Archive - 2022

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Review — YOGURT CULTURE by Cheryl Sternman Rule (Eritrea)
2
THE LAKE MYSTERY by Nancy E. Crofts (Congo)
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THE JOURNEY HOME by Michael Rost (Togo)
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The Volunteer Who Codified the “Ten Stages of Genocide” — Gregory Stanton (Ivory Coast)
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Review — A FEW MINOR ADJUSTMENTS by Cherie Kephart (Zambia)
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Peace Corps will return to Solomon Islands
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LETTERS FROM PEACE CORPS, HONDURAS by R. Scott Berg
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Bill Roebuck (Côte d’Ivoire) — One RPCV Ambassador’s Life
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The Passing of Tom Hebert (Nigeria)
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Talking With Lawrence Grobel (Ghana)
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Review — PADRE RAIMUNDO’s ARMY & Other Stories by Arthur Powers (Brazil)
12
Loom is a solution for saving traditional Pacific island weaving from extinction
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Naturalist Jason Denlinger (Mozambique) returns to Dubuque after working 6 years in-country
14
TURQUOISE: Three Years in Ghana by Lawrence M. Grobel
15
RPCV Thomas Baranyi (Albania) Pleads Guilty to Storming U.S. Capitol

Review — YOGURT CULTURE by Cheryl Sternman Rule (Eritrea)

  Yogurt Culture: A Global Look at How to Make, Bake, Sip, and Chill the World’s Creamiest, Healthiest Food by Cheryl Sternman Rule (Eritrea 1995-97) Harvest Publisher 352 pages April 2015 $12.99 (Kindle); $19.18 (Hardback)   Reviewed by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia 1965-67) • What a joy to read a cookbook by a talented cook who also happens to be a wonderful writer! Rule opens with a description of the creature “comforts” she and her husband created when they were Peace Corps Volunteers in Eritrea in the mid-1990s, beginning with a couch made by “folding a mattress in half and tying a few logs to it with yellow nylon rope.” She describes some of their early culinary attempts including making yogurt, but when they finally got it right, they vowed that when their Peace Corps service ended they would make yogurt forever. It was 15 years before she fulfilled that pledge, but . . .

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THE LAKE MYSTERY by Nancy E. Crofts (Congo)

The Lake Mystery: Secrets of the Crossroads is engrossing detective fiction about two young girls who dig into the buried secrets of their hometown   Fulton Books author, Nancy E. Crofts (Congo 1974-75), a licensed pilot, an adjunct professor for three decades, a former Peace Corps volunteer, a foster care provider, a wife and mother, has published The Lake Mystery, a gripping novel about the Spenser twins, Robin and Cresselley. The twins enjoy spending time at their grandmother’s house in the little, eastern Connecticut town of Stonington, where a beautiful lake can be seen. But things get more exciting and risky as they explore more on the mysterious occurrence on the north side of the lake. Crofts shares, “Nine flights up in the fire tower’s small observation cubicle, with only stars in the night sky, the twins spotted lights moving suspiciously on the north shore of the lake. Could these lights . . .

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THE JOURNEY HOME by Michael Rost (Togo)

  The Journey Home: Portraits of Healing is a memoir narrated through 35 engaging vignettes involving the renewal of a son’s relationship with his parents during their final year of life. Using amplified recollections (including of the author’s time in the Peace Corps), vivid dreams, and impressionistic illustrations, The Journey Home leads the reader on a personal pilgrimage of discovery and healing. Starting with the onset of his mother’s Alzheimer’s and proceeding through the eventual admission of both his parents’ to a nursing home and their eventual passing, The Journey Home explores the complex and intimate process of evolving relationships in the final passage of life. The novel is divided into four metaphorical parts, corresponding to phases of a “rasa yatra,” or “destined life journey”: entering into an unknown domain, listening to voices from the past for clues to this new world, connecting with guides who will help heal past wounds . . .

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The Volunteer Who Codified the “Ten Stages of Genocide” — Gregory Stanton (Ivory Coast)

   by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia, 1963-65) • From 1969 to 1971 Gregory H. Stanton served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Ivory Coast. From there, he went on to be the Church World Service/CARE’s Field Director in Cambodia. From 1985 to 1991, Gregory was a Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University, and a Fulbright Professor at the University of Swaziland. In this time period, he also was a Professor of Justice, Law, and Society at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Gregory was the Chair of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Division Committee on Human Rights and a Member of its Standing Committee on World Order, serving as Legal Advisor to the Ukrainian Independence Movement from 1988-1992. He was named the Ukrainian Man of the Year in 1992 by the UI Movement. In 1991, he founded the Cambodian Genocide Project at Yale University, initiating . . .

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Review — A FEW MINOR ADJUSTMENTS by Cherie Kephart (Zambia)

  A Few Minor Adjustments: A Memoir of Healing Cherie  Kephart (Zambia 1994) Bazi Publishers, 2017 254 pages $15.95 (paperback), $24.95 (hardcover), $4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Christine Herbert (Zambia 2004–06) • When the reader first meets the author, Cherie Kephart, we catch a brief glimpse into the life of a vibrant young woman, living independently, with a future full of possibilities. Then an unexpected and unwelcome visitor arrives: sudden and crippling pain. Slowly her health unravels, each new symptom more baffling than the last. She tries one therapy after another, each diagnosis from each new specialist at odds with the last. In an effort to trace the source of her trauma, the author takes the reader back to the days of her Peace Corps service, ten years earlier. As a member of the very first volunteer cohort to serve in Zambia, she and the Peace Corps/Zambia staff had a steep . . .

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Peace Corps will return to Solomon Islands

  (AP) The US says it will open an embassy in the Solomon Islands, laying out in unusually blunt terms a plan to increase its influence in the South Pacific nation before China becomes strongly embedded. The reasoning was explained in a State Department notification to Congress that was obtained by The Associated Press. The plan was confirmed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a visit to Fiji Saturday on a Pacific tour that began in Australia. The State Department said the Peace Corps was planning to reopen an office in the Solomon Islands and have its volunteers serve there, and that several US agencies were establishing government positions with portfolios in the Solomons. The Peace Corps first went to the Solomon Islands in 1971. The Department needs to be part of this increased US presence, rather than remaining a remote player, it wrote. The State Department said . . .

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LETTERS FROM PEACE CORPS, HONDURAS by R. Scott Berg

  The story takes place in the late 1970s when the author was in his early 20s as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the rural mountains of Honduras. The book was made possible by writing weekly letters to his Montana girlfriend during their long-distance relationship. The book is, first and foremost, a love story about two young people trying to make love stay. It is also about the life and death struggles of the poor campesinos, as well as the Peace Corps volunteers, trying to survive and make a difference. The people and situations described in the book are real and authentic. It describes the unique, and in some cases, bizarre events and politics surrounding life in one of the world’s poorest countries. It goes on to cover a three-month odyssey to South America involving encounters with the Maya and Inca peoples engaged in the same travel through life by . . .

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Bill Roebuck (Côte d’Ivoire) — One RPCV Ambassador’s Life

  by Carol L. Hanner Wake Forest Magazine • Former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, Bill Roebuck, who lives now in Arlington, Virginia, shares his Netflix-worthy stories from his 28-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service. His soft Southern voice bears no trace of adrenaline in the retelling. 2003 In 2003, an armored caravan ferries Roebuck (Wake Forest ’78, M.A. ’82) toward Gaza City. He and others in the lead car hear a muffled “ploomff” behind them. Attackers have detonated a bomb buried in the road, exploding the car that would have carried Roebuck if not for a last-minute change of plans. Instead, the assassination attempt kills three of the four American security officers in the targeted vehicle. 2009 In 2009, Roebuck travels across Baghdad in another armored caravan to an Iraqi ministry meeting. The next day, al-Qaida explosions blast the 10-story ministry building, killing at least 95 people, injuring 600 . . .

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The Passing of Tom Hebert (Nigeria)

Tom Hebert (Nigeria 1962-64) 1938-2022 Rest in Peace, Tom Born in Wenatchee, Washington on August 9, 1938 with his early childhood spent on his parents’ cattle ranch in the Okanogan, he grew up on Vashon Island near Seattle where his parent founded a nursing home, the caring spirit of which is still going strong at Vashon Community Care. In 1960, he graduated from Linfield College as a theatre major and his graduate work was at the Dallas Theater Center and Baylor University, Waco, Texas. Preferring projects that empower local communities or challenge the status quo, Tom Hebert was a writer and public policy consultant and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Nigeria, 1962-1964). After his Peace Corps service, he integrated the faculty of a black Southern University and later served 18 months establishing USO Clubs on U.S. Marine Corps combat bases in South Vietnam. His last assignment was as director, USO Saigon. . . .

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Talking With Lawrence Grobel (Ghana)

    Lawrence Grobel (Ghana 1968-71) has written 31 books and for numerous national magazines and newspapers. Playboy called him “the Interviewer’s Interviewer” after his interview with Marlon Brando for their 25th-anniversary issue. He created the MFA in Professional Writing program for Antioch University in 1977 and in 1985 his book Conversations with Capote received a PEN Special Achievement award and reached the top of several bestseller lists. He is married to artist and textile designer Hiromi Oda and they have two daughters, Maya and Hana. His blog, books, and articles can be found on his website: www.lawrencegrobel.com. We interviewed Larry in connection with his new memoir — Turquoise — of his Peace Corps years in Ghana. • Larry, why the Peace Corps? When I turned 21 in February 1968, I had to start thinking seriously about my future, and whether I’d have one. The Vietnam War was raging, with over a half-million . . .

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Review — PADRE RAIMUNDO’s ARMY & Other Stories by Arthur Powers (Brazil)

  Padre Raimundo’s Army & Other Stories Arthur Powers (Brazil 1969–73) Wiseblood Books July 2021 201 pages $15.00 (paperback) Reviewed by Marnie Mueller (1963–65) • Recently I’ve read a number of works of fiction, written with a deceptive simplicity, so much so that one doesn’t realize at first how profound and skillfully constructed they are. Arthur Powers’ Padre Raimundo’s Army, a slim book of seventeen short stories set in Brazil from 1970 to the early 2000s is one such example. A little backstory: Powers joined the Peace Corps in 1969 and ended up staying for forty years working primarily as a community organizer in rural Brazil. Except for a few years stateside earning a Harvard law degree he returned to Brazil for decades more work. He had arrived in-country as a religious agnostic and eventually found deep faith and an activist home in the Catholic church. He married a woman . . .

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Loom is a solution for saving traditional Pacific island weaving from extinction

  By Joyce McClure, The Pacific Island Times   When the young women of Yap’s remote outer islands leave home to seek a college education, better work opportunities or medical care on the U.S. mainland, the risk of leaving their cultural traditions behind is very real. The art of traditional weaving is among the most important. Weaving has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries on the small islands and atolls of Yap, one of four island states in the Federated States of Micronesia, originally known as the Caroline Islands. Scattered across 100,000 square miles of open water in the western Pacific Ocean, Yap is made up of four contiguous main islands and 134 atolls and islands of which 19 are inhabited. One commonality among the outer islanders is the oblong length of handwoven, fringed fabric called a lavalava that the women wear as a wrap-around skirt when they . . .

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Naturalist Jason Denlinger (Mozambique) returns to Dubuque after working 6 years in-country

  Dubuque native returns home to work in conservation after years in Africa by Benjamin Fisher, Telegraph Herald   DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — The Dubuque County Conservation Department’s new naturalist has taken an unusual path to his position — from Dubuque to Mozambique and then back to eastern Iowa. Naturalist Jason Denlinger (Mozambique 1999-01) began work for the county late last month after six years at Gorongosa National Park in the East African country of Mozambique. Before working in Africa, Denlinger was a Dubuquer who had a fascination with pachyderms. “I always had this dream to work with elephants and in Africa,” he said. “My aunt was a Peace Corps volunteer, so then I was a Peace Corps volunteer, which really set me on my path (to Africa).” Denlinger first went to Mozambique 20 years ago with the Peace Corps before returning to Dubuque. That experience abroad would later help him secure . . .

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TURQUOISE: Three Years in Ghana by Lawrence M. Grobel

  The ’60s was a turbulent time in America. It was the Age of Aquarius but also the age of domestic conflict among those who supported the Vietnam War and those who opposed it–particularly the young men being drafted to fight it. For some, there was a better way to serve their country: the Peace Corps. An idealistic venture that kept the Hounds of War at bay. And that’s what led Lawrence Grobel to Ghana, a country he knew absolutely nothing about, located 6000 miles away on the Gold Coast of West Africa. Turquoise is based on the memoir he wrote while teaching at the Institute of Journalism in Accra, the capital city, and traveling throughout Ghana and West Africa. It’s a brilliant collection of snapshots, detailing everything he experienced in real time, from embarrassing cocktail talk at the American Embassy to witnessing fetish ceremonies and meeting hustlers, con men, artists, . . .

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RPCV Thomas Baranyi (Albania) Pleads Guilty to Storming U.S. Capitol

  By Kevin Shea | For NJ.com    Thomas Baranyi, the Mercer County man who gave a TV interview after storming the U.S. Capitol last year and showed blood on his hand from a rioter who’d been shot, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Washington, D.C. Baranyi, 30, who’d been charged with four crimes for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, pleaded guilty to one count of entering and remaining in a restricted building. He’ll be sentenced in May, and faces up to six months in prison. Born and raised in Hamilton, and now living in Ewing, Baranyi was candid in the local TV news interview, which made headlines nationwide and went viral online. He introduced himself as “Thomas Baranyi from New Jersey,” and proceeded to narrate his role. “We tore through the scaffolding, through flash bangs and tear gas and blitzed our way in through all the chambers just trying to get . . .

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