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LEGACY IN STONE: SYRIA BEFORE WAR by Kevin Bubriski (Nepal)
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Per memo dated in early April 2019, Peace Corps Guatemala apparently would not be impacted by the elimination of US foreign aid
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Peter Hessler’s The Buried Reviewed in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Section (Egypt)
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Who is the Best Known RPCV?…No, you’re wrong(Panama)
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RPCV Leslie Hawke–mother of Ethan Hawke–helps Roma children get an education
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Mayor Pete’s Plan Has No Peace Corps!
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Review — I AM FARANG by Amy McGarry (Thailand)
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Review — THE SHAMAN OF TURTLE VALLEY by Clifford Garstang (Korea)
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John Garamendi’s Statement in Congress on Introduction of the PCRA
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Books Nominated for 2019 Peace Corps Writing Awards

LEGACY IN STONE: SYRIA BEFORE WAR by Kevin Bubriski (Nepal)

    Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from David Arnold (Ethiopia 1964–66) • Legacy in Stone: Syria Before War by Kevin Bubriski (Nepal 1975-78) powerHouse Books 164 pages January 2019 $50.00 (hard cover)   Legacy in Stone: Syria Before War is a collection of 100 black-and-white photographs immortalizing the ancient monuments of Syria. Kevin Bubriski was on assignment in Syria in 2003, during the infancy of the U.S. war in neighboring Iraq. He was photographing the country’s ancient monuments, as well as documenting the daily lives and ordinary human stories of its citizens. Unbeknownst to him, within the decade, a war would break out in Syria, and destroy or damage much of what he had photographed. Until the Syrian civil war in 2010, the Suq in Aleppo was considered to be the longest continuously inhabited place of commerce in the world, existing for well over two millennia. Bubriski photographed the Suq . . .

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Per memo dated in early April 2019, Peace Corps Guatemala apparently would not be impacted by the elimination of US foreign aid

On March 31, 2019, President Trump announced the United States was cutting aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador because of the migrant crisis.  The Peace Corps website only listed Guatemala as a current Peace Corps site in that group. On April 15, I made a FOIA request for: “the documents which describe how this decision will impact existing  and future Peace Corps programs and Volunteers in Guatemala.” The FOIA was assigned 19-0065.  It took an appeal before I finally received a response on June 20th.  The response was an internal memo, most names  appropriately redacted. The memo was in response to a  serving PCV in Guatemala who had made the same request about the impact on Peace Corps Guatamala.  Here is the important statement from that memo, dated, I believe, April 3, from Joel Frushone, Associate Director Office of External Affairs, RPCV Lesotho  1995-97.   “Hello. Our social media team received . . .

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Peter Hessler’s The Buried Reviewed in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Section (Egypt)

Egyptian writer Yasmine El Rashidi, who lives in Cairo, and is the author of several books about Egypt, as well as an editor of the Middle East arts and culture quarterly Bidoun, did a full page review of Peter Hessler’s The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review Section. Yesmine goes beyond Hessler’s book to point out elements of archaeological history of The Buried—from the Arabic al-madfuna—an elevated stretch of desert near Abydos. She also shares her own personal writer struggles of trying to write about Egypt, admitting, “The challenge, in my case, was that everything felt too close—too personal or intimate either to me, or to people I knew.” In summing up her careful–but positive–review of Peter’s book, she admits, “In reading The Buried, which I admit is the kind of book I might have criticized in the past, I find . . .

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Who is the Best Known RPCV?…No, you’re wrong(Panama)

He became famous, in part, by dressing like a PCV, as he was in Panama 1969-70. He created on television “the handy-man-hero aesthetic. The rumpled, but somehow polished workman in a flannel shirt, jeans and work boots.” That uniform has come to be synonymous with home improvement television, with variations worn by current HGTV stars like Jonathan Scott of “Property Brothers” and Chip Gaines of “Fixer Upper.” “He  single-handedly shifted the narrative of an age-old trade,” said Chip Gaines in a long article in The New York Times RealEstate Section of the paper this Sunday, July 7, 2019, entitled This Old House’ Turns 40. Bob Vila was the show’s original host in 1979 and was on the show until 1989. He next had his own show, “At Home with Bob Vila.” Since then he has made periodic cameos on the sitcom “Home Improvement.” The Times article writes that to celebrate . . .

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RPCV Leslie Hawke–mother of Ethan Hawke–helps Roma children get an education

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Alana DeJoseph (Mali 1992–94) Leslie Hawke (Romania 2002-04) was already middle-aged when she arrived in Romania for the first time as a PCV. Thirteen years later she is still there, running a nongovernmental organization she co-founded and continuing the work that earned her an Outstanding Citizen Award from the United States Agency for International Development in 2005. A former editor and publishing executive, and mother of actor Ethan Hawke, Ms. Hawke left everything she knew in New York City to join the Peace Corps, trading a Central Park West apartment and leisurely Sunday brunches for life in Romania. “I joined … to give myself time to think about what I ought to be doing, not really expecting to actually find it in the Peace Corps,” she explains one recent afternoon while sitting in her office in the center of Bucharest, the capital. Around her, many of . . .

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Mayor Pete’s Plan Has No Peace Corps!

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dale Gilles (Liberia 1964-66) Dale writes… “I have just posted the following on the two Peace Corps/Liberia Facebook pages that I follow.  As for your readers, whether blue or red, whether they support Mayor Pete or not …. they surely would like to see the Peace Corps included in this narrative.  Why not get behind this to push Pete to include the Peace Corps?” Strange — and unfortunate — that there is no mention of the Peace Corps in Mayor Pete’s plans for national service. May I respectfully request that you somehow reach out to him — and ask your colleagues to do the same — asking him to backtrack a bit and start including the  Peace Corps when he discusses these plans. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/03/politics/pete-buttigieg-national-service-plan/index.html https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8kreEg7itlw&fbclid=IwAR0SXIifLO-QUIYbbwMr1VkJri5_tL0tj-Ft0nu6EHC-DdMYi_rbUqGI_qY

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Review — I AM FARANG by Amy McGarry (Thailand)

    I Am Farang: Adventures of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand Amy McGarry (Thailand 2003–05) Self-published January 2019 213 pages $14.95 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Jim Skelton (Ethiopia 1970-72) • In the opening paragraph of the Preface to Amy McGarry’s book about her Peace Corps service in Thailand, she declares that As a foreigner [farang in Thai language], I was biased, and for that I apologize. My descriptions of Thai culture should always be read with that “grain of salt.” That statement really caught my attention and made me wonder what kinds of prejudiced revelations could possibly be contained in her tome. What I discovered is that Amy has written a very humorous, painfully honest and deeply insightful view of her service and life in Thailand from 2003 to 2005. She describes what could be characterized as a love/hate relationship with the Thai social culture, despite the . . .

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Review — THE SHAMAN OF TURTLE VALLEY by Clifford Garstang (Korea)

    The Shaman of Turtle Valley by Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976-77) Braddock Avenue Publisher 396 pages May 2019 $18.95 (paperback) Reviewed by Sue Hoyt Aiken (Ethiopia 1962-64) • This novel spans the world from the Great Valley of Virginia beginning with its pre-Revolutionary War settlers all the way to Korea during the conflict known as the Korean War and back again to Virginia in 1996.  Location is everything in this novel and even takes on the role of a character in many ways.  It provides not only scenery vividly described and history essential to the plot but contains ghosts, memories, dreams, spirits, healing, death and life itself.  It is essential to the mysteries of the plot. The story revolves around a young man, Aiken Alexander, as he completes his service in Korea,  whose family lives in Turtle Valley in Virginia and brings home a very young Korean wife who . . .

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John Garamendi’s Statement in Congress on Introduction of the PCRA

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bill Josephson (PC/HQ 1961-66) CR – Garamendi Statement on Introduction of the PCRA 06-25-2019

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Books Nominated for 2019 Peace Corps Writing Awards

To further fulfill its goals to encourage, recognize and promote Peace Corps writers, RPCV Writers & Readers, the newsletter that was the precursor of PeaceCorpsWriters.org and PeaceCorpsWorldwide.org, presented its first annual awards for outstanding writing in 1990. A total of 143 awards have been given since that time. If you have a book published in 2018 that you wish to nominate, please email John Coyne at: jcoyneone@gmail.com The Awards will be announced in August, 2019. The awards are: The Maria Thomas Fiction Award The Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award The Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award The Award for Best Poetry Book The Award for Best Travel Book The Award for Best Photography Book The Award for Best Children’s Book Other Awards Books published in 2018 that have already been nominated are:  Travel Books: The Award for Best Travel Book Why Travel Matters: A Guide to the Life-Changing Effects of Travel . . .

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