Author - Marian Haley Beil

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Review — I HAD SERVANTS ONCE by Kristina Engstrom (Philippines)
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New books by Peace Corps writers — November and December 2019
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Review — ASIA WITHOUT BORDERS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
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David Jarmul (Nepal, Moldova) publishes NOT EXACTLY RETIRED with Peace Corps Writers
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Review — THE ADVOCACY by Melissa Fischer (Ghana)
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Talking with Nancy Heil Knor (Belize), author of WOVEN
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Review — QUEEN OF HEARTS edited by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal)
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New books by Peace Corps writers — September & October 2019
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Peace Corps Writers imprint publishes WOVEN by Nancy Heil Knor (Belize)
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A Writer Writes – “The Potato Caper” by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru)

Review — I HAD SERVANTS ONCE by Kristina Engstrom (Philippines)

    I Had Servants Once: Peace Corps Volunteer Tell All by Kristina Engstrom (Philippines 1962-64) Levellers Press 219 pages October 2019 $25.00 (paperback) Order from the publisher.   Review by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76 and Costa Rica 1976–77 • First of all, this is a great memoir because Kristina Engstrom has led a very interesting life involving traveling to many countries and working for and with many different organizations doing very useful work, primarily in the public health field. From her Peace Corps service as a teacher in the Philippines from 1962 to 1964, to her work as a trainer of female PCVs who would vaccinate Afghan women and girls against smallpox in 1968, to her extensive work as an international consultant in various public health related gigs from 1984 onward, Engstrom has had a highly productive career. And she describes her experiences with impressive honesty and candor. As . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — November and December 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. •   November 2019 486 pages $19.95 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle)Eradicating Smallpox in Ethiopia: Peace Corps Volunteers’ Accounts of Their Adventures, Challenges and Achievements Editors: Gene L. Bartley (Ethiopia 1970–72), John Scott Porterfield (1971–73), Alan Schnur (Ethiopia 1971–73), James W. Skelton, . . .

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Review — ASIA WITHOUT BORDERS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

    Asia Without Borders — Crossing the South Asian Expanse: Thailand, Burma, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bhutan by Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994-96) SK Journeys Publisher 285 pages 2018 $14.00 (paperback) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson • I read a travel book for one of two reasons. Either when seeking up-to-date information on traveling in a given country or region — a guidebook — or when I primarily want to enjoy the story of traveling through a region or visiting a specific place at a given time in the past. Steve Kaffen made his journey across South Asia in the 1980s. His book is 284 pages, and over 150 photos from 9 countries constituting a treasure trove of travel related stories. Reading this book is like going to the annual membership gathering of your local RPCV group (Here in the Midwest this will most likely be a . . .

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David Jarmul (Nepal, Moldova) publishes NOT EXACTLY RETIRED with Peace Corps Writers

    About NOT EXACTLY RETIRED: A Life-Changing Journey on the Road and in the Peace Corps by David Jarmul (Nepal 1977–79; Moldova 2016–18)  • Americans approaching retirement can redefine their lives and find new fulfillment by pursuing international adventure and service instead of drifting in their familiar jobs. That’s the message of Not Exactly Retired: A Life-Changing Journey on the Road and in the Peace Corps. Author David Jarmul is a widely published writer, world traveler and former head of news and communications at Duke University. He describes how he walked away from his job to travel with his wife across the United States and Nepal, and then serve together as Peace Corps Volunteers in Moldova, in Eastern Europe. Readers in more than 100 countries followed their journey on David’s popular blog Not Exactly Retired, and in news stories. Not Exactly Retired is a book for anyone seeking inspiration . . .

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Review — THE ADVOCACY by Melissa Fischer (Ghana)

    The Advocacy Melissa  Fischer (Ghana 1992–94) Kilometer Thirteen 472 pages November 2019 $19.99 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Review by D.W. Jefferson • RPCV Melissa Fischer has written a novel that reads like a memoir based upon her own experience in Ghana. The protagonist, Louisa Lehmann, is what I would label a super-Volunteer. Other RPCVs will recognize the type. Not only is she an experienced civil engineer, she spent most of the early years of her life in Libya so she understands African cultures better than most PCVs do. The narrative is complex with the primary thread of the plot involving her work for the Advocacy, an agency that works with local villages to help them obtain clean water and sanitation in an area profoundly affected by an open-pit gold mine. But the reader also learns about her neighbors, her living quarters, her perceptions of her coworkers, how she relates . . .

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Talking with Nancy Heil Knor (Belize), author of WOVEN

    Nancy, where and when did you serve in the Peace Corps? I had the privilege of serving in the village of San Pedro Columbia in Belize, Central America, from 1989–1991. I loved it! The village is inhabited by K’ekchi Mayan families who are mostly subsistence farmers. When I lived there, the population was about 1,000 people; it was one of the larger Mayan villages in the southernmost district of Belize. What was your Peace Corps project assignment? Originally, I was sent to the village to teach the villagers how to plant carrots in order to increase their intake of Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps prevent vision loss — something that many of the K’ekchi experience. The project, which was called Relevant Education for Agricultural Production (REAP), was a district-wide initiative, but, unfortunately, we Volunteers found it difficult to implement. Most of us were trained as teachers and had . . .

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Review — QUEEN OF HEARTS edited by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal)

    Queen of Hearts: The Story of Anna Sipl Meyers by Anna Sipl Meyers; Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993–96) — Editor CreateSpace July, 2018 248 pages $20.00 (paperback)   Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • This is a life story worthy of a Horatio Alger novel, except that it is autobiographical rather than fiction, and the hero, Anna Sipl Meyers, continues her story after achieving her initial goal of owning a Las Vegas hotel and casino. In fact her ups and downs as a hotel and casino owner are among the most fascinating parts of her life story. The book is based on two years of interviews conducted by Claytee D. White, Director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas) Libraries. RPCV Leita Kaldi Davis organized the interviews and edited them into a book which is conversational, well organized, . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — September & October 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. • As We Think . . . So We Age: Exploring Pathways to Meaningful Aging Geri Marr Burdman, Ph.D. (Bolivia 1962–64) GeroWise Books July 2015 136 pages $14.99 (paperback) Drawing on her professional background as well as years of cross-cultural and global experiences, Geri . . .

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Peace Corps Writers imprint publishes WOVEN by Nancy Heil Knor (Belize)

    About WOVEN: A Peace Corps Adventure Spun with Faith, Laughter, and Love by Nancy Heil Knor (Belize 1989-1991) • The idea for Woven started back in 1989 when I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the K’ekchi Mayan village of San Pedro Columbia in Belize, Central America. As a new teacher-volunteer, I noticed the distinct absence of books in the village. The few picture books that I had brought with me were read and reread by men, women, and children until their bindings cracked; in the schools, classes were taught in English, but had no books for the students to read; and there was always a waiting list of men wanting to borrow my Peace Corps issued Newsweek Magazine.   Within a few months, my Peace Corps project became clear: I would work alongside the villagers to create the first-ever San Pedro Columbia Library! The San Pedro Library . . .

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A Writer Writes – “The Potato Caper” by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru)

 The Potato Caper by Evelyn LaTorre (Peru 1964-66)) The morning of March 25, 1965, dawned dry and warm in the town of Abancay, altitude, 7,000 feet, where I lived as a Peace Corps volunteer. The moisture that fell during the night had been unexpected because the rainy season in the Andean mountain area of Peru had usually ended by February. The cloudless day meant my clothes would dry if I washed them. So I snatched the galvanized steel bucket from the porch and headed to fill it from the nearby faucet in the big water basin. “After laundry duty,” my roommate Marie shouted from inside our 12×15-foot cinderblock home, “let’s hike up the side of one of the mountains.” “Good idea,” I said, turning on the faucet. “We can pack some cheese sandwiches, apples and cookies and have a picnic.” I filled the bucket with water, still frigid from its . . .

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