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8 U.S. BIKE TOURS by Stephen Foehr (Ethiopia)
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Carolyn Mulford (Ethiopia) sums up her long writing career
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ACROSS THE KENTUCKY COLOR LINE by Lee Durham Stone (Jamaica)
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FROM MOUNTAINS TO MEDICINE by Erica Elliott (Ecuador)
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Paul Theroux’s New Book: BURMA SAHIB
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Nicholas — Have you heard of The Peace Corps?
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Kate Pongonis (Ecuador) shares lessons from the Peace Corps
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The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo hosted “Towering Task”
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BURMA SAHIB — A New Novel by Paul Theroux (Malawi)
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Theme of Peace Corps Week “Optimism in Action”
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Creating Peace Corps Week
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Pocket Stories by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia)
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US will resume Peace Corps program in Palau
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“How a Guinea Fowl Led Soldiers to Pound on My Door at 4 AM” by Curt Mekemson (Liberia)
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To the Family of Jane Campbell by Gwen Griffin Bates (Nepal)

8 U.S. BIKE TOURS by Stephen Foehr (Ethiopia)

  8 U.S. Bike Tours Historical Routes by Stephen Foehr (Ethiopia 1965-66) Fohr + Son Publisher 12–18 years January 2024 233 pages $6.99 (Kindle); $12.00 (Paperback)   8 U.S. Bike Tours Historical Routes is a travel book, not a guide book.Routes are given historical context so you are knowledgeable about the place. Descriptions of the rides tells miles, altitude gains, revelations, and practical tips. The physical and emotional experiences on the ride is told from a first-hand account. Description of the rides tells miles, altitude gains, revelations, and practical tips.   Tours featured from Lizard Head Cycling Guides trips Colorado/Utah/Arizona Redrock Canyon and Monument Valley Mississippi Natchez Trace Northern New Mexico South Dakota Black Hills/Badlands Utah National Parks Arizona Trail of the Apaches Pennsylvania Bridges and Battlefields New York-Vermont-Montreal    

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Carolyn Mulford (Ethiopia) sums up her long writing career

  Fall, 1949, is scary, but exciting, for farm-girl Gail Albright. When she begins junior high at the nearby town of Craigsburg, she has no idea of the struggles and friendships she will find. She’s the butt of jokes made by class snob Veronica Holt, and Veronica’s stuck-up clique. And they especially make fun of Gail for wearing a feedsack dress her mother made for her. After Gail’s first taste of humiliation, she knows she must find a way to overcome her embarrassment and anger. The only thing harder than putting up with Veronica’s mean teasing is finding the strength to beat her at her own game. With a little help from her friends, Gail might just pull it off.   Why I Wrote THE FEEDSACK DRESS Posted on February 12, 2024 by Carolyn Mulford  . . .     Over more than 30 years, I wrote and rewrote The Feedsack Dress, . . .

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ACROSS THE KENTUCKY COLOR LINE by Lee Durham Stone (Jamaica)

  Across the Kentucky Color Line: Cultural Landscapes of Race from The Lost Cause to Integration by Lee Durham Stone (Jamaica (1979-82) Self Published December 2023 300 pages $7.99 (Kindle); $27.00 (Hardback)   In Beloved, novelist Toni Morrison has her protagonist Sethe say that she thought she was “gonna die in wild onions on the bloody side of the Ohio River.” That violent side of the river was Kentucky, the subject of Across the Kentucky Color Line. This study examines Kentucky’s violent history of racial relations from 1865 to 1970, focusing on Muhlenberg County, its seven contiguous neighbors, and others in the Bluegrass State. The author prefaces the book with his experience of a segregated school trip to see “The Ten Commandments” in 1957. Historical topics include Kentucky’s post-Civil War racial strife, the Jim Crow era, Lost Cause politics, and a detailed examination of a trial and public “legal lynching” in . . .

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FROM MOUNTAINS TO MEDICINE by Erica Elliott (Ecuador)

  From Mountains to Medicine: Scaling the Heights in Search of My Calling Erica M. Elliott, M.D. (Ecuador 1974–1976) Lammastide Publishing January 2024 383 pages $19.95 (paperback), $16.99 (Kindle)   Erica Elliott resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she has a busy medical practice. Erica was born into a large family with a Swiss mother and an American father. Throughout her childhood, Erica moved with her family from one part of the world to another due to her father’s work. She began her schooling in England, graduated from high school in Germany, and then studied art in Florence, Italy, before returning to the States to attend college. The seeds for becoming a medical doctor were first sown when she spent a summer in Switzerland learning from her uncle, an eccentric and brilliant medical doctor. It took many years before those seeds sprouted. Erica came to medicine later than most . . .

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Paul Theroux’s New Book: BURMA SAHIB

Before He Was George Orwell, He Was Eric Blair, Police Officer   Paul Theroux’s (Malawi 1963-65) new novel, “Burma Sahib,” explores the writer’s formative experiences in colonial Myanmar. Reviewer William Boys writes in Sunday’s New York Times, “The late Martin Amis once declared that “novelists tend to go off at 70. … The talent dies before the body.” Theroux is now in his early 80s and this novel is one of his finest, in a long and redoubtable oeuvre. The talent is in remarkable shape.”

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Nicholas — Have you heard of The Peace Corps?

Nicholas Donabet Kristof is an American journalist and political commentator. A winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he is a regular CNN contributor and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. Born in Chicago, Kristof was raised in Yamhill, Oregon, the son of two professors at nearby Portland State University. He published a Commentary this weekend in The New York Times entitled “The Isolationism Antidote” calling on young people to “Study Spanish in Bolivia. Or teach English in South Korea. Or volunteer in Nepal.” Never Once Does He Mention The Peace Corps! Where have you been Nicholas? What do you think we have been doing since 1961? We’re older than you! Read It And Weep The Isolationism Antidote By Nicholas Kristof Opinion Columnist Feb. 10, 2024 Why has the isolationist wing of Congress been blocking aid to Ukraine and become, in effect, a tool for President Vladimir Putin of Russia? Republican politics explain . . .

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Kate Pongonis (Ecuador) shares lessons from the Peace Corps

  March 1 is an historic day in the annals of the Peace Corps. Sixty-three years ago on that date, President John F. Kennedy took a first step toward fulfilling a key campaign pledge when he signed Executive Order 10924, providing for the establishment, functions, and initial financing to launch this new, innovative program.   Kate Pongonis writes — “I was an agricultural extension volunteer in the highlands of Ecuador from 1992 to 1994 where I worked with subsistence farmers on agro-forestry and other soil conservation practices, taught environmental education, created organic demonstration gardens, and supported early childhood nutrition programs.  The Peace Corps taught me the importance of cross-cultural communication, to work in a community to identify and prioritize needs, and to lead by example.  I brought my experiences home to share with United States audiences the importance of understanding and interacting with our foreign neighbors and partners.  This is the . . .

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The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo hosted “Towering Task”

  A lively audience attends showing of documentary film on history of Peace Corps by Alana DeJoseph (Mali)   PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 9, 2024 At the documentary film showing of A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps, Feb. 5, 2024 at UH Hilo, are from left, Charlene Iboshi of the East Hawai‘i Rotary Action Group for Peace, Jon and Julie Countess who are both returned Peace Corp volunteers, Chancellor Bonnie Irwin, film director Alana DeJoseph, film production assistant Isabella DeJoseph, and Joseph and Diane Theroux who are both returned Peace Corps volunteers. (Courtesy photo)   The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo hosted a showing of the documentary film, A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps, on Feb. 5 at the Performing Arts Center. The event was free to the public. The documentary is directed by filmmaker Alana DeJoseph, a former Peace Corp volunteer who attended Monday’s screening. A Q&A . . .

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BURMA SAHIB — A New Novel by Paul Theroux (Malawi)

Burma Sahib: A Novel by Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Mariner Books February 2024 400 pages $14.99 (Kindle); $30.00 (Hardback);  1 Credit (Audio book)   “Paul Theroux has exploited this biographical lacuna with great shrewdness and gusto… his fictional account of Blair’s life there [Burma] is a valid and entirely credible attempt to add flesh to the skeletal facts we have of this time. […]this novel is one of his finest, in a long and redoubtable oeuvre.” —New York Times Book Review From the acclaimed author of The Mosquito Coast and The Bad Angel Brothers comes a riveting new novel exploring one of English literature’s most beloved and controversial figures—George Orwell—and the early years as an officer in colonial Burma that transformed him from Eric Blair, the British Raj policeman, into Orwell the anticolonial writer. At age nineteen, young Eton graduate Eric Blair set sail for India, dreading the assignment ahead. Along with several other . . .

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Theme of Peace Corps Week “Optimism in Action”

Peace Corps Week commemorates March 1, 1961, the day that President John F. Kennedy established the agency. The annual celebration honors how the Peace Corps fosters connections and contributes to meaningful change – in the United States and around the world. Optimism in Action Since 1961, at the invitation of foreign governments, more than 240,000 Americans have served the United States and countries around the globe as Peace Corps Volunteers. There are currently over 2,400 Volunteers working alongside community members in 58 countries addressing the persistent impacts of COVID-19 and climate change, and tackling local development priorities across the Peace Corps’ six programming sectors: Agriculture, Community Economic Development, Education, Environment, Health, and Youth in Development. The theme for this year, “Optimism in Action,” not only celebrates the myriad ways the Peace Corps collaborates with communities to confront formidable challenges but also embodies a steadfast belief in the possibility of positive . . .

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Creating Peace Corps Week

John writes —   With the stroke of a pen, President John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. With his signing of Executive Order 10924, and his subsequent press conference where he outlined his vision of service, Kennedy fulfilled a campaign pledge he made the previous year in an extemporaneous speech at the University of Michigan. Each year in late February and early March, that call to service is renewed in the form of Peace Corps Week. This celebration, with activities both in the United States and at posts all around the world, is a way for current and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to share their service with others. According to former Peace Corps Director  Mark Schneider (1999–2001), it was started as a way, “to shine a spotlight on the agency, the development work of Volunteers around the world, and the continuing service that returned Volunteers bring . . .

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Pocket Stories by Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia)

  Why write stories? A story is the most universal narrative, told by everybody around the world. We all lean forward when somebody says let me tell you about the time when, we wait for the and then, and we watch the story unfold in our mind’s eye. We see him crouched there, hear her voice, feel the stroke of the cat against our leg, hold our breath when the door creaks. Stories are words at their most powerful. Stories make us laugh, cry, sweat, hold our breath, fall in love, and remind us of the infinite ways we are human. Nobody is too young or too old for a story. My stories are short—pocket stories—a title inspired by the Beatrice Schenk de Regniers poem “Keep a Poem in Your Pocket.” I write more stories than poems, but some of them are as short as poems so I post them . . .

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US will resume Peace Corps program in Palau

  Biden administration continues moves to counter growing Chinese influence in the region     WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will resume a long-suspended Peace Corps program in the North Pacific island of Palau as the Biden administration continues moves to counter growing Chinese influence in the region. The Peace Corps said Friday that it would start sending volunteers back to the island in 2025 following an agreement reached between the agency’s director and Palau’s president, whose country is one of the few in the world to have diplomatic relations with Taiwan . “Volunteers will live and work side-by-side with community partners to improve childhood literacy and math and science skills, along with teaching English as a foreign language,” Peace Corps director Carol Spahn said in a statement. Palau’s president, Surangel Whipps, said the return of the Peace Corps reflects the strong relationship between his nation and the United States. He said prior Peace . . .

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“How a Guinea Fowl Led Soldiers to Pound on My Door at 4 AM” by Curt Mekemson (Liberia)

CURT MEKEMSON JANUARY 29, 2024 First the story about the soldiers. I’ve told it before in my book about my Peace Corps experience, The Bush Devil Ate Sam, and on my blog. Because it involved Guinea fowls, it deserves being told again. It was 1967 and I had just returned from my Peace Corps job of teaching history and geography at the nearby Gboveh High School in Gbarnga, Liberia. Much to my surprise — and dismay — I found soldiers standing in our yard pointing guns every which way. It was an ‘Ut-Oh’ moment. Liberian soldiers were scary. “What’s up?” I asked, trying not to sound nervous. You learned early on not to mess with Liberian soldiers. There was a reason why the government refused to issue them bullets. “Your dog ate one of the Superintendent’s Guinea hens,” their sergeant mumbled ominously. The Superintendent of Bong County was the equivalent to . . .

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To the Family of Jane Campbell by Gwen Griffin Bates (Nepal)

  I am sending my sincere condolences to Jane’s family. I was a friend of hers in 1962 when we were both working at the Peace Corps for Pat Kennedy, the Director of the Division of Volunteer Support, in the Washington headquarters. Jane and I joined this office about the same time as it was evolving from scratch. She along with several other very competent and smart young women were the core of the senior staff reporting to Pat. I was brought on as Pat’s secretary sitting just outside his office. It was heady days for all of us since we were often making up the rules and policies for how the office would function as issues and challenges came to us. There were long days and into the night discussions about how to handle a particular volunteer issue and many discussions about how best to support the Peace Corps . . .

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