Archive - June 2021

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RPCVs partnering with Rotary International
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Review — OLD MAN IN THE BAG by Ted Wells (Ethiopia)
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Review — BILL OWENS (Jamaica): THE LEGACY OF SUBURBIA: Photographs 1964–2020
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The Volunteer who was Chairman of the Chicago Bears — Mike McCaskey (Ethiopia)
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Loret Miller Ruppe (PC Director) at 35th Peace Corps Anniversary Celebration
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Congressional Research Service Publishes Overview and Issues
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Five Great Short Stories About the Peace Corps Experience

RPCVs partnering with Rotary International

  I think that Peace Corps Worldwide will be interested to learn about our RPCV Gulf Coast Florida recent meeting with several representatives of Rotary on June 5.  We learned a lot about Rotary activities and the program of partnering with Peace Corps Volunteers and RPCVs.  Attached is a report of our exhilarating conversation. Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) Recipient Lillian Carter Award 2017 • Partnering for Peace:  Peace Corps / Rotary Partnership Did you know that the U.S. Peace Corps is an official partner of Rotary International?  Most do not, which is why the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) of Gulf Coast Florida hosted a Zoom meeting on June 5, 2021 (click to view).  Rotary and Peace Corps members were present, along with board members from Partnering for Peace, an organization that emerged to find and implement projects to strengthen the partnership. Rotarians Vana Prewitt and Kelsey Mitchell, both from Rotary District 6960 in . . .

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Review — OLD MAN IN THE BAG by Ted Wells (Ethiopia)

  Old Man in the Bag by Ted Wells (Ethiopia 1968-71) Create Space Publisher 286 pages November 2012 $4.95 (Kindle); $21.95 (Paperback) Reviewed by Andrew Tadross (Ethiopia 2011-13) • The Peace Corps memoir is a literary typology in itself, one with a niche readership.  It’s a safe bet that every RPCV has been told by an enthusiastic relative that they must absolutely chronicle their exotic adventures and foibles, their inevitable cultural misunderstandings, their painful failures, and their priceless victories in their valiant efforts to integrate into host communities and accomplish something significant in a 27-month window. Ted Wells has published such a memoir that transports the reader into the world of wild and rural Ethiopia in the late 1960s, with him and his newlywed wife Helen.  Idealistic, naïve, determined, and with an admirable sense of humor, this couple weather the discomforts that come with the territory… intestinal assaults, hellish bus . . .

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Review — BILL OWENS (Jamaica): THE LEGACY OF SUBURBIA: Photographs 1964–2020

  Bill Owens: The Legacy Of Suburbia: Photographs 1964-2020 by Bill Owens (Jamaica 1964–65) True North Editions 326 pages 2021 $400 (hardcover, Limited Edition book comes with a signed print) Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) • Bill Owens (Jamaica 1964–65) took iconic photos all through his career. He’s noted for shooting pictures of the Hells Angels beating concertgoers at the Rolling Stones’ performance during the Altamont Speedway Free Festival four months after Woodstock on December 6, 1969, considered by historians as the end of the Summer of Love. Of that day, Owens has written: “I got a call from a friend, she said the Associated Press wanted to hire me for a day to cover a rock and roll concert. I rode my motorcycle to the event. I had two Nikons, three lenses, thirteen rolls of film, a sandwich, and a jar of water.” In 1972, Owens . . .

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The Volunteer who was Chairman of the Chicago Bears — Mike McCaskey (Ethiopia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–64)   In an article published in the Chicago Tribune on May 26, 2020, John Coyne recalls how he met Mike McCaskey — not at Soldier Field but rather in Fiche (fee CHĀ), Ethiopia, a small village perched high on the escarpment above the Blue Nile river, far from the shores of Lake Michigan. Mike was a Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to teach in an elementary school. He would live for two years in a tin-roofed, whitewashed house made of dirt and dung and teach in a two-room school. Those two years, he later told John, gave Mike an entirely new perspective on the world, one in which he was profoundly grateful. After Mike’s Volunteer days were over, he went on and earned a doctorate, spending the next decade teaching at UCLA and Harvard Business School. Then, as John explained, his . . .

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Loret Miller Ruppe (PC Director) at 35th Peace Corps Anniversary Celebration

    Loret Miller Ruppe’s Speech March 1-3, 1996   WHAT A GREAT HONOR to be here with all my fellow Directors — John Dellenback, who always warned me never to threaten to resign; Kevin O’Donnell, who has always given to Peace Corps; and Jack Hogan, who never lets anyone land a glove on Peace Corps. I am grateful to every Director. All of them helped me. First in line was Sargent Shriver, the Director of Directors — a man always with a vision. The Peace Corps is needed now more than ever. It is our nation’s greatest peace-building machine, which serves overseas and then brings it all back home. Charlie McCormick is here from Save the Children, as well as other great private volunteer organizations. And Senator Nancy Kassebaum, a returned Peace Corps Volunteer mother and a strong supporter, who just flew back from Africa, visiting eight countries in . . .

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Congressional Research Service Publishes Overview and Issues

This is an excellent summary of Peace Corps today.  The RPCV community is discussing the  current status of the Peace Corps and its future. This  is a good review of  Peace Corps today by the reputable Congressional Research Service.  Here is the Introduction and the link to the complete report: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS21168.pdf “The Peace Corps: Overview and Issues Updated February 25, 2021 Founded in 1961, the Peace Corps pursues a legislative mandate of promoting world peace and friendship by sending American volunteers to serve at the grassroots level in all corners of the world. In September 2019, there were 7,334 volunteers serving in 61 nations. In March 2020, all volunteers were evacuated and programs suspended as a result of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Data in this report reflect status of the Peace Corps volunteer force prior to its March 2020 evacuation. The agency has announced plans to restart programs . . .

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Five Great Short Stories About the Peace Corps Experience

    The Mending Fields by Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76)   I WAS ASSIGNED to the Island of Saint Kit in the West Indies. Once on an inter-island plane, I sat across the aisle from one of my new colleagues, an unfriendly, overserious young woman. She was twenty-four, twenty-five . . . we were all twenty-four, twenty-five. I didn’t know her much or like her. As the plane banked over the island, she pressed against the window, staring down at the landscape. I couldn’t see much of her face, just enough really to recognize an expression of pain. Below us spread an endless manicured lawn, bright green and lush of sugarcane, the island’s main source of income. Each field planted carefully to control erosion. Until that year, Saint Kit’s precious volcanic soil had been bleeding into the sea; somehow they had resolved the problem. The crop was now being . . .

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