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Amongst her tales of life in Samoa—harrowing bus rides, challenging projects, rewarding relationships, and the joys of living by the sea—the author reflects on how the experience changed her and continues to be a vital part of her life today.
The 1960’s are widely known to be one of the most tumultuous times in modern U. S. history. JFK could not escape the “red scare” that was spreading across the Western countries, but he did believe in spreading the energy and goodwill that materialized in his establishment of the Peace Corps. The author, idealistic, like so many other young adults of this vibrant time found the Peace Corps a way to serve his country as an alternative to military service in a faraway land. Good will was the mantra of service many who were forever were transformed by living among people so unlike them on the surface but so similar as human beings with all the same needs, longings, and dreams. This is one man’s account of living and teaching in Kenya, East Africa for two years. Those two years are tearfully remembered for the assassinations of MLK and Robert Kennedy, war in the Middle East, and urban riots in places like Detroit where he was born.
History Shock: When History Collides with Foreign Relations
John Dickson (Gabon 1976–80)
University Press of Kansas
$34.95 (hardcover), $26.49 (Kindle)
Dickson, who served as a Foreigh Service officer for more that 25 years, organizes History Shock around a country-by-country series of lively personal experience vignettes followed by compelling historical analysis of the ways in which his inadequate understanding of the host country’s history, particularly its prior history with the United States, combined with his lack of knowledge of his own nation’s history lead to history shock: where dramatically different interpretations of history blocked diplomatic understanding and cooperation. (Watch John talking about the book on You Tube.
Feeding The Kids To The Sharks (A stay-at-island dad copes with fighting, biting, and feeding frenzies in Micronesia)
J.J. Martin (Papua New Guinea 1989-90)
$14.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle)
Sink or swim is an apropos idiom on an island, and on the open seas of parenthood I learned to swim fast. Over the course of two years I managed to cook and clean, cajole and console, correct and, most importantly, connect with the kids.
The Adventures of Mayana: Falling Off the Edge of the Earth
David Perry (Belize, 1985-87)
Independently published, 2021
From the author — This story takes place in Belize, the country in which I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and although it is fiction, it is highly autobiographical in that it relays many of my experiences in Belize. The father in the story is me. The genre is Adventure/Science Fiction and the target age is young adult, but I think that anyone of any age who likes Science Fiction will enjoy it. The story takes place in Belize, and I tried to include lots of Belizean culture, history, and geography. I also included many of my true life adventures in Belize when I lived there. The story is named after my real life adopted daughter.
“Powers deftly transports us into an often sandy, dusty terrain where the human conflicts are chiefly internal. And, as he paints a landscape ranging from exotic to bleak, violent to tropically lovely, his chief interest is the human heart and its revelations and struggles. His stories often become, then, engrossing modern parables that haunt us and expand our souls.” —Patricia Schnapp, RSM, PhD, co-editor of The Best American Catholic Short Stories
Jackson’s Kenya brings together two of the most important influences in my young adult life – my time in Kenya in the early 1970s, and my interaction with my Kenyan cook Jackson, who greatly shaped my view of Kenya and Africa. Not only was Jackson a great mentor for me, but his energy and joy of life were infectious. This book is a description of my work and of the Kenya I experienced with Jackson.