Author - Marian Haley Beil

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Review — A FEW MINOR ADJUSTMENTS by Cherie Kephart (Zambia)
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“The Other Kristen” by Kristen Roupenian (Kenya)
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Review – SECRETS OF THE MOON by Tema Encarnacion (Dominican Republic)
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Review — THE HERETIC OF GRANADA by David C. Edmonds (Chile)
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Review — DRAGONFLY NOTES by Ann Panning (Philippines)
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New York Times: “Harris Wofford, Ex-Senator Who Pushed Volunteerism, Dies at 93”
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Review — LIVING LIBERIA by Robert Cherry (Liberia)
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Catherine Onyemelukwe (Nigeria) publishes BREAKING KOLA
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New books by Peace Corps writers — September 2018
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Review — REMIND ME AGAIN WHAT HAPPENED by Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka)

Review — A FEW MINOR ADJUSTMENTS by Cherie Kephart (Zambia)

    A Few Minor Adjustments: A Memoir of Healing by Cherie  Kephart (Zambia 1994) Bazi Publishers September 2017 254 pages $15.95 (paperback), $24.95 (hard cover), $4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • Cherie Kephart is the ultimate survivor. She lived through a brutal rape followed by a serious car accident while in college. Then survived both a nasty case of explosive diarrhea and possible malaria while a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. Ten years after her Peace Corps experience she faced a myriad of severe symptoms which defied diagnosis. Through it all she keeps struggling gamely to find a treatment that will allow her to lead some semblance of a normal life and be a useful person in the world. The title, “A Few Minor Adjustments,” is ironic, borrowed from a Peace Corps pamphlet discussing the life style changes a Volunteer faces in their . . .

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“The Other Kristen” by Kristen Roupenian (Kenya)

Thanks for a ‘heads up’ from Bea Hogan (Uzbekistan 1992-94)     The Other Kristen Kristen Roupenian joined the Peace Corps to serve her fellow man, but she found herself trying to best the ultimate woman instead. • When I arrived in Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) in 2003, I was the youngest in my group. Life in an unfamiliar culture can be infantilizing: You’re dependent on others to teach you basic skills (this is how you dress, wash, use the toilet), your new language reduces you to baby talk (“Please where bus please?”), and you end the day exhausted by the glut of information your puny brain has taken in. Still, at 21, I was adept at dependence and incompetence, and in this case my expertise served me well. I was assigned to a site in rural western Kenya that was affiliated with an orphans center named . . .

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Review – SECRETS OF THE MOON by Tema Encarnacion (Dominican Republic)

    Secrets of the Moon: A Novel by Tema Encarnacion (Dominican Republic 2000–01) CreateSpace September 2018 186 pages $9.99 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) • Author Tema Encarnacion couldn’t have chosen a timelier theme for her debut novel, than the circumstances that force families to flee violence from Central America and embark on a perilous journey across the border into the U.S., as the immigration crisis continues unresolved. Alternating narratives from the daughter, Luz, and her mother, Esperanza, help the reader appreciate how the experience will traumatize everyone in the family from Luz’s grandmother, who has been bringing Luz up in El Salvador alone for six years, to Luz’s crossing the border where she’s raped and mistreated upon her eventual arrival in Maryland. The rape scene of a 12-year-old while crossing the desert was especially heart wrenching, but well written, and the symbolism of the . . .

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Review — THE HERETIC OF GRANADA by David C. Edmonds (Chile)

    The Heretic of Granada David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963–65) Southern Yellow Pine April 2018 358 pages $18.95 (paperback), $4.95 (Kindle)   Review by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • The Heretic of Granada is a surprisingly quick read for 63 chapters and 345 pages. The chapters are short and there is plenty of action to hold your interest. Father Antonio, an excommunicated Spanish priest, is an unlikely action hero. But when friends help him narrowly escape being burned at the stake, he is determined not just to survive, but to bring down the corrupt administration that destroyed his family. This is an adventure on a par with Treasure Island, but with adult situations and content I would not generally recommend for young readers. The book is a historical novel set in colonial Nicaragua and the Caribbean. It is so fast-paced and entertaining that I had to . . .

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Review — DRAGONFLY NOTES by Ann Panning (Philippines)

  Dragonfly Notes: On Distance and Loss by Anne Panning (Philippines 1988–90) Stillhouse Press September 18, 2018 258 pages $16.00 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962–64) • Anne Panning’s memoir successfully brings together eloquent essays mourning the loss of a loving parent while remembering childhood experiences within her family and currently parenting her own two young children. Immediately following her mother’s funeral, the grieving Panning searches for communications from her mother. The first communications she attributes coming from her mother are not of dragonflies, but of a book Better Home and Gardens Sewing Book: Custom Sewing Made Easy. Sewing was embedded in her mother’s DNA. Another sign was of a laminated prayer card she found on the floor of Target: As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. Isaiah-66.  With these signs, she believes her mother is reaching out to her. Then, early in . . .

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New York Times: “Harris Wofford, Ex-Senator Who Pushed Volunteerism, Dies at 93”

  By Robert D. McFadden Harris Wofford with President Bill Clinton during the first national recruitment effort for AmeriCorps volunteers at the University of Maryland in 1999. Mr. Clinton named him to lead the service organization after Mr. Wofford left the Senate.     Harris Wofford, a former United States senator from Pennsylvania whose passion for getting people involved helped create John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps, Bill Clinton’s AmeriCorps and other service organizations and made him America’s volunteer-in-chief, died on Monday night in Washington. He was 92. His son Daniel said his death, at a hospital, was caused by complications of a fall at Mr. Wofford’s Washington apartment, The Associated Press reported. By the time he became a senator in May 1991, appointed after his predecessor was killed in an aircraft accident, Mr. Wofford was already 65. He had been a lawyer, an author, a professor, the president of two colleges, . . .

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Review — LIVING LIBERIA by Robert Cherry (Liberia)

  Living Liberia: Laughter, Love & Folly by Robert Cherry (Liberia1965–67) Living Liberia August 2017 $15.00 (paperback), $9.50 (Kindle) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974-76 and Costa Rica 1976-77). • Liberia is a fascinating little country. Founded by former slaves from the U.S., it is the oldest republic in Africa. This and much more I learned from reading Living Liberia by Robert Cherry. The primary narrative of this book tells the story of the author’s return visit to Liberia and his former Peace Corps site in 1982, 14 years after his service there from 1966-68. But it is also a memoir of his Peace Corps years serving as a teacher in an elementary school in the small, rural village of Kpaytuo. The author, a former journalist as well as a teacher, gives us a good deal of background about Liberian history along the way. Thus the book is a great resource . . .

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Catherine Onyemelukwe (Nigeria) publishes BREAKING KOLA

  When Catherine Onyemelukwe arrived in Nigeria in 1962 as an idealistic Peace Corps Volunteer, she had no idea of the country’s wealth of customs and traditions she would come to love. With her marriage to a Nigerian electrical engineer and senior manager in the country’s power industry, she became part of his family, clan, and village. She learned to speak the Igbo language and not only adapted to, but adopted, some of the customs of his people. In this intimate portrayal of family members, she reveals the secrets of the ties that bind her to her husband’s community. Through the striking accounts of his parents in their youth, and with nods to customs from other tribes and countries, she paints an unforgettable picture of African life in times past. Catherine evokes the atmosphere of the village market, the religious rituals, and the ceremonies that accompany life’s major events. The . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — September 2018

  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 are now including 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.   Notes from the Bottom of the World: A Life in Chile Suzanne  Adam (Colombia 1964–66) She Writes Press November, 2018 240 pages $16.95 (paperback), $9.95 (Kindle) [This book can be pre-ordered in either format.] In this heartfelt collection of . . .

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Review — REMIND ME AGAIN WHAT HAPPENED by Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka)

  Remind Me Again What Happened by Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996–98) Algonquin Books June 26, 2018 288 pages $26.9 (paperback), $11.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Susi Wyss (Central African Republic 1990-92) • Most readers of Joanna Luloff’s latest work, Remind Me Again What Happened, won’t realize that she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sri Lanka in the 1990s. There is no mention of this fact in her bio on the book’s jacket, and the novel takes place almost entirely in Vermont and Boston. But if the reader happens to be a fellow RPVC, they are likely to recognize the wanderlust, the irresistible urge to travel to far flung places, that afflicts one of the main characters, Claire. Claire has had plenty of overseas adventures already. As a journalist, she’s been traveling around the world to investigate and write in-depth pieces about climate change and environmental conflicts among the people . . .

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