Peace Corps Volunteers

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Tony Waters Remembers . . . and Returns to Thailand
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Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone) | VESSEL
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Carol Spahn (Romania) New Peace Corps Director
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Answering the Peace Corps Response Call — Yanick Douyon (Liberia, Rwanda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
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Ann Cavera (Liberia) — “Speeding Past 80” Podcast
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Justin D. Bibee (Morocco) | Human rights advocate and refugee resettlement case manager
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“Ask Not . . . ” by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia)
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Glenn A. Blumhorst (Guatemala) writes about his new job
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Review — BABUSYA’S KITCHEN by Ukraine RPCVs
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Friends of Liberia: Celebrating 60 Years of Peace Corps Service
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“Peace Corps and Beyond: A Fordham University English Alum Shares Her Story”
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“The Elephant in the Room” — Kelsey Sabo (Uganda)
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Phil Olaleye (Philippines) wins Georgia 59th District seat
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Gregory Jackmond (Samoa) | archaeologist in Samoa
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Richard Adkins, Tempe Urban Forester (Nepal)

Tony Waters Remembers . . . and Returns to Thailand

  Tony Waters (Thailand 1980-82) is czar and editor of Ethnography.com. He was a professor at the Sociology department at California State University at Chico since 1996. In 2016 though he suddenly found himself with a new gig at Payap University in northern Thailand where he is on the faculty of the Peace Studies Department. He has also been a guest professor in Germany, and Tanzania. In the past, his main interests have been international development and refugees in Thailand, Tanzania, and California. This reflects a former career in the Peace Corps (Thailand), and refugee camps (Thailand and Tanzania). His books include: Crime and Immigrant Youth (1999), Bureaucratizing the Good Samaritan (2001), The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture: Life Beneath of the Marketplace (2007), When Killing is a Crime (2007), and Schooling, Bureaucracy, and Childhood: Bureaucratizing the Child (2012). His hobby is trying to learn strange languages – and the mistakes . . .

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Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone) | VESSEL

  Martin Puryear, Vessel, 1997-2002 Eastern white pine, mesh, tar Smithsonian American Art Museum   One of the most important American sculptors working today, Martin Puryear (Sierra Leone 1965-66) is known for his handmade constructions, primarily in wood. After studying painting at Catholic University in Washington, DC, he traveled extensively — teaching in Sierra Leone with the Peace Corps, studying printmaking in Stockholm from 1966 to 1968, and visiting Japan through a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1982 – experiences that have shaped the artist’s practice. He creates abstract forms that are evocative and familiar, yet elude singular interpretations. Motifs like human heads, ladders, and vessels take on symbolic resonance, and function as meditations on powerful universal concepts such as freedom, shelter, sanctuary, migration, mobility, and equality.   In Vessel, a form lies facedown on the ground, the neck and crown rising up in opposite directions, like the bow and stern of a ship. Contained within this openwork structure are a solid wooden . . .

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Carol Spahn (Romania) New Peace Corps Director

  Just this week, Carol Spahn (Romania 2994-96) had her Senate confirmation hearing to become the next Peace Corps Director. During the hearing, Carol spoke about the importance of the safety and security protocols in place to protect the hundreds of Volunteers currently serving on the ground in 45 countries as well as the agency’s priority to ensure Peace Corps service is an option considered by broader and more diverse communities in America. Carol’s opening statement expressed deep gratitude for her “Peace Corps family — including the staff, Volunteers, host families, and counterparts for the heart and soul with which they carry out our mission everyday.” We at NPCA are thrilled to finally see Carol’s must-deserved nomination move forward toward final confirmation. We have been honored to work with Carol and her strong leadership team over the past year on collaborative efforts to navigate this difficult period of planning for . . .

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Answering the Peace Corps Response Call — Yanick Douyon (Liberia, Rwanda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines)

  Answering the call to serve… again and again By Kelsey McMahon (South Africa 2014-16) Nov. 20, 2022 Don’t expect Yanick Douyon – a three-time Peace Corps Response Volunteer and a two-time Virtual Service Participant – to slow down anytime soon.   “Every opportunity available, I will be there,” stated the dedicated educator. Her resume clearly reflects that the sentiment. Since becoming a teacher in the ’70s, Yanick has taught in countless countries, including the U.S., Haiti, Senegal, China, Vietnam, and Liberia. Recently, Yanick moved from her home in Florida to teach graduate-level English at a university in Mauritania. Secondary school and adult education remain her areas of expertise, but if Yanick has proven anything, it’s that she’s game to lend a hand wherever she feels she can make a difference. “I just get such a feeling of satisfaction when students are learning and I’m doing something in this world . . .

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Ann Cavera (Liberia) — “Speeding Past 80” Podcast

  Ann Cavera (Liberia 1966-68) shares stories of faith, hope, love and laughter in the weekly podcast ‘Speeding Past 80’ By Julie Carle BG Independent News     The podcast “Speeding Past 80” sounds like something racecar enthusiasts or law enforcement officials might listen to. There are no tires screeching or sirens blaring in this Bowling Green-based podcast; however, racing fans and people who deal with speeding tickets still might listen, learn and enjoy. The podcast features the calm, reassuring, grandmotherly voice of Ann Cavera who shares weekly stories of “faith, hope, love and laughter.” And goodness, does she! Of the 40-plus episodes she has recorded at her kitchen table this year, she has touched on topics that range from “spare change” vs. “loose change” to the power of a banana peel. Regardless of the topic, she infuses the usually four-to eight-minute conversations with warmth and a lesson in humanity. The title . . .

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Justin D. Bibee (Morocco) | Human rights advocate and refugee resettlement case manager

North Providence so far only municipality to back Human Rights Day proclamation by Zack Deluca The Valley Breeze zack@valleybreeze.com Nov 22, 2022 • NORTH PROVIDENCE – A local human rights advocate is looking to make history by uniting every Rhode Island municipality with the signing of a Human Rights Day Proclamation by Dec. 10. Justin Bibee [Morocco 2014–16], a human rights advocate and a refugee resettlement case manager for Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, established the Rhode Island Human Rights Project with the goal of having every municipality in the state sign a Human Rights Day proclamation this year. North Providence is so far the only community to sign a Human Rights Day Proclamation, doing so in the spring. Gov. Dan McKee also signed a Human Rights Day proclamation. Bibbee said he is continuing to speak with other cities and towns to have them join the proclamation by next month. . . .

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“Ask Not . . . ” by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia)

by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • In 1963, I became a Peace Corps Volunteer, assigned to La Plata, a small village of some 3,000 residents nestled at the 4,000 feet level of Colombia’s Andean mountains. It had no telephone systems, though there were episodic telegraphic services.  On what soon would became a fateful morning of November 22, 1963, I had taken a bus into the Departmental capital, Neiva, to obtain some governmental authorizations of Community Development Funds for one of our projects.  Like most every bus in our area, firmly set above the driver’s head were three pictures with Christmas tree lights around them: Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and President John F. Kennedy. Later in the afternoon, about 3:30 PM or so, before boarding the bus for the trip back, I stopped at a newsstand to see if it had a recent copy of Time Magazine. There was one copy . . .

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Glenn A. Blumhorst (Guatemala) writes about his new job

  November 9, 2022 Dear Friends, Sargent Shriver urged us to “Serve, serve, serve! For in the end, it will be the servants that save us all.” It is fitting that today – Shriver’s birthday – I continue my service to the Peace Corps community in my new role as the lead fundraiser for the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation (PCCF). I am grateful for the warm welcome extended by Tony Barclay and the PCCF Board of Directors as we embark on an $8 million capital campaign to underwrite the design and construction of a commemorative work on the National Mall that honors the creation of the Peace Corps in 1961 and those aspects of the American character exemplified by Peace Corps service. Peace Corps Park will forever be a place in which to gather and reflect; to be inspired by the Commemorative’s meanings and messages; and to share in programmed activities embodying . . .

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Review — BABUSYA’S KITCHEN by Ukraine RPCVs

  Babusya’s Kitchen: Recipes for Living & Eating Well in Ukraine by Returned Peace Corps Ukraine Volunteers RPCV Alliance for Ukraine, publisher 216 pages $30.00 (hardcover) Review by: D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974-76, and Costa Rica 1976-77) • This is a beautiful cookbook! My favorite part is the pictures of dishes ready to serve, but the photos of Ukrainian scenery and people are a close second. The authors/editors are all Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who served in Ukraine (I love their self-assigned titles so much that I will include them here): Cortney Copeland — Director of Official Stuff Patricia Deignan — Voice of Reason and Logic Sarah Friedman — Communications Wiz Sandy Jacobs — Culinary Storyteller Sarah Kate (Monroe) Demchuk — Professional Book Wrangler Casey Ritter — Captain of Team Morale Colleen Smith — President of Punctuation There is a section full of Ukrainian recipes and one full of . . .

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Friends of Liberia: Celebrating 60 Years of Peace Corps Service

  Friends of Liberia celebrates the 60th anniversary of Peace Corps service in Liberia. In honor of this banner year, Friends of Liberia has curated activities spanning storytelling in the anthology, Never the Same Again: Life, Service, and Friendship in Liberia edited by Susan Greisen with Susan Corbett and Karen E. Lange, return to in-country service; embassy events; a member engagement series at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.; a year-long auction of Liberian artifacts with all proceeds going to programmatic support in Liberia; and more. For more information about these incredible stories and anniversary activities that capture the spirit of service for so many who have answered the call to Liberia in the last six decades and beyond, visit Friends of Liberia’s website.  

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“Peace Corps and Beyond: A Fordham University English Alum Shares Her Story”

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Barry Hillerbrand (Ethiopia 1963-65)   “AlumAdvice” from Amy Glasser (Tanzania) Nov 4 By Elissa Johnston   Just a month and half after graduating from Fordham in 2016, Amy Glasser packed her bags and went to teach math in Tanzania with Peace Corps for two years. She had come into Fordham fully expecting to pursue a career in publishing, but at the very beginning of her senior year — fall 2015 — she had a conversation that suddenly changed her career trajectory. At a back-to-school barbecue, Amy found herself talking to the new graduate assistant for the honors program, who had just returned from working with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. “It had never occurred to me that this kind of work was an option,” said Amy in our interview. “I went back to the dorm that afternoon and immediately looked up the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. . . .

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“The Elephant in the Room” — Kelsey Sabo (Uganda)

On the Pulse Johns Hopkins Nursing Magazine   Kelsey Sabo (Uganda 2014-18) now a nurse in training at John Hopkins Nursing was a new PCV when she began to notice in roughly one-week, unexplained, undiscussed absences of female students and teachers each month. Of course they involved the menstrual cycle, in communities where sanitary pads were scarce and girls and women were often bullied for the sudden appearance of blood on skirts. Rather than face the shame and ridicule as well as physical discomfort, they stayed home until the period passed. This meant missed school, missed work — “about 25 percent of the year or about 9 years for the average menstruating woman’s lifetime,” explains Sabo — and missed opportunities to advance toward self-sufficiency. The answer wouldn’t be as simple as helping women and girls learn to make, and eventually sell, sustainable, reusable menstrual pads (RUMPs). But for “Teacher Ayikoru” . . .

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Phil Olaleye (Philippines) wins Georgia 59th District seat

  Phil grew up in a working class family in Stone Mountain, GA, the son of immigrants. As a youth, Phil had to travel two hours one-way to school each day to receive a decent public education. As soon as he was old enough, Phil began working at Waffle House and Best Buy to help support his single mother and family. These childhood experiences cemented values of sacrifice, dignity in work, and the value of a quality education. Phil attended Duke University as a working student, spending school breaks studying predatory lending policies across Georgia and the Southeast. After working at Citigroup to pay off college loans, Phil left to serve his country in the United States Peace Corps. After three years of supporting an indigenous community in the Philippines, Phil returned to the U.S. to study at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and organize in the Mississippi Delta (Baptist . . .

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Gregory Jackmond (Samoa) | archaeologist in Samoa

  Gregory Jackmond (Samoa 1974-76) carried out extensive archaeological field work in Samoa during the 1970s when he was a PCV in the islands. He surveyed pre-historic ruins from Sapapali’I and another large settlement in Palauli district where the Pulemelei Mound is situated. The features visible include platforms (for houses), star mounds, terraces, walls, walled walkways, elevated walkways, large earthen ovens (umu ele’ele or umu ti), drainage channels, large pits, forts and just piles of stone. Umu ele’ele, according to Jackmond, were large earth ovens which were used about 500 to 1000 years ago to make sugar from ti trees. “The ti root apparently was cooked for about 10 hours in a lot of heat. The result was sugar for the people at the time,” he said. He found remnants of stone structures that dated back hundreds of years and upon his return to California in the U.S. at the . . .

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Richard Adkins, Tempe Urban Forester (Nepal)

  Richard Adkins, Tempe’s urban forester, is covering Tempe in shade as part of the city’s Urban Forestry Master Plan By Tyson Wildman, StatePress.com October 26, 2022 • As a teenager, Richard Adkins went into the Virginia forest alone one day and decided to sit under a Pin Oak tree. He stayed there awhile, observing his surroundings. By the time he got up, he knew that trees were going to be his future, so that was the path he pursued. Adkins is the urban forester for the city of Tempe and has been for the past three years. He has traveled the world doing what he loves, taking care of and sharing his knowledge of trees. “Trees are where it’s at,” he said. “Trees are good for humankind, good for animals, good for the environment.” Adkins grew up in Virginia and has done tree forestry, the science of developing, caring for . . .

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