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Two Items Of Interest to RPCVs
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To the friends and family of recently evacuated Peace Corps volunteers — Katie Hamlin (Madagascar)
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Chicago Tribune interviewed evacuated PCVs . . . The Miami Herald has published the article
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Peace Corps Volunteer comedy series — “Lost in Moldova”
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Glenn Blumhorst’s letter in the Chicago Tribune
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Ending the Peace Corps program in China is not smart says Lex Rieffel (India)
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The Peace Corps isn’t just bringing home 7,300 volunteers because of the coronavirus. It’s firing them.
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RPCV medical expert Anne Rimoin (Benin) on MSNBC
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Talking with David Jarmul (Nepal, Moldova)
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Peace Corps has a new page with Virus Updates and NPCA has a Plan

Two Items Of Interest to RPCVs

  The current issue of The New Yorker, March 30, 2020, has an article entitled, “Life on Lockdown” Forty-five days of avoiding the coronavirus in China by Peter Hessler (China 1996-98). Peter and his wife with their nine-year-old twin daughters, Ariel and Natasha, went to China in August where his next book will be set. And then came the virus. Two weeks ago Peter wrote about the China PCVs being terminated in his host country for The New Yorker. Peter Hessler joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2000. From 2000 until 2007, he was the magazine’s correspondent in China and, from 2011 to 2016, he was based in Cairo, where he covered the events of the Egyptian Arab Spring. His subjects have included archeology in both China and Egypt, a factory worker in Shenzhen, a garbage collector in Cairo, a small-town druggist in rural Colorado, and Chinese lingerie dealers . . .

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To the friends and family of recently evacuated Peace Corps volunteers — Katie Hamlin (Madagascar)

As seen on the Ethiopia and Eritrea RPCVs Facebook page —      To the friends and family of recently evacuated Peace Corps volunteers by Katie Hamlin (Madagascar) Midwest to Madagascar.blogspot • As most people know, this week Peace Corps worldwide made the difficult decision to evacuate and early COS (close of service) all volunteers around the world. Many of us only had a couple days to say our goodbyes while some didn’t even get the chance at all. The evacuation process isn’t easy and the processing of returning to America so abruptly is even harder. So many feelings and emotions are happening all at once along with the upcoming reverse culture shock. In general reverse culture shock is often the hardest part of people’s services and that is even when they have had time to prepare. This new group of volunteers were abruptly sent home and now we don’t . . .

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Chicago Tribune interviewed evacuated PCVs . . . The Miami Herald has published the article

For the first time, all Peace Corps volunteers are called back home: ‘It feels like a bad heartbreak’ by Grace Wong, CHICAGO TRIBUNE MARCH 22, 2020 04:00 AM Read more at the Miami Hearld website • Chicago On the eve of her one-year anniversary in the Peace Corps, 23-year-old Katie Bassett packed up the last year of her life in the northeastern Isan region of Thailand and prepared for emergency evacuation. Her last two days were filled with tearful goodbyes to teachers and students she had built deep relationships with and to her Peace Corps colleagues. She gave her blender and a three-pound bag of Sour Patch Kids to her neighbors – she had bought the candy during a recent trip home to Bourbonnais and was hoping to save it for a rainy day. Her nail polish, makeup brushes and headbands went to the girl across the street, and her game . . .

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Peace Corps Volunteer comedy series — “Lost in Moldova”

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Beatrice Hogan (Uzbekistan 1992-94) An American in Moldova: a Peace Corps volunteer is the subject of a new comedy series‎ The Calvert Journal Hi, my name is John E. Lewis, and I’m an RPCV from the Moldova III group (1995-97). I am also the creator, writer, and executive producer of the web series “Lost in Moldova”. I wrote the first few episodes while I was getting my MFA in TV and Screenwriting in LA. It’s loosely based on my own Peace Corps experience—as well as the experiences of my fellow volunteers and other RPCVs I’ve spoken to over the years. The story is about a guy named Diego, who joins the Peace Corps in a last-ditch effort to win back his ex-girlfriend. He goes expecting an exotic tropical paradise and ends up…”Lost in Moldova”. Strangely enough, while I was writing it, I ended up . . .

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Glenn Blumhorst’s letter in the Chicago Tribune

  Commentary: Peace Corps evacuated all 7,300 of its volunteers due to coronavirus. They need immediate help. by Glenn Blumhorst in the Chicago Tribune 02/21/20 01:24 PM EST • Imagine, if you can, a scenario in which the Department of Defense saw the need to recall for emergency security purposes the entirety of its service corps in one fell swoop. That’s essentially what happened over the past week, when the U.S. Peace Corps agency made the difficult and unprecedented decision to suspend its programs indefinitely, evacuating all 7,300 volunteers serving in more than 60 countries — including 280 from Illinois — due to the coronavirus outbreak and informing them their service has ended. As the virus spread rapidly worldwide, travel restrictions quickly tightened, risks to the personal health of volunteers rose rapidly and the window to bring America’s “grassroots diplomats” home was closing swiftly. Understandably, the top priority of the agency was . . .

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Ending the Peace Corps program in China is not smart says Lex Rieffel (India)

BY LEX RIEFFEL, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR 02/21/20 01:00 PM EST   Last month, before the corona virus outbreak, the Peace Corps informed the Congress that it would begin terminating its program in China in Sen. Marc Rubio (R-Fla.) applauded the decision, noting that China no longer is a developing country and, echoing the sentiment, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) told reporters: “I’m glad the Peace Corps has finally come to its senses.” I beg to differ. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in India (1965-67) and I’ve done research on what America gains from allocating funds in the federal budget for the Peace Corps. Measured against our country’s long-term national interests, pulling the Peace Corps out of China now looks like a dumb move. Let’s start with a few facts. The Peace Corps was established in 1961 by President Kennedy in the midst of the Cold War with the Soviet Union when the U.S. was competing . . .

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The Peace Corps isn’t just bringing home 7,300 volunteers because of the coronavirus. It’s firing them.

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Arnold Zeitland (Ghana 1961-63)     The Peace Corps isn’t just bringing home 7,300 volunteers because of the coronavirus. It’s firing them.  By Joe Davidson, Columnist Washington Post March 20, 2020 Peace Corps volunteers in Cambodia take an oath at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh in 2007. The 30 English teachers served in Cambodia teaching English and supporting teachers in Cambodian provinces and districts to improve their English language and teaching skills. • Because of the coronavirus, the Peace Corps is doing more than evacuating its 7,300 volunteers from 61 countries. It’s also firing them. In a March 15 open letter to the volunteers, the agency’s director, Jody Olsen, said, “We are acting now to safeguard your well-being and prevent a situation where Volunteers are unable to leave their host countries.” But nowhere in the statement posted on the agency’s website does it tell . . .

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RPCV medical expert Anne Rimoin (Benin) on MSNBC

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64)   Last night on MSNBC Brian Williams had on Anne Rimoin (Benin 1993-95) who is a noted epidemiological. Williams said the daughter of a friend had just been brought home from her Peace Corps country, and Dr. Rimoin said she was confident all this would pass and the Peace Corps would resume its great work. Anne W. Rimoin, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a Professor of Epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Infectious Disease Division of the Geffen School of Medicine. She is an internationally recognized expert on global health, emerging infectious diseases, vaccine preventable diseases and disease surveillance systems in low-resource settings. She is the Director of the Fielding School’s Center for Global and Immigrant Health. Dr. Rimoin’s research, conducted in the some of the most difficult areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has yielded several . . .

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Talking with David Jarmul (Nepal, Moldova)

    Americans approaching retirement can redefine their lives and find new fulfillment by pursuing international adventure and service instead of drifting in their familiar jobs. That’s the message of Not Exactly Retired written by David Jarmul, who served as a PCV in Nepal from 1977 to 1979, where he met his wife, Champa, and at the age of 63 David rejoined the Peace Corps and Champa also became a PCV, and they went to Moldova from 2016 to 2018. A graduate of Brown University and past president of the D.C. Science Writers Association, his previous books are Headline News, Science Views and Plain Talk: Clear Communication for International Development.  David was the head of news and communications at Duke University for many years and held senior communications positions at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Academy of Sciences. He has also worked as an editor for an international development organization, a writer for . . .

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Peace Corps has a new page with Virus Updates and NPCA has a Plan

The evacuating PCVs have many questions. For those of you who may be contacted for information by parents and/or  others, here is the Peace Corps link: https://www.peacecorps.gov/coronavirus/ The National Peace Corps Association has also come forth with a plan. https://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/articles/a-message-from-npca-president-glenn-blumhorst-to-peace-corps-evacuees NPCA Response to COVID-19 and Peace Corps Evacuations Through their personal stories and photos shared on social media over the last few days, an entire Peace Corps community has vicariously lived the shocking reality of 7,000+ serving PCVs evacuating from 60 countries around the world. This traumatic interruption of service is not the way a PCV envisions their service to end – with unfinished projects, unsung farewells, unrung COS bells, and unsaid goodbyes. To the PCV evacuees, my heartfelt sympathy. I share your grief. As you return home, know that there is an empathetic and caring Peace Corps community awaiting you with our collective embrace. We are thousands of returned Peace Corps Volunteers (including many whose service had also been cut short), former staff, host country . . .

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