Archive - 2023

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Review — THE SHOWGIRL AND THE WRITER by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador)
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WHO STOLE MY BIBLE by Rev. Jennifer Butler (Belize)
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Solving the Climate Crisis by Palmer Owyoung (Namibia)
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The Third Goal: Bringing It All Back Home by Karl Drobnic (Ethiopia)
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James Denbow (Malawi) and his love song for his wife
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Hesperian Health Guides is having a story contest just for RPCVs
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HUSTLE: The Making of a Freelance Writer by Lawrence Grobel (Ghana)
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Six-Word Winners of Peace Corps Writers Contest!
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Hawaii RPCVs Asking For Help
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Review of HAY BUDDY! by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)
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New List of RPCV & STAFF Authors
12
“The Impact of Peace Corps Volunteers’ Service” by Robert Goetschkes (Tonga)
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YOU ARE NOT HERE by Eric Czuleger (Albania)
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105-Year-Old RPCV Winifred Evans (Togo)
15
Richard Wiley (Korea) to judge Six-Word Memoir of Peace Corps

Review — THE SHOWGIRL AND THE WRITER by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador)

  The Showgirl and the Writer: A Friendship Forged in the Aftermath of the Japanese American Incarceration by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) Peace Corps Writers 488 pages July 2023 Reviewed by John Thorndike (El Salvador 1966-68)  • This powerful mix of personal and national history unfolds in three parts. First is Marnie Mueller’s own story, starting with her birth in the Tule Lake concentration camp for Japanese Americans, where her Caucasian parents were on the staff. In this relatively short section she describes her childhood, marriage, and life as a novelist. A longer second section traces her years as friend and caregiver to Mary Mon Toy, the showgirl of the title, an actress, dancer and singer of Japanese heritage who was incarcerated in 1942 in another of the “segregation camps.” Mary claims to be half Japanese and half Chinese, something Mueller believes during the years she takes care of the . . .

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WHO STOLE MY BIBLE by Rev. Jennifer Butler (Belize)

  Who Stole My Bible: Reclaiming Scripture as a Handbook for Resisting Tyranny by Rev. Jennifer Butler (Belize 1989-91) Faith in Public Life Publisher October 2020 180 pages $9.99 (Kindle); $15.99 (Paperback); (Audio book) The Bible has been hijacked. We’ve all seen examples of sacred scripture being used and abused to justify racism, sexism, reactionary politics, and even violence. If you have ever found yourself wondering what Bible some of your fellow believers are reading, if you’ve ever asked yourself “Who Stole My Bible?”, then you are not alone. With a foreword from Brian McLaren, Who Stole My Bible?: Reclaiming Scripture as a Handbook for Resisting Tyranny shows how the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is an inspiring handbook for resisting tyranny. Jennifer Butler loved the Bible and her Christian faith, but then was disillusioned when it was used against her as a woman. Instead of leaving religion, she found a fresh . . .

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Solving the Climate Crisis by Palmer Owyoung (Namibia)

  Solving the Climate Crisis: A Community Guide to Solving the Biggest Problem On the Planet by Palmer Owyoung (Namibia 1993-95) Self published August 2023 $3.99 (Kindle) Solving the Climate Crisis is an easy to read, solutions-based book that offers actionable advice that readers can take to create lasting changes in their communities. The book is filled with hope that by working together, we can build a sustainable future by using science, and evidence-based solutions to reimagine our economic, political, and social systems, to stabilize the climate and restore biodiversity. We hear about it on the news every day, but climate change can be confusing. Are we doomed? How did we get here? What can I do about it? These are some questions you have probably asked yourself. In Solving the Climate Crisis, Palmer Owyoung deconstructs climate change to understand how we got here, and looks at how we can . . .

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The Third Goal: Bringing It All Back Home by Karl Drobnic (Ethiopia)

  “There’s no success like failure and failure’s no success at all.” Bob Dylan • I ignored the summons the draft board sent to my remote Ethiopian village midway through my second year of Peace Corps service, and dropped its greetings down the shintabet (the long-drop) hole, sending it to fester with the rest of the used toilet tissue. And I did not inform the Peace Corps staff in Addis Ababa that I had been drafted. The police curfew that kept Goba locked down while Haile Selassie’s troops fought pitched battles with rebel shifta in the nearby mountains had finally lifted, the unending rainy season that hijacked two consecutive dry seasons had finally abated, and after eighteen months of mud and fear, I could finally hike and ride in the gorgeous Bale Province countryside. But end of service was near. In 1968, the Viet Cong’s Tet Offensive had driven America . . .

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James Denbow (Malawi) and his love song for his wife

  My Life’s Story and Love James Denbow (Malawi 1968–70) • I have worked in African archaeology for almost 50 years, living for many years in Malawi, Botswana, and the Republic of Congo. My first experience in Africa was as a Peace Corps volunteer working in environmental health in a village in northern Malawi. My wife of 54 years, Jocelyne, and I were married in Blantyre, Malawi. Because my BA degree was in archaeology, I was asked by the Peace Corps to carry out an excavation with another Peace Corps volunteer, Wayne Olts, for the Malawi Department of Antiquities at the Old Livingstonia Mission site, established by David Livingstone at Cape McClear. The Peace Corps thought this would be a good way to keep some Peace Corps teachers active during their school holidays. This experience led to my career. After the Peace Corps, my wife and I moved to Maun, . . .

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Hesperian Health Guides is having a story contest just for RPCVs

  HESPERIAN HEALTH GUIDES is the publisher of the beloved Where There Is No Doctor and 11 other books published in multiple languages that have been used by Peace Corps Volunteers serving around the world to support individuals and communities in their struggles to realize the right to good health since the early ’60s. Hesperian invites PCVs and RPCVs to share your stories of how any of the Hesperian books helped you during your Peace Corps service  in your efforts to give care to the people of your communities. AND, if you have them, any photos of our books in action can be sent with your stories. Please email your submissions or any questions you have to vanessa@hesperian.org . Winners will be chosen at random. The deadline to enter this contest is August 25, 2023. PRIZES: 4 winners will be able to send a complete Hesperian Library set to a . . .

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HUSTLE: The Making of a Freelance Writer by Lawrence Grobel (Ghana)

HUSTLE: The Making of a Freelance Writer by Lawrence Grobel (Ghana 1968-71) Independently Published 358 pages August 2023 $19.95 Paperback   Lawrence Grobel  writes: Freelancers are people willing to take risks, willing to gamble that they can succeed without a steady paycheck. Most of the people I’ve written about have had the confidence to believe in themselves, and most can point to how they maneuvered down precarious and uncertain paths. In my career as a freelance writer, I’ve had moments of doubt. I’ve suffered rejections and cancellations. But there were crossroads along the way that allowed me to continue pursuing my dream of working for myself, doing what I wanted to do, and figuring out how to survive. Freelancing is a lifestyle. In preparing this book, I marvel at how I somehow managed to avoid all the pitfalls and not drown in pessimism. When Alfred Hitchcock, Leonard Bernstein, and Fred . . .

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Six-Word Winners of Peace Corps Writers Contest!

The winning Six-Word Stories selected by noted RPCV novelist, Richard Wiley (Korea 1967-69) are . . .   Arrived tired. Mali inspired. Living unmired. by Bill Moseley (Mali 1987-89)   Piped water frees girls for school.    by Bob Gribbin (Kenya 1968-70)   Peru: She returned with blinders off. by Patricia (Silke) Edmisten (Peru 1962-64)   In making his selection, Richard Wiley writes, “I read them all a dozen or more times, and came up with three that I like best, two of which seem to emphasize what being in the Peace Corps did for the volunteer (and writer!), and one that highlighted a good Peace Corps outcome for the country.What was hard about this was deciding how I wanted to order these final three.  It was a very close call. Thank you for allowing me to have a role in this and congratulations to the winners.

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Hawaii RPCVs Asking For Help

John Chromy (India 1963-65) writes: For forty years the RPCV/Hawaii group has joined with local Rotary Clubs to raise funds for all kinds of community development and family assistance projects on the islands. Today, after the horrible Hurricane driven fire that consumed the community of Laihani, killed 80 people and left thousands homeless, the RPCV/Hawaii group is asking Peace Corps people everywhere to help the victims of this tragic double storm. Could you please ask/urge Peacecorpsworldwide supporters to extend the Peace Corps spirit by sending donations to: Maui Fund RPCV/Hawaii P.O. Box  29462 Honolulu, HI   96820-1862  

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Review of HAY BUDDY! by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras)

  Hey Buddy! Portraits of Friends Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975-77) KDP, an Amazon.com Company 144 pages August 2023 $18.00 (paperback) Reviewed by Stephen Foehr (Ethiopia 1965-67) • Think of this collection of vignettes as a mixed bouquet of flowers, some colorful, some a bit wilted, a few missing petals. Lawrence Lihosit recounts strangers who became friends in his years of traveling and working from Alaska to Argentina, Honduras to California. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras (1975-1977). The prose is suitable for scan reading—no multi-layered metaphors, or nifty timeline shifts, or illusions and allusions that require association. Lihosit tells the tales as he would to someone sitting on the neighboring barstool. No literary pretense, but rather people being themselves. So, enjoy the humanization without the polishing rub of a professional hand. (One of Lihosit’s previous books, Years On and Other Travel Essays, was awarded Best Travel Book . . .

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New List of RPCV & STAFF Authors

Here is our new list of RPCV & staff authors we know of who have published two or more books of any type. Currently—in August 2023–the count is 515. If you know of someone who has and their name is not on this list, then please email: jcoyneone@gmail.com. We know we don’t have all such writers who have served over these past 60 years. Thank you.’ Jerome R. Adams (Colombia 1963–65) Tom Adams (Togo 1974-76) Thomas “Taj” Ainlay, Jr. (Malaysia 1973–75) Elizabeth (Letts) Alalou (Morocco 1983–86) Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) Robert Albritton (Ethiopia 1963-65) Usha Alexander (Vanuatu 1996–97) James G. Alinder (Somalia 1964-66) Richard Alleman (Morocco 1968-70) Hayward Allen (Ethiopia 1962-64) Diane Demuth Allensworth (Panama 1964–66) Paul E. Allaire (Ethiopia 1964–66) Jack Allison (Malawi 1967-69) Allman (Nepal 1966-68) Nancy Amidei (Nigeria 1964–65) Gary Amo (Malawi 1962–64) David C. Anderson (Costa Rica 1964-66) Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1963-65) Peggy Anderson (Togo 1962-64) James Archambeault . . .

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“The Impact of Peace Corps Volunteers’ Service” by Robert Goetschkes (Tonga)

by Robert Goetschkes (Tonga 1988-90) • The Peace Corps is renowned for its commitment to promoting global peace and friendship through community-based service. For over six decades, Peace Corps Volunteers have served in diverse countries, working with local communities to address pressing challenges and foster sustainable development. This article explores Peace Corps Volunteers’ profound impact on empowering communities worldwide, shaping positive change, and creating lasting connections. A Shared Vision for Positive Change Peace Corps Volunteers embody a shared vision for positive change and mutual understanding. As they embark on their service journeys, they bring with them the values of compassion, empathy, and a genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of others. This collective commitment to creating a better world unites volunteers, regardless of their backgrounds or the countries they serve in. Grassroots Community Development One of the core principles of the Peace Corps is to promote grassroots . . .

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YOU ARE NOT HERE by Eric Czuleger (Albania)

  You Are Not Here: Travels Through Countries that Don’t Exist by Eric Czuleger (Albania 2011-13) Independently Published 360 pages June 2023 $0.99 (Kindle); $18.27 (Paperback)   American journalist Eric Czuleger dives into the twilight zone of statecraft by living in unrecognized nations in order to discover what a country really is. He begins his journey as a third-grade teacher in Iraqi Kurdistan at the height of the Kurdish independence movement. Banned by Turkey, he pivots to Kosovo where he reports during the nation’s 10 year anniversary celebration. Moving on to The Black Hole of Europe, Transnistria, he arrives in time for the Russian election. Finally, Czuleger infiltrates the world’s first crypto-anarchist nation, Liberland, where he parties with Bitcoin millionaires and falls into his most challenging position yet: Liberland Ambassador to Somaliland. There, in the never ending desert, he discovers the real cost of drawing a new line in the . . .

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105-Year-Old RPCV Winifred Evans (Togo)

Falls Church VA resident honored with Military Women’s Award August 3, 2023    On August 17, Winifred “Winnie” Evans (Togo 1962-64), a resident at Chesterbrook Residences Assisted Living Community, will receive the Military Women’s Memorial Award: Living Legend Proclamation. For Evans, this is just another achievement in her impressive over-a-century lifetime.  At 105 years old, Evans has experienced and accomplished so many feats that the title “Living Legend” may be the best description for the Falls Church resident. A former nurse, author and supporter of various causes, Evans has expressed “genuine joy and heartfelt appreciation” upon receiving the Military’s Women’s Memorial Award, according to her niece, Patricia Garrett. “With enthusiasm, she exclaimed ‘I am overjoyed and thrilled to be acknowledged as a living legend,’” Garret recalled of Evans. The granddaughter of Horace Bennett, a sergeant in the Civil War under the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry, Evans was born in 1917 . . .

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Richard Wiley (Korea) to judge Six-Word Memoir of Peace Corps

Deadline for submitting ‘memoir’ is Tuesday, August 8th. Judging your Peace Corps focus stories will be…… Richard Wiley, novelist and short story, first novel, Soldiers in Hiding won the 1987 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He has published five other novels and a number of short stories. He is the 2023 Winner of Peace Corps Writers’ Award as “Writer of the Year”. Wiley holds a B.A. from the University of Puget Sound and an M.A. from Sophia University in Tokyo; he earned his MFA in creative writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Richard was a PCV in Korea (1967-690 first novel, Soldiers in Hiding, won the 1987 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Since then, he has published other novels and a wide variety of short stories. His subsequent novels: Fool’s Gold, Festival for Three Thousand Maidens, Indio, etc. have received positive reviews in the New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. In 1989 he has been a professor . . .

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