Archive - September 2021

1
My Encounters with Emperor Haile Selassie by William Seraile (Ethiopia)
2
From No. 1 to Persona Non Grata: A Peace Corps Story (Malawi)
3
Review — JFK & RFK MADE ME DO IT 1960–1968 by Sweet William (Peru)
4
“Peace Corps service needed more than ever” by John Bidwell (Mali)
5
Three years as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer
6
RPCV Ambassador Foote Resigns (Bolivia)
7
The world has changed. Should the Peace Corps?
8
An Urgent Appeal from RPCV Congressman Garamendi on Peace Corps Act
9
Driving Jesus to Little Rock by Roland Merullo (Micronesia)
10
2021 Special Book Award Winner — OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan Slaght (Russia)

My Encounters with Emperor Haile Selassie by William Seraile (Ethiopia)

  By William Seraile (Ethiopia 1963-65)   I was among about 140 Peace Corps volunteers, mainly in our early twenties and graduates of Ivy League colleges, small never heard of private schools, a few large public universities, and a small number of historic black colleges and universities, went to Ethiopia as the second group of PCV teachers in the fall of 1963. Most of us had to examine our atlases to find Ethiopia on the map. Only one of us had ever been to Africa  — Haskell Ward (Ethiopia 1963-65) a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, who had spent a summer in Kenya with Operation Crossroads Africa, a model for the Peace Corps. We had two months of Peace Corps training at UCLA studying Ethiopian culture, history and Amharic, the Ethiopian language. Our Amharic instructors, all young graduate students studying in American universities initially assumed that I was one of . . .

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From No. 1 to Persona Non Grata: A Peace Corps Story (Malawi)

  by Andy Trincia (Romania 2002-04) free-lance writer Carolina Alumni Review September/October ’21   Two days after graduation, Jack Allison ’66 and his fellow University of North Carolina Men’s Glee Club members flew to New York to appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” opening for the Dave Clark Five, the superstar British Invasion rock band. For Allison, who made a name for himself on campus as lead singer for The One-Eyed Jacks, the Sullivan appearance and the glee club’s European tour immediately thereafter were a dreamy signoff from Carolina. Just a year later, Allison recorded a song that went straight to No. 1 — in Africa. He reached the top of the charts after joining the Peace Corps, hoping the two-year stint would help him decide between a career in ministry or medicine. He was sent to Malawi, a narrow, landlocked nation in south-central Africa and one of the world’s . . .

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Review — JFK & RFK MADE ME DO IT 1960–1968 by Sweet William (Peru)

   JFK & RFK Made Me Do It:  1960–1968 by Sweet William (WM Evensen) (Peru 1964–66) Peace Corps Writers & Constitutional Capers August 2021 274 pages $25.00 (paperback); $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) • I didn’t know what I was getting into when Marian Haley Beil asked me to review this book. My first thought was this would be a simple retelling of the Peace Corps experience and its aftermath. But JFK and RFK Made Me Do It: 1960 to 1968 is much more than that. In this recounting,  it becomes a young man’s sentimental education, akin to Gustave Flaubert’s novel of that title, though instead of  living through the revolution of 1848 and the founding of the Second French Empire, Sweet William takes us through the revolution wrought by JFK’s presidency and RFK’s attempt to carry on the calling of his fallen brother. JFK & RFK MADE . . .

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“Peace Corps service needed more than ever” by John Bidwell (Mali)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Rowland Scherman (PC Staff 1961-63)      By John Bidwell (Mali 1989-91) Daily Hampshire Gazette 9/24/2021   This month the Peace Corps turns 60. President Kennedy signed the legislation that created the Peace Corps in September 1961, deepening through action, our key national values of service, sacrifice, dedication, and learning from those we serve. The Peace Corps goals are to serve others in interested countries, bring a better understanding of our country to others, and bring a better understanding of others home. My wife, Kris Holloway, and I are proud to have served, joining more than 240,000 nationwide over the past six decades. I entered to bring my skills and commitment to others (and see the world, after growing up in a very small New Hampshire town). I departed enriched and grateful. My life was forever changed for the better. Kris and I worked . . .

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Three years as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer

  By Doug West (Jamaica 1968-71) September 22, 2021   I write this inspired by a New York Times op-ed earlier this year, “Should Young Americans be Required to Give a Year of Service?” I also note that this week marks the 60th anniversary of enactment of the legislation which created the Peace Corps. In 1968, my former wife and I were among 80 volunteers selected for two-year Peace Corps assignments in Jamaica, the fifth Peace Corps group to be sent to Jamaica following President Kennedy’s founding of the Peace Corps in 1961. Like many, I was inspired by JFK’s grand vision, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (Dismissed by Richard Nixon as a refuge for draft dodgers, the Peace Corps created a deferment, but not an alternative to military service. When I returned in 1971, I narrowly missed the draft, . . .

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RPCV Ambassador Foote Resigns (Bolivia)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Clare Shea (Ethiopia 1965-67) U.S. Special Envoy for Haiti Daniel Foote (Bolivia 1992-94) has handed his resignation to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, saying he “will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti” from the U.S. border. Foote, a career diplomat, said the U.S. policy approach to the country is deeply flawed, and that Haitians shouldn’t be sent back to “a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life.” In his resignation letter, Foote criticized the Biden Administration, writing “I will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger . . .

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The world has changed. Should the Peace Corps?

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Michael Varga (Chad 1977-79) The world has changed. Should the Peace Corps? Youth participate in a camp organized by the Peace Corps in Ghana in 2015 designed to empower girls and teach boys how to respect others. September 22, 2021 By Ryan Lenora Brown Staff writer Nick Roll Correspondent The Peace Corps took Patricia Smith, like nearly a quarter-million volunteers before her, far from home. Every morning, she rose early to walk the mile to her job, dodging cars on roads without sidewalks to make it to the public health site where she volunteered. The sun came up earlier in her host community than it did at home in Oregon, which required some adjustments. And sometimes, the culture and rhythms of life in her new environment felt very different from home. But none of that bothered Ms. Smith. In fact, it’s why she joined the Peace Corps . . .

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An Urgent Appeal from RPCV Congressman Garamendi on Peace Corps Act

At the close of this historic day marking the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Peace Corps Act into law, California Representative and Ethiopia RPCV John Garamendi issued an urgent appeal to the Peace Corps community.  Please review his two requests, take action, and share with others! 1)  IMMEDIATE PHONE ACTION NEEDED: On Thursday, the House of Representatives will continue its work on the National Defense Authorization Act. A passionate opponent of nuclear weapon proliferation, Garamendi has an amendment (House Floor Amendment 38) to slow the development of the Ground Base Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). According to Garamendi, this program is an unnecessary and costly mistake at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer, and further precipitates the modern nuclear arms race between the United States, Russia, and China. “I believe our current nuclear arsenal exceeds our deterrence requirement, and this is only going to worsen if we proceed with the planned modernization programs. . . .

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Driving Jesus to Little Rock by Roland Merullo (Micronesia)

Roland Merullo’s Driving Jesus to Little Rock, fits neatly on the shelf with his other beloved, quirky-spiritual books: Golfing with God, American Savior, Vatican Waltz, The Delight of Being Ordinary, and the Buddha trilogy (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)-a list that has sold over half a million copies and been widely translated. This time, the narrator, Eddie Valpolicella, is on his way from Massachusetts to Arkansas to give a talk on “his” novel, Breakfast with Buddha, when, not far from home, he picks up a mysterious hitchhiker. Plainly dressed, insisting that he’s a fan of the author, the hitchhiker claims to be Jesus, the Jesus, and accompanies Eddie on a five-day road trip that challenges him in an amusing variety of ways. Every night on the way south, Eddie calls home to speak with his wife, and Anna Maria’s fiery insistence on choosing trust over suspicion gradually pushes him out of his original cynicism. Jesus plays tricks appearing and . . .

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2021 Special Book Award Winner — OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan Slaght (Russia)

  This haunting memoir by a former Peace Corps volunteer is not about his Peace Corps experience. Rather, it is a book that explores the mind and heart of the wilderness that could have come from the pen of Jack London, had the author lived a century later and been a volunteer. This tale of a young American traveling in eastern Russia resembles “Call of the Wild” in its sensitivity to the powerful forces of nature, and its passion for human survival. Yet the author’s modern story chronicles the efforts to save a non-human species — the elusive Blakiston’s fish owl — from extinction. • Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan Slaght (Russia 1999—02) Ferrar, Straus and Giroux August 2020 358 pages $28.00 (Hardcover); $11.89 (paperback); $14.99 (Kindle); $23.29 (audio CD); $13.08 (audiobook) Reviewed by: John C. Rude (Ethiopia . . .

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