Archive - May 2023

1
The Volunteer Who Created Compelling Novels out of Her Family’s Oral History — Mildred Taylor (Ethiopia)
2
Israel Collier advocates for Roma minorities in Moldova
3
Vieve Radha Price (Vanuatu) – Founder and Co-Director of TÉA Artistry
4
RPCV Thomas Tighe (Thailand) — President & CEO Direct Relief
5
Exploring the Peace Corps’ sixty-year history in Thailand
6
Peace Corps Volunteers touched many lives in eSwatini
7
PC Response Volunteer Nancy Nau Sullivan (Mexico) writes mysteries
8
To Die On Kilimanjaro by John Coyne (Ethiopia)
9
A LESION OF DISSENT by Karl Drobnic (Ethiopia)
10
Cornell University revisits Vicos, Peru
11
WHY WE TELL STORIES by Arthur Dobrin (Kenya) and Kenyan Dorcas Kiptoo
12
THE CALL: The Spiritual Realism of Sargent Shriver
13
Two Peace Corps Legends: Moritz Thomsen and Patricia Wand
14
THE FLY THAT FLEW OFF THE HANDLE by Jonathan Toret (Toga)
15
CUMBERLAND by Megan Gannon (Gambia)

The Volunteer Who Created Compelling Novels out of Her Family’s Oral History — Mildred Taylor (Ethiopia)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65)   Mildred Taylor served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia, 1965-67, after having graduated from University of Toledo in 1965. She was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1943, and is the great-granddaughter of a former slave who was the son of an African-Indian woman and a white landowner. After returning to the U. S. following her Peace Corps experience, she earned a MA degree in journalism at the University of Colorado where she was instrumental in creating the Black Studies Program as a member of the Black Alliance. Mildred’s works are based on oral history, told to her by her father, uncles and aunt. She said that without her family, and especially without her father, her books “would not have been.” She’s stated that these anecdotes became very clear in her mind, and in fact, once she realized that adults talked about the . . .

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Israel Collier advocates for Roma minorities in Moldova

POSTED BY TIM WOMBLES     Israel Collier (Moldova 2014-16) never saw herself on the other side of the world in Moldova, advocating for the ethnic Roma population and speaking Romanian, Moldova’s official language, but she always envisioned a life of service. Growing up across from Beaumont High School in north St. Louis, Collier inherited a sense of empathy for others from her dad, who was a mentor to many fatherless children in the neighborhood. “We shared our father with them,” Collier says. “That was foundational for me.” It was in that spirit of service that Collier enrolled at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, earning her BS in biology with a minor in chemistry. While at UMSL, Collier worked as a mentor for multicultural students, volunteered at clothing drives and tutored in French and biology. “I had every intention to become a physician,” Collier says. But while she was in medical school . . .

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Vieve Radha Price (Vanuatu) – Founder and Co-Director of TÉA Artistry

  My Career Choice   An Interview In Woman Around Town Vieve Radha Price is living proof that our past experiences inform our futures. Before she launched TÉA Artistry, she worked with Nitestar, a theatre company specializing in HIV prevention education and adolescent reproductive health, and then joined the Peace Corps (Tanna, Vanuatu 2000-02), using theatre performance programs that taught young people about sexual health. Returning home,  she received the Sargent Shriver Peaceworker fellowship and completed two master’s degrees, one in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, and another in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. She subsequently worked at Search for Common Ground in Washington DC before founding TÉA Artistry. With TÉA Artistry she is able to focus on contemporary issues, truly making this venue a “theatre for social change.” Talk about perfect timing! The company’s new production Being Chaka, will run from May 6 through . . .

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RPCV Thomas Tighe (Thailand) — President & CEO Direct Relief

Thanks for  the ‘heads up’ from Matt Losak(Lesotho 1985-87) Thomas Tighe has served as President and CEO of Direct Relief, a nonprofit humanitarian medical organization, since October 2000. Since Tighe’s arrival, the organization has provided cash grants of more than $170 million and furnished more than $9 billion in essential medicines, equipment, and supplies to support health services for low-income people in over 100 countries and all 50 U.S. states, where the organization conducts the country’s largest nonprofit charitable medicines program.   During Tighe’s tenure, Direct Relief has been named among the world’s most innovative nonprofits by Fast Company, has been rated by Forbes as being 99 percent efficient or better in fundraising since 2001, won the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation, the CECP Director’s Award, the Esri President’s Award for GIS innovation, the Office of the Surgeon General’s National Leadership and Partnership Award, and became the first U.S. nonprofit to . . .

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Exploring the Peace Corps’ sixty-year history in Thailand

Peace Corps in the news Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dale Gilles (Liberia 1964-66) by Samantha Rose Thaiger Latest News     The Peace Corps is a United States agency established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy to promote peace and friendship worldwide. Peace Corps volunteers have been working in Thailand since 1962, assisting Thai government agencies in various fields. Currently, they operate in two main projects: Teacher Collaboration for Development and Youth Development. Over 5,500 volunteers have worked with Thai communities for more than 60 years, but their work was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, Peace Corps volunteers returned to Thailand and underwent a 10-week training programme before being dispatched to 29 provinces across the country. Their swearing-in ceremony coincided with the 60th-anniversary celebration of Peace Corps cooperation in Thailand. It is always exciting and impressive when encountering foreigners who can communicate excellently in the . . .

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Peace Corps Volunteers touched many lives in eSwatini

US EMBASSY CHARGE D’AFFAIRS EARL MILLER: “Peace Corps Volunteers touched many lives in eSwatini.”     MBABANE: His Excellency Earl Miller, the United States Embassy Charge d’Affaires has hailed the impact that the Peace Corps Volunteers had in the Kingdom of eSwatini. (formerly named Swaziland ) Speaking during the swearing-in of eight(8) Peace Corps Volunteers, Miller said eMaswati have expressed  of their wonderful experiences with the Peace Corps. “Everywhere I travel in Eswatini, I meet people who tell me how Peace Corps Volunteers touched their lives. Senior Government policy and decision makers, civil society leaders, teachers, health workers, students of all ages, talk of their wonderful experiences with Peace Corps Volunteers.” said the US Embassy Charge d’Affaires as quoted by the Government online platforms this week.

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PC Response Volunteer Nancy Nau Sullivan (Mexico) writes mysteries

RPCVs in the news • MICHIGAN CITY, IN — The Lubeznik Center for the Arts presented “Read Between the Crimes: An Evening with Two Mystery Writers” from 5 to 8 p.m. CDT May 5 at 101 W. Second St. Local writers Nancy Nau Sullivan (Mexico 2013-14) read excerpts from her newest book and participate in a question-and-answer session for LCA’s May First Friday event. Sullivan invented the life and times of Blanche Murninghan in her four-part mystery series, which debuted with “Saving Tuna Street” in 2020. Sullivan’s other titles in this series include “Trouble Down Mexico Way,” “Mission Improbable: Vietnam” and “A Deadly Irish Secret,” which will be released July 11. A former newspaper journalist, Sullivan taught English in Argentina, in the Peace Corps in Mexico and at a boys’ prison in Florida. • Nancy has also published The Last Cadilac: A Memoir [2016].

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To Die On Kilimanjaro by John Coyne (Ethiopia)

I posted an earlier version of this essay on this site in 1997 To Die On Kilimanjaro When I first visited the Blue Marlin Hotel in Malindi, Kenya, in the summer of 1963, it was after my first year of teaching at a PCV in Addis Ababa. The hotel was located on the edge of the Indian Ocean and crowded with British families in the final days before Kenya’s independence from Great Britain. We were the only Americans in the hotel. I didn’t return to Kenya or the Blue Marlin until the early ’70s when the hotel was now filled with German tourists and the few English-speaking tourists gravitated to one end of the bar. It was there traveling through Africa and writing for Dispatch News when I met a British couple and their two little girls. Phillip and April were ‘on holiday’ as the English like to say. Phillip . . .

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A LESION OF DISSENT by Karl Drobnic (Ethiopia)

  A Lesion of Dissent by Karl Drobnic (Ethiopia 1966-68) Self Published July 2011 216 pages $0.99 (Kindle)   A searing liaison in the sacred chambers of Egypt’s ancient pharaohs as Israeli warplanes rain down terror… frenzy and vengeance as rioting Arabs storm through the strafed streets… and Paul Rhodes’ journey of exile through post-colonial Africa and Asia has just begun. Buffeted by the smuggling, black market deception and patriotic fervor that marked those continents’ passages to independence in the tumultuous Sixties, Paul is impelled country by country to the wild counter-culture havens of San Francisco and a stunning, fateful confrontation with the military powers that stand between him and the woman he cannot forget.

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Cornell University revisits Vicos, Peru

  Cornell was involved with the community of Vicos, Peru in the ’50s and the ’60s.  Decades later, the Vicos community invited Cornell University to return and evaluate what happened with the  Cornell innovations after so many years.  In the sixties, Cornell University also trained Peace Corps Volunteers to work in Peru.  Here is the report: A half-century later, Cornell revisits a small Andean village By Bill Steele July 23, 2009 More than 50 years ago, a Cornell mission to a small village in the Andes introduced social changes that made a profound improvement in the life of the village. Today, echoes of that mission are still visible and may help the community again. From 1952 to 1966 Cornell had an active presence in Vicos (pronounced “vee-kos”), a peasant community in northern Peru, then with a population of around 2,000, mostly engaged in subsistence farming. Cornell experts taught them the agricultural . . .

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WHY WE TELL STORIES by Arthur Dobrin (Kenya) and Kenyan Dorcas Kiptoo

  Two Westbury, New York, residents , Dorcas Kiptoo and Arthur Dobrin, who both have a long history with Kenya, will read from their new children’s book, “Why We Tell Stories,” on Thursday, June 1 at 7 pm at the Westbury Memorial Library, 445 Jefferson Street, Westbury, NY. Dorcas Kiptoo, a Kenyan, came to the US in 2010 seeking a better life for herself and her three daughters. After arriving she heard about the Dobrin family and their connection to Kenya, and the Kiptoos ended up living with the Dobrins in Westbury for three years. Arthur and Lyn Dobrin had been Peace Corps Volunteers in Kenya in the 1960s, lived there again in 1975 and then led numerous educational safaris through Adelphi University. Both Dobrins have written books related to Kenya. Why We Tell Stories–with tales such as ”Why Goats Don’t like Leopards,” “Why Hyenas Walk on Stilts,” and “Why There . . .

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THE CALL: The Spiritual Realism of Sargent Shriver

  The Call: The Spiritual Realism of Sargent Shriver by Jamie Price 336 pages SSPI Press March 2023 $11.49 (Kindle); $22.00 (Paperback)   The Call looks at the role of the spirit in the life and work of one of the most accomplished American peacebuilders of the 20th twentieth century, Robert Sargent Shriver (1915-2011), founder of the Peace Corps and architect of the War on Poverty. Author Jamie Price knew Shriver personally and served as the Founding Director of several programs dedicated to understanding and advancing Shriver’s approach to leadership and peacebuilding. The Call is an imagined dialogue between Sargent Shriver and the character of Didymus about the role of the spirit in Shriver’s efforts to build peace. Its title alludes to the pivotal moment when Shriver received the phone call from his brother-in-law, the newly-inaugurated President John F. Kennedy, asking him to be Director of the as-yet-nonexistent Peace Corps. . . .

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Two Peace Corps Legends: Moritz Thomsen and Patricia Wand

Patricia Wand (Colombia 1963-65) wrote this article for our site in May 1997. Finding Moritz Thomsen (Ecuador) “THE MESSAGE FROM ECUADOR TODAY IS: NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED.” So wrote Moritz Thomsen on June 29, 1990, and what he meant was that he was angry at me. He was angry because I nominated him for the Sargent Shriver Award; because I suggested his traveling to the U.S. when I knew of his frail health; and because I described his living conditions in my letter of nomination. But this all happened after I got to know him a bit. Let’s start much earlier than that; when I read his first book. Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle spoke to me and for me. Moritz Thomsen captured the essence of Latin American village culture as I too knew it. I saw in his village the same people, the same breadth of character, the same . . .

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THE FLY THAT FLEW OFF THE HANDLE by Jonathan Toret (Toga)

When you have a story to tell, you’re in the midst of a national pandemic, and you’re Jonathan Foret, you write a book. The original story is beautifully illustrated by Alexis Braud, a Cut Off-based professional artist, bringing Jonathan’s story to life in the pages of The Fly that Flew Off the Handle. Jonathan, who is the Executive Director of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, is proud to present his newly published children’s book, The Fly that Flew Off the Handle. “The story is about a little fly named Lester who feels angry a lot, but doesn’t quite know why or what to do about it,” explained the author. After a long journey of trying and failing to feel better, Lester meets a little butterfly, Seymour, who helps him figure out what’s wrong by asking him two simple questions: “What makes you angry?” and “what makes you happy?” Maybe . . .

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CUMBERLAND by Megan Gannon (Gambia)

  In the fictional coastal town of Cumberland, Georgia, fifteen-year-old twin sisters Ansel and Isabel Mackenzie have lived with their eccentric grandmother since a car accident killed their parents and paralyzed Isabel. Over the past seven years the responsibility of caring for her sister has fallen increasingly on Ansel. However, as she cultivates a romantic relationship with a local boy, as well as an artistic apprenticeship with a visiting photographer, Ansel’s growing desire for independence compromises her ability to care for her sister, threatening their sororal connection, and ultimately, Isabel’s life. Juxtaposing Ansel’s traditional narrative against Isabel’s poetic prose, Cumberland highlights the conflicts between independence and familial duty, the difficulty of balancing the dark draws of the body against the brighter focus of the mind. Megan Gannon was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and is a graduate of Vassar College (BA), the University of Montana (MFA) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln . . .

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