1
Peace Corps Volunteers donate Korean art collection worth $250,000
2
Peace Corps names UW-Madison its No. 1 volunteer-producing university for 2023
3
RPCV Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia) writes “Why Support Trump”
4
Tom Bayer (Mali) at Creative Associates Intl.
5
IF MY HAIR HAD A VOICE by Dana Marie Miroballi (Uzbekistan)
6
QUESTS by Paul Spencer Sochaczewski (Malaysia)
7
Tony Waters (Thailand) — Editor of Ethnography
8
THE GUATEMALA READER by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala)
9
“Famous People I Have Touched” by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala)
10
President of Armenia receives US Ambassador Kevin Kristina and Carol Spahn
11
BLUE MAGIC ON MUSHROOM ISLAND by David C. Edmonds (Chile)
12
UNDERSTANDING IMPERILED EARTH by Todd J. Braje (Tonga)
13
“Yang Gil-su” by Giles Ryan (Korea)
14
ONCE THERE WAS A FIRE by Stephen Shender (Liberia)
15
First group of 10 Peace Corps Response Volunteers in Nepal

Peace Corps Volunteers donate Korean art collection worth $250,000

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Karl Drobnic (Ethiopia, 1966-68)   An American couple who came to Korea in 1969 to work as Peace Corps volunteers have donated the art they collected during their six years here. The 140 items donated last year were valued at a quarter of a million dollars, they said. At first, their family tried to talk the lively 70-somethings out of giving away such a large amount of their money. “But it’s money we never really had,” Gary Mintier remarked when sharing their story. Gary and his wife Mary Ann had done most of their art shopping in what they referred to as “Mary’s Alley,” an old term for central Seoul’s Insa-dong, which has been known for housing a market selling art and antiques. Most of the art they purchased was priced very cheaply, as Korea was a poor country in those days, and centuries-old . . .

Read More

Peace Corps names UW-Madison its No. 1 volunteer-producing university for 2023

  Community health and teaching by the ocean UW-Madison graduates thrive in Peace Corps BY BEATRICE LAWRENCE JUNE 3, 2024       One recent University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate is in Kenya learning about community-based health care to help pregnant people and young children. Another is in a small Costa Rican mountain community helping students in what she described as, “The hardest job you’ll ever love.” A third is teaching sixth graders in South America near the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. All of these recent graduates joined the Peace Corps, which can be a pretty common path for students leaving UW-Madison. In April, the Peace Corps announced that UW-Madison was its No. 1 volunteer-producing university for 2023. Since President John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 2,700 volunteers have come from UW-Madison. Three of those volunteers joined WPR’s “Wisconsin Today” from across the world to . . .

Read More

RPCV Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia) writes “Why Support Trump”

— First Published on our site in June 2016 The Peace Corps is always accused of being overrun with ‘bleeding heart liberals” since the first days of the agency when Eisenhower declared  the agency was a “juvenile experiment,” and Richard Nixon said it was another form of “draft evasion.”  This was when the Daughters of the American Revolution warned of a “yearly drain” of “brains and brawn”…for the benefit of backward, underdeveloped countries.” However, the following year, Time magazine declared in a cover story that the Peace Corps was “the greatest single success the Kennedy administration had produced.”  Still we had many good Americans who hated the agency. Here in this short piece, Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia 1962-64) wrote for our site back in June 2016. Leo is a good friend and a very good writer. He wrote a wonderful piece about how his father deserted the Italian army during the North African . . .

Read More

Tom Bayer (Mali) at Creative Associates Intl.

  About Creative Associates International Creative Associates International is a social-impact company that works collaboratively to deliver locally led, sustainable solutions to take advantage of development opportunities and to address today’s most pressing challenges.   Drawing on nearly five decades of experience in more than 90 countries, Creative has developed a reputation for technical excellence, innovation and flexibility. Creative has worked extensively in non-permissive environments, giving it the tools and expertise to keep our partners and beneficiaries safe while achieving maximum impact for our clients.  Practice Area Director, Conflict Prevention & Stabilization Tom Bayer (Mali 1984-88) leads Creative’s programming focusing on fragility, conflict prevention and transitioning communities to peace. As part of Creative’s Communities in Transition division, the practice area’s team supports the integration of conflict awareness and sensitivity across Creative’s programs worldwide. The Conflict Prevention & Stabilization practice area currently manages programming in West Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, as well as two indefinite quantity contracts— Programming for Prevention and Peacebuilding (P4P2) and . . .

Read More

IF MY HAIR HAD A VOICE by Dana Marie Miroballi (Uzbekistan)

  If My HAIR had a VOICE (Children’s Book) by Dana Marie Miroballi (Uzbekistan); Patricia Grannum. illustrator May 2024 40 pages $15.58 (Kindle); $16.40 (Hardcover)     “If your hair had a voice, it would sing of diversity and identity. It would tell you stories of our history.” In her debut children’s book, Chicago writer Dana Marie Miroballi tells the story of a young Black girl who learns to love her natural hair — and the rich culture and history that come with it. The book follows a young girl as she embarks on a journey to learn more about her afro-textured hair and its various styles, from braids that are decorated with beads like the Fulani from Western Africa to Bantu knots like the Zulu from Southern Africa. The girl soon discovers that while her hair doesn’t have a voice, she does — and she uses it to share . . .

Read More

QUESTS by Paul Spencer Sochaczewski (Malaysia)

  Quests: Searching for Heroes, Scoundrels, Star-Gazers, and a Mermaid Paul Spencer Sochaczewski (Malaysia 1969-71) Explorer’s Eyes Press May 2024 276 pages $17.95 (Paperback) • • • QUESTS ENRICH OUR LIVES Quests are the backbone of all the great fables. And they are key elements in leading a satisfying and enriching life. This volume of 24 quests — at times audacious, touching, and ridiculous — are some highlights of Paul Spencer Sochaczewski’s purposeful investigative travel. He… seeks out, and meets, a female vampire ghost in Borneo who wants to follow him home is invited on a date by the Mermaid Queen of Java interviews the last elephant hunter of Vietnam travels to meet the humble villager in Laos who captured a precious white elephant that was then hijacked by the country’s First Lady visits the purported “lost Jews” of an isolated Indonesian island meets a homeless Hawaiian-wannabe Chinese emperor conducts the first . . .

Read More

Tony Waters (Thailand) — Editor of Ethnography

  Tony Waters is the chief editor of Ethnography.com. He was at the Sociology department at California State University at Chico where he had been a professor since 1996. In 2016 he  found a new gig at Payap University in northern Thailand where he is on the faculty of the Peace Studies Department. He has also been a guest professor in Germany, and Tanzania. In the past, his main interests have been international development and refugees in Thailand, Tanzania, and California. This reflects a former career in the Peace Corps (Thailand 1980-82), and refugee camps in  Thailand and Tanzania. His books include: Crime and Immigrant Youth (1999), Bureaucratizing the Good Samaritan (2001), The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture: Life Beneath of the Marketplace (2007), When Killing is a Crime (2007), and Schooling, Bureaucracy, and Childhood: Bureaucratizing the Child (2012). His hobby is trying to learn new languages.  

Read More

THE GUATEMALA READER by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala)

  The Guatemala Reader: Extraordinary Lives, Amazing Stories by Mark D.  Walker (Guatemala 1971-73 Million Mile Walker 194 pages Ages 16-18 May 2024 $9.99 (Paperback) Mark Walker has studied and written about Guatemala for fifty years, and in this book, he focused on some of the extraordinary people of Guatemala and their amazing stories. Guatemala draws up to 1.8 million tourists per year, whose visits start in the largest city in Central America with brief visits to ancient Mayan ruins and contemporary Maya villages, which provide a partial folkloric understanding of Guatemalan society. Over the years, Mark traveled to places most Guatemalans have never seen. He has used encounters with ordinary Guatemalans, and stories from local Mayan leaders, advocates, writers, and poets to bring a new appreciation and understanding of this country. Maps, graphs, fact sheets, and photos support 19 stories to provide insights into the inner workings of Guatemalan . . .

Read More

“Famous People I Have Touched” by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala)

  by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991–93) First published in Under the Sun • • •   I was ten years old and my sister was eight when our parents took us to the White House Fourth of July picnic in 1977. Jimmy Carter was scheduled to appear on the White House lawn to shake hands with his 300 or so guests — mostly reporters, like my father, and their families. Walter Mondale, the vice president, would also be present. My father, who worked in the Washington bureau of The Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest newspaper, prepped us on what to expect. Guests would line up to shake the president’s hand and a photo would be snapped. The process would be orderly and easy. If orderly and easy were synonyms for chaotic, he was right. In the early evening, the president appeared on the lawn, surrounded by four secret service agents. Some guests rushed toward . . .

Read More

President of Armenia receives US Ambassador Kevin Kristina and Carol Spahn

Peace Corps — 22 May, 11:38   Welcoming the guests, the President of the Republic highly appreciated the activities of the US Peace Corps in Armenia for nearly three decades. “I am confident that this visit will also have positive results and contribute to expanding Peace Corps initiatives and programs in various fields. Of course, the activities carried out by the Corps in different regions of Armenia, particularly in education, which is a priority field for the Armenian government, are also appreciated. I think you are well aware of our problems and challenges in the education field; in this regard, your support and jointly implemented programs are precious. Are important,” the president said. Expressing gratitude for the reception, the guests noted that they are happy for the opportunity to be represented in Armenia and support the country’s development. During the meeting, issues related to youth education, leadership training, volunteering, and . . .

Read More

BLUE MAGIC ON MUSHROOM ISLAND by David C. Edmonds (Chile)

  by David C. Edmonds (Chile 1963-65) Add Blue Magic on Mushroom Island to the growing list of magical/realism/romance/ action-adventure thrillers in exotic places by David C. Edmonds! The story Adriana Alvarado, an American TV journalist in Nicaragua, is contemplating another romantic evening with the man she met at an US Embassy soiree when her rendezvous is ruined by a close encounter with gunfire and death. Blood is on her hands — literally — and she’s been in Nicaragua long enough to know that witnesses to assassination do not always live to tell their story. The US Embassy is no help. Neither is the embassy man who stole her heart. They want Adriana to cooperate with the dreaded Directorate of State Security. But if she cooperates, they’ll learn about her past and she’ll be in even greater danger. Her only hope for escape is to pretend to chase a story . . .

Read More

UNDERSTANDING IMPERILED EARTH by Todd J. Braje (Tonga)

  Understanding Imperiled Earth by Todd J. Braje (Tonga 1998-20) Smithsonian Books 208 pages April 2024 $17.99 (Kindle); $22.87 (Hardcover)   This book is a unique introduction to how understanding archaeology can support modern-day sustainability efforts, from restoring forested land to developing fire management strategies, and is an essential and hopeful book for climate-conscious readers. The world faces an uncertain future with the rise of climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, overfishing, and other threats. Understanding Imperiled Earth meets this uncertainty head-on, presenting archaeology and history as critical guides to addressing the modern environmental crisis. Anthropologist Todd J. Braje draws connections between deep history and today’s hot-button environmental news stories to reveal how the study of the ancient past can help build a more sustainable future. The book covers a diverse array of interconnected issues, including: how modern humans have altered the natural world conservation work of Indigenous communities extinction of megafauna like dire . . .

Read More

“Yang Gil-su” by Giles Ryan (Korea)

  by Giles Ryan (Korea 1970 – 72)   When you were a Volunteer did you use your own name in country? Or did you have another name? Every Korea PCV had a Korean name based on a long-standing tradition going back hundreds of years to the earliest Italian foreign missionaries in China, and the Korean language teachers in the training programs simply assumed we each needed a name. The story below draws on this experience in Peace Corps/Korea. Years later, I was married in Korea and my in-laws still call me by this name.  • • •  Yang-sŏnsaeng We all receive a name at birth and carry this name through life. True, we may have a nickname, but typically this is only a shortened form of our formal name. But imagine, if you will, acquiring an entirely different name at a later time in life, and in a different language, and . . .

Read More

ONCE THERE WAS A FIRE by Stephen Shender (Liberia)

• • • Nighttime. 1748. Hawai‘i Island (the Big Island). North Kohala. A child is born in a grass house. Outside, a raging storm muffles his first cries. Soldiers hunt for him amid the gale. Their king has ordered his death because a priest has prophesied that the infant will become a “slayer of chiefs.” But he is spirited away to a remote valley before the soldiers can find him. He will become Hawaii’s greatest warrior. When strange, pale visitors come from beyond the horizon, and other Hawaiians mistake their leader for one of their gods — returned to them in fulfillment of a prophecy — he’ll recognize these newcomers are men. He’ll use their guns and steel to defeat a succession of rivals for rule of the Big Island, and then the rest of the island chain, ending centuries of fratricidal warfare, and founding the Kingdom of Hawaii. Today, Hawaiians remember . . .

Read More

First group of 10 Peace Corps Response Volunteers in Nepal

PCVs in the news — Republica | MC     KATHMANDU, May 18: Ten Peace Corps Response Volunteers were sworn in on Friday by Peace Corps Deputy Director David E White Jr, US Ambassador to Nepal Dean R Thompson, and Peace Corps/Nepal Country Director Troy Kofroth to begin their service in Nepal. This marks the first-ever group of Response Volunteers to serve in Nepal. The Peace Corps Response Program enlists US citizens with targeted experience for short-term, high-impact assignments identified by the Government of Nepal, typically lasting nine to twelve months. The new Response Volunteers will focus on three key sectors: promoting rural tourism in Gandaki province, supporting information technology and e-learning initiatives in government schools in Bagmati and Gandaki provinces, and enhancing research activities at agricultural colleges in Gandaki and Lumbini provinces. These Volunteers will work closely with their host organizations and community members on projects that address local . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2022. Peace Corps Worldwide.