this unique 50th State. Although he’s traveled the world, he lived the longest in Hawaii, whose . . .

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A Conversation with Senator Chris Coons: National Service and the Biden Agenda

    A Conversation with Senator Chris Coons: National Service and the Biden Agenda Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 6:00pm Virtual As the Peace Corps celebrates 60 years of volunteer service, the JFK Jr. Forum welcomes U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), the lead Senate sponsor of major national service legislation and co-chair of the National Service Caucus. What is the role of national service both domestically and internationally? Do the needs of the pandemic response offer opportunities for more Americans to make a difference? How does national service contribute to President Biden’s call to ‘restore the soul of America’? Join the Institute of Politics for a discussion with Delaware’s Senator Chris Coons, a leading voice in the national service movement; member of the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, and Small Business Committees; and chair of the Senate Ethics Committee. IOP Director and former Director of the Peace Corps 1995 to 1999, Mark D. Gearan, will . . .

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A Journey of Love, Faith, Strength, and Determination by Grover Jackson (Kenya)

  Grover Jackson, co-author of a generation-spanning memoir which details the life of a Black Southern sharecropper family in America, announces a multimedia event — “Back to Kenya”  • A Journey of Love, Faith, Strength, and Determination by Grover Jackson (Kenya 1967-69, Mary Fullard and E. Christine Jackson Newman Springs Press 422 pages September 2020 $8.99 (Kindle); $24.95 (Paperback); $36.95 (Hardback) STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga., March 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Grover Jackson, Mary Fullard, and E. Christine Jackson announced the upcoming release of a multimedia presentation and lecture to pair with their recently published co-authored memoir, A Journey of Love, Faith, Strength, and Determination. As part of the epic family journey detailed in the book, Grover’s powerful and transformative two-year Peace Corps deployment to Kenya in 1967 is reexamined as a legacy journey of personal understanding. Grover returned to Kenya in January of 2020 to revisit the places and people that touched and changed him as a young man . . .

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Talking with Robert (Bud) Abbott (Nigeria)

  Robert Abbott is author of the new book  Transformation: The 60-second Mind-body Practice Integrating Tai chi and Yoga to Manage Stress and Unlock Your Potential Where and when did you serve in the Peace Corps? I was assigned to serve in Nigeria as a member of Nigeria-19. I did the training in the Virgin Islands in the fall of 1965 and arrived in Nigeria in January 1966. I was assigned to Federal Government College in Warri, in the Mid-West State What was your Peace Corps Assignment? My assignment was to be a teacher in the new Higher School College. I was the first teacher to arrive at the college, so I initially taught biology and chemistry, and was the school nurse and P.E. Instructor. Tell us about where you lived and worked? I lived in the oil town of Warri. The campus was about two miles from the center . . .

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Review — FEVER AND OTHER STORIES FROM THE LAND OF MOBUTU by Peter Loan

  Fever! and other stories from The Land of Mobutu Peter Loan (Staff— CD Zaire 1976–79; Washington) Peace Corps Writers August 2020 100 pages $9.99 (paperback), $5.99 (Kindle) Reviewed D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974-76 and Costa Rica 1976-77)   Peter Loan served as a Peace Corps administrative officer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then known as Zaire) in the mid to late 1970s. This collection of short stories is based on his experiences there. “Land of Mobutu” in the title is a reference to President Mobutu who was in power in the time period in which these stories are set. The author doesn’t say, but it seems obvious to me that all of these stories are based on real situations with the names and surrounding facts changed just enough to avoid embarrassment of the participants, lawsuits, and in one case, potential trouble with superiors in the US foreign . . .

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60 Years of The Peace Corps

    Here’s a look at some of the agency’s major accomplishments and milestones: 1961: President Kennedy hosts a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden in honor of the first group of volunteers departing for service. Congress approves legislation for the Peace Corps. The first volunteers arrive in Ghana. 1977: Carolyn Robertson Payton is appointed Peace Corps Director by President Jimmy Carter. She’s the first female and first African American to serve in this role. 1985: The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program, a graduate fellowship program offering financial assistance to returned volunteers, as well as opportunities to continue service in underserved communities, is established. 1995: The Peace Corps sends volunteers to the Caribbean island of Antigua to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Luis. This pilot program, Crisis Corps (now called Peace Corps Response), provides short-term humanitarian service to countries worldwide. 2005: For the first time, volunteers are deployed domestically . . .

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The Volunteer Whose Achievements Keep on Giving

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65)   Peter McPherson public service career began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru, where during 1964-65, he spent 18 months in Lima running a food distribution program and setting up Credit Unions. In an interview with “The State News,” he called the experience a defining moment and said his experience in the Peace Corps helped him learn how to adapt. He found out that when a Volunteer, he was in a different culture, wherein he couldn’t be a gringo and be effective. It was just a matter of asking people what they want to get done, finding out what the formal and informal rules were and figuring out ways to do things differently, while doing practical work in that environment. And … that process was a challenge. After completing law school in the late 1960s, Peter worked for the Internal Revenue Service where his . . .

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A Ghanaian medical doctor has recounted how her Peace Corps teacher transformed her life

A Ghanaian medical doctor has recounted how her Peace Corps teacher transformed her life The doctor is known as Ruhaimatu Osman and according to her, she was a bad student back in senior high school. Her story was shared in a post by US Embassy Ghana which reads; “Dr. Ruhaimatu Osman is a medical doctor at the Eastern Regional hospital- Ko foridua in Ghana. She shares this awe-inspiring story about her encounter with Peace Corps volunteers. “I write in reference to the Peace Corps celebrating its 60th anniversary of impacting lives. I am a medical doctor at the Eastern Regional hospital- Koforidua in Ghana. I attended St. Louis Senior High School in Kumasi from the year 2006 to 2009. As a young ambitious girl who wanted to be a medical doctor, I had my fears. I kept on asking myself, what if I fail in life. In my first year . . .

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