Author - John Coyne

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Write About Your Peace Corps Experiences in San Rafael
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Out of the Mouths of RPCV Writers
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Paul Theroux (Malawi) interviewed in Conde Nast Traveler
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RPCV Writers 2020 — Happy New Year Vols!
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More from Sister Martha on the Governor of Central Jawa’s visit (Indonesia)
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Let’s End the Year on a Sad Note: Trump Destroying the Foreign Service. Will the Peace Corps be Next?
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RACE ACROSS AMERICA by Charles B. Kastner (Seychelles)
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Christmas Greetings from an RPCV in the Order of Cistercians (Indonesia)
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ERADICATING SMALLPOX IN ETHIOPIA by 15 PCVs (Ethiopia)
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A Writer Writes — “Margarita Sonrise” a short short story by Chris Honore’ (Colombia)

Write About Your Peace Corps Experiences in San Rafael

Write About Your Peace Corps Experiences! January 18, 2020 • 9 AM-12Noon  Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance 2171 Francisco Blvd. East, Suite I, San Rafael, CA 94901 (west end of Richmond-San Rafael Bridge)  Meredith Pike-Baky, Facilitator Togo, ’71-’73 • Rwanda ‘09 Do you have memories from your time with Peace Corps that are worth sharing? Join us on January 18 from 9-12 to write about some of those memories. We’ll share examples, practice some effective storytelling techniques then conclude with a solid plan for moving forward. Refreshments and materials will be provided. Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a writer. As a longtime writing teacher and author of Tales of Togo, I’ll help you get started. Send an RSVP by January 10 to mpikebaky@mac.com. I’ll reply with what you’ll need to know and bring.

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Paul Theroux (Malawi) interviewed in Conde Nast Traveler

    The January/February issue of Conde Nast Traveler has an interview with Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) done by Francesca Babb entitled “The Globetrotter” and the headline: “The novelist and master of travel writing, who made his name journeying from the U.S. to Japan and back by train for The Great Railway Bazaar, hit the open road for his latest book.” (The interview is on page 113 of the thick issue subtitled: THE GOLD LIST 2020.) Theroux’s new book is On the Plain of Snakes A Mexican Road Trip. The interviewer, however, doesn’t so much focus on the new book as ask Paul about his life and travels. While his time in the Peace Corps doesn’t come up, there are nevertheless interesting questions and replies. A few exchanges . . .   What is the greatest train route on earth? “Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. It was built after the . . .

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RPCV Writers 2020 — Happy New Year Vols!

A Work in Progress: RPCV Authors Thirty-one years ago, Marian Haley Beil and I (both Ethiopia 1962-64) began to identify Peace Corps Writers. It was our Third Goal Project to spread the story of the Peace Corps in developing countries by promoting the writings of RPCVs here at home.  We did this as two former volunteers, not connected to the Peace Corps agency or the NPCA. We began in April 1989 with a newsletter Peace Corps Writers & Readers and now on a website: www.peacecorpsworldwide.org We announce new books, have them reviewed, interview authors, and publish writings by RPCVs. We also started with Create Space/Amazon a line of Peace Corps Writers Books. Marian Beil is the creative publishing genius behind these projects. She receives help from her gifted son, Noah, who is also a tech genius. (It runs in the family. Husband and father Don Beil ((Somalia 1964-66)) is the . . .

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More from Sister Martha on the Governor of Central Jawa’s visit (Indonesia)

December 24, 2019 We had a very unique experience this vigil of Christmas – a visit of the Governor of Central Jawa, the third-largest province of Indonesia with a population of about 40 million. He is a moderate Muslim and a good governor in his second term. Every Christmas he visits a number of Christian places to see their Christmas activities and share good cheer and promote unity and respect among different religions.  We were only told on Saturday that he wanted to come, Sunday evening four of his staff came to see the location and explain to Ibu Cory, Cathrin and me what was going to happen. We made a program with them and told the community. The vigil of Christmas is usually one of the busiest days of the year with preparations in the kitchen, the guesthouse, the church, the refectory as well as regular work and all . . .

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Let’s End the Year on a Sad Note: Trump Destroying the Foreign Service. Will the Peace Corps be Next?

State Department From RPCV long-time journalist with Newsweek Magazine in Asia You are hearing right.  The exodus is quite serious and runs deep. People talk literally of desks piled in the halls ways at State. It’s reached the highest levels, so there are no assistant secretaries. They are losing so many and such experiences that it will take years to recover, say people who know about these things. The institutional memory and professional experience is disappearing.  It’s quite serious. And while it’s not as bad, a similar loss of expertise is taking place at the C.I.A. (One little ironic silver lining which benefits us old-timers is that many retired foreign service officers are called back into service and to serve six-month temporary duty in places that are shorthanded. That’s how Taylor ended up a temporary ambassador to Ukraine.) Yes, of course, it is Trump and his inconsistent foreign policy.  And . . .

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RACE ACROSS AMERICA by Charles B. Kastner (Seychelles)

  Race across America: Eddie Gardner and the Great Bunion Derbies by Charles B. Kastner (Seychelles) On April 23, 1929, the second annual Transcontinental Foot Race across America, known as the Bunion Derby, was in its twenty-fifth day. Eddie “the Sheik” Gardner, an African American runner from Seattle, was leading the race across the Free Bridge over the Mississipi River. Along with the signature outfit that earned him his nick name white towel tied around his head, white shorts, and a white shirt — Gardner wore an American flag, a reminder to all who saw him run through the Jim Crow South that he was an American and the leader of the greatest footrace in the world. Kastner traces Gardner’s remarkable journey from his birth in 1987 in Birmingham, Alabama, to his success in Seattle, Washington, as one of the top long-distance runners in the region, and finally to his . . .

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Christmas Greetings from an RPCV in the Order of Cistercians (Indonesia)

    Mother Martha Driscoll, O.C.S. O., (Ethiopia 1965-67) graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (at that time, women were not allowed in the undergraduate A&S College) and joined the Peace Corps. After Training at the University of Utah, she went to Ethiopia as a secondary school teacher in Addis Ababa, where, as a wonderful singer and actress, she also “starred” in several play productions staged by British Ex-pats in the city. After her tour, she returned to New York City and Staten Island where she had grown up and worked for a while in New York before going to Boston and earning an MFA in Theater from Brandeis University. It was during this period, she told me, that she began to question what she wanted to do with her life, and on a trip to Europe she visited and then entered a monastery in Italy where she . . .

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ERADICATING SMALLPOX IN ETHIOPIA by 15 PCVs (Ethiopia)

    Eradicating Smallpox in Ethiopia: Peace Corps Volunteers’ Accounts of Their Adventures, Challenges and Achievements Editors: Gene L. Bartley (Ethiopia 1970-72, 1974-76), John Scott Porterfield (Ethiopia 1971-73), Alan Schnur (Ethiopia 1971-73), James W. Skelton, Jr. (Ethiopia 1970-72) Peace Corps Writers 486 pages November 26, 2019 $ 19.95 (paperback)   This book contains a wide variety of unique and perceptive stories about the experiences of the Peace Corps Volunteers who worked in the Smallpox Eradication Program (SEP) in Ethiopia between 1970 and 1975. There are 21 chapters, written by 15 former PCVs, Dr. D. A. Henderson, the Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global SEP, and Dr. Ciro de Quadros, WHO Epidemiologist in charge of field operations in Ethiopia. All of the stories provide insights into the personal, practical and technical aspects of the work. The PCVs’ stories include vivid, first-hand descriptions of the living and working conditions in . . .

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A Writer Writes — “Margarita Sonrise” a short short story by Chris Honore’ (Colombia)

      Margarita Sonrisa By Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69) • My mouth going dry, my heart side stroking toward my throat, I turned slowly, squinting into shadows. Suddenly, Margarita Sonrisa was standing there, wearing a long silk nightgown, wispy spaghetti straps, the outline of her lovely shape lushly revealed. She was something, Margarita Sonrisa. A come hither voice that could chase a note to the deepest corners. Her latte skin smooth, lovely, darkened by the shimmering white of her gown, the front marred only by a delicate spatter of blood. Margarita Sonrisa. You tell me. She sang at a local nightspot, Las Palmas, a dusty place off the strip, all white stucco and neon outside, dim and stale inside. Most nights she stood alone at a microphone singing desperate songs that snapped your heart and dropped it at your feet and made me, like all the other mooks in . . .

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