Author - Marian Haley Beil

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Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962-64) publishes WANDERLUST SATISFIED with Peace Corps Writers
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Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963-65) Makes You An Offer You Can't Refuse
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Peace Corps Writers publishes Jon Thiem’s Letters from Ghana 1968–1970
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Peace Corps Writers publishes LITTLE WOMEN OF BAGLAN by Susan Fox
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Development Is Down This Road
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“Broken English — a song by Greg Horn (New Guinea)
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The Ballroom
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Better Remember This
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To Peel Potatoes
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Innocence Melts Obstinacy

Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962-64) publishes WANDERLUST SATISFIED with Peace Corps Writers

Wanderlust Satisfied is the story of Kay Gillies Dixon (Colombia 1962–64), one of the first Peace Corps Volunteers, and her  personal search through her two years of service, and how that experience changed everything about the rest of her life. Like so many Volunteers, she determined to follow her own ideals and dreams and unlearn the “Shoulds” and “Have-tos” she had been assigned by society. Kay was reared in a small town in western Pennsylvania, in the 1950s, during simpler times when a long distance telephone call was a big deal, and television sets displayed only three channels — all of them featuring stories about the Cold War, Nikita Khrushchev, and the Berlin Wall on the evening news. At the same time our country was caught in the struggle for basic civil rights for all peoples as Martin Luther King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference worked to register voters . . .

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Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963-65) Makes You An Offer You Can't Refuse

• Bhutan: Going to the Dogs Trek and Festival Be assured, this new 2014 trip is not all trek. Between our arrival in Bhutan on March 29 and departure on April 12, there is a total of 6 days on a moderate mountain trek (highest elevation is something around 13,500 feet, over and down in one day). the trek is scheduled for early in the trip, in Tashigang District, in the far Northeast corner of the country. The rest of the trip is an eco-tour of Bhutan, through the hills and mountains on the “Royal Road” from east Bhutan west to the capital, Thimphu, and ending at Paro (the airport town). It includes a drive through some amazing forests, high and low; a brief visit to beautiful Bumthang and Punakha valleys, sight-seeing in Thimphu, a day-long hiking excursion to “The Tiger’s Nest” — the amazing cliffside Taktsang Monastery (near Paro), . . .

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Peace Corps Writers publishes Jon Thiem’s Letters from Ghana 1968–1970

Several years back, author/editor Jon Thiem mentioned to a young woman (with a Ph.D.) that in the late 1960s he had served in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa. She thought he was talking about a United Nations Peace Keeping operation! Taken by surprise, he laughed and thanked her for the alternative biography she had bestowed on him. Then he told her about Peace Corps. The incident was what initially inspired him to compile this collection Letters from Ghana 1968-1970: A Peace Corps Chronicle A combination of historical forces in the 1960s induced tens of thousands of (mainly) young U.S. volunteers to live in countries other than their own and engage in humanitarian activities. The body of letters that resulted from this great Peace Corps diaspora is a rich yet neglected legacy. From August 1968 to June 1970, Thiem was a Peace Corps Volunteer in a village in the . . .

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Peace Corps Writers publishes LITTLE WOMEN OF BAGLAN by Susan Fox

Little Women of Baghlan: The Story of a Nursing School for Girls in Afghanistan, the Peace Corps, and Life Before the Taliban is the true account of Joanne – Jo – Carter  who answers the call to service and adventure during an extraordinary time in world history. Her story rivals the excitement, intrigue, and suspense of any novel, unfolding against the backdrop of changing social mores, the Cold War, the Peace Corps, and a country at the crossroads of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran. When John F. Kennedy delivers a speech in the Senate Chambers on a hot July day in 1957, a young  Jo Carter listens from the Senate gallery. In 1967 Jo remembers the now-deceased President Kennedy’s words and is inspired to join the Peace Corps. As a new Peace Corps Volunteer she flies into Afghanistan on March 21, 1968 with her training group. From her plane . . .

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Development Is Down This Road

by Abigail Calkins Aguirre (Cameroon 1987–1990) This essay won the 1992 Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Short Work about the Peace Corps Experience. • FEW RECOGNIZE ME without my trademark Suzuki. Now I have this red Yamaha DT they gave me to replace it. I’m still white, though, or so they keep insisting as I pass by the shouting voices trying to get me to stop to do a favor, chat, or taste the latest in palm wine. I know I have a bike, but how do you say “I’m not a taxi” in the local language? I’m late, I’m in a hurry, I’ve got to help a women’s group plant rows of plantains and pineapple in their community farm. This road could jostle my insides right out of me. My thighs are sore from being abused as non-stop shock absorbers. Yet, nothing beats a forestial commute: a time to . . .

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“Broken English — a song by Greg Horn (New Guinea)

by Greg Horn (New Guinea 1991–92) This song won the 1993 Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Short Work about the Peace Corps Experience • Now your friends have all gone and the parlor is empty ‘cept for me in this chair with a book full of words and your thoughts and your deeds, they all come back to claim you ’cause no one’s understood anything they just heard. So you try to explain in your broken English ’bout the rivers of pain that keep crossing your mind but they’re too wide to cross and they’re too deep to see through and I’m not really sure what you want me to find. Chorus But please, I don’t want to go and please, I just gotta know if I should put out the light when I get done for the night. There are times when you think that there’s nobody watching when . . .

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The Ballroom

by Christopher Conlon (Botswana 1988-90) This poem won the 1994 Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Short Work about the Peace Corps Experience. • Southern Africa, Kalahari Desert She is the perfect image of a rag doll I saw when I was a child, in a trash can, dirty, ripped abandoned: here in the Kalahari is that same doll, maybe five, eyes huge, legs white with desert dust. Ke Kopa madi, sir, ke kopa madi. Money: I shake my head no, no madi: try to move on. But she stares at me, suddenly transfixed. No longer begging. Her eyes wider than before. My sunglasses: I crouch down, she approaches me, nose to nose, tattered, filthy, she stares at me, at herself. Then her hand moves to her chin and she says Oh, in a tiny, surprised voice. She rubs away the dried spittle there. Then she turns and, whitened heels kicking . . .

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Better Remember This

by Meg Sullivan (Kenya 1992-94) This essay won the 1995 Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Short Work about the Peace Corps Experience. YOU’D BETTER REMEMBER THIS. Because people will ask you. Whether you want them to or not, they’ll ask you how Africa was. And though you won’t know where to start, you’re going to have to have something to tell them. A shrug of the shoulders and “Good” won’t be enough. So you’d better remember this. Open the parts of your mind you need, and work them over until you’ve got them just right. Then put what you know in a place the will be easy for you to get to. Deep, but not too deep. Just enough so that even though no one else can see it, you know it’s there, and you can see it and feel it, and you know it makes up part of who . . .

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To Peel Potatoes

by John P. Deever (Ukraine 1993–95) This essay won the 1996 Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Short Work about the Peace Corps Experience. • “LIFE’S TOO SHORT to peel potatoes,” a woman in my local supermarket announced, as she put a box of instant mashed potatoes into her cart. When I overheard her I nearly shrieked. After recently returning from my Peace Corps stint in Ukraine, I tend to get defensive about the potato in all its forms: sliced, scalloped, diced, chopped, grated, or julienned; then boiled, browned, french-fried, slow-fried, hand-mashed, baked or twice-baked — with an indulgent dollop of butter or sour cream, yes thank you. A large portion of my time in Ukraine was spent preparing what was, in the winter, nearly the only vegetable available. Minutes and hours added up to a string of days handling potatoes. I sized up the biggest, healthiest spuds in the market . . .

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Innocence Melts Obstinacy

by Leita Kaldi (Senegal 1993-96) This essay won the 1997 Moritz Thomsen Award for Best Short Work about the Peace Corps Experience • IN THE MARKETPLACE OF DAKAR, Senegal, amid the welter of vegetables, chickens, dried fish and shouting women, a small boy leans against a crumbling wall staring into space. His bare toes knead the sand; the rags he wears flop around his skinny frame. A gang of older boys push and shove their way past him, turning to jeer. The boy leaps into a ninja position, hands like scissors, knees bent on rigid legs. He must have studied the nearby movie poster where a ninja film had been showing. His eyes are fierce and belong to the world of warriors. The older boys laugh and walk on as the child glares after them balefully. His dirt-colored pants have two rips down the back. At the back of his . . .

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