Author - Marian Haley Beil

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RIVERBLINDNESS IN AFRICA: Taming the Lion’s Stare — Bruce Benton (Guinea)
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RWANDA AND THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
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The Volunteer Who Had a Life-changing Lunch in Thailand — Paul Strasburg (Thailand)
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The Volunteer Who Became the Voice of Peace Corps — John Coyne (Ethiopia)
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Review — STREETS OF GOLFITO by Jim LaBate (Costa Rica)
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To all evacuated RPCVs —
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7 New books by Peace Corps writers: March–April 2021
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Dear President Biden: Double the Peace Corps! — from former Peace Corps Directors
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An important opportunity in a “Pioneer” Peace Corps country
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Review — BRIGHT SHINING WORLD by Josh Swiller (Zambia)

RIVERBLINDNESS IN AFRICA: Taming the Lion’s Stare — Bruce Benton (Guinea)

  Reviews of Riverblindness in Africa: Taming the Lion’s Stare by Bruce Benton   Reviews on Johns Hopkins University Press Website “In this book, Benton combines a huge amount of research with his unique insight into the evolution of riverblindness programs during his career at the World Bank. For those interested in the complexities of managing disease control programs and the need for strong partnerships, this is a must-read.” — David H. Molyneux, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine   “An inspiring and essential contribution to the literature on international development and public health.” — Jean-Louis Sarbib, former Senior Vice President, World Bank   “The authoritative record and historical account of one of the most ambitious and successful parasite control approaches from someone who has been a key part of onchocerciasis control from just about the beginning.” — Gilbert M. Burnham, MD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health   “Comprehensive, detailed, inspiring! Highlights . . .

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RWANDA AND THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

  Rwanda is one of Africa’s smallest and most densely populated countries, and one of its most diverse. Nicknamed “Land of A Thousand Hills,” Rwanda is blanketed with rolling farmland that produces some of Africa’s best coffee and tea. Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas in the higher elevations and golden monkeys down below, while the Nyungwe National Park rainforest contains playful black-and-white colobus monkeys and sources of both the Nile and Congo Rivers. Close encounters with the gorillas and monkeys on treks led by park rangers are among Africa’s exhilarating wildlife experiences. Throughout the country are memorials to the victims of the genocide in spring 1994, during which up to a million residents, largely of the Tutsi ethnic group, were massacred by ethnic Hutu extremists. Offsetting the trauma that still exists is the resilience of Rwanda’s warm and outgoing population. Their desire for stability and solidarity is . . .

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The Volunteer Who Had a Life-changing Lunch in Thailand — Paul Strasburg (Thailand)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–64) A back story to that luncheon Paul Strasburg graduated magna cum laude in History from Stanford University in 1964. He then went on to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand from 1964 to 1966. Upon returning home, he attended Yale Law School before moving on to Princeton University where he earned an MPA in 1969. Afterwards, Paul worked for the Ford Foundation in New York City as a Program Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean where he monitored grants in Education, Agriculture, and Rural Development, initiating the Foundation’s first program of grants in human nutrition. From 1974 to 1979, he worked with the Vera Institute of Justice in NYC, establishing a job development program for ex-addicts and ex-offenders. He also directed Vera’s Paris office, coordinating research in conjunction with the French Ministry of Justice and was awarded the . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became the Voice of Peace Corps — John Coyne (Ethiopia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-64) It is often commented upon in literary circles that April is the cruelest month. But that has now been challenged by John Coyne’s announcement that he will close his Worldwide web site by the end of March. As one RPCV stated upon hearing this unwelcome news: “You have provided connections, exposure, renewed friendships and endless reminders to all of us of the breadth and depth of our two years living in foreign lands as locals”. John was one of Peace Corps’ earliest Volunteers, serving in Ethiopia from 1962 to 1964, teaching English at the Commercial School in Addis Ababa. His Country Director was the revered Harris Wofford, one of the founding fathers of Peace Corps itself. After graduating from St. Louis University, John earned a master’s in English at Western Michigan University, then served in the U. S. Air National . . .

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Review — STREETS OF GOLFITO by Jim LaBate (Costa Rica)

  Streets of Golfito: A Novel by Jim LaBate (Costa Rica 1973-75) Mohawk River Press 252 pages October 2020 $9.99 (Kindle); $19.95 (Paperback Review by James W. Skelton, Jr. (Ethiopia 1970-72) • Jim LaBate has crafted an exceptional Peace Corps novel that takes place in Golfito, Costa Rica, the same town in which he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in the 1970s. One of the main characters is, coincidentally, named Jim, a prospective PCV, who has just arrived in Costa Rica in 1974 to train for his assignment as a Sports Promoter. While attending in-country orientation in San Jose, one of the Peace Corps administrators advises Jim to change his name if he really wants to immerse himself into the culture. The PC official’s reasoning is that Costa Ricans seem to accept the PCVs more readily if they use a name that’s familiar to them. So, Jim adopts the . . .

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To all evacuated RPCVs —

  Share your crucible moments from Chris Samp (Ethiopia 2018–2020)   It is with great excitement that I invite you to contribute your personal stories to a new book I will be editing, tentatively titled, From Pandemic to Perseverance: Stories from Peace Corps’ First Globally Evacuated Volunteers. The aim of the book is to address the “crucible moments” in the lives of Peace Corps Volunteers who were evacuated from their countries due to the pandemic. Crucible moments are times when a person encounters an unexpected or unusual challenge in life, and how that person rises to deal with the challenge and how he or she has been changed by the experience. My goal is to apply this concept to the evacuated RPCVs of the COVID era, and to see how you have experienced the evacuation and persevered in spite of it. That being said, I have begun the process of . . .

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7 New books by Peace Corps writers: March–April 2021

  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  for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order a 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 marian@haleybeil.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. • Transformation: The 60-second Mind-body Practice Integrating Tai chi and Yoga to Manage Stress and Unlock Your Potential Robert R. Abbott, Ph.D. (Nigeria 1965-67) and Zochi Young Peace Corps Writers January, 2021 110 pages $22.00 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Transformation has 20 chapters of text and 30 illustrations . . .

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Dear President Biden: Double the Peace Corps! — from former Peace Corps Directors

Thanks for the heads up from Steven Saum (Ukraine 1994-96)  at the NPCA —  All eleven living former Peace Corps agency directors have signed on to a letter to President Biden with a ringing message: “Now is the right time for the Peace Corps to build back better than it ever was before.” Read the entire letter to POTUS from the former directors below. • April 26, 2021 President Joseph R. Biden The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear President Biden, We write to you today as a bipartisan, unified group of former directors of the Peace Corps to express our full support for a revitalized Peace Corps, one that advances our nation’s critical foreign policy goal of world peace through international cooperation and service. We believe that now is the right time for the Peace Corps to build back better than it ever was before. We therefore . . .

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An important opportunity in a “Pioneer” Peace Corps country

by Steve Kaffen (Russia 1994–96) The United States has, to-date, missed a unique opportunity to provide critically urgent medical assistance to the world’s most populous democracy, and solidify our relationship with an important regional ally · India. Imagine a “Berlin airlift” by the U.S. and E.U. of vaccines, oxygen, beds, makeshift shelters and treatment centers (such as DOD provided to Ebola-stricken West Africa). This mobilization should have been initiated a week ago, and it is still possible. The outreach ideally should be regional and include its neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh, which are in similar dire circumstances. India was an important Peace Corps “pioneer” country from 1961 to 1975, and its present demographics of a young population (median age under 30) and largely rural subsistence make it ideal for Peace Corps’ future return with programs geared to health, agriculture, the environment, and specialized education. The agency might be able to obtain . . .

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Review — BRIGHT SHINING WORLD by Josh Swiller (Zambia)

  Bright Shining World by Josh Swiller (Zambia 1994-96) Knopf Children’s Book, grades 7-9 304 pages November 2020 $10.99 (Kindle); $14.99 (Hardcover) Reviewed by Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–70) • Josh Swiller credits his deafness for his resilience. A contributing asset — be it a reinforcement or trial — might be his service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia that is evident in his perceptive insights into human nature. As a writer, Josh has demonstrated a “keen ear” for the internal motivations and interpersonal interactions of the characters in his new book. Bright Shining World (Knopf, 2020) is a novel about young people coming of age in a chaotic and disturbing world. Its publication could hardly be timelier, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the fraught social and political climate of today. The author recounts that “anyone could feel — how battered people were by the rising apocalyptic tide, how deeply they . . .

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