Archive - 2021

1
In The Peace Corps — They Dated Every Sunday Night on the Phone. Here’s How They Got to Marriage.
2
WAITING FOR THE SNOW by Tom Scanlon (Chile)
3
Mildred D. Taylor (Ethiopia) wins 2021 Children’s Literature Legacy Award
4
10 Must-Read Books About the Peace Corps
5
The Volunteer Who Stamped “Done” on Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Donna Shalala (Iran)
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Review — AFRICA MEMOIR by Mark G. Wentling (Togo)
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Review — AMERICA’S BURIED HISTORY: Landmines in the Civil War by Kenneth R. Rutherford (Mauritania)
8
We All Need an Editor — Jane Albriton (India)
9
Carolee Buck’s (Senegal) Pandemic project gets presidential approval
10
My Eritrean Sister by Laurel West Kessler (Ethiopia)

In The Peace Corps — They Dated Every Sunday Night on the Phone. Here’s How They Got to Marriage.

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65)   This couple met as Peace Corps Volunteers, and built their relationship mostly remotely, while working on different islands in Fiji.   By Gabe Cohn NY Times Feb. 12, 2021   On a handful of days in 2017 and 2018, when the humidity was low and the sky was free of smoke from burning sugar cane, Benjamin Hampton Ewing was able to look out from a ridgeline on Viti Levu, the main island in Fiji, and see something special. At 6 a.m., Mr. Ewing would board a bus in the mountains of Viti Levu, where he was living. The bus would lumber toward Suva, Fiji’s capital, zigzagging through switchbacks woven into the mountains. About 15 minutes into the trip, the riders would reach a ridgeline that looked out over peaks and valleys, and into the ocean beyond. Most of the time, . . .

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WAITING FOR THE SNOW by Tom Scanlon (Chile)

  In 1962 Father Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame University, went to Chile to visit the Volunteers who had trained at Notre Dame. One of them was Tom Scanlon, a recent ND graduate. Tom told Father Hesburgh a story about his job so far as a PCV. Hesburgh would write a letter to Sarge Shriver, a good friend, and tell Sarge what Scanlon said.  Shriver would write Hesburgh back and say, “I am delighted to hear it….In fact, all the people here at Peace Corps Headquarters liked it so much we’re using it as the opening section of our presentation to the United States Congress.” Shriver also would pass on what Father Hesburgh told him to his brother-in-law, John F. Kennedy. In the early days of the Peace Corps, President Kennedy greeted the first Peace Corps Trainees on the White House lawn and even invited the first Volunteers to Colombia . . .

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Mildred D. Taylor (Ethiopia) wins 2021 Children’s Literature Legacy Award

  CHICAGO – Mildred D. Taylor (Ethiopia 1965-67) is the winner of the 2021 Children’s Literature Legacy Award honoring an author or illustrator, published in the United States, whose books have made a significant and lasting contribution to literature for children. Her numerous works include “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” (Dial, 1976) and “All the Days Past, All the Days to Come” (Dial, 2020). The award was announced today, during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits, held virtually Jan. 22–26. The award is administered annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA. “Taylor’s storytelling shows how courage, dignity, and family love endure amidst racial injustice and continues to enlighten hearts and minds of readers through the decades.” said Children’s Literature Legacy Award Committee Chair Dr. Junko Yokota. Mildred Taylor was born in Mississippi, grew up in Ohio, and now lives . . .

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10 Must-Read Books About the Peace Corps

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77)   By Laura Posted in Travel Resources   Looking for inspiring, international reads? It’s no secret that Peace Corps Volunteers have incredible stories to tell about, or inspired by, their service. No two Peace Corps Volunteers have the same experience, even when serving in the same country. Match that with the ever-changing nature of the Peace Corps as an agency and advancements in developing countries, and you’ve got a near-endless supply of unique, international book reads. So, whether you’re an aspiring Peace Corps Volunteer, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, or an armchair traveler, we’ve got excellent recommendations about Peace Corps related stories for you. • Hey, there! Looking for a Peace Corps read? I’ve written a novel series, Messages, that was inspired, in part, by my service in Panama. You can download it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited, or purchase it . . .

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The Volunteer Who Stamped “Done” on Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Donna Shalala (Iran)

  A Profile in Citizenship By Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)    And … that would be Donna Shalala, a Volunteer that catapulted herself from a field assignment in Iran to the august halls of the U. S. Congress — after being a Cabinet Secretary and president of several universities along the way! Donna received a degree in 1962 from Ohio’s Western College for Women. In that year and through 1964, she was among the first Volunteers to serve in the Peace Corps. Her placement was in Iran where she worked with other Volunteers to develop an agricultural college. In 1970, she earned a Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. In 1970, Donna began her academic career as a political science professor at Baruch College. In 1972, Donna became a Professor of Politics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, a post she held . . .

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Review — AFRICA MEMOIR by Mark G. Wentling (Togo)

  Africa Memoir by Mark G. Wentling (Togo 1970-73) Open Books Publisher 255 pages August 2020 $9.99 (Kindle); $21.95 (Paperback Reviewed by Robert E. Hamilton (Ethiopia; 1965-67) • To review fairly this first volume of three in the Africa Memoir trilogy, it will be generally useful to remember what it is, as a book and concept, rather than what it is not. It is not, for example, a history of the 54 countries in Africa, all of which Mark Wentling has visited (some only briefly). Neither is it a guide book which you would expect, like Lonely Planet or a Rick Steves publication, to be updated annually or regularly. Wentling says in his Foreword: The central purpose of this book is to share my lifetime of firsthand experiences in Africa. I also attempt to communicate my views about the many facets of the challenges faced by each of Africa’s countries. . . .

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Review — AMERICA’S BURIED HISTORY: Landmines in the Civil War by Kenneth R. Rutherford (Mauritania)

  America’s Buried History: Landmines in the Civil War by Kenneth R. Rutherford (Mauritania 1987-89) Savas Beatie Publisher 216 pages April 2020 $17.95 (Kindle) $29.95 (Hardback) Reviewed by Paul Aertker (Mauritania 19988-89) • With exciting prose and perfectly chosen Civil War quotes, America’s Buried History weaves a little-known thread through a well-known story. This history of landmines is the first Civil War book I’ve read in a long time, and the first on the subject that I’ve ever read. For a non-fiction book, I was surprised by the thrilling pace, and at times the narrative felt like it was in the hands of great non-fiction masters like Sebastian Junger and Jon Krakauer. While it’s easy to see this book on a college Civil War syllabus, its educative value is matched equally by its readability. What’s more, the author’s use of war vocabulary — “abatis,” “fraise,” “glacis” — is “lagniappe”* to an . . .

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We All Need an Editor — Jane Albriton (India)

  An RPCV Editor for Your Memoir, Fiction or Non-Fiction Book   Jane Albriton (India 1967-69) is an award-winning journalis,t and the president of Tiger Enterprises Writing Consultants. She is the creator and series editor of four books of Peace Corps stories published in 2011 on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps. In 2011 the series won the Peace Corps Collection Award from Peace Corps Worldwide. As a business journal writer, her beats have been the hospitality industry and food. Among other publications, she has written for Edible Front Range Magazine, The O&P Edge (orthotics and prosthetics), Southwest Art, and the Colorado Business Report. As the editor of other writers’ book length manuscripts, her goal is to improve the manuscript without leaving any fingerprints, to let the editing vanish into the writer’s style, language, and rhythms. For that reason, she only works on complete manuscripts that have . . .

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Carolee Buck’s (Senegal) Pandemic project gets presidential approval

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Laurel West Kessler (Ethiopia 1964-66)   by Jim Flint for the Mail Tribune Sunday, February 7th 2021     An Ashland woman’s pandemic project of putting together a memory book about her Peace Corps experiences in the late 1960s in Senegal led to a personal invitation from Senegal’s president to revisit the country.   Carolee and Art Buck (Senegal 1968-70) met years ago at the University of California at Santa Barbara and discovered they shared a desire to work and travel around the world. “We were young, starry-eyed dreamers,” Carolee said. They were inspired to join the Peace Corps by the compelling stories of people doing good works in foreign cultures and by the words of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” They got married and joined the . . .

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My Eritrean Sister by Laurel West Kessler (Ethiopia)

By Laurel West Kessler (Ethiopia 1964-66)   Mhret clasped my hand as she pulled her filmy shawl over her face, looked down at her lap, and shed silent tears. Sitting on low stools on her patio, we were looking at photos of her son, Tefera, who was living in our city in California. He had gone there in 1991 to earn a soccer coaching license. Now in 1996 my husband, Wayne, and I were living in their country, Eritrea. Mhret wondered when and if she would see her only child again.  Her diabetes — which occasionally put her in the hospital — certainly gave her reason to worry. I had first noticed Mhret and Tefera in October 1964, when they arrived by bus in Adi Teclesan, the village in Eritrea where we were Peace Corps teachers.  In the crowd of arriving and departing passengers, they stood together holding hands, a . . .

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