The Peace Corps

Agency history, current news and stories of the people who are/were both on staff and Volunteers.

1
RPCV Ambassador Foote Resigns (Bolivia)
2
The world has changed. Should the Peace Corps?
3
An Urgent Appeal from RPCV Congressman Garamendi on Peace Corps Act
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Driving Jesus to Little Rock by Roland Merullo (Micronesia)
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2021 Special Book Award Winner — OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan Slaght (Russia)
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Grateful for vision, leadership that led to creation of Peace Corps
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Tennis Clubbed, Snubbed and Rubbity-Dub Dubbed by Eric Madeen (Gabon)
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“We Called Him Sarge” By Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru)
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Crisis and Cure: Writing Both Political and Personal
10
September 11 and the “Third Goal” of Peace Corps

RPCV Ambassador Foote Resigns (Bolivia)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Clare Shea (Ethiopia 1965-67) U.S. Special Envoy for Haiti Daniel Foote (Bolivia 1992-94) has handed his resignation to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, saying he “will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti” from the U.S. border. Foote, a career diplomat, said the U.S. policy approach to the country is deeply flawed, and that Haitians shouldn’t be sent back to “a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life.” In his resignation letter, Foote criticized the Biden Administration, writing “I will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger . . .

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The world has changed. Should the Peace Corps?

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Michael Varga (Chad 1977-79) The world has changed. Should the Peace Corps? Youth participate in a camp organized by the Peace Corps in Ghana in 2015 designed to empower girls and teach boys how to respect others. September 22, 2021 By Ryan Lenora Brown Staff writer Nick Roll Correspondent The Peace Corps took Patricia Smith, like nearly a quarter-million volunteers before her, far from home. Every morning, she rose early to walk the mile to her job, dodging cars on roads without sidewalks to make it to the public health site where she volunteered. The sun came up earlier in her host community than it did at home in Oregon, which required some adjustments. And sometimes, the culture and rhythms of life in her new environment felt very different from home. But none of that bothered Ms. Smith. In fact, it’s why she joined the Peace Corps . . .

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An Urgent Appeal from RPCV Congressman Garamendi on Peace Corps Act

At the close of this historic day marking the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Peace Corps Act into law, California Representative and Ethiopia RPCV John Garamendi issued an urgent appeal to the Peace Corps community.  Please review his two requests, take action, and share with others! 1)  IMMEDIATE PHONE ACTION NEEDED: On Thursday, the House of Representatives will continue its work on the National Defense Authorization Act. A passionate opponent of nuclear weapon proliferation, Garamendi has an amendment (House Floor Amendment 38) to slow the development of the Ground Base Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). According to Garamendi, this program is an unnecessary and costly mistake at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer, and further precipitates the modern nuclear arms race between the United States, Russia, and China. “I believe our current nuclear arsenal exceeds our deterrence requirement, and this is only going to worsen if we proceed with the planned modernization programs. . . .

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Driving Jesus to Little Rock by Roland Merullo (Micronesia)

Roland Merullo’s Driving Jesus to Little Rock, fits neatly on the shelf with his other beloved, quirky-spiritual books: Golfing with God, American Savior, Vatican Waltz, The Delight of Being Ordinary, and the Buddha trilogy (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)-a list that has sold over half a million copies and been widely translated. This time, the narrator, Eddie Valpolicella, is on his way from Massachusetts to Arkansas to give a talk on “his” novel, Breakfast with Buddha, when, not far from home, he picks up a mysterious hitchhiker. Plainly dressed, insisting that he’s a fan of the author, the hitchhiker claims to be Jesus, the Jesus, and accompanies Eddie on a five-day road trip that challenges him in an amusing variety of ways. Every night on the way south, Eddie calls home to speak with his wife, and Anna Maria’s fiery insistence on choosing trust over suspicion gradually pushes him out of his original cynicism. Jesus plays tricks appearing and . . .

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2021 Special Book Award Winner — OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan Slaght (Russia)

  This haunting memoir by a former Peace Corps volunteer is not about his Peace Corps experience. Rather, it is a book that explores the mind and heart of the wilderness that could have come from the pen of Jack London, had the author lived a century later and been a volunteer. This tale of a young American traveling in eastern Russia resembles “Call of the Wild” in its sensitivity to the powerful forces of nature, and its passion for human survival. Yet the author’s modern story chronicles the efforts to save a non-human species — the elusive Blakiston’s fish owl — from extinction. • Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan Slaght (Russia 1999—02) Ferrar, Straus and Giroux August 2020 358 pages $28.00 (Hardcover); $11.89 (paperback); $14.99 (Kindle); $23.29 (audio CD); $13.08 (audiobook) Reviewed by: John C. Rude (Ethiopia . . .

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Grateful for vision, leadership that led to creation of Peace Corps

Peace Corps volunteers examine a map of Guatemala in 2016. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal) By Frank Price (Côte d’Ivoire 1969-71) September 18, 2021 at 1:37 p.m. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963 did not kill the dream he inspired within me. A senior in high school, I knew that I would join the Peace Corps and go to a Francophone Africa nation. On Wednesday, we will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps Act. Although it was created in 1961, the Peace Corps was inspired a year earlier by what Kennedy — then a candidate on the campaign trail — said in a 2 a.m. speech in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I was not there that early morning, but his words still stick with me. Addressing a large crowd from the steps of the University of Michigan Union, he posed an improvised historic question to . . .

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Tennis Clubbed, Snubbed and Rubbity-Dub Dubbed by Eric Madeen (Gabon)

A NOVEL SET IN THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN … In historically rich Yokohama, the wicked shiver of the tennis snub pits David Adams against K: a puffed-up, xenophobic tyrant who rules over the courts of a club that has as its anthem, ironically, the promotion of international friendship. Off the courts, David labors on a “McContract” at a Japanese university while married to the proverbial nail that sticks up, a fiery medical doctor who rides a 1200cc rice-rocket Yamaha. A heady tale of comparative culture and revenge, Tennis Clubbed goes down like a cocktail of pure fire … served up in the hall of the mountain king. Tennis Clubbed, Snubbed and Rubbity-Dub Dubbed (Novel) by Eric Madeen (Gabon 1981-83) Absolute Author Publishing House 171 pages September 2021 $2.99 (Kindle); $9.99 (Paperback)    

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“We Called Him Sarge” By Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru)

  Rarely do I recall precisely when and where I met someone from my past, especially when it was decades ago. But I remember the three times I saw Sarge — between 1963  and 2002. I expect that a great many of those who met the first director of the Peace Corps, like me, felt his cheerful and empathic spirit. In August 1963, I’d just spent the summer in Mexico — my first trip out of the U.S. I’d been part of a large group of college students who lived and worked in small Mexican towns performing community development work. I departed from my town of Apaseo el Grande, Guanajuato, two weeks before my twelve colleagues, to attend the National Federation of Catholic College Students (NFCCS) convention in Minneapolis as my college’s delegate. Sarge delivered the keynote speech there on August 27, 1963, to an overflowing auditorium of young people. . . .

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Crisis and Cure: Writing Both Political and Personal

This blog was originally meant as an attempt to make sense of the election of 2016 and the disasters that befell the nation as a result. However, recently, it has expanded to include non-political and personal writing, and even some fiction and poetry. Still, be warned, there will be a lot of politics here, and most of it will be liberal or left of center.   Afghanistan Then And Now by Elaine Parmenter (PC Staff) August 30, 2021     I’m embarrassed.  And angry.  With the Biden administration.  What were they thinking to remove the troops from Afghanistan and THEN  to try to figure out how to help US citizens, permanent residents, and Afghan friends and helpers exit the country?  Any housewife knows to straighten up and send the kids outside before she begins cleaning the house!  Was it the administration’s advisors or a stubborn old president who decided to close down shop and then figure . . .

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September 11 and the “Third Goal” of Peace Corps

Quote of the Week from the Sargent Shriver Peace Institute In our post-September 11 world, the Third Goal of the Peace Corps, “to teach Americans about the developing countries,” is more important than ever. [ . . . ] Our relationships with the people of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe are vitally important. We must increase and teach understanding and tolerance before we can hope to achieve world peace! — Sargent Shriver | Washington D.C. | June 21, 2002   Our Quote of the Week invites us to remember the third of the “Three Goals” of Peace Corps, and inspires us to work towards a more unified, peaceful world. At the age of 87, Sargent Shriver appeared at the 2002 National Peace Corps Association Conference, where he spoke these words. At the time, nine months had passed since the terrorist attacks of September . . .

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