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After her beloved father’s death, Anna Morelli decides to visit Malawi, the African country where she was born of Peace Corps volunteer parents and where her mother died in a freak accident. She brings her mother’s diary, recently acquired, and hopes it will lead her to people who knew her parents some 30 years before. Anna is befriended by Robin Chipemba, a mixed-race Malawian archivist reared in Britain, who introduces her to a group of talented young professionals bent on bringing development to their country.
The novel unfolds in alternate chapters of past and present: the diary offers Anna insights about her parents’ relationship and Peace Corps life in the 1970s; her new friendships grow into her own involvement in an innovative medical project, which in turn opens the way to a love relationship with a married Malawian man.
Meanwhile, Anna’s devotion to her father is compromised by the discovery that her mother’s death was likely a homicide committed by her father. She sets off to learn the truth about her father’s motives and discovers a curious absence of documents about what happened. Her quest to know takes her to three continents and leads her into disturbing evidence of her own government’s complicity in a cover-up. Ultimately Anna finds the key to understanding her father, while the surprise ending opens the way for Anna’s dramatic new conception of her own family.
A Legacy of America’s Global Volunteerism: International Voluntary Services 1953–2002
co-editors: Gary Alex, Mike Chilton and Frederic C. Benson; contributor: Paul A. Rodell (PC Philippines 1968–71)
Peace Corps Writers
A Legacy of America’s Global Volunteerism is the inside story of International Voluntary Services (IVS), a pioneer organization in the history of America’s volunteer movement and contributor to the formation of the Peace Corps and to other later U.S. Government volunteer programs. From 1953 to 2002, more than 1,300 young people worked in thirty-nine countries improving the lives of many by providing people-to-people development skills and training.
Authors describe how IVS was established, its early programs and evolution, and influences that impinged upon it or grew from its engagements. Readers learn of difficulties involved in public-private partnerships, the invaluable contributions of the Peace Churches, the difficulties of volunteers in war zones, the consequences of political pressures, and how a rural development or relief programs operated on the village level.
Much has changed since IVS was founded, but there remains a place for people-to-people engagement and the impact of such experience on both the volunteers and the communities they serve. Authors look at the current global international volunteer service environment and identify lessons relevant to on-going voluntary services. Contributing authors include a Peace Corps alumnus, eight IVS alumni, and five other specialists with international volunteerism experience.
Beyond The Road to Sinyea: A Peace Corps Memoir — Liberia 1981–83)
by Ann Hales (Liberia 1981–1983)
Peace Corps Writers
$12.95 (paperback), $3.99 (kindle), $14.99 (IngramSpark)
This Peace Corps Volunteer memoir recounts the African experiences of a young and introspective nurse practitioner, living a hybrid life in a traditional Liberian village, on a mission hospital campus, and teaching at a University in the early 1980s.
Dear Michelle, : Letters from an Old Friend in a New Life
Samuel Gerard [pseudonym of Samuel Gerard Luebbers] (Ukraine 2018-20)
Peace Corps Writers
$12.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle)
Having had the chance to reflect on my own Peace Corps experiences, and knowing how fickle memory can be, I felt the necessity to write my memories of that time 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 freshmen dorm. We shared a long conversation then, and several others afterwards. We always imagined, to ourselves, that we would be together later. 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 we began dating, I received my invitation to serve with the Peace Corps in Ukraine. Knowing me, Michelle encouraged me to accept, and knowing her, I knew it would be the last goodbye to a four-year dance which could not continue.
Yet, in my youth, I had promised her our relationship would last, that through phone calls, and more importantly, letters, we could give it the lifeblood it needed to survive. We would nurture it with words, written despite the distance.
Dear Michelle has the letters I wish I’d sent.
What’s it like being the only expatriate manager of a multi-million dollar development project in a foreign country with a staff of over 200, and to have to start off dealing with a major embezzlement on a previous project that occurred prior to your arrival?
The Gecko in the Bathtub: Encounters with Marvelous Creatures
by Janina Marie Fuller (Philippines 1978-80) with illustrations by Maggie Demorest
Peace Corps Writers
In encounters with an array of creatures, from both domesticated and wild animals inhabiting my Louisiana backyard to denizens of the Amazon I present these stories to illuminate our inseparability from the life around us by capturing peak moments in the natural world. These experiences are chronicled in the context of my day-to-day life and relationships, from childhood to retirement, highlighting a few unique glimpses of animal lives as they have intersected with mine.
Building Community Answering Kennedy’s Call, Harlan Green’s memoir of his years working to build successful communities at home and abroad, shows what is possible when communities come together to improve their lives.
He describes his work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a rural community development program in a Turkish village, teaching vocational skills and convincing the villagers to develop new agricultural methods.
Green also worked as a photographer and filmmaker for the USEPA in its earliest days lobbying communities to implement the Clean Air and Water Acts that were enacted to mitigate the growing air and water pollution.
He joined Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers of America during its mid-1970s struggle organizing seasonal farm workers to better their living conditions; documenting the grape and lettuce boycotts, and Cesar’s charismatic leadership using non-violent methods to fight violent opposition by growers and the Teamsters Union.
He then brings what he has learned home when he finds his own community, where he leads a neighborhood planning effort that results in the formation of a livable city safe for children as well as adults.
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
Shrouded in secrecy and once closed off from the outside world by the Soviet Union, most Americans know very little about Kazakhstan. A Five Finger Feast tells the story of this beautiful place, its vast lands, blue skies, cold winters and hospitable people. Journey with author Tim Suchsland to places less traveled, like the vanishing Aral Sea and the mountain paradise of the Altyn Arashan. Be a guest at a mad tea party, infused with vodka and the sheep-head delicacy called beshbarmak.
From 2007 to 2009, Suchsland served in Kazakhstan in the US Peace Corps–an institution at the heart and soul of what it means to be American. Through his story, Suchsland details the adventure of living abroad as a young American with its ups and downs, excitement and thrill. In A Five Finger Feast, he tells the story about growing up in a place far away from home.
Angels of Bastogne is a remembrance of World War II that is based on the true story of a U.S. Army doctor, Jack Prior, and two heroic Belgian nurses, Renee Lemaire and Augusta Chiwy, who volunteered in his aid station that was bombed on Christmas Eve, 1944.