1
James H. McAuley (Honduras 1962-64)
2
Jay J. Levy & Sharon Levy (Brazil 1966–68)
3
Mary Jane Manning (Lesotho 1976–78)
4
Letitia [Lettie] Morse Lladoc (Philippines 1964-66)
5
Neil G. Kotler (Ethiopia 1964-66)
6
Robert S. Kenison (Colombia 1963-65)
7
Judith Kelly (Peru 1968-70)
8
Jennifer Keller (Costa Rica 1985-87)
9
Raymond Bud Keith (Panama 1965–67)
10
Steven E. Keenan (Liberia 1963-65)
11
New Film By RPCV Jack Niedenthal (Marshall Island 1981-84)
12
A Final Word On Writing Fiction
13
Rowland Scherman's First Famous Photo
14
Spotted On The Web: What To Do In Iowa City On Peace Corps Day!
15
Helen Hildebrandt (Tunisia 1966–68, Senegal 1973–75)

James H. McAuley (Honduras 1962-64)

Monday, November 21 5:12 pm I AM JAMES H. McAULEY from Cleveland, Ohio. I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 6/62 to 6/65 in LaCeiba, Honduras with the Honduran National Social Welfare Agency. John F. Kennedy gave each of us as citizens of this (great) country and to each Peace Corps Volunteer a gift, his vision that people from around the world could interface with each other in a personal, human way for their mutual betterment. President Kennedy has given us an energetic, vibrant, living vision of hope that people who would dare to risk sharing divergent values and cultures could improve the human condition of all mankind by working to solve social/economic problems through relating to each other as other human beings. A vision of people of one country sharing with people of another country life’s joys and sorrows. A vision that people who stumble through language barriers . . .

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Jay J. Levy & Sharon Levy (Brazil 1966–68)

Monday, November 21 5:36 pm STEPPING OFF THE PLANE in Rio de Janeiro more than 20 years ago as newly trained Peace Corps Volunteers, most of us felt we were going to change things for the poor people of Brazil. After all, we had been trained in basic health skills and community development strategies. The formula for success was simple. All we had to do was make sure everyone boiled their water and sent their kids to school each day. And, of course, we would work to identify community leaders so that they could organize the poor to have a better life. Much, much later we would realize the formula for success was infinitely more complicated – that, in fact, the Brazilians had taught us much more about our own country than we had managed to teach them about overcoming poverty and powerless in theirs. After all, how could they . . .

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Mary Jane Manning (Lesotho 1976–78)

Monday, November 21 4:48 pm LESOTHO HIGH SCHOOL SEEMED to be a closely-knit community from 1976-1978. Girls with girls. Boys with boys. Clustered together in groups. They were happy and smiling mainly because they had each other’s support and friendship. For me they were a unique model of poverty of spirit . . . A distinguished feature of character well removed from the Greedy side of U.S. materialism and a learning experience I returned home with. A great many students, out of the two hundred and thirty assigned to my art classes, were capable & talented. It was exciting to work with them because their progress was remarkable. Toward the end of my two years teaching stay I could discern that some students began to realize their own potential for creating and discovering beauty. They were suddenly liberated from a suppressed feeling of being worthless. Some began to recognize proportion . . .

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Letitia [Lettie] Morse Lladoc (Philippines 1964-66)

Monday, November 21 5:00 pm IMAGINE, President Kennedy has been dead for two years, but it’s amazing how, here on the island of Leyte in the Philippines so many miles away from the United States, you visit barrio homes and there on the wall is President Kennedy’s picture. People here always want to talk about President Kennedy and it’s nice because they talk about him as if he was a close friend. I feel so honored to be part of his Peace Corps. I know years from now I’ll look back at my Peace Corps years as my best years. Jesse and I went walking in the park near the Tacloban capital today. He is becoming very special to me. How am I ever going to leave this place or him. POSTSCRIPT 1988 I didn’t leave Jesse! We’ve been married now for 22 years and have two wonderful children, Billy . . .

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Neil G. Kotler (Ethiopia 1964-66)

Monday, November 21 5:30 pm MAKING A CONTRIBUTION as a teacher in improving the lives of other human being, particularly young people — this was at the core of my Peace Corps experience in Ethiopia. I never felt better employed in my life as I had teaching Ethiopian history, at a time and place where few Ethiopians were studying their own history. The first semester I was asked to teach Greek and Roman history to 11th and 12th grade students. I was puzzled by this assignment. What in the world were my Eritrean students going to learn from the Greeks and Romans? Why weren’t my students studying Ethiopian and Eritrean history? When I proposed to teach Ethiopian history the following semester, the headmaster eyed me with amusement and asked what qualified me to teach national history. Eventually, the headmaster consented, and during the next year and a half I taught, . . .

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Robert S. Kenison (Colombia 1963-65)

Monday, November 21 8:03 pm WHAT THE PEACE CORPS DID for me was to change my life. That’s all. I was a member of Colombia Group XVI, Urban Community Development. We were in training at the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City when President Kennedy was killed. Midway through our training, this wrenching event unsettled us all, but in a real way firmed the resolve to move forward in the host country. In 1963, I had just graduated from law school, an experience which had not done much to chisel an uncompromising New Hampshire political philosophy. Steven Vincent Benet has Daniel Webster describe the state of the nation in traditional Granite State terms: “rock-ribbed, firm, and indivisible.” That kind of stern, individualistic thinking underlay my thinking about political and social problems taking care of themselves through individual effort, just as hard-working tillage will produce fruit and . . .

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Judith Kelly (Peru 1968-70)

Monday, November 21 5:51 pm TWENTY YEARS AGO, in November, 1968, just as the world marked five years without the President who had created the Peace Corps, I met my future spouse, William Kelly, in Peace Corps training in Puerto Rico. Kennedy’s call to serve had brought us together, and bonded us for sixteen years. I want to speak of Bill today because to me he embodies the spirit of the Peace Corps – throughout his life, and right to the end. His final service – as Peace Corps Country Director for Paraguay – ended in a mysterious aircrash high in the Andes of Bolivia on January 1, 1985. He had been en route to Miami to orient a new group of Peace Corps trainees The Peace Corps gave us a great beginning – a two-year “honeymoon” in southern Peru – and we treasured that time through many hectic years. . . .

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Jennifer Keller (Costa Rica 1985-87)

Monday, November 21 5:45 pm 1st WEEK: One day before the day! I’m scared but excited. It’s all over and today we got our passport and ticket. Seems more real now and I feel sort of sad. This will all be so hard. Please write soon so I get mail soon there. 1st WEEK IN TRAINING IN COSTA RICA: I’ll describe a typical day: I wake up at 3:00 am with howling wolves (dogs) outside my window. (Did I tell you I got bit by a dog? I am now receiving rabies shots in the arm, which is really gross.) Then at 5 am the roosters start up. Damn things really do say cockle doodle doo. I can’t believe it. Then at 6:30 am the mother get up and “wakes” me, but I’ve been up for hours. I eat a huge breakfast of rice and beans and go to school . . .

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Raymond Bud Keith (Panama 1965–67)

Raymond Bud Keith (Panama 1965–67) Monday, November 21 4:54 pm LEARNING TO APPRECIATE the United States has become an ongoing residual benefit of the Peace Corps experience. After becoming totally blind at age eleven, I grew up in an urban environment with good sidewalks, good public transportation, and a society that respected the need for me to use a white cane. In Panama safety was always an issue. There were open manholes, drivers who would yell at me because they thought I was trying to hit them with my cane, pedestrians who thought I was an aggressive American because I wouldn’t walk around them on the sidewalk, and a society that didn’t believe that blind people could make it. I taught in a school for blind children where the only real benefit was the salaries paid to the poorly trained teachers and the money squandered by administrators. To live for . . .

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Steven E. Keenan (Liberia 1963-65)

Steven E. Keenan (Liberia 1963-65) Monday, November 21 4:27 pm PAUL, MY ROOMMATE, AND I were sitting outside the house having just finished supper. I had turned on the radio. We were listening to a music program being broadcast over Voice of America. The music suddenly stopped and we were told of the tragedy to President Kennedy. We heard this within 15 minutes of the shooting. I had been thinking how isolated and cut off we were out there, but not after this. The Liberian people were as shocked and saddened as we were. President Kennedy had a connection with the African people, which few Americans could understand. The Principal of the school and numerous Villagers have come by to give us their sympathy and ask us why? Why President Kenney? We have no answer to give them.

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New Film By RPCV Jack Niedenthal (Marshall Island 1981-84)

[Here is a glowing review of Jack Niedenthal’s (Marshall Island 1981-84 ) new film Yokwe Bartowe. The review appears in Film Threat.com.]  “Are you having problems locating a genuinely original, intriguing and entertaining independent film?  Then set your sights on the Marshall Islands.  Yes, that far-flung corner of the Pacific Rim is home to one of the most remarkable little films to fly in under the proverbial radar Yokwe Bartowe, a no-budget/high-imagination fantasy that can sincerely lay claim to being among the most original cinematic endeavors to emerge in quite some time. “Yokwe Bartowe involves the interconnected fates of two siblings: the 20-year-old college student Bartowe and his kid sister Lijiamao.  One fine afternoon, Lijiamao disappears while swimming in a lagoon.  It is assumed that she drowned, even though her body is never recovered, and Bartowe – who was supposed to be watching her – is blamed for her death by their parents.  Poor . . .

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A Final Word On Writing Fiction

This snowy day I have been thumbing through writing magazines and it is amazing the advice you get from second rate writers (like myself!) telling other writers (like you!) how to write. I have been reading about ‘submission strategies for literary journals’ and ‘what makes literary fiction literary?” Most of the advice is predictable (by the way that’s a no-no, writing a predictable story.) The advice goes this way: Know the literary journals; Themed issues are your friend; Play the odds. Etc. Not too useful. One comment stood out, this from Marc Fitten, editor of the Chattahooochee Review. I never heard of the little magazine, nor Marc, but he commented, “A strong, distinctive voice is the first thing I read for. Whammo! Does the voice grab me and make me read the story.” That I agree with. Now whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, a memoir or an academic tome, you can’t . . .

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Rowland Scherman's First Famous Photo

On Monday, I sent around Rowland Scherman’s recollections of his first days with the Peace Corps as the agency’s first photographer. Missing was the famous photo he took at a Congressional Hearing of Shriver and young Bill Moyers. At the time, I believe, Moyers was 26 or 27. Here’s the photo and part of Rowland’s comments: So I showed up the next day [at the Peace Corps] and hung around. The press and the photographers had all disappeared, of course, as there was nothing to photograph or write about as the Peace Corps didn’t really yet exist: there was Shriver and some tables and chairs, and that was it. As luck would have it, the next day her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands showed up unexpectedly and requested to have her photograph made with Sarge. The Office of Public Information was frantic.  There were no photographers anywhere!  “Where’s that kid with the camera?” . . .

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Spotted On The Web: What To Do In Iowa City On Peace Corps Day!

You got to love this. The International Mondays seminar series–sponsored by The University of Iowa International Programs and the Iowa City Public Library–is having this coming Monday, March 1, i.e, Peace Corps Day! A  forum on the Peace Corps that will feature RPCVs. It’s called : Life is Calling: Examining the Peace Corps after 49 Years And at noon, for an hour. They are meeting in Room A, but the  best is that the contact desk is the “Fiction Desk!” The forum is open to the public.Call  Carly Andrews for details. Her email is:  carly-andrews@uiowa.edu  The panelists, all Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, will discuss their specific experiences in the Peace Corps as well as examine the history and politics of the institution and its work around the globe. Panelists: Carly Andrews, facilitator, International Programs Outreach Coordinator Fran Boyken, moderator, RPCV Philippines and UI Peace Corps Campus Representative Rebecca Arnold, RPCV Madagascar . . .

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Helen Hildebrandt (Tunisia 1966–68, Senegal 1973–75)

Monday, November 21 6:18 pm MY NAME IS Helen Hildebrandt. I am from Wheat Ridge and Lakewood, Colorado. I was a kindergarten teacher in Sidi Amor Bou Hadjla, Tunisia and an English teacher in Bizerte, Tunisia from 1966 to 1968, and an English teacher in Ziguinchor, Senegal from 1973 to 1975. I have many vivid memories of my Peace Corps experiences. I can still see the Bizerte children happily playing barefooted at the community water faucet. I remember the frail Tunisian man who carried our two beds on his head all the way across the capital city of Tunis. I recall the 14-year-old Senegalese student who implored me to accept his homework paper in spite of the burnt fringes explaining that his young sister had knocked over the candle while he was studying and he couldn’t spare another sheet of paper. And I reflect on the Senegalese man who walked . . .

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