Anson Lihosit (Panama) publishes PEACE CORPS EPIPHANIES

 

New Peace Corps Experience Memoir/Panama

 

Anson K. Lihosit recently trudged home after two years’ service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama. An urban planner by trade, he was recruited to teach English.

Before packing again to begin a masters degree program in urban planning at the University of Arizona in Tucson, he wrote and published a book about his Peace Corps experience titled Peace Corps Epiphanies: Panama.

Assigned to a remote village near the famous Darien Gap and 95 miles from the Colombian border, he assisted middle and high school teachers, offered community night classes, and assisted other Volunteers with conferences for indigenous people that offered him the opportunity to visit other parts of the country.

In his book, Lihosit describes Peace Corps Training, and life in the rural Panama. Like all Volunteers, he had difficulty adjusting to a new culture and language as well as dealing with lonliness. In a section about his living quarters, he describes cohabitation with bats, lizards and armies of ants.

Anson Libosit

He learned how to dodge poisonous snakes, bathe in a river and spearfish to supplement his meager diet. He also learned how to store water for the dry season, and wash his own clothes by hand. But best of all, Lihosit learned that Panamanians love baseball. They have their own professional league that American Major League scouts watch closely. When he learned that eastern Panama was full of community softball teams, as a former Little Leaguer and Babe Ruth baseball player,  he eagerly  joined a team.

He took a half hour bus ride to another remote village and jogged to the stands where a local asked him, “Who are you rooting for?”

Lihosit unzipped his mud splattered sports bag to reveal an old worn baseball glove, a McDonald’s cap and new cleats. “I want to play.”

The local turned and yelled to a man seated behind him, “The gringo’s with us!”

And so began a baseball odyssey. He describes his adventures traveling to far-off villages and hamlets with ballfields wedged against jungle. The sport became his talisman for encountering friendship. Eric Kiefer, author of The Soft Exile, commented that the book represents the “essence of the Peace Corps Experience.”

He also describes small town party life, using another Volunteer’s going away party as an example. Tony D’Souza, author of Whiteman noted that the book “makes me want to visit Panama.”

Of course, this a Peace Corps Writer’s book. What else?

Peace Corps Epiphanies: Panama
by Anson K. Lihosit (Panama 2015–17)
Peace Corps Writers
July 2017
132 pages
$13.95 (paperback)

7 Comments

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  • The book is a good read for anyone interested in Panama or, what the Peace Corps is doing today. As an English teacher, he represented a program that has existed since PC inception. The villages he describes are difficult to find on most maps. I appreciated the maps he provided as well as the sketches. He also describes other volunteers and their work. Sometimes volunteers omit these telling details which offer a bigger picture of the program.

  • Anson,

    It was so kind of you to send a copy of your book about your epiphanies in Panama! It was a pleasant surprise this evening to have the McMenamin’s staff hand me the book when I arrived this evening. I will read it and make it available to other Thirsters (and encourage them to purchase it)!

    Please stop by and say hello if you are in Portland on a Thursday evening – you know where we are!

    Thanks again,

    John Dougherty

  • Another insightful look at the Peace Corps experience, from a second generation Peace Corps volunteer. Thanks to Anson and Lorenzo for their commitment to representing the United States in a positive way – which sorely needed in the era of “America First”.

  • Anson – hello! Your book sounds like a winner! Darien area, huh. When I was a PCV in Panamá (1964-1966) one couldn’t get to the Darien. Do I understand that a road has been put through to the Colombian border? By the way, my family and I lived in Colombia for two years in addition to my living in Panamá. Believe me, I understand your loneliness!

    University of Arizona – my BA is from there. My family and I lived there for six years until I was hired to work for two years on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation. And from there, life goes on.

    I worked with USAID in Vietnam during the war after the Peace Corps experience. Seven of us RPCVs from around the world were hired by USAID to work there. Unfortunately, two of them were killed up in Hué during the Tét Offensive in 1968.

    Speaking of USAID, my work took me to 42 countries, and experienced in another 33 countries. It was quite a whirlwind for more than 40 years!

    I would enjoy reading your book. Is it at Amazon.com? My three books were at Amazon.com until they and four translations of one of them were declared out of print because of the bankruptcy of my publisher. Tough break, that. So the flagship book (An American in the World: The Perennial Wanderer, which has a chapter on my Panamá experience) is now an i-book at Apple Book Store (as well as a non-selling e-book at Amazon.com). My second book (The End of the Civil War in El Salvador: 1992) is soon going to become an i-book, as well. The third one is not planned for that destiny, but my fourth book in editing now (The Internationalist) will eventually become an i-book, too.

    I’d enjoy hearing from you, Anson. You can e-mail me at exmultifaceted@msn.com. And I want to read your book.

    If you are interested in An American in the World: The Perennial Wanderer, it is at this website:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/steven-d-orr/id1414627028?mt=11

    You may also wish to visit my website at http://www.stevendorr.squarespace.com. This is where my book reviews are located. My other website is given below.

    Salados . . . Steve

  • Many people here in Madera California know the quality of character of this young man…and his family. As one of his little league coaches…I can tell you…you know when you’ve met a special person and a special family…. we’re not surprised at Ansons…aka…Potsies success. Congratulations young man!!! Best of wishes..Coach Ray and Coach Matt

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