“Making movies as a PCV” — Richard Wallace (Morocco)
The Couscous Chronicles — A Peace Corps Memoir
Richard Wallace (Morocco 1977–79)
$14.95 (paperback), $0 (Kindle)
Make movies in the Peace Corps? Richard Wallace (Morocco 1977-79) did just that. Fresh out of college and packing his film production degree, he wanted to travel. In 1977, he joined the annual deployment of trainees to Morocco’s capital city of Rabat, learning French, some Arabic and the nuances of Islamic culture.
Richard’s job post: a media team for the Ministry of Agriculture, producing training films and printed materials for farmers. Sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer with a new job to tackle, he was challenged to assimilate into the Moroccan way of life. Associations with his female roommate and co-worker, plus a steady parade of visitors, proved both entertaining and educational.
Richard’s memoir, The Couscous Chronicles, relates the adventures a bunch of ambitious, curious and mostly dedicated twenty-somethings would experience, living and working among a population so unlike their own. For Richard, trips to many small towns expanded his impressions of his adopted home. The sights, the banter, the flavors of Morocco are vividly captured during Richard’s excursions. Highlighting his account are the favorite memories recalled by volunteers in his 1977 class, all cherished personal examinations and life lessons — unforgettable moments — cemented in their minds.
The Couscous Chronicles delivers a lighthearted behind-the-scenes look at life in the Peace Corps, capturing volunteers’ efforts to make a contribution to one of America’s longstanding allies — as JFK’s ambassadors of peace.
Following his Peace Corps service, Richard returned to the United States and, for the next 38 years, worked for a nonprofit trade organization representing lumber manufacturers. His career included producing many audiovisual programs, developing publications for the building trade and transitioning later to media and public relations work. He retired in 2017 and spends his time gardening, enjoying his grandchildren and writing articles for his local newspaper. He resides in Ponchatoula, Louisiana.
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I cannot wait to read Richard’s book! I was a PCV in Azrou along with others you will meet in the Chronicles. Richard interviewed us constantly throughout his writing of this book to be sure his depictions are accurate. It is going to be full of real and amusing and poignant stories. It is a must read if you were or knew a PCV or just want to learn a bunch about Moroccan culture and the Americans that served.