Author - Marian Haley Beil

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Review — A FIVE FINGER FEAST by Tim Suchsland (Kazakhstan)
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11 New books by Peace Corps writers | July–August 2022
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Much Cause for Worry
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Ann Moore (Togo) — The Volunteer Who Invented the Snugli
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Review — A FIVE FINGER FEAST by Tim Suchsland (Kazakhstan)
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Review — THE GECKO IN THE BATHTUB by Janina Fuller (Philippines)
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Talking with Jerry Redfield (Ecuador) about WHILE I WAS OUT
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Review — THE COLOR OF THE ELEPHANT by Christine Herbert (Zambia)
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THE DELCO YEARS by Bill Owens (Jamaica)
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DEAR MICHELLE, LETTERS FROM AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIFE by Samuel Gerard (Ukraine)
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The Volunteer Who Used His Corporate Positions in Service to Others — Bob Haas (Ivory Coast)
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Review — MY SADDEST PLEASURES by Mark Walker (Guatemala)
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Review — ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU by Carl Stephani (Colombia)
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Review — IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME by Tom Corbett (India)
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The Volunteer Who Had Encounters with Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia — William Seraile (Ethiopia)

Review — A FIVE FINGER FEAST by Tim Suchsland (Kazakhstan)

  A Five Finger Feast: Two Years in Kazakhstan, Lessons from the Peace Corps by Tim  Suchsland (Kazakhstan 2007–09), author and illustrator Peace Corps Writers, May 2022 395 pages $19.99 (paperback) Reviewed by Philip Montgomery (Kazakhstan 2007–09) • Travel is one of the greatest educators in life. Even more educational — worldview shaping even — is living in a country that is not your own, understanding what it means to be the outsider, the guest, the stranger. In this sense, all travel is not equal. Some journeys break up the monotony of everyday life, while others leave immense, immeasurable impacts on the sojourner, the kinds of experience that shape us more completely. Tim Suchsland’s A Five Finger Feast is an account of one such journey. In this memoir, Suchsland takes the reader along with him through his 2-year adventure of travel, growth, and discovery. Rather than presenting a superficial touristy version . . .

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11 New books by Peace Corps writers | July–August 2022

  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 include a brief description for each of the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  to order a book and/or  to VOLUNTEER TO REVIEW IT.  See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? Send a note to Marian at marian@haleybeil.com, and she will send you a free copy along with a few instructions. In addition to the books listed below, I have on my shelf a number of other books whose authors would love for you to review. Go to Books Available for Review to see what is on that shelf. Please, please join in our Third . . .

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Much Cause for Worry

A Clear-Eyed Look at Africa by Mark G. Wentling Honduras 1967-69, Togo 1970-73 Foreign Service Journal September 2022 • It is time to put sentiment aside and look clearly at Africa through an objective lens, this Senior Foreign Service officer asserts. After working and living in every corner of the continent and visiting its 54 countries over the last 50 years, I cannot help but worry about Africa’s future, and I want to spell out why. I apologize in advance to all my African friends. Though this article may come across as being too negative, I believe we need a dose of realism. It is time to put sentiments aside and look clearly at Africa through an objective lens, without exaggerating its future promise. There is no question that peace, stability and good leadership are essential to the advancement of any country. Today the opposite exists in most African countries, . . .

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Ann Moore (Togo) — The Volunteer Who Invented the Snugli

  by Jeremiah Norris Colombia 1963-65   After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, Ann Moore taught pediatric nursing at Babies Hospital, Colombia University, in New York. In 1962, the Chief Resident of Pediatrics at Babies Hospital was asked to organized the first Peace Corps medical team to go to Togo, and Ann was recruited along with 30 other medical and health specialists — doctors, nurses, lab techs, a pharmacist, and a sanitation engineer. Their mission was to teach preventive care. For the entire first year in Togo they worked in an abandoned hospital where they treated —and nurtured patients back to health. In the second year, they were able to teach various good health promoting behaviors — like nutrition, latrine building, hand washing, etc. The volunteers all noted and remarked about the outstanding emotional well-being of African infants, either sick or healthy. All of the babies and toddlers were . . .

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Review — A FIVE FINGER FEAST by Tim Suchsland (Kazakhstan)

  A Five Finger Feast: Two Years in Kazakhstan, Lessons from the Peace Corps by Tim  Suchsland (Kazakhstan 2007–09), author and illustrator Peace Corps Writers, May 2022 395 pages $19.99 (paperback) Reviewed by John Chromey (India 1963–65); (PC CD/Eastern Caribbean (1977–79); (Assoc Dir-PC/Washington 1979–1981) • Tim Suchsland, a teacher and artist, takes the reader on a very interesting journey into a vast corner of the world that  none of us has ever seen, of which we know virtually nothing, which borders on Russia’s infamous Siberia and yet is populated with very interesting people — Kazaks from many tribes, Armenians, Volga Germans and Russians — each with a story of how their people came to be in the village of Valenka, twenty miles from the Russian border and 840 miles (22 hours by road) from the Kazakh capitol, Almaty. Any of us who served in the Peace Corps in the 1960s, ’70s . . .

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Review — THE GECKO IN THE BATHTUB by Janina Fuller (Philippines)

  The Gecko in the Bathtub: Encounters with Marvelous Creatures by Janina Marie Fuller (Philippines 1978-80) with illustrations by Maggie Demorest Peace Corps Writers June 2022 178 pages $17.50 (paperback) Reviewed by Andy Amster (Philippines 1978-80) • The Gecko in the Bathtub, Janina Fuller’s collection of stories about her interactions with a wide variety of animals, in settings both mundane and exotic, is subtitled Encounters with Marvelous Creatures. And I must say that while reading these stories, I came to realize that I was having an encounter with a marvelous writer, one whose love of nature and respect for its ecosystems and their inhabitants artfully enlists the reader into “allyship” in that love and respect. From the moment I glanced at the “Table of Contents” before settling down to read this wonderful book, I knew I was putting myself in the hands of an assured and engaging writer. “So Much Alaska,” “Visit from . . .

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Talking with Jerry Redfield (Ecuador) about WHILE I WAS OUT

Two Years That Changed America A Peace Corps Memoir   Jerry, what was your educational background, and did it help you as a PCV? My undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison aided me somewhat, as I was a political science major with an emphasis on Latin American Studies. Along with three years of Spanish it gave me at least an understanding of, and foundation for, my Peace Corps experience. However, it did not prepare me for some of the many cultural and personal conditions I was to encounter.   Tell about your Peace Corps experience. I served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador on a School Construction and Community Development Program. Our group was designated Ecuador V, and served from July of 1963 to July of 1965. I served in three locations, Cangonamá, Catamayo, and Gonzanamá all in the southernmost province of the country, Loja. I spent most . . .

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Review — THE COLOR OF THE ELEPHANT by Christine Herbert (Zambia)

  The Color of the Elephant: Memoir of a Muzungu Christine  Herbert (Zambia 2004–06) GenZ Publishing January 2022 $15.99 (paperback), $5.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Rebecca M. Zornow (eSwatini 2011–13) • I visited the landlocked country of Zambia from the landlocked country of eSwatini, practically neighbors. As a Peace Corps Volunteer on leave, I wished for more than the cursory understanding of Zambian culture, even more than the quick mist of the thunderous Victoria Falls. But as a Volunteer from another country with much to see, I wouldn’t get that chance until reading Christine Herbert’s memoir, The Color of the Elephant. Christine arrives in Zambia in 2004 and quickly learns to eat nshima (cornmeal porridge) and wear citenge (sarong) but wonders throughout training if she’ll be enough to live up to the experience of two years making a difference in the remote countryside. On a trainee outing with an established Volunteer, Christine wonders, . . .

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THE DELCO YEARS by Bill Owens (Jamaica)

  Bill Owens has written an irreverent, funny dystopian novel about a pandemic mitigated by drinking unpasteurized beer. Rich with illustrations by Italian Illustrator Francesca Cosanti, this book is a unique interactive experience. THE DELCO YEARS is the story of how a community of craft beer drinkers flourish and survive after a dystopian event. Hunting and gathering would be at Costco, Target, Home Depot, and CVS. Eventually, they would barter wine for salt, sugar, flour, and hay to feed the horses and cows. From the unhappy Bobby releasing the pandemic to the world in revenge for the televangelists’ sins to the various members of the Craft Beer community who thrive in Livermore Valley and beyond, THE DELCO YEARS is a darkly whimsical romp.  See more at THE DELCO YEARS website here: delcoyears.com. The Delco Years: A Dystopian Novel Bill  Owens (Jamaica 1964–66), Francesca Cosanti (Illustrator) Delco Years Publishing April 2022 $32.85 (paperback), $42.58 (hardcover) Bill Owens Biography Bill Owens was born on September 25, . . .

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DEAR MICHELLE, LETTERS FROM AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIFE by Samuel Gerard (Ukraine)

  by Samuel Gerard (Ukraine 2018–20) (pen name of Samuel Gerard Luebbers)   Having had the chance to reflect on my Peace Corps experiences, and knowing how fickle memory can be, I felt the necessity to write them down. What became of this project was a meandering epistolary, one which I both mentally dedicated and fictionally addressed to an old friend, Michelle. We met a lifetime ago on the roof of my college freshmen dorm. We shared a long conversation then, and several others afterwards. We always imagined, to ourselves, that we would be together. I promised her that when I was ready to commit to someone, it would be her. Life has a way of getting in the way, though. I learned this alongside college’s so many other lessons. In ultimate testament to life’s effect on well-laid plans, soon after Michelle and I began dating, I received my invitation to . . .

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The Volunteer Who Used His Corporate Positions in Service to Others — Bob Haas (Ivory Coast)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65)   Robert (Bob) Haas, Peace Corps Volunteer, Ivory Coast, 1964-66, subsequently served as the Chairman of Levi Strauss & Co. He is the son of Walter A. Strauss, and the great-great-grandnephew of the company’s founder, Levi Strauss. Bob received a BA degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964, and a MA from Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1968. H was a White House Fellow from 1968 to 1969. He joined Levi Strauss in 1973 and went on to serve others in a variety of corporate roles. Bob was elected to the Board of Directors in 1979, then as President and CEO in 1984, serving until he stepped down in 1999. He became Chairman of the Board in 1989 and retired from the Board in 2014. Under his leadership, Levi Strauss & Company carried out the company’s engagement in corporate social responsibility; . . .

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Review — MY SADDEST PLEASURES by Mark Walker (Guatemala)

  My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road: Part of the Yin and Yang of Travel Series by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) Cyberwit.net May 2022 63 pages $15.00 (paperback) Review by: D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • This book is part of the author’s “Yin and Yang of Travel” series of ten essays, which was inspired by Paul Theroux’s (Malawi 1963–65) The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road  Mr. Walker has spent over 50 years traveling in many countries around the world, first as a Peace Corps volunteer, and later as a professional fund raiser for various nonprofit organizations or NGOs. The book is an easy read. Walker writes in a conversational style, and it is only 63 pages. It is primarily a journal of his travels alone, with his family, and leading trips for donors to NGOs he worked for. His travel has . . .

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Review — ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU by Carl Stephani (Colombia)

  Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You …: Peace Corps Remembered – Bogota 1962–64 by Carl Stephani (Colombia 1962–64) Independently published June 2022 237 pages $6.95 (paperback) Reviewed by John Chromy (India 1963–65) •   Our 1960s Peace Corps colleague Carl Stephani has assembled a very interesting and readable screed that for first decade PCVs will bring back many memories, and for post-1970 PCVs. Ask Not . . . provides an interesting view of Peace Corps in the “Olden Days” The days when Peace Corps training included 2-3 months at a US University, a month of outward bound hiking/mountain climbing/river swimming and a week or two in the cross-cultural setting of a poverty ridden neighborhood, be it urban slum or rural Appalachia, migrant stream camp or Native American reservation. The arrival in country and three days later delivered to the village or neighborhood of your assignment. The days . . .

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Review — IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME by Tom Corbett (India)

  It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time Tom Corbett (India 1966–68) Hancock Press 644 pages $14.99 (paperback), $24.99 (hardcover), $4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by John Chromy (India 1963–65) Tom Corbett’s book, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, is well worth reading, mostly for the very thoughtful reflections of the India 44 RPCVs that arose at three reunions that started in 2009, forty years after their PC service in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Drawn from Tom Corbett’s notes from the reunions, the narrative focuses not on all the problems or peculiarities of the host country, as many Peace Corps stories do, but rather these India RPCVs thoughtfully and often humorously reflect on: Some of the positive achievements, however small, each of them made during her/his PCV assignments, How much the PC/India experience changed their lives and forced them to become better people, The many achievements and progress . . .

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The Volunteer Who Had Encounters with Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia — William Seraile (Ethiopia)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) (The following Profile is drawn largely from an article by William Seraile, Ethiopia 1963-65, published in Peace Corps WorldWide.) • William (Bill) Seraile was among about 140 Volunteers, mainly in their early twenties and graduates of Ivy League Colleges, some small schools, a few large public universities, and a small number of historic black colleges and universities, that arrived in Ethiopia as the second group of Volunteer teachers in the fall of 1963.  Most of them had to examine their atlases to find Ethiopia on the map. Only one had ever been to Africa having spent a summer in Kenya with Operation Crossroads Africa. The trainees had two months of Peace Corps training at UCLA, studying Ethiopian culture, history and Amharic. Their language instructors were all young Ethiopian graduate students studying in American universities. Following that, Bill’s group departed for Ethiopia from New York . . .

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