Archive - 2022

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2022 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award — MICHAEL GOLD: THE PEOPLE’S WRITER
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Review — THE COLOR OF THE ELEPHANT by Christine Herbert (Zambia)
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2022 Maria Thomas Fiction Award Winner — A THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT
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THE DELCO YEARS by Bill Owens (Jamaica)
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Review–Brazilian Odyssey by Stephen Murphy (PC Staff)
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Peace Corps Alumnus builds 42 schools in Sierra Leone
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Naming the Peace Corps
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RPCV Park Ranger Gregg Moydell (Morocco)
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Cold Mornings in Mongolia
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DEAR MICHELLE, LETTERS FROM AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIFE by Samuel Gerard (Ukraine)
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Glenn A. Blumhorst Says Goodby To The NPCA
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The Volunteer Who Used His Corporate Positions in Service to Others — Bob Haas (Ivory Coast)
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Review — MY SADDEST PLEASURES by Mark Walker (Guatemala)
14
RPCV Jon Ebeling Dies From Heart Attack (Ethiopia)
15
Doing the Blitz Peace Corps Recruitment in the ’60s

2022 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award — MICHAEL GOLD: THE PEOPLE’S WRITER

  by Patrick Chura (Lithuania 1992-94)   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 my parents and people like them, who dedicated their lives to making a better, more equitable nation, and suffered as a result of their . . .

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Review — THE COLOR OF THE ELEPHANT by Christine Herbert (Zambia)

  The Color of the Elephant: Memoir of a Muzungu Christine  Herbert (Zambia 2004–06) GenZ Publishing January 2022 $15.99 (paperback), $5.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Rebecca M. Zornow (eSwatini 2011–13) • I visited the landlocked country of Zambia from the landlocked country of eSwatini, practically neighbors. As a Peace Corps Volunteer on leave, I wished for more than the cursory understanding of Zambian culture, even more than the quick mist of the thunderous Victoria Falls. But as a Volunteer from another country with much to see, I wouldn’t get that chance until reading Christine Herbert’s memoir, The Color of the Elephant. Christine arrives in Zambia in 2004 and quickly learns to eat nshima (cornmeal porridge) and wear citenge (sarong) but wonders throughout training if she’ll be enough to live up to the experience of two years making a difference in the remote countryside. On a trainee outing with an established Volunteer, Christine wonders, . . .

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2022 Maria Thomas Fiction Award Winner — A THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT

  by MARC-VINCENT JACKSON (SENEGAL 1986–89)     Beautiful and determined, an outcast Senegalese woman clings relentlessly to dreams of her beloved savior, a lost folklore hero, returning to her from across the ocean … Broken, but wise, a devoted griot painfully witnesses and faithfully tells her dogged plight, loving her from afar and mostly in vain … Committed American volunteers zealously navigate a developing, culturally rich African country, becoming intimately immersed, and sometimes, unwittingly entangled … Alienated and frustrated, one unsuspecting volunteer bitterly chronicles his uneasy experiences with unsparing criticism … A desperate journey, an unspoken heart, patriotic dedication, and a candid diary lyrically meld into a seamless mystical reality with surprising results. Inspired by his U.S. Peace Corps service during George H.W. Bush’s presidency, Marc-Vincent Jackson has written A Thousand Points of Light, an insightful debut novel that is an artfully written with an engaging tale of interwoven lives . . .

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THE DELCO YEARS by Bill Owens (Jamaica)

  Bill Owens has written an irreverent, funny dystopian novel about a pandemic mitigated by drinking unpasteurized beer. Rich with illustrations by Italian Illustrator Francesca Cosanti, this book is a unique interactive experience. THE DELCO YEARS is the story of how a community of craft beer drinkers flourish and survive after a dystopian event. Hunting and gathering would be at Costco, Target, Home Depot, and CVS. Eventually, they would barter wine for salt, sugar, flour, and hay to feed the horses and cows. From the unhappy Bobby releasing the pandemic to the world in revenge for the televangelists’ sins to the various members of the Craft Beer community who thrive in Livermore Valley and beyond, THE DELCO YEARS is a darkly whimsical romp.  See more at THE DELCO YEARS website here: delcoyears.com. The Delco Years: A Dystopian Novel Bill  Owens (Jamaica 1964–66), Francesca Cosanti (Illustrator) Delco Years Publishing April 2022 $32.85 (paperback), $42.58 (hardcover) Bill Owens Biography Bill Owens was born on September 25, . . .

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Review–Brazilian Odyssey by Stephen Murphy (PC Staff)

Brazilian Odyssey By Stephen E. Murphy  (Regional Director, Inter-Americas Region, 2002-03) bookhouse publishing 246 pages 2022 $18.95 (Paperback)       Reviewed by Stephen Foehr (Ethiopia 1965-66) It’s a forever story, little guy armed with idealism takes on big, bad, and corrupt. This evergreen theme kindles, and rekindles, the flame of hope. We keep turning the pages to find out about Evil vs Good, the tag team Greed/Power against Humanity/Right. Can justice prevail? Is it possible that personal integrity need not be a sacrificial lamb on the altar of you lose, I win? Do the good guys have a fighting chance? The destruction of the Brazilian Amazon is a reoccurring headline of doom; the oxygen-giving rainforest decimated for profit; the indigenous peoples murdered for their land, their way of life transformed into poverty and cultural extermination. American professor Luke Shannon takes a group of students from Seattle University on a . . .

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Peace Corps Alumnus builds 42 schools in Sierra Leone

  By Concord Times 8 August 2022   Peace Corps Volunteers serve for two years and return to the US, but not Cindy Nofziger (Sierra Lierra 1984-86). After arriving in Sierra Leone from Maryland in 1984, her commitment to grassroots development in the West African nation continues to this day. Cindy has built 42 school buildings and three libraries and provided thousands of scholarships to children from low-income communities. In 2005 Cindy returned to Masanga, Northern Sierra Leone (the first time it was possible to do so since the end of the decade-long civil war), where she had worked as a volunteer at the district leprosy hospital. While there, she reconnected with John Sesay, an old friend from the ’80s. The war had rolled back all educational gains. Rural communities like Masanga were the worst hit. Schools were destroyed, or they just hadn’t been built. John asked Cindy to help . . .

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Naming the Peace Corps

Naming the Peace Corps by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64) THOSE OF US WHO follow the history of the Peace Corps agency know the term “peace corps” came to public attention during the 1960 presidential election. In one of JFK’s last major speeches before the November election he called for the creation of a “Peace Corps” to send volunteers to work at the grass roots level in the developing world. However, the question remains: who said (or wrote) “peace corps” for the very first time? Was it Kennedy? Was it his famous speech writer Ted Sorensen? Or Sarge himself? But — as in most situations — the famous term came about because of some young kid, usually a writer, working quietly away in some back office that dreams up the language. In this case the kid was a graduate student between degrees who was working for the late senator Hubert Horatio Humphrey. . . .

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RPCV Park Ranger Gregg Moydell (Morocco)

   Gregg Moydell doing a research study on brants geese in Fairbanks Alaska Photo By Tiffany Natividad |   Story by Tiffany Natividad, Tulsa, OK August 8, 2022   Having grown up in Fort Gibson and enjoying many years of recreation on Fort Gibson Lake, park ranger Gregg Moydell (Morocco 1990-92) is happy to be able to spread his knowledge as a U.S Army Corps of Engineers employee and enjoys the family-type atmosphere of working with the Tulsa District. Gregg began his educational path receiving Wildlife Management and Wildlife Research Biology degrees from North Dakota State University and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks respectively. Upon completion of his degrees, Gregg performed and participated in research studies on Brant geese, moose, grizzly bear, and polar bear populations in Alaska. After that he joined the U.S. Peace Corps and traveled to Morocco where he authored a feasibility study for the creation of a nature preserve for . . .

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Cold Mornings in Mongolia

As we all suffer through the heat and humidity, I thought it might be fun to republish a piece about cold weather. A wonderful short essay by Matt Heller we published a few years ago. Cold Mornings in Mongolia by Matt Heller (Mongolia 1995-97) OUR FAMILY ALWAYS LIVED where we needed a snow shovel. I remember one snowstorm in particular when I was nine. My best friend, Bobby Frost, and I shoveled our entire driveway ourselves, which is no small feat for nine-year-olds. When we were done, my father was waiting in the kitchen to reward us with grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, and a silver dollar for the work we had done. Dipping my grilled cheese into the steaming tomato soup (in my opinion, truly the best way to eat the two together), I am sure I was oblivious to how lucky I was; how Norman Rockwell-beautiful shoveling a . . .

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DEAR MICHELLE, LETTERS FROM AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIFE by Samuel Gerard (Ukraine)

  by Samuel Gerard (Ukraine 2018–20) (pen name of Samuel Gerard Luebbers)   Having had the chance to reflect on my Peace Corps experiences, and knowing how fickle memory can be, I felt the necessity to write them down. What became of this project was a meandering epistolary, one which I both mentally dedicated and fictionally addressed to an old friend, Michelle. We met a lifetime ago on the roof of my college freshmen dorm. We shared a long conversation then, and several others afterwards. We always imagined, to ourselves, that we would be together. I promised her that when I was ready to commit to someone, it would be her. Life has a way of getting in the way, though. I learned this alongside college’s so many other lessons. In ultimate testament to life’s effect on well-laid plans, soon after Michelle and I began dating, I received my invitation to . . .

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Glenn A. Blumhorst Says Goodby To The NPCA

  My Dear Friends, I’m writing to let you know that, after prayerful consideration, yesterday I reached a separation agreement with NPCA in order to bring closure to this matter. I owe my utmost gratitude to you – the Peace Corps family that has stood up, spoken up, and supported me now and throughout my tenure at NPCA. My family and I were both uplifted and humbled by your overwhelming kindness, care, and concern. We are especially grateful to NPCA board chair emeritus Tony Barclay, who organized and led a campaign on my behalf, and to all 160+ of you who signed on to his letter (and many more who voiced support) calling for either my reinstatement or an honorable parting of ways. Serving the Peace Corps community as NPCA President and CEO was my dream job and one of life’s greatest privileges. Cathy and I will forever hold fond . . .

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The Volunteer Who Used His Corporate Positions in Service to Others — Bob Haas (Ivory Coast)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65)   Robert (Bob) Haas, Peace Corps Volunteer, Ivory Coast, 1964-66, subsequently served as the Chairman of Levi Strauss & Co. He is the son of Walter A. Strauss, and the great-great-grandnephew of the company’s founder, Levi Strauss. Bob received a BA degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964, and a MA from Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1968. H was a White House Fellow from 1968 to 1969. He joined Levi Strauss in 1973 and went on to serve others in a variety of corporate roles. Bob was elected to the Board of Directors in 1979, then as President and CEO in 1984, serving until he stepped down in 1999. He became Chairman of the Board in 1989 and retired from the Board in 2014. Under his leadership, Levi Strauss & Company carried out the company’s engagement in corporate social responsibility; . . .

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Review — MY SADDEST PLEASURES by Mark Walker (Guatemala)

  My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road: Part of the Yin and Yang of Travel Series by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) Cyberwit.net May 2022 63 pages $15.00 (paperback) Review by: D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • This book is part of the author’s “Yin and Yang of Travel” series of ten essays, which was inspired by Paul Theroux’s (Malawi 1963–65) The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road  Mr. Walker has spent over 50 years traveling in many countries around the world, first as a Peace Corps volunteer, and later as a professional fund raiser for various nonprofit organizations or NGOs. The book is an easy read. Walker writes in a conversational style, and it is only 63 pages. It is primarily a journal of his travels alone, with his family, and leading trips for donors to NGOs he worked for. His travel has . . .

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RPCV Jon Ebeling Dies From Heart Attack (Ethiopia)

  Dr. Jon Sutton Ebeling, Professor Emeritus in Political Science, CSU Chico, passed on July 25, 2022, in Napa, California, after a long struggle to recover from a heart attack during May. Dr. Ebeling grew up in southern California with the surfers who gave the Beach Boys something to sing about.  There was a movie about one of his fellow surfers, Gidget, based upon a book that her father wrote.  Long after he left Santa Monica Jon occasionally ran into some of his beach friends including Gidget and Tom McBribe. Jon was born in Queens, New York in 1938 to Beatrice Coulbourne Ebeling and William Ebeling.  After his father passed away in 1939, Jon’s mother brought him and his older brother, Peter, across the U.S., stopping in Arizona first, before finding work as a bookkeeper in Los Angeles. His high school counselors thought that Jon would make a good sheet . . .

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Doing the Blitz Peace Corps Recruitment in the ’60s

To Preserve and to Learn   by Hal Fleming (Staff: PC/W 1966–68; CD Cote d’Ivoire 1968–72) first published in 2008 at PeaceCorpsWriters.org IN 1966, I CAME DOWN TO WASHINGTON from New York. It was a time in our country when the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War divided the nation. I had been tapped to work as a staff member in the Public Affairs and Recruiting office for the Peace Corps. On my very first work day in Peace Corps/Washington, I was told to join Warren Wiggins, the Deputy Director of the Agency, in his government car for a one-hour ride to a conference for new campus recruiters at Tidewater Inn in Easton, Maryland. Wiggins, preoccupied with his opening speech to the conclave, said very little to me except to read out a phrase or two of buzz-word laden prose, mostly unintelligible to me as the new guy, and . . .

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