Archive - 2021

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Afghanistan 50 years ago
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The Volunteer Who Became the Co-founder and CEO of Netflix — Reed Hastings (Swaziland)
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Review — MARIANTONIA by Robert L. Forster (Honduras)
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INSIDE PEACE CORPS
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The Peace Corps Deals with Sexual Assault
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THE ADVENTURES OF MAYANA by David Perry (Belize)
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The Gringo I Knew by Rich Wandschneider (Turkey)
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NPR Correspondent Larry Kaplow (Guatemala)
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New List of Peace Corps authors who have published 2 or more books
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Review — WATER DRUMMING IN THE SOUL by Eric Madeen (Gabon)
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“Development in Morocco Flourishes” thanks to RPCV’s High Atlas Foundation
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RPCV Brother Guy Consolmagno (Kenya), Director of Vatican Observatory
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RPCV book is one of New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of the Year — LAST BEST HOPE by George Packer (Togo)
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Speech on peace delivered by President John F. Kennedy
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Review — NOTHING WORKS BUT EVERYTHING WORKS OUT by Leigh Marie Dannhauser (Cameroon)

Afghanistan 50 years ago

Described in autobiographical book by Peace Corps Volunteer Elana Hohl (Afghasnistan 1971-73) Holly Zachariah The Columbus Dispatch   There they were, two 21-year-old newlyweds and recent college graduates from the Midwest, staring out the windows as the chartered plane that carried them and 75 other Peace Corps volunteers into Afghanistan approached the airstrip of Kabul International Airport. The vast and barren land that Elana and Michael Hohl had been studying for hours from the sky suddenly gave way to a city below, and camels and donkeys came into clear view. As the plane bounced down onto the runway on that steaming July day in 1971, there wasn’t an ounce of trepidation in either of the Hohls’ hearts or minds. “We were excited,” Michael recalled recently as he and his wife of 51 years sat in the living room of their condominium in the Northland neighborhood, a cozy home where nearly every space . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became the Co-founder and CEO of Netflix — Reed Hastings (Swaziland)

A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)   In Reed Hastings gap year before college he sold vacuum cleaners door to door, then went on to graduate from Bowdoin College with a degree in Mathematics. He spent his college summers in a Marine Corps training program, including a stint at the Officers Candidate School in the summer of 1981. He was never commissioned, choosing instead to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. He went to teach math at a high school of 800 in rural Swaziland, Africa, from 1983-85.  Reed credits part of his entrepreneurial spirit to his time in Peace Corps, remarking that “Once you have hitch-hiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn’t seem too intimidating”. After returning from Peace Corps, Reed went on to attend Stanford University, earning a Master’s in Computer Science. His first job was at Adaptive Technology where . . .

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Review — MARIANTONIA by Robert L. Forster (Honduras)

  Mariantonia : The Lifetime Journey of a Peace Corps Volunteer Robert L Forster (Honduras 19671–73) Peace Corps Writers 2021 218 pages $19.99 (paperback); $6.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras) — first published on Amazon.com. • Robert Forster has succeeded in writing and publishing a stellar Peace Corps memoir. Well organized, clearly written and superbly edited, it describes his experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer stationed along Honduras’s western frontier bordering El Salvador only two years after the “soccer war.” This is the first such memoir to quote war survivors and describe the war in such a personal manner. The book includes excellent photos (rare for early Peace Corps accounts), maps, a bibliography, a glossary of Spanish words and phrases, as well as sections of the book that elaborate on local history and offer insights into ongoing Honduran social problems. For Peace Corps aficionados or a general audience, this . . .

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INSIDE PEACE CORPS

Chief Executive Officer’s Message     Welcome back to Inside Peace Corps, where we share updates on our work, both at headquarters and in the countries where our Volunteers are invited to serve. Yesterday, we celebrated World AIDS Day to honor those we have lost due to the disease and to recognize the substantial progress that has been made toward ending the epidemic over the last 40 years. I am so grateful for the contributions community members, counterparts, partners, staff, and returned Volunteers of the Peace Corps network have made toward supporting those living with HIV and raising awareness to prevent new infections.   The World AIDS Day theme this year was “Global solidarity, shared responsibility,” a theme I know resonates deeply with the Peace Corps network, especially during this time of unrelenting change. Our shifting reality – whether due to global health crises, new COVID-19 variants, climate change, or a need for . . .

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The Peace Corps Deals with Sexual Assault

Peace Corps Seeks Public Input as Agency Develops Roadmap to Strengthen its Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response Program December 2, 2021 Today, the Peace Corps announced the next phase of its work to strengthen the agency’s Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response (SARRR) program. From December 2 to December 16, the public is invited to submit input and feedback about the Peace Corps’ efforts to enhance systems that support sexual assault risk mitigation and provide care to survivors. Following the release of the 2021 Sexual Assault Advisory Council (SAAC) report in November, Peace Corps leadership is conducting a comprehensive review of the recommendations outlined in the report and preparing a roadmap that outlines the future of the SARRR program to be released publicly in early 2022. “Last month, we received expert recommendations that incorporate emerging best practices from SAAC members that will inform the next phase of our work. . . .

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THE ADVENTURES OF MAYANA by David Perry (Belize)

  The Adventures of Mayana: Falling off the Edge of the Earth is the story of a 17-year Belizean girl named Mayana who finds herself on an adventure in a fantasyland of magic, monsters, and intrigue. She crosses over from her homeland of Belize to an alternate reality where the laws of nature and science are very different from what she learned. While she attempts to find her way back to Belize, she befriends a young man named Shifu who mysteriously appears, and speaks only in parables. He helps Mayana use her new-found magic powers to fight monsters and witches and to attempt to find her way home. Shifu also helps her to discover the meaning of life, how to understand why people are the way they are, and most of all how to understand herself. All during her journey, she relies on the recollections of conversations that she had over the . . .

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The Gringo I Knew by Rich Wandschneider (Turkey)

by Rich Wandschneider (Turkey 1965-67)   Jack Hood Vaughn’s autobiography, Kill the Gringo, came to me from Leif Christoffersen, who had served with Jack on the board of trustees of Earth University in Costa Rica. Leif knew I had been in the Peace Corps a long time ago, and wondered whether I knew Jack. Leif, like Jack, is my elder, and like Jack, had worked in international development around the world, and their paths happened to cross in Costa Rica, and they liked each other. Leif’s mostly retired now, and comes to visit a son who lives here, and then he’s off to natal Norway, his home in Virginia, or a board meeting or consultation somewhere else. He always calls me for coffee or lunch. I think he’s fascinated that I was in the Peace Corps and on staff a long time ago, and seemed to have wrapped up my . . .

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NPR Correspondent Larry Kaplow (Guatemala)

  Editor, International Desk Larry Kaplow  (Guatemala 1988-91) edits the work of NPR’s correspondents in the Middle East and helps direct coverage about the region. That has included NPR’s work on the Syrian civil war, the Trump administration’s reduction in refugee admissions, the Iran nuclear deal, the US-backed fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. He has been at NPR since 2013, starting as an overnight news editor. He moved to the International Desk in 2014. He won NPR’s Newcomer Award and was part of teams that won an Overseas Press Club Award and an NPR Content Excellence Award. Prior to joining NPR, Kaplow reported from the Middle East for 12 years. He was the Cox Newspapers‘ Mideast correspondent from 1997 to 2003, reporting from Jerusalem during the Second Intifada as well as from Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. He did reporting . . .

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New List of Peace Corps authors who have published 2 or more books

Here is our list of RPCV & staff authors we know of who have published two or more books of any type. Currently, the count is 450. If you know of someone who has and their name is not on this list, then please email: jcoyneone@gmail.com. We know we don’t have all such writers who have served over these past 60 years. Thank you.’ • Jerome R. Adams (Colombia 1963–65) Tom Adams (Togo 1974-76) Thomas “Taj” Ainlay, Jr. (Malaysia 1973–75) Elizabeth (Letts) Alalou (Morocco 1983–86) Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) Robert Albritton (Ethiopia 1962-65) Usha Alexander (Vanuatu 1996–97) James G. Alinder (Somalia 1964-66) Richard Alleman (Morocco 1968-70) Hayward Allen (Ethiopia 1962-64) Diane Demuth Allensworth (Panama 1964–66) Paul E. Allaire (Ethiopia 1964–66) Allman (Nepal 1966-68) Nancy Amidei (Nigeria 1964–65) Gary Amo (Malawi 1962–64) David C. Anderson (Costa Rica 1964-66) Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1963-65) Peggy Anderson (Togo 1962-64) James Archambeault (Philippines 1965-67) Ron Arias (Peru . . .

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Review — WATER DRUMMING IN THE SOUL by Eric Madeen (Gabon)

  Water Drumming in the Soul: A Novel of Racy Love in the Heart of Africa by Eric Madeen (Gabon 1981-83) Independently published 218 pages April 2021 $ 2.99 (Kindle); $9.99 (Paperback) Reviewed by Sue Hoyt Aiken (Ethiopia 1962-64) • Readers are quickly drawn into the adventure of David as he travels in a foreign culture as seen through his eyes as a newly arrived Peace Corps Volunteer approaching the area where he will live and work for two years deep in Africa. Countless descriptions scattered throughout the book remind us how much the environment influences and impacts those who live there. All of our senses are called upon, including the sound of water drumming as it reverberates into David’s soul drawing him to the origin of the drumming, a beautiful nude brown woman glimmering in a pool of water beating the water with her hands like an instrument, singing as . . .

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“Development in Morocco Flourishes” thanks to RPCV’s High Atlas Foundation

  by Andre Silva Borgen Magazine, November 22, 2021   WESTBURY, New York — The High Atlas Foundation is helping Morocco’s local communities determine how they choose to develop their land and grow out of poverty sustainably. Like those in the northern Atlas Mountains, Morocco’s most vulnerable communities have long suffered from water scarcity, shaky access to land and unregulated grazing rights. These hardships make it difficult for many individual planters to harvest profitable yields on their produce and further strain their labors. Also, their reliance on traditional and overplanted crops like barley, corn and dates deliver low profits. Additionally, they exasperate a low diversity of fruits and vegetables in the poorest of the nation’s regions. While Morocco’s red fruit production saw an increase of 84% last year, many of the nation’s poorest farmers were not included in the agricultural boom. Yet, one organization is working to reverse this in a new sustainable development model, improving . . .

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RPCV Brother Guy Consolmagno (Kenya), Director of Vatican Observatory

  Brother Guy Consolmagno is the co-authored two astronomy books: Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope – and How to Find Them (with Dan M. Davis; Cambridge University Press, 1989) and Worlds Apart: A Textbook in Planetary Sciences (with Martha W. Schaefer; Prentice Hall, 1993). He is the author or co-author of four books exploring faith and science issues, including The Way to the Dwelling of Light (U of Notre Dame Press, 1998); Brother Astronomer (McGraw Hill, 2000); God’s Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion (Jossey-Bass, 2007), and Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? (With Paul Mueller, Image, 2014). He also edited The Heavens Proclaim (Vatican Observatory Publications, 2009).  Since 2004 he has written a monthly column on astronomy for the British Catholic periodical, The Tablet. Brother Guy Consolmagno (Kenya 1983-85) is the director of the Vatican Observatory, and president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. . . .

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RPCV book is one of New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of the Year — LAST BEST HOPE by George Packer (Togo)

  Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal by George Packer (Togo 1982-83) This slim but forceful treatise begins with patriotic despair: With inequality persisting in the United States across generations, Packer paints a picture of a deeply fractured America that he divides into four irreconcilable categories. The result, he believes, is that we are losing the art of self-government.

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Speech on peace delivered by President John F. Kennedy

  Speech on peace delivered by President John F. Kennedy at American University on 10 June 1963     President Anderson, members of the faculty, board of trustees, distinguished guests, my old colleague, Senator Bob Byrd, who has earned his degree through many years of attending night law school, while I am earning mine in the next 30 minutes, ladies and gentlemen: It is with great pride that I participate in this ceremony of the American University, sponsored by the Methodist Church, founded by Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, and first opened by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. This is a young and growing university, but it has already fulfilled Bishop Hurst’s enlightened hope for the study of history and public affairs in a city devoted to the making of history and to the conduct of the public’s business. By sponsoring this institution of higher learning for all who wish to learn, . . .

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Review — NOTHING WORKS BUT EVERYTHING WORKS OUT by Leigh Marie Dannhauser (Cameroon)

  Nothing Works But Everything Works Out: My Peace Corps Experience in the West Region of Cameroon Leigh Marie Dannhauser (Cameroon 2017–19) Independently published, 2019 188 pages $14.99 (paperback), $5.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Eric Madeen (Gabon 1981-83) • During Leigh Marie Dannhauser’s Peace Corps experience in Cameroon as an agriculture volunteer she dutifully kept a journal, and the contents of that journal fill this memoir. It starts with her acceptance of assignment which was initially for Peru, but then gets switched to Cameroon along with the job. The memoir is on point in giving the highlights and challenges (boo-coo!) of daily life and could very well serve as a primer of sorts for future volunteers to Cameroon at staging or better yet required reading prior to being accepted for assignment, to give them an accurate assessment of what they’d be up against. And there’s much! Having served in Gabon (1981–83) . . .

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