The Peace Corps

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

1
Out of the Mouths of RPCV Writers
2
More from Sister Martha on the Governor of Central Jawa’s visit (Indonesia)
3
Let’s End the Year on a Sad Note: Trump Destroying the Foreign Service. Will the Peace Corps be Next?
4
RACE ACROSS AMERICA by Charles B. Kastner (Seychelles)
5
Christmas Greetings from an RPCV in the Order of Cistercians (Indonesia)
6
Early Days — When the Peace Corps Had Innovative Training
7
President Kennedy Reassures a Little Girl that Santa Claus Will Be Safe
8
Dan Douglas (Botswana) — Fulfilling the Third Goal of the Peace Corps — Global Citizen
9
Glenn Blumhorst represents RPCVs at USS John F. Kennedy Christening
10
New screening dates and places for “A Towering Task”

More from Sister Martha on the Governor of Central Jawa’s visit (Indonesia)

December 24, 2019 We had a very unique experience this vigil of Christmas – a visit of the Governor of Central Jawa, the third-largest province of Indonesia with a population of about 40 million. He is a moderate Muslim and a good governor in his second term. Every Christmas he visits a number of Christian places to see their Christmas activities and share good cheer and promote unity and respect among different religions.  We were only told on Saturday that he wanted to come, Sunday evening four of his staff came to see the location and explain to Ibu Cory, Cathrin and me what was going to happen. We made a program with them and told the community. The vigil of Christmas is usually one of the busiest days of the year with preparations in the kitchen, the guesthouse, the church, the refectory as well as regular work and all . . .

Read More

Let’s End the Year on a Sad Note: Trump Destroying the Foreign Service. Will the Peace Corps be Next?

State Department From RPCV long-time journalist with Newsweek Magazine in Asia You are hearing right.  The exodus is quite serious and runs deep. People talk literally of desks piled in the halls ways at State. It’s reached the highest levels, so there are no assistant secretaries. They are losing so many and such experiences that it will take years to recover, say people who know about these things. The institutional memory and professional experience is disappearing.  It’s quite serious. And while it’s not as bad, a similar loss of expertise is taking place at the C.I.A. (One little ironic silver lining which benefits us old-timers is that many retired foreign service officers are called back into service and to serve six-month temporary duty in places that are shorthanded. That’s how Taylor ended up a temporary ambassador to Ukraine.) Yes, of course, it is Trump and his inconsistent foreign policy.  And . . .

Read More

RACE ACROSS AMERICA by Charles B. Kastner (Seychelles)

  Race across America: Eddie Gardner and the Great Bunion Derbies by Charles B. Kastner (Seychelles) On April 23, 1929, the second annual Transcontinental Foot Race across America, known as the Bunion Derby, was in its twenty-fifth day. Eddie “the Sheik” Gardner, an African American runner from Seattle, was leading the race across the Free Bridge over the Mississipi River. Along with the signature outfit that earned him his nick name white towel tied around his head, white shorts, and a white shirt — Gardner wore an American flag, a reminder to all who saw him run through the Jim Crow South that he was an American and the leader of the greatest footrace in the world. Kastner traces Gardner’s remarkable journey from his birth in 1987 in Birmingham, Alabama, to his success in Seattle, Washington, as one of the top long-distance runners in the region, and finally to his . . .

Read More

Christmas Greetings from an RPCV in the Order of Cistercians (Indonesia)

    Mother Martha Driscoll, O.C.S. O., (Ethiopia 1965-67) graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (at that time, women were not allowed in the undergraduate A&S College) and joined the Peace Corps. After Training at the University of Utah, she went to Ethiopia as a secondary school teacher in Addis Ababa, where, as a wonderful singer and actress, she also “starred” in several play productions staged by British Ex-pats in the city. After her tour, she returned to New York City and Staten Island where she had grown up and worked for a while in New York before going to Boston and earning an MFA in Theater from Brandeis University. It was during this period, she told me, that she began to question what she wanted to do with her life, and on a trip to Europe she visited and then entered a monastery in Italy where she . . .

Read More

Early Days — When the Peace Corps Had Innovative Training

    Early Days — When the Peace Corps Had Innovative Training   One of the first and most unique Training site programs for the Peace Corps was in October of 1962 with 90 training for Colombia. They went to train in slum neighborhoods in New York City. Manhattan’s lower East Side, East Harlem, and Chelsea. Organized by the New York School of Social Work of Columbia University, the Training program had seven hours a day of community work with New York City welfare agencies, in addition to classes in social work and in Spanish. This phase of Training for Colombia followed eight weeks of training at the University of New Mexico and four weeks in Puerto Rico. The total Training program of 16 weeks at the time was the longest ever undertaken by the Peace Corps and the first to include fieldwork in a specifically urban environment. The New . . .

Read More

President Kennedy Reassures a Little Girl that Santa Claus Will Be Safe

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2013/09/you-must-not-worry-about-santa.html   In 1961, immediately after overhearing her parents discuss the possibility of Soviet nuclear tests at the North Pole, 8-year-old Michelle Rochon grabbed a pencil and wrote a letter to U.S. President John F. Kennedy, in which she asked him to prevent the tests for one particular reason. Her letter, and the reply she soon received from Kennedy, can be read below. (Source: The Letters of John F. Kennedy, published by Bloomsbury Press on October 29, 2013; Photo above: 8-year-old Michelle holding Kennedy’s letter.) Dear Mr. Kennedy, Please stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole because they will kill Santa Claus. I am 8 years old. I am in the third grade at Holy Cross School. Yours truly, Michelle Rochon ————————– THE WHITE HOUSE October 28, 1961 Dear Michelle: I was glad to get your letter about trying to stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole and . . .

Read More

Dan Douglas (Botswana) — Fulfilling the Third Goal of the Peace Corps — Global Citizen

    To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans — the Third Goal, Peace Corps Act     My Contribution to the “Third Goal” I went to Botswana as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 1968 with a master’s degree in classical history – and I actually taught some history in the secondary school to which I was assigned.  But I was also asked to teach English, and that became my passion and my main contribution to the young men and women of Botswana.  When I returned to the United States in 1970, I enrolled in another MA course, English as a Second Language, at the University of Hawai’i, and then a PhD in Applied Linguistics at Edinburgh University in Scotland. I didn’t begin “educating America” quite yet, though, as my wife (whom I had met and married in Botswana) and I spent several . . .

Read More

Glenn Blumhorst represents RPCVs at USS John F. Kennedy Christening

      On Saturday, December 7, NPCA President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988-91) represented the Peace Corps community at the christening of the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) nuclear-propelled aircraft carrier being constructed at the shipyards in Norfolk News, VA. Over 20,000 attended the event, including shipyard laborers who had worked on the construction of the ship. Speakers including Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, Former NASA Administrator Major General Charles Bolden, and Former Secretary of State John Kerry. The Honorable Caroline Kennedy, sponsor of the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), smashed the ceremonial bottle of champagne over the hull of the ship that bears her father’s name.  This is the second aircraft carrier to be named after the 35th president, the first being the conventional-powered CVA 67, also christened by Caroline in 1967.  

Read More

New screening dates and places for “A Towering Task”

    For future information: https://www.peacecorpsdocumentary.com/screenings-event       Chicago Cultural Center  78 E. Washington St Wednesday, December 11, 2019 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM (map) VIEW EVENT → Clinton Street Theater  — Portland 2522 SE Clinton Street Sunday, December 15, 2019 2:30 PM 5:30 PM VIEW EVENT →    Williwaw Restaurant — Anchorage, Alaska 609 F  Street Anchorage, AK — 99501 Thursday, December 19, 2019 5:30 PM 8:00 PM

Read More

Copyright © 2019. Peace Corps Worldwide.