Author - John Coyne

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The Peace Corps Marches in Inaugural Parade
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Once in Afghanistan
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RPCV Road Trip in China

The Peace Corps Marches in Inaugural Parade

I heard from Stephen Buff (Ethiopia 1964-66) who is one of 200 marchers selected by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C, to represent Peace Corps volunteers in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009. Members of the Peace Corps Community will carry the flags of the 139 countries where nearly 200,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served during the 48-year history of the agency. Representatives of the Peace Corps Community have applied for each Inaugural Parade in recent history and last participated in 1997. Notable marchers will include Senator Harris Wofford, Ethiopia Peace Corps Director with the first group to the Empire. Wofford will be marching with two grandsons, and children and grandchildren of the agency’s first director, Sargent Shriver.

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Once in Afghanistan

I watched a documentary yesterday entitled “Once in Afghanistan” that was produced by Jill Vickers (Afghanistan 1968). The documentary was done by Jill’s company Dirt Road Documentaries, and it is about 17 women who survive 3-months of Training (36 started) on an Indian reservation in Arizona and then they went to Afghanistan to vaccinate woman against small pox. The film is basically a series of quick interviews of these women. They recall themselves as young woman fresh out of college and off on this new adventure, the Peace Corps. It is a wonderful case history; it is a long conversation; it is a reflection of another time and place, and it is a look at how these women-now in their sixties — had their lives shaped and changed by having once upon a time been Peace Corps Volunteers. For those of us who made similar journeys there is not a . . .

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RPCV Road Trip in China

There is an absolutely wonderful essay in the current New Yorker (January 12, 2009) by Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) about a car trip he and another RPCV, Mike Goettig (China 1996-98), took to the Tibetan Plateau in 2002. This road trip took place a few years after they were Volunteers, and at the time Peter was working as a freelance writer in China, Goettig owned a bar in the southwest of the country and the two of them would get together for little adventures. The piece is entitled “Strange Stones,” which is, Peter writes, “a Chinese term for any rock whose shape looks like something else,” and focuses on one incident on their trip north. The essay, however, is really about being a Peace Corps Volunteer, and about some of the strange, wonderful, and dear people we meet because of that experience. For Peter, it was meeting up and becoming . . .

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