Author - John Coyne

1
About schooling kids in NYC by George Packer (Togo)
2
Face to Face With the Global Economy by Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia)
3
West Virginia RPCVs to interview RPCVs to preserve the legacy of the Peace Corps
4
Andrew Oerke’s Last Poems: Boyhood in Bayfield (PC Staff)
5
RPCV Beverly Heegaard says her goodbyes … the PCV Way (Nepal)
6
New books by Peace Corps writers — July & August 2019
7
A Writer Writes — “Oral Traditions in Writing” by Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia)
8
Review — BREAKING KOLA: An Inside View of African Customs by Katherine Onyemelukwe (Nigeria)
9
Review — INTERPRETIVE THEME WRITER’S FIELD GUIDE by Jon Kohl (Costa Rica)
10
A Writer Writes — “Development Is Down This Road” by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon)

About schooling kids in NYC by George Packer (Togo)

    The October issue of The Atlantic has a true and fascinating article by George Packer (Togo 1982-83) entitled “When the Culture War Comes for the Kids” with the subtitle of “Caught between a brutal meritocracy and a radical new progressivism, a parent tries to do right by his children while navigating New York City’s schools.” Having raised a son in the Big Apple, and having experienced the same system that George and his wife are now enduring, I feel their pain. It all begins this way, Packer writes, “places at the preschool were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. At the front of the line, parents were lying in sleeping bags. They had spent the night outside.” And it continues through middle school and high school. It is no wonder young parents flee Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx for the suburbs. Read George’s tale of terror of the public . . .

Read More

Face to Face With the Global Economy by Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia)

Face to Face with the Global Economy Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia 1962–64) Self-published September 2019 137 pages $5.00 (Kindle)     Leo writes: My book, Face To Face With The Global Economy, is published.  You can buy it at Amazon for $5. Only in ebook form for now. I take the reader on an insider’s tour of the global economy through a collection of personal experiences, tales if you will, often whimsical, covering the various facets of the subject.  Reading it will give one a better understanding of this phenomenon that touches every soul on the planet. The global economy, a phrase that conjures up an image of a one world, albeit in economic terms. We all are intrigued by this structure that touches every person on the planet. What is it and how does it work? This collection of my personal experiences, tales if you will, offers a direct insight . . .

Read More

West Virginia RPCVs to interview RPCVs to preserve the legacy of the Peace Corps

    Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77)   The West Virginia Returned Peace Corps Volunteers has received a grant from the WV Humanities Council to fund recording of interviews with former Peace Corps Volunteers and staff. WVRPCV, an affiliate of the National Peace Corps Association, will work with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library to preserve the legacy of the Peace Corps through these interviews. The interviews will be stored, cataloged and made available via the Kennedy Library (part of the National Archives and Records Administration). The West Virginia interviews will also become part of the collection at the state Department of Archives and History. Former Volunteers and staff interested in being part of this project should send contact information, along with basic information about their service, in an email to  westvirginiarpcv@gmail.com, with “Interviews” in the subject line. Since 1961, more than 700 West . . .

Read More

Andrew Oerke’s Last Poems: Boyhood in Bayfield (PC Staff)

  Poet Andrew Oerke (PC staff: Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Jamaica 1966-71), who received the 2015 William Meredith Award for Poetry, died unexpectedly in 2014. His widow, Doctor Anitra Thorhaug, has just published Boyhood in Bayfield: Poems, Andrew’s first poems about his boyhood in Bayfield, Wisconsin that includes photographs and insights into his past and her own. Like fellow pilgrims in a challenging landscape, she gives a sense of place from which the poems were born, both the physical and cultural landscape. Oerke was not only a poet, but also the CEO of an environmental foundation, president of a microfinance organization, Golden Gloves boxing champion, academic, and Peace Corps Country Director in Malawi and Jamaica. This ‘final’ collection of his poems has been published by Poets’ Choice Publishing. For more about Andrew, go to andrewoerkepoetry.org

Read More

RPCV Beverly Heegaard says her goodbyes … the PCV Way (Nepal)

    Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-67) Beverly Heegaard, Beverly, 78, painfully practical, fearless, unapologetic to a fault. Chain-link fence gardener, antiestablishment embroiderer, Peace Corps Volunteer (Nepal 1962—64), mother to the universe of the dispossessed, probably read 10,000 books, completed the NYT crossword daily, in ink, often before sunup. Endearingly intolerant of nonsense. Will be buried in a box marked “Return to Sender, postage due.” Memorial service this summer, to be announced. Published in Newport Daily News. May 1, 2019.

Read More

New books by Peace Corps writers — July & August 2019

To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com — Click on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance from your purchase that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. We now include a one-sentence description — provided by the author — for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order the book and 2) to volunteer to review it. See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? Send a note to Marian at peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. • The Price of Freedom Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68) Peace Corps Writers 370 pages July 2019 $14.95 (paperback) This sixth and last novel of the American Revolution by Martin Ganzglass begins after the crucial victory at Yorktown in October 1781, and . . .

Read More

A Writer Writes — “Oral Traditions in Writing” by Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia)

A Writer Writes     Oral Traditions in Writing by Jeanne D’Haem (Somalia 1968-70) • Somalis are known throughout East Africa for their beauty and for their poetry. In this oral tradition, poems are used to communicate, to share news and even to settle disputes. A poet insults another clan in a poem. For example, “You have mistaken boat-men and Christians for the Prophet.” News and other communication had to be oral because the Somali language was not written even when I lived there in 1968.  This was due to a dispute over what kind of letters should be used. Religious leaders wanted an Arabic alphabet, business people wanted a modern Latin one. When Siad Barre, a military dictator, took over the county in 1969, his goal was rapid modernization under communism. He sent a delegation to China where Chairman Mao held similar views.  When Mao was informed about the dispute, . . .

Read More

Review — BREAKING KOLA: An Inside View of African Customs by Katherine Onyemelukwe (Nigeria)

      Breaking Kola: An Inside View of African Customs Katherine Onyemelukwe (Nigeria 1962–64) Peace Corps Writers November 2018 251 pages $14.62 (paperback); $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Tom Hebert (Nigeria 1962-64)   • Like military veterans, Peace Corps Volunteers never put their stories and accomplishments behind them. As we say, “Once a Peace Corps Volunteer, always a Peace Corps Volunteer.” But very few of us have been as totally immersed in a new culture as the author of this intense but bright and sunny book. Having taught cross cultural communication at the State Department, I knew this author wrote truthfully when I read these words on page 16: “Breaking Kola is my attempt to explain African, especially Igbo customs that that build this deep sense of community.” I mention that because for over 58 years more than 235,000 Americans have served in 141 countries. And, when they return to this country, . . .

Read More

Review — INTERPRETIVE THEME WRITER’S FIELD GUIDE by Jon Kohl (Costa Rica)

    Interpretive Theme Writer’s Field Guide: How to Write a Strong Theme from Big Idea to Presentation by Jon Kohl (Costa Rica 1993–95) InterpPress Publisher 164 pages $29.00 (paperback) November 2018  Reviewed by Jerry Norris (Colombia 1963-65)  • Que le provoca? (what provokes you) According to the UN’s latest report on population growth rates, there are now 7.5 billion inhabitants of planet earth. The author, Jon Kohl, can take a well-deserved bow for bringing to light a subject heretofore obscure—most certainly in my own case, and I’m sure no less so with many others. That is: how to write a strong theme from big ideas to presentation. The author is absolutely clear in his admonition to interested parties: “this Field Guide cannot make you a theme writer, it can only help you along the way.” In this manner, his Field Guide “is the first of its kind to dedicate itself . . .

Read More

A Writer Writes — “Development Is Down This Road” by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon)

    Development Is Down This Road by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987–90) FEW RECOGNIZE ME without my trademark Suzuki. Now I have this red Yamaha DT they gave me to replace it. I’m still white, though, or so they keep insisting as I pass by the shouting voices trying to get me to stop to do a favor, chat, or taste the latest in palm wine. I know I have a bike, but how do you say “I’m not a taxi” in the local language? I’m late, I’m in a hurry, I’ve got to help a women’s group plant rows of plantains and pineapple in their community farm. This road could jostle my insides right out of me. My thighs are sore from being abused as non-stop shock absorbers. Yet, nothing beats a forestial commute: a time to take in the bushmeat hanging for sale along the way. Someone . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.