Archive - 2024

1
BETRAYAL by RPCV Phillip Margolin (Liberia)
2
Review | ESCAPE TO ALASKA by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
3
Two Friends—One Jewish, One Muslim—Have an Answer to Campus Conflict
4
Reed Hastings Calls It Quits (Swaziland)
5
January 2024 List of RPCV & STAFF Authors
6
Sawadee Kha (Thailand!) January 7, 2024
7
“Made it safe to San Fran” by Arleth Nelson
8
Conversations with Self by Racine Frank Poetry (Ethiopia)
9
“Blame and shame: Culture as the whipping post” by Joyce McClure (Micronesia)
10
Six decades of Peace Corps in Nepal
11
Green Bay Packers honored RPCV Dan Krause (Kenya) during Sunday’s game
12
REFLECTIONS OF AN AMERICAN POLITICAL PRISONER by Michael O. Billington (Guyana)
13
Celebrated RPCV Film “Bushman” Restored (Nigeria)
14
NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK by Benjamin Crabtree (Ethiopia, Korea)
15
THE PLEASURE SEEKER by Robyn Michaels (Malawi)

BETRAYAL by RPCV Phillip Margolin (Liberia)

Betrayal: Robin Lockwood #7 Phillip Margolin (Liberia 1965-67) Minotaur Books Publisher 336 pages November  2023 Hard copy ($23.97); Kindle (14.99), Audiobook (credit) • In Phillip Margolin’s Betrayal, attorney Robin Lockwood finds herself defending her old nemesis in a multiple murder case with too many suspects, where success might cost her own life. Robin Lockwood is now a prominent defense attorney in Portland, Oregon but a decade ago, she was a ranked and rising MMA fighter. Her career came to a quick end when she was knocked out and concussed in the first round by Mandy Kerrigan, a much more talented fighter. Now the situation couldn’t be more different, with Kerrigan on her last legs, her career nearly over, arrested for the quadruple murder of the entire Finch family . . . and Kerrigan’s only possible friend is the attorney she beat so many years ago. For Robin, it’s no simple case: Margaret Finch was . . .

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Review | ESCAPE TO ALASKA by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

Escape to Alaska by Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96) December 2023 $0.00 (Kindle) Kindle Unlimited; $4.99    Review by N. Waheed Nasser (Peace Corps Staff 2002-06 & 2011-16) Steve Kaffen has written a fascinating book of travel in Alaska, which he calls “Land of Superlatives.” As is typical of his books, the photography is stunning, and in the introduction, he describes the challenge that he faced choosing the book’s 300 photos. My favorites are the glaciers, the mountain scenery from the Yukon Railroad to the Canada border, the cute pups in the summer camp for dogs, and the people pictures. Prospective visitors can use the photographs along with the discussion of land (the author’s first Alaska visit) vs. sea travel, itinerary, and ship selection to plan their visits. The book is filled with suggestions, such as experiencing daybreak from the top deck of a ship “as it slowly glides through a narrow . . .

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Two Friends—One Jewish, One Muslim—Have an Answer to Campus Conflict

BY JENNIFER BRICK MURTAZASHVILI (Uzbekistan 1997-99) AND ABDESALAM SOUDI JANUARY 16, 2024 Participants at the Pitt Community United in Compassion event We are two professors at the University of Pittsburgh—one Jewish, one Muslim. We are also close friends. We have seen American college campuses torn apart by conflict this fall, but we believe there is another way. A way for us to move forward. On Oct. 26, we organized our first event together, called Pitt Community United in Compassion. Faculty, staff, students, and community leaders—including religious leaders—gathered from across the region. We yearned to create a supportive environment where people could gather, focus, meditate, foster meaningful connections, care for each other, and find solace amid the chaos of our lives. At first, we were unsure about what would unfold. But what transpired was powerful, positive, inspirational, and emotional. We opened with our own personal reflections that led us to lead . . .

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Reed Hastings Calls It Quits (Swaziland)

 Reed Hastings Reed Hastings is an American entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO of Netflix, a global streaming entertainment service. Born on October 8, 1960, in Boston, Massachusetts, Hastings grew up in a family that valued education. He attended Buckingham Browne & Nichols School and later went on to study at Bowdoin College, where he earned a degree in mathematics. After graduating from college, Hastings joined the Peace Corps and spent two years teaching high school mathematics in Swaziland 1983-85. This experience had a profound impact on him and shaped his views on education and cultural exchange. Upon returning to the United States, he attended Stanford University, where he earned a master’s degree in computer science. In 1991, Reed Hastings co-founded his first company, Pure Software, a debugging software company. Pure Software experienced significant growth and went public in 1995. However, the company faced challenges, and in 1997, it merged . . .

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January 2024 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 January 2024–the count is 533. 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 63 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 . . .

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Sawadee Kha (Thailand!) January 7, 2024

I have officially made it to Thailand, the land of smiles. These last 24 hours of traveling have been crazy. It started at 6pm on the 5th bringing all of our luggage to one meeting spot, getting on busses, and traveling to the San Francisco airport. The last day and a half of the orientation/staging we really connected with our director and our training officer so we all had to take one picture together to get everyone in. What I didn’t realize is that Peace Corps staff doesn’t accompany you on the travel to country, so you can imagine how trying to get 47 Peace Corps volunteers through checkin and security TSA was… a little chaotic. Nonetheless everyone made it on to the plane departing for Taipei, Taiwan. This plane ride was the longest I have ever been on, I can remember always complaining on the 4 hour plane ride . . .

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“Made it safe to San Fran” by Arleth Nelson

About Me January 5, 2024 Yesterday was a full on travel day to San Francisco. I woke up in my Wisconsin home at 3, got dressed packed those few last minute things, loaded them in the car and me, my parents, my grandparents, my boyfriend and 2 best friends (a whole group!) trecked our way down to Green Bay for my 6am flight. The ride was sad, seeing Door County one last time. During all of yesterday I’ve was listening and resinating to the song “You’re gonna go far” by Noah Kahan. If you haven’t heard this song it’s really good and just had me in my feels with moving, I was sad to leave by I knew it’s what I needed. I am so happy with all the love I was met with by my family they really have supported all of my dreams and aspirations. My first flight was . . .

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Conversations with Self by Racine Frank Poetry (Ethiopia)

  Conversations with Self by Racine Frank (Ethiopia 2019-20) Poetry Lulu Press October 2023 44 pages $10.00 (Paperback)   Racine Frank began to write poetry in December 2019 during her time as a PCV in Ethiopia. She started by writing haikus and then branched into free verse poetry incorporating rhyming schemes. From an early age, she traveled to and lived in multiple countries with Ethiopia being a time of tremendous growth and transformation. Her writing surrounds the power of love — not only for others, but for oneself. With love being the core of her creative writing, Racine explores other aspects of life that aid in the self-discovery and evolution of individuals. She recently shared with the world this, her first ever self-published poetry chapbook titled Conversations with Self. She is enthusiastic about creativity, whether that be in the form of dancing, singing, writing, or inspiring others to live life . . .

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“Blame and shame: Culture as the whipping post” by Joyce McClure (Micronesia)

Inside the Reef by Joyce McClure (Response Volunteer  2016) .  .  . When I first heard the word “culture” applied to a workplace, I was confused. I didn’t understand what it meant back in the 1980s when it began to appear in job announcements, brochures, advertising and even in job interviews in which the interviewer attempted to explain the company to a candidate. Truth be told, I’m still not entirely certain what it means today when I hear empty words like respect, fairness, collaboration, teamwork, trust and integrity bandied about in a company’s mission, value and ethics statements. Culture is still deemed an all-important playbook that defines the day-to-day operations and atmosphere of the organization. But actions speak louder than words. My confusion stems from the lack of those traits in the highly competitive, power-driven companies and industries that I worked in for many years. The managers’ bad behavior, which . . .

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Six decades of Peace Corps in Nepal

In the news —  The US and Nepal have been steadfast friends not only as countries but also on the individual level a statement by  Troy Kofroth (country director/Nepal 2022– present) The Katnamdu Post January 7, 2024 Each year at this time, the Peace Corps notes the anniversary of the start of the programme in Nepal in 1962. On August 24 of that year — soon after President John F Kennedy created the Peace Corps — the governments of Nepal and the United States signed a bilateral agreement to authorize the Peace Corps’ operation in Nepal. Just a few weeks later, in September 1962, the first group of 77 volunteers consisting of teachers and agriculture specialists arrived in Kathmandu to live in, and partner with, Nepali communities. Since 1962, nearly 4,000 US citizens have arrived in Nepal to serve as volunteers for two years. These volunteers have lived in communities . . .

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Green Bay Packers honored RPCV Dan Krause (Kenya) during Sunday’s game

In the news Packers honored RPCV Dan Krause during Sunday’s game against the Bears Jan 07, 2024     The Green Bay Packers and Network Health paid special tribute to U.S. Army veteran Daniel Krause during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Chicago Bears for ‘Operation Fan Mail.’ Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families and veterans at each Packers home game, marked its 17th season this year.   After Krause graduated from high school, he joined the U.S. Army as a medic. He went on to graduate with honors from UW-Stevens Point. He also served in the Peace Corps (Kenya 1992-994) and graduated from law school at New York University, where he also earned a master’s degree in philosophy. He then practiced law for the Menominee and Oneida tribes, then opened his own law office in Shawano, Wis.   He served for a total of 31 years, serving . . .

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REFLECTIONS OF AN AMERICAN POLITICAL PRISONER by Michael O. Billington (Guyana)

  Reflections of an American Political Prisoner: The Repression and Promise of the LaRouche Movement by Michael O. Billington (Guyana & Thailand 1967-71) EIR News Service 2015 435 pages $9.99 (Kindle); $19.99 (Paperback)   As part of a book tour for his autobiography Reflections of An American Political Prisoner: The Represssion and Promise of the LaRouche Movement, as seen by Michael O. Billington,  Billington, the last of the LaRouche political prisoners to be released on parole, after ten years in jail–two years in Federal prison, and an additional eight years as a inmate of the Virginia Correctional system (his sentence in Virginia was 77 years!), wrote a personal account of his political, philosophical, and moral development over nearly 35 years, including his work in the Peace Corps in the late 1960s. Most of the book is dedicated to his life and work, over the period since he became, in 1972, . . .

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Celebrated RPCV Film “Bushman” Restored (Nigeria)

  A new 4K restoration of David Schickele’s (Nigeria 1961-63) Bushman (1971) will make its North American debut this year, marking the first time in decades that this celebrated landmark of American independent cinema will be widely available. Overseen by the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) and The Film Foundation, the restoration will be distributed worldwide in all media by Milestone Films and Kino Lorber. Funding for the restoration was provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, with additional support provided by Peter Conheim, Cinema Preservation Alliance. Following a spotlight presentation in January at BAMPFA as part of the museum’s annual preservation film festival To Save and Project, Bushman will have a weeklong theatrical run at New York City’s BAM Rose Cinemas beginning on Friday, February 2. That presentation will coincide with the restoration’s West Coast premiere at BAMPFA on Saturday, February 3, which will include an onstage conversation with . . .

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NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK by Benjamin Crabtree (Ethiopia, Korea)

Needle in a Haystack:  Searching for the World’s Last Cases of Smallpox in Ethiopia by Benjamin F. Crabtree (Ethiopia 1974-75) & (Korea 19676-78) Peace Corps Writers 230 pages October 2023 $7.95 (Kindle); $13.95 (Paperback)   Needle in a Haystack: Searching for the World’s Last Cases of Smallpox in Ethiopia describes the high stakes adventure of bringing to fruition the greatest public health accomplishment of the 20th century — the global eradication of smallpox — as the political situation in Ethiopia deteriorated and the World Health Organization and the Peace Corps were at odds about the rising dangers this posed to workers in the field. The book is a first-person narrative non-fiction account of one Peace Corps Volunteer’s year-long encounters while searching for the final cases of smallpox in remote areas of Ethiopia in the mid-1970s as part of the World Health Organization’s Smallpox Eradication Program. Smallpox had raged across the . . .

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THE PLEASURE SEEKER by Robyn Michaels (Malawi)

The Pleasure Seeker by Robyn Michaels (Malawi 1992) Self Published January 2024 326 pages $2.99 (Kindle); $14.95 (Paperback)   This is a coming-of-age story and involves real African history. Dayal Singh is brilliant, quirky, and has Asperger’s. Son of parents trafficked  to East Africa from India just before independence, he knows he’s Sikh, African, and calculus is the evidence of God. He becomes fascinated by a broken piano. and is offered a piano to buy, buys it and learns to play. Mentored by his older brothers, he follows them to Singapore to further his education, he then goes to Switzerland. He falls in love  with the granddaughter of the man who bought his father. She tells him that the situation is impossible, and that he must stay in school as long as his way is paid. His youth is fraught, being an other. In Switzerland, he is constantly proselytized to, which only defines for him . . .

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