Archive - 2021

1
Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience 
2
A Writer Writes — “Mr. Tidy” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)
3
RPCV’s letter published in the Washington Post
4
Review-We Are Akan: Our People and Our Kingdom in the Rainforest (Ghana)
5
The Volunteer Who Became Peace Corps Director
6
Smithsonian Folklife Festival Peace Corps Event OnLine
7
Peace Corps Language Week — March 6
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Acting PC Director Carol Spahn replies to Jerry Norris’ letter about the work of RPCV Maureen Orth
9
Review — MICHAEL GOLD: THE PEOPLE’S WRITER by Patrick Chura (Lithuania)
10
Dan Rooney (Niger) back in Africa . . . This time Madagascar

Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience 

March 3th at 7 pm ET Virtual Opening   We are pleased to announce the exhibition Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience with links to register for the virtual opening event on Wed. March. 3 at 7 pm ET. We invite you to enjoy the exhibition catalog and attend the virtual opening. Read the exhibition catalog here.  Register for Wednesday, March 3, 7 pm ET virtual opening here. Numerous Volunteers in the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience partnered with Jack Rasmussen, Director of American University Museum and AU Museum staff to create this exhibit. Now available virtually, the physical exhibit is installed until August 2021 and will be viewable at American University Museum, Washington DC, when the pandemic situation allows the campus to open publicly. — Pat Wand (Colombia 1963-1965) — Nicola Dino (Ecuador 1994-1997)

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A Writer Writes — “Mr. Tidy” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay)

    Mr. Tidy by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80 • The first time Dean Birch watched Mr. Tidy rise up out of the swimming pool in the back yard, he thought it was odd. He assumed he had not read the manual thoroughly, another sin of omission Nancy could hold against him. Once the robot cleaned the pool to its own digitally imprinted standard, it climbed the steps, motored over to the flagstones, and waited for the command to clean again. Whoever had the marketing contract for Convenience Machines, which made the robot, had blown it. They should have advertised the self-parking feature. Dean was at the breakfast nook with a mugful of coffee. He stared through the sun-flooded window at Mr. Tidy; robot rest. He was glad they had sprung for the thing. Who had time to clean the pool? Nancy had left for work. She must have turned . . .

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RPCV’s letter published in the Washington Post

  In its February 16, 2021 issue,  the Washington Post published a news article describing  how hydrofluorocarbons, a dangerous environmental pollutant, were leaking from supermarket freezers. It also described the Biden administration’s efforts to regulate and eliminate the problem. https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/02/15/these-gases-your-grocerys-freezer-are-fueling-climate-change-biden-wants-fix-that/ RPCV Evelyn Ganzglass  (Somalia 1966-68) wrote this letter to the Washington Post urging consumer action to deal with the  pollution issue. The Post published it, included that she was a  member in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for Environmental Action.  In her letter, Ganzglass stresses pollution is a global problem and hurts everyone all over the world. Thank you to Evelyn Ganzglass for sharing the letter. • “Consumer activism could have a real impact on the environment. Let’s all use the money we spend on groceries to exert market pressure on supermarkets to immediately fix leaks in refrigeration systems that release hydrofluorocarbons into the atmosphere and accelerate the pace of replacing these . . .

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Review-We Are Akan: Our People and Our Kingdom in the Rainforest (Ghana)

  We Are Akan: Our People and Our Kingdom in the Rainforest — Ghana, 1807 by Dorothy Brown Soper (Ghana 1962–65), author; and  James Cloutier (Kenya 1962–66), illustrator Luminare Press October 2020 358 pages Reading level : 9 – 12 years October 2020 $8.99 (Kindle); $19.99 (Paperback) Reviewed by Sue Hoyt Aiken (Ethiopia 1962–64) • Imagine this reader’s surprise to see the date of 1807 implying this was a historical story, in Africa!  Lucky would be the kids in school today who get to read about a powerful, intelligent, community-minded kingdom located in Ghana in West Africa, in 1807! The story follows young people going about their daily lives doing work for and about the community.  Their “educations” are mapped out and led by elders or older relatives. Women do honorable work and most important of all, each child’s experiences and attempts to accomplish tasks are rewarded with warm words of . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became Peace Corps Director

By Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)    Ever since Carrie Hessler-Radelet was seven years old, she had wanted to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. In an extensive interview with MSNBC’s ‘The Oath’, she traced this early childhood ambition to hearing about Peace Corps from her aunt who was a Volunteer in Turkey — being the 10,000th Volunteer to be sworn in worldwide. Actually, Carrie went on, “the one thing that is unique about my family is that it is a multi-generational Peace Corps family.  Her grandparents served in Peace Corps/Malaysia after they retired, and a nephew served in Mozambique”.  When Carrie joined with her husband in Peace Corps/Samoa, that rounded out the generational family linkage. Carrie graduated from Boston College with a degree in Political Science and Economics, then joined Peace Corps as a Volunteer in Samoa, 1981-84.  Her Peace Corps family was with a mother aged 32, named Losa along . . .

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Smithsonian Folklife Festival Peace Corps Event OnLine

  The Peace Corps at 60 and Beyond  A Towering Task Screening & Discussion     When: Thursday, March 4, 7–8 p.m. ET Where: Streaming online Category: Narrative Session Accessibility: ASL interpretation, real-time captioning available   The Smithsonian Folklife Festival began in 1967, not long after the Peace Corps, with many similar goals—especially to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of world cultures. In 2011, the Folklife Festival commemorated the agency’s fiftieth anniversary with a program that featured Peace Corps volunteers and their partners from sixteen countries. In 2021, the Festival once more explores the agency’s significance and impact through a panel discussion and a screening of the 2019 documentary film A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps. Join us on March 4 at 7 p.m. ET for the discussion with Peace Corps acting director Carol Spahn, Rayna Green, Rahama Wright, and the film’s director, Alana DeJoseph, all Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. We offer two . . .

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Peace Corps Language Week — March 6

    Peace Corps Language Week, March 6, 2021 @PeaceCorps #PeaceCorpsLanguageWeek began in 2014 in recognition of the agency’s deep investment in language learning. This year, we’re starting our weeklong celebration with 11 facts you might not know about Peace Corps languages.    

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Acting PC Director Carol Spahn replies to Jerry Norris’ letter about the work of RPCV Maureen Orth

  Jerry Norris (Colombia 1963-65) has been researching efforts of RPCVs in pursuit of the Third Goal and posting them here as “Profiles in Courage.” Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964-66) was one such Profile. Jerry Norris wrote Acting Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn about the Orth Foundation which helps Colombian students become bilingual and skilled in computer technology. See: https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/a-profile-in-citizenship-colombia/ • He shares Spahn’s response here: Dear Mr. Norris: Thank you for reaching out to share the story of RPCV Maureen Orth and her inspiring work with the Marina Orth Foundation, as it relates to the Peace Corps’ domestic dividend. As you point out, both she and Donna Shalala have truly gone above and beyond when it comes to our Third Goal. It’s always nice to hear from Returned Volunteers and I so appreciate that you felt compelled to respond to my open letter. As you say, the full impact of the . . .

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Review — MICHAEL GOLD: THE PEOPLE’S WRITER by Patrick Chura (Lithuania)

  Michael Gold: The People’s Writer by Patrick Chura( Lithuania 1992-94) 354 pages SUNY Press December 2020 $33.95 (Kindle); $95.00 (Hardback) Reviewed by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) • Counterintuitively, the hardest to write book reviews are for ones you most admire.  And Patrick Chura’s biography, Michael Gold: The People’s Writer is one such book. Reading Chura’s text has been an intimate labor of love for me. In the very last pages of his story of the life of Michael Gold a sentence stood out to describe my deep attachment.  “. . . (Michael) Gold managed the challenge of proving the existence of another America, and how difficult it made his life.” In writing of Michael Gold, an avowed and uncompromising Marxist, a man who has fallen out of the literary canon, out of the political history of America, despite his major contributions and successes, Chura has told the story of . . .

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Dan Rooney (Niger) back in Africa . . . This time Madagascar

Dan Rooney in Africa Again by Colleen Jurkiewicz Catholic Herald CRS Rice Bowl is the annual Lenten program of Catholic Relief Services, which is the official relief and development agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Seventy-five percent of donations to CRS Rice Bowl supports the work of CRS around the world, while 25 percent stays in the local diocese to support hunger and poverty alleviation efforts. Since its inception in 1975, CRS Rice Bowl has raised nearly $300 million. • For Dan Rooney (Niger 2000-02), Lent was always synonymous with the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl campaign. “If you were to ask almost anyone in my class, they would all remember it. It was a pretty poignant event for us every year, from kindergarten through eighth grade,” said Rooney, who was a student at Blessed Sacrament Parish School in the 1980s. “A couple of days before Lent . . .

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