Author - John Coyne

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RPCV Olivia Shaffer (Fiji) writes children’s book
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Support RPCV Dave Harden (Botswana) with Your Vote and $$$
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A Photographic Celebration: 60 Years of Peace Corps Service (Madison, Wisconsin)
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‘They’ve covered it up’: Backlash swells over Peace Corps worker’s involvement in death in Africa
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Tamara Solum (Cameroon) looks back at 20 years of making a dramatic difference in the life of kids
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In Lockdown, a Long-Distance Romance Grew Stronger — Maheisha Adams (Kenya)
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RPCV Photographer Kevin Bubriski’s NEPAL 1975-2011
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PDNB Gallery in Dallas showcases classic images of late ’60s SUBURBIA by Bill Owens (Jamaica)
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Why Don’t We Have A Peace Corps Director?
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Oakland, Oregon Mayor Tom Hasvold (Ecuador)

RPCV Olivia Shaffer (Fiji) writes children’s book

  Olivia Shaffer (Fiji 2017-20) of Hamburg, Pennsylvania, wrote a children’s book inspired by a boy she met while a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji By Lisa Mitchell Berksmont News| January 19, 2022 • While living in a remote village, Shaffer became fast friends with her neighbors, a family with a 3-year-old boy nicknamed Ulu. “Ulu and I became inseparable since the day I moved in next door. We didn’t understand each other’s languages, but we still connected through music, dances and laughing,” said Shaffer. “No matter what language someone speaks, smiling and laughter is something that connects us.” After she returned home to Hamburg, she wrote a children’s book in dedication to Ulu. The book, “I am loved, I am worthy,” is written in “I am” statements meant to spark confidence and feelings of worthiness into the young reader’s mind, Shaffer said.   During her time in the Peace Corps, . . .

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Support RPCV Dave Harden (Botswana) with Your Vote and $$$

Dave Harden (Botswana 1984-86) WE NEED RPCVs IN CONGRESS ! I grew up in Carroll County on a small farm in Westminster – we raised chickens, steers, and horses. I spent my summers shucking corn and listening to the Orioles play ball while I mowed more grass in a few years than most people do in a lifetime. I started first grade at Mechanicsville Elementary school in Gamber and graduated from Westminster High School many, many years ago. I’m a public school kid – and those schools did right by me. I learned to think critically, apply reason to problems, and envision a bigger world. In the 12th Grade, long-time English teacher Barry Gelsinger taught us how to write – to craft – A-level college term papers so we could compete with prep school kids from around the country. With Barry Gelsinger’s push, I did well in college and was . . .

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A Photographic Celebration: 60 Years of Peace Corps Service (Madison, Wisconsin)

  Jan 18, 2022 to Jan 30, 2022 Capitol 2 E. Main St., Madison, Wisconsin 53703   This exhibit of photographs was coordinated by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Wisconsin-Madison about life in the Peace Corps draws from some 60 years of photos from the yearly RPCV of Wisconsin International calendar. This weekend includes a half-day in-person question-fielding session at the Capitol, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Jan. 22, with current recruiters who can answer questions about volunteering. The Capitol is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. For the last 34 years, the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Wisconsin – Madison have celebrated Peace Corps service every month of the year by producing the International Calendar. For this 60th Anniversary, they have prepared a traveling exhibit from their photo archives of photos that demonstrate the beauty and diversity of the countries and people. These will be on display at the Capitol Rotunda for . . .

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‘They’ve covered it up’: Backlash swells over Peace Corps worker’s involvement in death in Africa

by Tricia L. Nadolny, Donovan Slack and Nick Penzenstadler, USA TODAY; Kizito Makoye The mother of a man killed in a 2019 car crash involving an American woman who left the United Kingdom and avoided prosecution said she was stunned to learn a similar incident occurred just days before in Africa. In that case, U.S. officials whisked from Tanzania a Peace Corps employee who killed a mother of three in a car crash after drinking at a bar and bringing a sex worker back to his home. Charlotte Charles — whose 19-year-old son Harry Dunn died when the wife of a U.S. State Department employee driving on the wrong side of the road struck him with her car — called U.S. officials “barbaric” for helping Peace Corps employee John M. Peterson avoid prosecution in Tanzania after he fatally struck Rabia Issa. The U.S. Department of Justice has also declined to pursue charges against Peterson, citing . . .

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Tamara Solum (Cameroon) looks back at 20 years of making a dramatic difference in the life of kids

  Drama Kids of Manasota celebrates 20 Arts and Entertainment Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 by: Marty Fugate Contributor • Some talented kids want to grow up to be actors when they grow up. Some adult actors are still kids at heart. Tamara Solum (Cameroon 1989–91) is one of them. Her inner child loves the magic of make-believe. She shares the secrets of that magic with area children at Drama Kids of Manasota, an after-school, dramatic arts program, serving children between the ages of 5 and 18. This local offshoot of Drama Kids International is nearing its 20th birthday. Solum’s has been its happy director and owner for 18 of those years. Drama Kids is a perfect fit for her passion and talents. Solum graduated with a theater degree from Occidental College in L.A. in 1988. You’d think her path to Drama Kids was a straight line. It was actually a winding road … “I did . . .

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In Lockdown, a Long-Distance Romance Grew Stronger — Maheisha Adams (Kenya)

  Maheisha Adams and Meerim Ilyas met at a conference in Ukraine in 2019, and solidified their bond a year later while quarantining together in Washington.   By Louise Rafkin for “VOWS,” New York Times Jan. 14, 2022 photos by Ed Pingol • Meerim Ilyas and Maheisha Adams (Kenya 2005-07) met in April of 2019 while attending the European Lesbian Conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. When the two decided to meet for dinner one night after the conference, both assumed it was a professional invitation. Yet by the end of the meal, the flowing conversation turned decidedly personal. Both left the dinner besotted. “Meerim is beautiful and intelligent, a fabulous conversationalist, and is always bubbling with ideas, Ms. Adams said. But romance presented challenges: they lived thousands of miles and an ocean apart and their backgrounds were wildly different. Ms. Adams, now 42, was raised on the plains of Guthrie, Okla., by her . . .

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RPCV Photographer Kevin Bubriski’s NEPAL 1975-2011

  Nepal: 1975-2011 by Photographer Kevin Bubriski (Nepal 1975-1978) Preface by Robert Gardner, Essay by Charles Ramble Radius Books/Peabody Museum Press 304 pages September 2014 $108.10 (hardcover) In 1975, as a young Peace Corps volunteer, Kevin Bubriski (Nepal 1975-78) was sent to Nepal’s northwest Karnali Zone, the country’s remotest and most economically depressed region. He walked the length and breadth of the Karnali, conducting feasibility studies for gravity-flow drinking water systems and overseeing their construction. He also photographed the villagers he lived among, producing an extraordinary series of 35mm and large-format black-and-white images. Over more than three decades, Bubriski has returned many times to Nepal, maintaining his close association with the country and its people. Nepal 1975-2011 presents this remarkable body of work — photographs that document Nepal’s evolution over a 36-year period from a traditional Himalayan culture to the globalized society of today. Both visual anthropology and cultural history, it . . .

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PDNB Gallery in Dallas showcases classic images of late ’60s SUBURBIA by Bill Owens (Jamaica)

  The photographer captured a fleeting cultural moment with his seminal 1973 book.   By Danielle Avram of the Dallas News The year 1968 was a tumultuous time in American history. The country was embroiled in riots and protests over the escalating U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Progress achieved by the landmark passing of the Civil Rights Act was clouded by the election of Richard Nixon and the lingering segregationist sentiments spurred on by politicians such as George Wallace. For Bill Owens, 1968 also proved to be a pivotal year. After years abroad in the Peace Corps, Owens (Jamaica 1964-66) had relocated to Livermore, Calif., a former agrarian community-turned-suburb of San Francisco, to work as a photojournalist for the local newspaper. Struck by his newfound suburban lifestyle, particularly the young ages and outlooks of its residents, Owens spent a year . . .

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Why Don’t We Have A Peace Corps Director?

Months are slipping by without a Peace Corps Director. Why is that? When Trump was kicked out of office, Director Jody Olsen (Tunisia 1966-68) ran for the door tossing the office keys to Carol Spahn (Romania 1994-96) who has now been declared Chief Executive Office of the agency. Over the last months, two ‘famous’ names popped up as potential directors. Joe Kennedy (the Dominican Republic 2004-06) was, I’m told, offered the job and he turned it down. Recently the story is that President Biden asked Michelle Obama if she would be the next Peace Corps Director. She also said no. What we also know is that the Republicans in the Senate are stalling all of Biden’s appointments to federal jobs. 150 government positions have no nominee. What might the Peace Corps agency do next? Limp along with ‘acting’  CEO and make-do staff and no PCVs in the field. Close the . . .

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Oakland, Oregon Mayor Tom Hasvold (Ecuador)

  Tom Hasvold’s (Ecuador 1983-85) career formed itself the day in 1982 he walked across the student union at the University of Colorado and spied a bearded man sitting between a Peace Corps banner and a sign-up sheet. Six months later, Hasvold had a passport and a job in South America. He also launched a passion for connecting people with outdoor spaces and natural resources. That vocation carries over today into his role as Oakland, Oregon’s mayor. “He loves parks and likes to keep them up and functional for everyone in the city,” said Terri Long, who retired in July as Oakland’s city recorder but continues as a contracted planning clerk. “He’s an outdoorsman himself, and he likes to see a lot of open spaces so citizens have comfortable places to go outside.” James Hart, Oakland’s director of public works, agreed that Hasvold seeks to boost community assets that everyone . . .

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