Archive - 2022

1
Review — MARIANTONIA by Robert Forster (Honduras)
2
Peace Corps Issues Update on 2019 Crash That Resulted in Death of Ms. Rabia Issa
3
Remembering and Honor Where We Began — 60 Years Ago
4
Review — A HUSBAND AND WIFE ARE ONE SATAN by Jeff Fearnside ( Kazakhstan)
5
The Volunteer Who Initiated Critical National Discussions — Charles Murray (Thailand)
6
Peter Navarro writes IN TRUMP TIME (Thailand)
7
The Volunteer Who is One of the Most Thought-provoking Analysts of Our Time — George Packer (Togo)
8
Review — THIS RED LAND by Arthur Dobrin (Kenya)
9
Review — JACKSON’S KENYA by Otto Wiegand (Kenya, Paraguay)
10
Baby Whisperer–George Pope (Chile)
11
Review — NAKHON PHANOM by James I. Jouppi (Thailand)
12
Michelle Obama will help Launch the Peace Corps Support of Education for Girls
13
7 New books by Peace Corps writers: November–December 2021

Review — MARIANTONIA by Robert Forster (Honduras)

  Mariantonia: The Lifetime Journey of a Peace Corps Volunteer Robert L Forster (Honduras 1971–73) Peace Corps Writers 2021 218 pages $19.99 (paperback); $6.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by: Donald E. Dirnberger (Eastern Caribean-22/Antigua, West Indies 1977–79) • Building bridges is a thought formed into words by the narrative memoir of fellow RPCV Robert L. Forster in his book Mariantonia – The Lifetime Journey of a Peace Corps Volunteer. Inspired by the vision of John F. Kennedy, who eloquently challenged our generation to seek out bold new frontiers by going forth to serve as men and women dedicated to the progress and peace of developing countries. In a time of turmoil JFK spoke of opportunity and optimism that somehow touched the very soul of those who would answer his call. Robert was one of them. Interwoven into his book he tells of life before, during, and after his Peace Corps days, both . . .

Read More

Peace Corps Issues Update on 2019 Crash That Resulted in Death of Ms. Rabia Issa

January 7, 2022 WASHINGTON – Today, Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer Carol Spahn released the following update regarding the 2019 crash that resulted in the death of Ms. Rabia Issa: “The death of Rabia Issa in Tanzania was a horrible tragedy, and we grieve the incredible loss to her family, friends and community. “We recognize the deep pain that was caused by Ms. Issa’s death, as well as the inequities that exist. Our ongoing work is grounded in a commitment to equity and ensuring our mission is clearly centered in our host communities. We expect all staff and every Volunteer to enter service with deep humility and respect as we seek to foster peace and understanding across cultures. We are committed to doing everything within our power to pursue policy, legislative, enhanced training and other solutions to bolster accountability. “We understand that many questions remain about the agency’s response to . . .

Read More

Remembering and Honor Where We Began — 60 Years Ago

  The first Peace Corps HQ was at 806 Connecticut Ave across from Lafayette Park and within view of the White House. It was called the Maiatico Building and immortalized in the famous Washington Post photograph showing how the Peace Corps was working far into the night in the first days of the new agency. When the Peace Corps was “launched” JFK did so by signing an ‘executive order” to create the agency, an idea of Bill Josephson, co-author of the memo “Towering Task,” who told Kennedy he had the power to create the new agency by using the existing Mutual Security Act of 1954. Kennedy claimed that the establishment of the Peace Corps was an emergency. And it was. By doing so, the Peace Corps was created immediately without going through months of congressional debates. With the signing to create this new agency, Shriver, with the help of Warren Wiggins, obtained three . . .

Read More

Review — A HUSBAND AND WIFE ARE ONE SATAN by Jeff Fearnside ( Kazakhstan)

  A Husband and Wife Are One Satan  Jeff Fearnside (Kazakhstan 2002–04) Orison Books September 2021 40 pages $12.00 (paperback), $7.49 (Kindle) Reviewed by Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976-77) • I find a great deal of pleasure in reading fiction set in other cultures or countries, especially when the work demonstrates more than a superficial understanding of the place about which it is written. That was one motivation behind the anthology series I curated, Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet (published by Press 53 in 2016). It was also in that context that I first became aware of Jeff Fearnside’s work when his story set in Kazakhstan, “A Husband and Wife are One Satan,” was included in the first volume of that series. I recognized then that, having been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan, Fearnside had the depth of knowledge of his chosen setting to bring the culture and his . . .

Read More

The Volunteer Who Initiated Critical National Discussions — Charles Murray (Thailand)

by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • Charles Murray served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Thailand, beginning in 1965, then stayed abroad for six years. He credits his time in Peace Corps with his lifelong interest in Asia. His tenure with the Peace Corps ended in 1968. Recalling his time in Thailand, in 2014 Charles noted that his worldview was fundamentally shaped by his time there. He went on to comment: . . . most of what you read in my books I learned in Thai villages. I was struck first by the enormous discrepancy between what Bangkok thought was important to the villagers and what the villagers wanted out of government. Secondly, when the government change agent showed up, the village went to hell in terms of its internal governance. His work in Peace Corps and subsequent research in Thailand for research firms associated with the U. S. Government led . . .

Read More

Peter Navarro writes IN TRUMP TIME (Thailand)

  IN TRUMP TIME By Peter Navarro (Thailand 1972-75) All Seasons Press 344 pages November 2021 $28.00 (hardback), $2.99 (Kindle)   Peter Navarro (Thailand 1972-75) was one of only three senior White House officials by President Trump’s side from the 2016 campaign to the end of the president’s first term in office. Always moving In Trump Time as was his signature, Dr. Navarro said he was the first to sound the alarm within the West Wing about the pandemic. He played, he writes, a pivotal role in the rapid development of both vaccines and therapeutics like Remdesivir. As Defense Production Act Policy Coordinator, Navarro was at the center of ramping up domestic production of critically needed Personal Protective Equipment while helping President Trump insure that every American who needed a ventilator had a ventilator. Dr. Navarro served as an Assistant to the President and the Director of the Office of . . .

Read More

The Volunteer Who is One of the Most Thought-provoking Analysts of Our Time — George Packer (Togo)

 by Jeremiah Norris  (Colombia, 1963-65)   Since serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, 1982-83, George Packer went on to write for The Atlantic Monthly where he wrote the article “We Are Living in a Failed State,” and two books: Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, and Last Best Hope: America in Decline and Renewal, both reviewed below. Taken together, the overriding themes constituted a refrain to Mark Twain’s famous comment: “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century George Packer has a thoroughly beguiling style of writing in which the reader is being told a story rather than reading one, as with the opening line in Moby Dick: “Call me Ishmael.” With George in Our Man “you have heard that he [Holbrooke] is a monstrous egotist. It’s true. It’s even worse . . .

Read More

Review — THIS RED LAND by Arthur Dobrin (Kenya)

  This Red Land By Arthur Dobrin (Kenya 1965-67) Nsemia Inc. Publishers 340 pages January 2018 $9. 99 (Kindle); $12.40 (Paperback) Reviewed by Stephen Foehr (Ethiopia 1965-67) • A body falls from the sky and splats on a London street. The Kenyan passport associated with the dead man is an amateur fake. The name in the passport cannot be found in any Kenyan government database. A young boy living in a Kenyan market town drops out of school to attend the University of the Street. He joins tribal conflicts between the Maasi and the Kisii. A Black family in Brooklyn tries to improve their situation and smacks into the wall of housing discrimination. A young White girl, bright, ambitious, big plans for life, a firebrand for equality learned on the knee her fellow-traveler father is slapped down by the reality of capitalistic USA. A young Kenyan girl, bright, ambitious, big . . .

Read More

Review — JACKSON’S KENYA by Otto Wiegand (Kenya, Paraguay)

  PCV Life in Kenya Jackson’s Kenya: A Peace Corps Story Richard Otto Wiegand (Kenya 1970–74, Paraguay 1977–79) Independently published (www.safari-shamba-books.com), 2020 288 pages $25.00 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Robert E. Gribbin (Kenya 1968–70) • I have long been awaiting a good Peace Corps memoir from Kenya. At last, one arrived in author Wiegand’s remembering his years in Kenya in the early 1970s. Otto Wiegand was a dairy expert charged with improving animal husbandry in a half dozen of the Settlement Schemes in the trans-Nzoia region between Eldoret and Kitale. As do most memoirs this one follows a hazy chronological order. The author recounts some events or anecdotes from the ’70s and then updates them with a later observation or comment about how things changed or didn’t. His Kenyan history of what went on around him is broad brushed, and accurate. It is not hard for the reader to . . .

Read More

Baby Whisperer–George Pope (Chile)

The Baby Whisperer iUniverse by George Pope (Chile 1963-65) 112 pages September 2021 $5.99 (Kindle); $13.99 (Paperback)       For the past sixteen years, George Pope has been holding and comforting babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) a local Children’s Hospital. The book is full of heart-warming, heart-wrenching, and sometimes downright amusing stories of working with the most caring, the most compassionate, and the most competent professionals he has ever been associated with. His job? He calls himself:  The Baby Whisperer! Before becoming a “Baby Whisperer,” George had a forty-year international affairs career. Beginning as a PCV in Chile (1963-65), he served in six U.S. Embassies and managed the operational aspects of international food aid relief programs in over fifty countries.  

Read More

Review — NAKHON PHANOM by James I. Jouppi (Thailand)

  Nakhon Phanom: The Domino That Did Not Fall (and my Thai hometown) James I. Jouppi (Thailand 1971–73) Liberty Hill Publishing, 2021 450 pages $30.99 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle), $8.66 (hardcover) Review by D.W. Jefferson • If you want to learn about the Peace Corps in Thailand and in particular about the period of the early 1970s this is an extensively researched memoir you will find useful. An engineer, the author, has an engineer’s eye for detail. Myself, I was surprised to find that Peace Corps remained in Thailand throughout the Vietnam War period. Mr. Jouppi’s book is 411 pages, 79 chapters, maps, a glossary of terms, a list of acronyms, an appendix, a bibliography and 128 endnotes. To fully appreciate how well researched the book is, I recommend reading the endnotes! This is the fourth book this author has written and the third memoir of his experiences in Thailand. His . . .

Read More

Michelle Obama will help Launch the Peace Corps Support of Education for Girls

  WASHINGTON (Reuters) – First lady Michelle Obama will travel to Japan and Cambodia this month as part of a U.S. global effort to support education for girls, the White House said on Tuesday. She will visit Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan from March 18 to March 20, and the Cambodian capital Siem Reap from March 21 to 22, it said in a statement. The initiative aims to reduce the number of girls — 62 million worldwide — who do not attend school, according to the administration. The effort, launched last summer through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will use the Peace Corps volunteer program to help expand access for schooling for girls, especially for teenagers. Cambodia is one of 11 countries targeted by the Peace Corp initiative during the program‘s first year, the White House said. The other countries are: Albania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Georgia, Ghana, . . .

Read More

7 New books by Peace Corps writers: November–December 2021

To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com — CLICK on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance from your purchase that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. We now include a brief description  for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order a book and 2) to VOLUNTEER TO REVIEW IT.  See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? Send a note to Marian at marian@haleybeil.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. In addition to the books listed below, I have on my shelf a number of other books whose authors would love for you to review. Go to Books Available for Review to see what is on that shelf. Please, please join in our Third Goal effort!!! • . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2022. Peace Corps Worldwide.