Author - Marian Haley Beil

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Jackie Zollo Brooks publishes The Ravenala with Peace Corps Writers
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Peace Corps Writers publishes Mark Wentling’s AFRICA’S EMBRACE
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Peace Corps Writers Publishes Jason Gray’s Glimpses through the Forest
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Cong. Mike Coffman (R-CO) vs Peace Corps
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Sargent Shriver dies
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School Garden Project, Madarounfa
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msnbc.com is looking for photos from Peace Corps Volunteers
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African Time
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Keep Cool
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Peace Corps Was

Jackie Zollo Brooks publishes The Ravenala with Peace Corps Writers

Carl Jung, the great Swiss psychoanalyst, wrote that during our first forty years we journey outward to find our place in society and during the second forty we journey inward to contemplate our inner world where we can discover the genuine self. The novel, The Ravenala by Jackie Zollo Brooks (Madagascar 1997–99) is driven by characters who must leave behind some of those they love in order to go on this quest. The title is taken from the ravenala palm, the so-called “travelers’ tree” found only in Madagascar. A traveler cutting into the palm’s branches can receive a refreshing drink of cool water; one who is lost can follow the ravenala’s alignment, always on an east/west axis. The travelers’ tree becomes a metaphor for the novel, suggesting that traveling refreshes us, often setting us off in a new direction Among modern male writers, J.M. Coetzee, John Updike, and Philip Roth . . .

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Peace Corps Writers publishes Mark Wentling’s AFRICA’S EMBRACE

Africa’s Embrace is author Mark Wentling’s (Honduras 1967–69, Togo 1970–73; staff: Togo, Gabon, Niger 1973–77) fictional account of the adventures of a young man named David from Kansas who travels to Africa to follow his destiny, and becomes caught up in a mystical, larger-than-life adventure. Upon arrival, he is renamed “Bobovovi” and chosen by the spirit world to ride the “mountain moonbeam” and become “transformed” by an ancient baobab tree. Bobovovi does his best to make his goodwill prevail, but his humanitarian work is fraught with unforeseen, unusual challenges. He moves from one surprising adventure to another, telling an African story unlike any the reader has ever heard before. Africa changes him in unimaginable ways, and those changes are inculcated into the reader in order to teach a wide variety of lessons, helping the reader to better understand Africa and Africans Although Africa’s Embrace is literary fiction, the novel is, . . .

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Peace Corps Writers Publishes Jason Gray’s Glimpses through the Forest

Peace Corps Writers — the publishing arm of Peace Corps Worldwide — is happy to announce the publication of Glimpses through the Forest: Memories of Gabon by Jason Gray (Gabon 2002–04). Situated in Central Africa, the nation of Gabon is a vibrant and mysterious place full of rich history, diverse culture, and stunning biodiversity. In the midst of the African rainforest, a Peace Corps Volunteer from Montana is thrust into a new life of adventure and discovery. From close encounters with forest elephants to classroom teaching challenges, this retelling of one man’s experiences takes readers on an extraordinary journey through daily life, cultural events, and ongoing conservation efforts, and shares his love affair with a country that will forever own a piece of his heart. This new book by Jason Gray (Gabon 2002–04) leaves readers with an impression of having shared in his experiences. Gray’s underlying reverence for Gabon and . . .

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Cong. Mike Coffman (R-CO) vs Peace Corps

John is away from his computer for a couple of days but I didn’t want you to miss this article at ThinkProgress.com. (Thanks to Tom Gallagher – another Ethie 1 –  for the “heads up.” — Marian PS – They have changed the link so go to that site and search for “peace corps”

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Sargent Shriver dies

TODAY the beloved architect and first Director of the Peace Corps Sargent Shriver died. Peace Corps Worldwide invites you to leave your comments and remembrances of Sarge. For those living in the Washington, DC area, Peace Corps Headquarters has a book of condolences available for the public to sign for Shriver’s family. It is located just within the entrance to the building at 1111 20th Street, N.W. (Photo by Rowland Scherman)

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School Garden Project, Madarounfa

by Margot Miller (Niger 1972–74) This essay was first published on the blog of PeaceCorpsWriters.org on January 31, 2006 THE SUN SLIPS ABOVE THE HORIZON on the dot of six in Madarounfa, a mere thirteen degrees north of the equator, close enough that sunrise and sunset vary almost not at all the year ’round.  The ten primary school teachers who have gathered for this late-December, weekend school-garden-project instruction are up within minutes. Once they have washed and made their separate trips to the bush, they gather for breakfast under the old baobab tree. It’s still cool and they drink hot tea, brewed very strong, with great chunks of sugar chopped out of a cone that comes wrapped in blue paper. Jon, the American who is instructing them, has made oatmeal. It’s nice of him but the teachers find it rather bland. They add sugar and salt and are polite while . . .

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msnbc.com is looking for photos from Peace Corps Volunteers

A time-sensitive note while John is away from his computer — a few days ago msnbc.com posted a link “Were you in the Peace Corps? Share your photos.” — but the link didn’t work. Just wrote them and here is the story — and the correct link: Were you in the Peace Corps? Share your photos. After years of war, the Peace Corps has returned to Sierra Leone. Nightly News will be broadcasting a report on the volunteers efforts to improve lives there. Nearly 50 years since it was first launched, the Peace Corps has sent Americans all over the globe. Were you a Peace Corps Volunteer? Send us your pictures, and we’ll feature a selection of them on msnbc.com. Images must be .gif, .jpg/jpeg or .png formats. Videos must be in .avi, .mov, .mpg/.mpeg, .wmv, .asf, or 3gp formats. Combined file size limit: 40MB Tell all your friends. Let’s . . .

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African Time

by Pat Owen (Senegal 2003–05) Posted on the blog of PeaceCorpsWriters.org on October 5, 2005 • RAMADAN STARTED THIS WEEK, a holy month of fasting for over a billion Muslims around the world.  Every year there is heated debate among astronomers as to exactly what day Ramadan begins, as it all depends on when the new moon of the ninth lunar month appears.  Eclipses, clouds, and astronomical calculations all play a role.  Religious leaders line up on opposing sides, too, albeit for different reasons.   Some of them say that Muslims throughout the world should conform to an announcement coming from Saudi Arabia; others say that different regions should make their own decisions about when to begin the fast, depending on their view of the moon. If you are a Muslim living in a remote part of Africa, all this debate doesn’t matter. I know, because last year at this time . . .

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Keep Cool

by Jennifer B-C Seaver (Iran 1966–68) This essay was first published December 6, 2005 on the blog of PeaceCorpsWriters.org • DURING THE TWO YEARS THAT I SERVED in Iran as an English teacher in the 1960s, travel was strenuous, most routes, unpaved, and communications, almost impossible. People often showed up — or didn’t, even when they had written ahead to say they were coming. So, in September 1966, when Tom Dawson and David Osterberg failed to arrive in Rasht, Gilan, as planned, I was not particularly concerned. Tom had written that they planned to spend a night in Ardabil, then catch another bus down the scenic Astara road, which drops thousands of feet to the shores of the Caspian Sea and, if all went well, they’d arrive in Rasht by nightfall. The next day, we’d go on to our workshop in Isfahan. I had traveled that road earlier in the . . .

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Peace Corps Was

by Peg Clement (Tunisia 1975–77) This essay was first published in the November 2003 issue of PeaceCorpsWriters.org, and won Peace Corps Writers’ 2004 Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award. • PEACE CORPS WAS two years of my young life, half my life ago. A time of long blonde braids, still-chubby cheeks, a hardy body withstanding weeks of tummy rumbles, pinkened skin before sunscreen became de rigueur. Quick reflexes, and a back hardened to floor sleeping. Easy laughs. Peace Corps was unexpected, and unplanned for, fun. Many times, it just happened — someone arrives descending feet-first from the louage, at the doorstep, or someone shows up at a beach disco. Instant friends, mix and stir. A prepackaged community, insurance premium against the loneliness of the Sahelian plains. Peace Corps was earnestness. Adults used the word altruistic. We tried to do good, and reached for change, big change — winds of change, . . .

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