The Peace Corps

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

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West Virginia RPCVs to interview RPCVs to preserve the legacy of the Peace Corps
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Andrew Oerke’s Last Poems: Boyhood in Bayfield (PC Staff)
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RPCV Beverly Heegaard says her goodbyes … the PCV Way (Nepal)
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A Writer Writes — “Punch” a Short Story by Chris Honore’ (Colombia)
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How to “Be There” for the Premiere of A Towering Task
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MOU between Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association
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A Writer Writes–“Telling Time” by Katherine Jamieson (Guyana)
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Still time to join the September Workshop for Writers
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5 Brilliant Short Peace Corps Writers Stories (Eastern Caribbean, Mali, Zaire,Tonga, Mongolia)
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Be There or Be Square

West Virginia RPCVs to interview RPCVs to preserve the legacy of the Peace Corps

    Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dan Campbell (El Salvador 1974-77)   The West Virginia Returned Peace Corps Volunteers has received a grant from the WV Humanities Council to fund recording of interviews with former Peace Corps Volunteers and staff. WVRPCV, an affiliate of the National Peace Corps Association, will work with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library to preserve the legacy of the Peace Corps through these interviews. The interviews will be stored, cataloged and made available via the Kennedy Library (part of the National Archives and Records Administration). The West Virginia interviews will also become part of the collection at the state Department of Archives and History. Former Volunteers and staff interested in being part of this project should send contact information, along with basic information about their service, in an email to  westvirginiarpcv@gmail.com, with “Interviews” in the subject line. Since 1961, more than 700 West . . .

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Andrew Oerke’s Last Poems: Boyhood in Bayfield (PC Staff)

  Poet Andrew Oerke (PC staff: Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Jamaica 1966-71), who received the 2015 William Meredith Award for Poetry, died unexpectedly in 2014. His widow, Doctor Anitra Thorhaug, has just published Boyhood in Bayfield: Poems, Andrew’s first poems about his boyhood in Bayfield, Wisconsin that includes photographs and insights into his past and her own. Like fellow pilgrims in a challenging landscape, she gives a sense of place from which the poems were born, both the physical and cultural landscape. Oerke was not only a poet, but also the CEO of an environmental foundation, president of a microfinance organization, Golden Gloves boxing champion, academic, and Peace Corps Country Director in Malawi and Jamaica. This ‘final’ collection of his poems has been published by Poets’ Choice Publishing. For more about Andrew, go to andrewoerkepoetry.org

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RPCV Beverly Heegaard says her goodbyes … the PCV Way (Nepal)

    Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (Cameroon 1965-67) Beverly Heegaard, Beverly, 78, painfully practical, fearless, unapologetic to a fault. Chain-link fence gardener, antiestablishment embroiderer, Peace Corps Volunteer (Nepal 1962—64), mother to the universe of the dispossessed, probably read 10,000 books, completed the NYT crossword daily, in ink, often before sunup. Endearingly intolerant of nonsense. Will be buried in a box marked “Return to Sender, postage due.” Memorial service this summer, to be announced. Published in Newport Daily News. May 1, 2019.

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A Writer Writes — “Punch” a Short Story by Chris Honore’ (Colombia)

    PUNCH by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)   For a time, my family and I lived in Watson, a small farming town in California’s Central Valley – flat, nondescript, a sepia photograph slightly out of focus. Everyday I walked to school and back along dusty, rutted roads bordered by wide irrigation ditches usually filled with green-brown water. The water was controlled by a series of concrete locks that could be opened by turning upright, wire-spoked wheels allowing the water to flood out into the fields, sluicing along parched rows of cotton. In late spring and all through the relentless summer, we swam in the water nearest the locks where it was deepest, diving off the concrete abutments, splashing one another, whooping and hollering, playing like young seals. One hot day in late May, I was walking home with Ben and his younger brother, Marshall, who everyone called Punch. Except . . .

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How to “Be There” for the Premiere of A Towering Task

  The following announcement gives specific information on obtaining tickets for the Premiere of A Towering Task as well as program details for the many other events.  September 22nd will be a celebration of Peace Corps at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. https://mailchi.mp/peacecorpsdocumentary/reach-event?e=d09090d4d IT’S OFFICIAL! Join us for the first screenings of A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps The REACH’s Justice Forum @ The Kennedy Center Sunday, September 22nd  |  4pm & 7pm Join us as we build a community of global citizens We’ve teamed up with the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC (RPCV|W), and The REACH at the Kennedy Center to host a full day of events to celebrate the Peace Corps and global citizenship. The festivities begin in the REACH’s Justice Forum and Studio F at 10am! From oral storytelling to a life-size replica home to augmented reality stations, it . . .

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MOU between Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association

Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association has signed a Memorandum of Understanding. (https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/peace-corps-renews-partnership-national-peace-corps-association-austin-texas/) The actual document  may be obtained from Peace Corps – FOIA – 0091.  The infomation here is  from that FOIA, which was reformattted in Rich Text.   Here is an except which defines distinction between NPCA activities and Peace Corps: The Peace Corps reserves and retains the right to determine, establish, direct, and implement programs and activities in accordance with all applicable laws, regulations, its policies, procedures, and subject to the availability of funds. Moreover, the Peace Corps will not be engaged or involved in, or collaborate with NPCA on, or promote or publicize, NPCA’s advocacy or fundraising, or membership drives, or any activities that do not directly relate to the Peace Corps’ mission.     MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN PEACE CORPS AND NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) sets forth  the  understanding  between  . . .

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A Writer Writes–“Telling Time” by Katherine Jamieson (Guyana)

  Telling Time by Katherine Jamieson (Guyana 1996–98) FOR TWO YEARS I LIVED in a country with no seasons. We measured time by other means than falling leaves or snow, new buds on trees. There was a fresh breeze in the air, the ash of burned sugar cane floating in the window. There were times to go to work, times to stay home, an election, an eclipse; all of these differentiated the rising and setting of the same hot sun, and the appearance of a glowing moon and full set of stars. Rain would break the swelter like the fever of a child dissolves into sweat, and the whole city would breathe differently that day. Then the sun would come again and dry what had fallen, and could not last. I came to this country with the expectation of seasons, and before I had woken to a blinding sun on . . .

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Still time to join the September Workshop for Writers

The workshop will be held from Wednesday, September 18th to Saturday, September 21th at Shore Retreats on Broad Creek, on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Costs range from $100 for those on tight budgets, $250 for those of modest means, and $500 for those who can afford it. The retreat facility includes shared living quarters, meals, and snacks. If interested, email: jcoyneone@gmail.com Faculty Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) was born in the Tule Lake Japanese American Segregation Camp. She is the author of three novels: Green Fires, The Climate of the Country, and My Mother’s Island. She is a recipient of an American Book Award, the Maria Thomas Award for Outstanding Fiction, Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, New York Public Library Best Books for the Teenage, a New York Times Book Review New and Noteworthy in Paperback, and a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” choice. Her short stories, poetry, and essays have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. She . . .

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5 Brilliant Short Peace Corps Writers Stories (Eastern Caribbean, Mali, Zaire,Tonga, Mongolia)

  The Mending Fields By Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76) I WAS ASSIGNED to the Island of Saint Kitts in the West Indies. Once on an inter-island plane, I sat across the aisle from one of my new colleagues, an unfriendly, overserious young woman. She was twenty-four, twenty-five . . . we were all twenty-four, twenty five. I didn’t know her much or like her. As the plane banked over the island, she pressed against the window, staring down at the landscape. I couldn’t see much of her face, just enough really to recognize an expression of pain. Below us spread an endless manicured lawn, bright green and lush of sugarcane, the island’s main source of income. Each field planted carefully to control erosion. Until that year, Saint Kitts’ precious volcanic soil had been bleeding into the sea; somehow they had resolved the problem. The crop was now being tilled in . . .

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