Archive - 2021

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NPCA E-Newsletter: This Violence Cannot Stand
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Ex-PCV Tried To Assist Woman Who Was Killed At Capitol–And Also Participated in Mob Action
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A Volunteer Who Answered the Call “Ask not . . . ” — Hal Hardin (Colombia)
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Are you a college or high school teacher? Heres how to teach the story of the Peace Corps!
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Review — ME RAMBLINS ’CROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI by David S. Smits (Guatemala)
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“Return” by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia)
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A Writer Writes — “The Other Immigration Crisis” by Charles Fortin (Brazil)
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“From Addis to Nairobi” by Wayne Kessler (Ethiopia)
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In 100 New York TIMES Notable Books of 2020 — OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE by Jonathan Slaght (Russia)
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KARIN MCQUILLAN (Senegal) — “What I Learned in the Peace Corps in Africa: Trump Is Right”

NPCA E-Newsletter: This Violence Cannot Stand

  Please read the entire E-Newsletter, published Thursday, January 7, 2021. This violence cannot stand. Yesterday was a horrific day for our country. A violent mob stormed the United States Capitol, smashing windows and looting offices. They sent members of Congress and their staffs scrambling for their lives, barricading into offices and chambers, and huddling beneath chairs. Explosive devices were found. One of the extremists who stormed the building was fatally shot. Three other people died in related incidents. And today a Capitol Hill police officer who was assaulted by extremists died. We condemn these acts of violence and chaos in the strongest possible terms. The Peace Corps community is committed to building peace and friendship. When we are sworn in as Volunteers, we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This was an attempted coup by domestic terrorists. Symbolically . . .

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Ex-PCV Tried To Assist Woman Who Was Killed At Capitol–And Also Participated in Mob Action

The man in a widely circulated news video from Wednesday’s ambush on the United States Capitol is Thomas Baranyi, a 28-year-old from New Jersey who served in the Peace Corps as recently as last year. In the video interview with a reporter from WKRG, a CBS affiliate, Baranyi holds up… The video has been taken down!  

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A Volunteer Who Answered the Call “Ask not . . . ” — Hal Hardin (Colombia)

  Note from the editor: In the past four years, one would have to have been an expert in the forensic sciences to find any article in the press or social media on the Peace Corps. Then, in March of 2020, a virus resurrected it to public awareness when the Peace Corps withdrew all of its 7,000+ Volunteers from their overseas posts out of an abundance of caution for their health. If Volunteers in active service aren’t perceived as still a viable representation of the Peace Corps’ raison d’etre, then perhaps it can be found in the dividends that returned Volunteers continue to invest in our society as responsible citizens of the world. They are emblematic of the Peace Corps’ Third Goal: “Help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.” Since its founding in 1961, some 285,000 Volunteers have served around the world. After returning . . .

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Are you a college or high school teacher? Heres how to teach the story of the Peace Corps!

Alana DeJoseph has made her award-winning documentary about the Peace Corps available for college and secondary school teachers. RPCV teachers, this is a great opportunity for you to tell your Peace Corps story to your students and also, with the film, tell the story of the agency. • Director of the film, Alana DeJoseph, writes: The feature documentary A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps is going to school! We are developing lesson plans for middle schools, high schools, and universities to teach the history of the Peace Corps through the lens of various fields of study. And we would love to take advantage of the expertise so many RPCVs have. So, we are asking RPCV professors (current and retired) from the following fields of study to connect with us at info@peacecorpsdocumentary.com to help us make these lesson plans the best they can be! Areas of study: – International Studies . . .

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Review — ME RAMBLINS ’CROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI by David S. Smits (Guatemala)

  Me Ramblins ‘Cross the Wide Missouri: The Adventures of a Wayfarin Man in the Ol’ West by David S. Smits (Guatemala 1963–65) Peace Corps Writers 2017 500 pages   Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974-76; Costa Rica 1976-77) • If most of what you believe you know about American frontier life in the pre-Civil War years is from movies and TV shows, you should definitely read this book. Author David Smitts was a professor of American history, specializing in U.S. westward expansion and the evolving frontier region for 38 years before retiring. He had often assigned his students to create a fictitious character and insert him or her into authentic events in history based on what primary sources they could find. The character, acting as chronicler, would interact with actual individuals of the time period who should behave in accordance with the historical record. The completed project would take . . .

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“Return” by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia)

  Notes from the Editor: Kathleen Johnson Coskran (Ethiopia 1965-67) taught in Addis Ababa her first year, then transferred to Dilla, a small town in the far south of the Empire. She wrote “So This Is Paris” about Dilla, an essay Marian Beil and I published in our newsletter, RPCV Writers & Readers in 1994. For me that essay is one of the finest written about the Peace Corps experience. I republished it in a collection I edited titled, Peace Corps: The Great Adventure. In 2007 Peace Corps Writers.com publish “Second Time Around” that subsequently received the 2008 Peace Corps Writers Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award. Kathy has continued to write and continues to win awards. This is an essay she wrote about when she and her husband Chuck returned to Ethiopia and traveled for ten hours by bus through the Rift Valley to see Dilla one last time. Here is . . .

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A Writer Writes — “The Other Immigration Crisis” by Charles Fortin (Brazil)

  The Other Immigration Crisis Charles Fortin (Brazil 1968-70) “Cocaine . . . is typically available in urban, suburban, and rural drug markets throughout the United States . . .  and cocaine supplies are relatively stable at levels sufficient to meet current user demand.” United States Drug Enforcement Administration, National Drug Threat Assessment   The heavily-accented voice on the line said she was acting on a tip. A friend of mine with whom I had worked in Bulgaria had given her my name.  She was calling to get my help with drugs in Latin American and the Caribbean. I took a deep breath. Then, I relaxed as my caller explained she wanted to hire me as a consultant to report on the drug trade, not to participate in it. In the Balkans, my friend had called on me to give a training module to doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators on . . .

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“From Addis to Nairobi” by Wayne Kessler (Ethiopia)

  Preceding Paul Theroux: from Addis to Nairobi by Wayne Kessler (Ethiopia 1964-66)   As I age, I’m finding that memories have become a larger part of my life than I want them to be.  I’d rather be thinking and planning something new than being caught up in the past.  Regardless, memories happen, so when I read Paul Theroux’s (Malawi 1963-65) “The Longest Road in Africa” from Dark Star Safari about his journey in Ethiopia from Addis Ababa to Moyale, I was instantly caught up in my own memories of the same trip 36 years before his. My wife Laurie and I left our Peace Corps village in the northern Eritrean Province of Ethiopia on July 1st 1966, with mixed emotions: sad to leave our Eritrean friends but excited about a vague idea of traveling by road from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, . . .

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In 100 New York TIMES Notable Books of 2020 — OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE by Jonathan Slaght (Russia)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Janet Lee (Ethiopia 1974-76)   Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl BY JONATHAN C. SLAGHT (Russia 1999–2002) $28.00. Farrar, Straus & Giroux NONFICTION   Slaght is a wildlife biologist with a singular mission, to conserve an elusive and enormous raptor in the eastern wilds of Russia. The book is an ode to the rigors and pleasures of fieldwork in hard conditions. — NY Times OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE – National Book Award longlist 2020 – New York Times Notable Book 2020 – Wall Street Journal 10 Best Books of 2020 – The Times Nature Book of the Year 2020

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KARIN MCQUILLAN (Senegal) — “What I Learned in the Peace Corps in Africa: Trump Is Right”

Note from the editor: Karin McQuillan is a novelist (one novel) who was a PCV in Senegal. (She ETed after a year. ) We published a few blog items about her back in January and February of 2018. This article has just been republished on-line by the American Conservatives. (They loved it.) Karin is a nice woman and a true believer in Trump and the Conservative element of our society. She is like our current (for two more weeks) Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen (Tunisia 1966-68) who, I’m told, is a great believer of President Trump and will follow him anywhere, do whatever he asks, so Jody may be back in the government if Trump rallies his base. Maybe as Secretary of State!  (I’m told she even has a crush on him, but I don’t believe it.) Meanwhile, Right Wing RPCV Karin McQuillan is making her case that Trump is . . .

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