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Five Great Short Stories About the Peace Corps Experience
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Future Peace Corps?
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New Peace Corps Newsletter-Site Not Secure
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RPCV Charles R. Larson, pioneering scholar of African literature, dies at 83 (Nigeria)
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RIVERBLINDNESS IN AFRICA: Taming the Lion’s Stare — Bruce Benton (Guinea)
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FROM ORPHAN TO GREATNESS —How A PCV Helped His Student
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RWANDA AND THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)
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An open letter to all Ethiopia RPCVs from the Peace Corps
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Information for RPCVs Interested in the Virtual Service Program
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Living on the Edge: Paul Theroux (Malawi)

Five Great Short Stories About the Peace Corps Experience

    The Mending Fields by Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76)   I WAS ASSIGNED to the Island of Saint Kit in the West Indies. Once on an inter-island plane, I sat across the aisle from one of my new colleagues, an unfriendly, overserious young woman. She was twenty-four, twenty-five . . . we were all twenty-four, twenty-five. I didn’t know her much or like her. As the plane banked over the island, she pressed against the window, staring down at the landscape. I couldn’t see much of her face, just enough really to recognize an expression of pain. Below us spread an endless manicured lawn, bright green and lush of sugarcane, the island’s main source of income. Each field planted carefully to control erosion. Until that year, Saint Kit’s precious volcanic soil had been bleeding into the sea; somehow they had resolved the problem. The crop was now being . . .

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Future Peace Corps?

FUTURE PEACE CORPS? By Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras, 1975-77) Lately there has been a slew of articles about the Peace Corps and change. Some authors describe rising assaults on volunteers. Others discuss the lack of adequate medical compensation for returning volunteers. For decades, many have criticized the program itself: recruitment, job placement, purpose and bureaucracy. None of them analyze a simple fact: America and Americans are not perceived as they were in 1961. Sixteen years after the end of the Second World War, we were perceived as the Great Liberators. That seems to have changed. Now, we are often seen as the Evil Empire and volunteers as stormtroopers. Today there are no volunteers in the field. This might be an opportune moment to revise the Peace Corps mission. Maybe it should be a simple post-graduate exchange between nations. For example, we send them an architect and they send us an . . .

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New Peace Corps Newsletter-Site Not Secure

The Peace Corps site has a new item:  It is a newsletter with current information about Peace Corps.  I had posted more information about the site, which is not secure.  However, because of an abundance of caution. I have deleted the identifying information. There is a developing story that the State Department has been “hacked” by foreign powers.  Peace Corps is an independent agency within the State Department, but I think it just  prudent to wait and see. We will repost when the site is secure.  

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RPCV Charles R. Larson, pioneering scholar of African literature, dies at 83 (Nigeria)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Marty Burns (Somalia 1963-65)   Charles R. Larson was a pioneering scholar of African literature in the United States. By Emily Langer Washington Post May 26, 2021   By his own account, Charles R. Larson knew almost nothing of Africa — not even where Nigeria was located — when he arrived in the West African nation in 1962 with one of the first cohorts of Peace Corps volunteers. What little knowledge he had came from two books by Nigerian writers that he read in preparation for his experience, Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and “The Palm-Wine Drinkard” by Amos Tutuola. A budding literary scholar, Dr. Larson planned, upon completion of his Peace Corps service, to pursue a doctorate in American literature. But “Nigeria totally altered my worldview, mostly by showing me the failure of my earlier education,” he later recalled. “Not only did I begin reading . . .

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RIVERBLINDNESS IN AFRICA: Taming the Lion’s Stare — Bruce Benton (Guinea)

  Reviews of Riverblindness in Africa: Taming the Lion’s Stare by Bruce Benton   Reviews on Johns Hopkins University Press Website “In this book, Benton combines a huge amount of research with his unique insight into the evolution of riverblindness programs during his career at the World Bank. For those interested in the complexities of managing disease control programs and the need for strong partnerships, this is a must-read.” — David H. Molyneux, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine   “An inspiring and essential contribution to the literature on international development and public health.” — Jean-Louis Sarbib, former Senior Vice President, World Bank   “The authoritative record and historical account of one of the most ambitious and successful parasite control approaches from someone who has been a key part of onchocerciasis control from just about the beginning.” — Gilbert M. Burnham, MD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health   “Comprehensive, detailed, inspiring! Highlights . . .

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FROM ORPHAN TO GREATNESS —How A PCV Helped His Student

  During one of his memorable speeches, President JFK declared, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” This speech marked the beginning of the Peace Corps program in the United States, which in turn led a young American to my small farming village of Agadji in Togo, West Africa. This young American sponsored me into the United States in June of 1989, a fulfillment in itself of my father’s secretly held dream to see one of his children educated in an English-speaking country, better yet in the United States of America. Education has always been very important to my father because he was denied that opportunity due to being an orphan at a very young age. He wished to attend school and become a lawyer or doctor, but instead, he was forced to become a farmer and eventually one of . . .

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RWANDA AND THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS by Steve Kaffen (Russia)

  Rwanda is one of Africa’s smallest and most densely populated countries, and one of its most diverse. Nicknamed “Land of A Thousand Hills,” Rwanda is blanketed with rolling farmland that produces some of Africa’s best coffee and tea. Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas in the higher elevations and golden monkeys down below, while the Nyungwe National Park rainforest contains playful black-and-white colobus monkeys and sources of both the Nile and Congo Rivers. Close encounters with the gorillas and monkeys on treks led by park rangers are among Africa’s exhilarating wildlife experiences. Throughout the country are memorials to the victims of the genocide in spring 1994, during which up to a million residents, largely of the Tutsi ethnic group, were massacred by ethnic Hutu extremists. Offsetting the trauma that still exists is the resilience of Rwanda’s warm and outgoing population. Their desire for stability and solidarity is . . .

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An open letter to all Ethiopia RPCVs from the Peace Corps

  Peace Corps is excited to inform you of an opportunity to engage in virtual service. For the past six months, Peace Corps has been testing the feasibility of virtual service with great success.  To date, 100 Virtual Service Pilot Participants (VSPPs) have engaged in virtual service in 20 countries.  Participants and their Host Country Partners report high levels of accomplishment and satisfaction which has prompted Peace Corps to create more opportunities. The Virtual Service Pilot (VSP) is a distinct opportunity.  Participants in the VSP are not PCVs or PCRVs; rather participants are private citizens who donate their time by engaging virtually to contribute to the mission of the Peace Corps as private citizens while maintaining other commitments such as work or school. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) or Returned Peace Corps Response Volunteer (RPCRV) from Ethiopia you are eligible to be considered for the opportunity to engage remotely . . .

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Information for RPCVs Interested in the Virtual Service Program

The Virtual Service application is specific for each different country.  Peace Corps is sending out the information  only  to RPCVs with current contact information with Peace Corps, who served in the specific country.   Not all countries have Virtual Service programs. RPCVs should check their contact information with Peace Corps or add their contact  information using this link: https://rpcvportal.peacecorps.gov“

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Living on the Edge: Paul Theroux (Malawi)

He went — in the way the Peace Corps rolls the dice of our lives — to Africa as a teacher. “My schoolroom is on the Great Rift, and in this schoolroom there is a line of children, heads shaved liked prisoners, muscles showing through their rags,” he wrote home in 1964. “These children appear in the morning out of the slowly drifting hoops of fog-wisp. It is chilly, almost cold. There is no visibility at six in the morning; only a fierce white-out where earth is the patch of dirt under their bare feet, a platform, and the sky is everything else.” How many of us stood in front of similar classrooms and saw those young faces arriving with the dawn? How many of us could have written the same sentiments — though not the same sentences — home? And how many of us wanted to be the writer . . .

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