Author - John Coyne

1
One Peace Corps Death but NOT from the Coronavirus Pandemic
2
Nancy Tongue Defends Glenn Blumhorst Against NPCA Board
3
CorpsAfrica/Rwanda
4
RPCV Teacher Works to Send 30,000 Books to Zambia
5
Ethiopia in Depth – A Peace Corps Publication
6
Time Before Roe. Somewhere Worse by Jia Tolentina (Kyrgyzstan)
7
JFK Service Award recipients embody commitment and connection
8
NY Times hires Megan McCrea (Micronesia)
9
BRIGHTEST SUN by Adrienne Benson (Nepal)
10
Elaine Chao on the board of the Asian Pacific American Center
11
The Peace Corps, RPCV Tom Scanlon, and the President of Notre Dame
12
The NPCA Answers…..
13
Review — THE WORLD AGAINST HER SKIN by John Thorndike (El Salvador)
14
What Some Staff of NPCA are Saying…But Are Afraid to Tell Us Who They Are
15
Is Getting Rid of Glenn a Wise Decision?

One Peace Corps Death but NOT from the Coronavirus Pandemic

  Julie and Bill Heiderman with a portrait of their daughter, Bernice, who died in 2018.(Credit…Joshua Lott for The New York Times) For the first time in its history, the Peace Corps suspended all operations as the coronavirus raced around the globe. Now it is preparing to send volunteers back into the field. But the planning for the redeployment of Americans around a world shaken by the pandemic comes as the agency faces renewed questions about the quality of its medical care, touched off in part by the death of a 24-year-old volunteer from undiagnosed malaria. The volunteer, Bernice Heiderman, died alone in a hotel room in Comoros, off Africa’s east coast, in 2018, after sending desperate text messages to her family. She told them that her Peace Corps doctor was not taking her complaints seriously. An investigation by the agency’s inspector general documented a string of problems. Ms. Heiderman’s . . .

Read More

Nancy Tongue Defends Glenn Blumhorst Against NPCA Board

Dear NPCA Board of Directors, I have heard about the dismissal of Glenn Blumhorst from NPCA and am most distressed about it. I understand there were rumors on social media but I didn’t take them seriously until I received the email from NPCA last week and was shocked. I have read the plaintiff report and also am aware that the case against him was reviewed by Attorney Herbet, an independent legal counsel and that Glenn was found unimpeachable by Attorney Herbert. I am dumbfounded that he has been dismissed. I have suffered severe health issues from my service in the PC in Chile (1980-82) and had been trying, in vain, to get any recognition for the need for help from either NPCA or the Peace Corps for nearly three decades between 1982-2011. In 2011 when Tony Barclay came on board and openly listened to my story about the suffering of so many . . .

Read More

CorpsAfrica/Rwanda

CorpsAfrica/Rwanda in Partnership with Unity Club, engage youth to lead changes in Taba Village Published : July 01, 2022 CorpsAfrica has deployed youth volunteers in different districts of Rwanda. Courtesy July 1, 2022 – Since October 13, 2021, CorpsAfrica has deployed 30 volunteers in 30 Districts in Rwanda. These volunteers are composed of young Rwandans who are university graduates, who receive training from CorpsAfrica and choose to dedicate almost one year of their life to the communities. This was enabled through a 3-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, aimed at providing opportunities for young people in Africa to become changemakers in the public health, education, and economic development sectors. On Thursday, June 30 2022, CorpsAfrica/Rwanda Volunteers and Unity Club jointly handed over hundreds of livestock to support over 155 households in Taba Village, Mukura Sector, Huye District. Taba Village is one of the sites where CorpsAfrica deployed a volunteer, upon request . . .

Read More

RPCV Teacher Works to Send 30,000 Books to Zambia

QUINCY – A classroom at Atlantic Middle School in Quincy and two residential garages are home to about 30,000 to 35,000 books waiting to be donated to a school in Zambia. Books 4 Zambia co-founders Holly Rendle, a middle school English teacher, and her husband, Walter Cowham, have sent supplies to the African country several times over the last two decades under the name Project Zambia. With their new organization, Rendle and others are fundraising to reach their goal of $ 10,750 by Friday, July 1, to ship the thousands of books and other supplies to the Siankaba School. “It means everything,” Rendle said. “It’s the truest act of just altruism.” From the Peace Corps to Quincy schools Rendle was a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia in 1996 and, upon returning to Quincy in 1998, she shared stories with her students at North Quincy High School, where she taught at . . .

Read More

Ethiopia in Depth – A Peace Corps Publication

I found this short booklet published on March 24, 2014, listed on Amazon, and selling for $12.95. Inside at the bottom of all the pages is: PEACE CORPS ETHIOPIA  WELCOME BOOK. It was published by the Peace Corps, printed in North Haven, CT, and lists no author(s). It appears the book was given to anyone interested in joining the agency or had been assigned to Ethiopia. The book lists a lot of resources for information about the country as well as the agency. There are names and email addresses of groups of former Ethiopia Volunteers as well as a short list of books about the Peace Corps and Ethiopia. Three pages are devoted to “Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle, ” two pages on “Peace Corps Training.” Well designed, the booklet has a half dozen full page photos of PCVs in-country, as well as four pages of what to pack for . . .

Read More

Time Before Roe. Somewhere Worse by Jia Tolentina (Kyrgyzstan)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80)   We’re Not Going Back to the Time Before Roe. We’re Going Somewhere Worse We are entering an era not just of unsafe abortions but of the widespread criminalization of pregnancy. By Jia Tolentina (Kyrgyzstan 2009) The New Yorker June 24, 2022 Illustration by Chloe Cushman In the weeks since a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a case about a Mississippi law that bans abortion after fifteen weeks, with some health-related exceptions but none for rape or incest—was leaked, a slogan has been revived: “We won’t go back.” It has been chanted at marches, defiantly but also somewhat awkwardly, given that this is plainly an era of repression and regression, in which abortion rights are not the only rights disappearing. Now that the Supreme Court has issued its final decision, overturning Roe v. Wade and removing the constitutional right . . .

Read More

JFK Service Award recipients embody commitment and connection

  WASHINGTON – In a ceremony at the United States Institute of Peace, Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carol Spahn presented the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Service Awards to five exceptional Peace Corps staff and returned volunteers. The award, presented every five years, commemorates President Kennedy’s vision, leadership, and commitment to public service by recognizing members of the Peace Corps network who embody the spirit of service and help advance world peace and friendship. The event was attended by former Peace Corps directors, staff, members of the Peace Corps network, and returned volunteers. “Peace Corps was built on the premise that peace is not the exclusive mandate of politicians and world leaders,” said Spahn. “It requires each and every one of us, day in and day out, deeply connecting as individuals to people and nations around the world and contributing our unique cultures, identities, skills and passions.” The awards were . . .

Read More

NY Times hires Megan McCrea (Micronesia)

  The New York Times has tapped Megan McCrea (Micronesia 2007-09) as a senior staff editor for its Special Sections wing of the Print Hub. Recently, she freelanced as an editorial strategist for the book packager Connected Dots Media. Her work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Better Homes & Gardens, the San Francisco Chronicle, Mabuhay, and Poetry Flash. She was a senior editor at Via, AAA’s award-winning travel and lifestyle magazine covering nine western states. There, she launched the magazine’s Arizona edition. She was also an assistant travel editor at Sunset magazine, overseeing coverage of the Southwest. Freshly back from the Peace Corps, she co-authored, with 6 other RPCVs, Other Places Publishing’s guidebook to her country of service, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. McCrea has a BA from Duke University. She lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend, her bicycle, and a whole lotta books.

Read More

BRIGHTEST SUN by Adrienne Benson (Nepal)

An illuminating debut novel following three women in sub-Saharan Africa as they search for home and family   Leona, an isolated American anthropologist, gives birth to a baby girl in a remote Maasai village and must decide how she can be a mother, in spite of her own grim childhood. Jane, a lonely expat wife, follows her husband to the tropics and learns just how fragile life is. Simi, a barren Maasai woman, must confront her infertility in a society in which females are valued by their reproductive roles. In this affecting debut novel, these three very different women grapple with motherhood, recalibrate their identities and confront unforeseen tragedies and triumphs. In beautiful, evocative prose, Adrienne Benson brings to life the striking Kenyan terrain as these women’s lives intertwine in unexpected ways. As they face their own challenges and heartbreaks, they find strength traversing the arid landscapes of tenuous human . . .

Read More

Elaine Chao on the board of the Asian Pacific American Center

  West Wing Playbook has learned that former Secretary of Transportation ELAINE CHAO is set to join the board of the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center. APAC is the institution’s emerging hub for learning and study of Asian Americans, and Ms. Chao would likely help shape the future of the national museum.  

Read More

The Peace Corps, RPCV Tom Scanlon, and the President of Notre Dame

  © 2022 University of Notre Dame June 15, 2022   In a speech to college summer interns in 1962, President John F. Kennedy stumped for the Peace Corps international volunteer organization he created by telling a motivational story about Tom Scanlon (Chile 1961-63), a graduate of Notre Dame University. The president didn’t mention that Scanlon was a 1960 Notre Dame graduate or that the “friend” who told him the tale was Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C.  President of Notre Dame. Nor does the history timeline on the Peace Corps website mention the 45 young people who trained at Notre Dame and landed in Chile about a month after another cohort (Ghana) is celebrated as the first group to serve. Ditto for a recent documentary celebrating the Peace Corps’ history, which didn’t mention the role Father Hesburgh played in helping Sargent Shriver make Kennedy’s vision possible. Even Father Hesburgh hints at some secrecy in his 1999 memoir. “Everybody . . .

Read More

The NPCA Answers…..

    NPCA strives to be a trusted leader and convener within the Peace Corps community. Building and maintaining trust requires intentional listening. The Board takes concerns over the workplace environment very seriously and is working to address concerns among the staff and the community. We want to emphasize that NPCA is listening to the voices from all our stakeholders, and we hear that some members of our community are concerned that NPCA is not where we aim to be. No organization is perfect, but we wholly commit to be better. As such, the Board has taken action to address issues and evolve as needed. Three board task forces have been established to ensure we continue to act as an inclusive leader for the Peace Corps community. Each of these task forces, with clear time-bound objectives, is headed by a member of the NPCA Board of Directors. The three task forces . . .

Read More

Review — THE WORLD AGAINST HER SKIN by John Thorndike (El Salvador)

  The World Against Her Skin: A Son’s Novel By John Thorndike (El Salvador 1967-68) Beck & Branch Publishers 306 Pages April 2022 $15.00 (Paperback); $4.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) The World Against her Skin is an extraordinary work, written by a mature, highly published author. John Thorndike defines his book as a “Son’s Novel,” a hybrid memoir/novel or “biographical novel.” It is his endeavor to know his mother, as he openly states in his “Author’s Note, “I want to know everything about my mother,” especially the secrets that were kept from him as her son. He inhabits this woman character in order to know her. His are the height of literary goals; find truth through your imagination, cross boundaries through sympathy and empathy, and do it because you need to for survival. It beautifully flies in the face of current stricture to only write what . . .

Read More

What Some Staff of NPCA are Saying…But Are Afraid to Tell Us Who They Are

Sexism is harming the Peace Corps Community. Let’s change that.  An Open Letter to the Peace Corps Community Dear Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, Peace Corps family and friends, Peace Corps Allies, Elected Officials, and Peace Corps Agency Staff, We are writing to you as former NPCA staff who want change. A strong Peace Corps is built on a strong Peace Corps Community. However, our opinion is that sexism and gender-based violence, including violence against women, is a culture and problem in the Peace Corps, as victims of sexual assault during Peace Corps service made publicly aware. However, sexism and gender-based violence, especially violence against women also permeate the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) community and the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA). NPCA – the organization that represents 230,000 RPCVs and advocates to Congress in support of Peace Corps – enables sexism through its actions with the Peace Corps community, internally . . .

Read More

Is Getting Rid of Glenn a Wise Decision?

Gary Schulze says: June 21, 2022 at 1:49 pmEDIT As a member of the selection committee that originally picked Glenn to be President of NPCA, I was shocked to learn that the current Board has dismissed him as head of the organization. When Glenn took over the organization it was in financial trouble and had lost the respect of many RPCVs. Glenn rebuilt NPCA, recruited competent staff and gained the respect of the Peace Corps Directors and their staffs. He made a point of visiting regional RPCV groups to gain support for NPCA programs. As a former member of the Board I was personally aware of his many invaluable contributions. Why was he fired in a message which suggested a coup d’etat? And it raises questions about the guy who engineered Glenn’s termination and then made himself Interim President. Until the current Board comes up with a satisfactory explanation I will . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2022. Peace Corps Worldwide.