1
Murray Frank Remembers The Postcard Affair, Part 11
2
Nepal RPCV Wins National Press Club Journalism Award
3
Givens Reviews The Mind Dancing, Poems by Tony Zurlo
4
Bachrach Reviews Ethiopian Novel Cutting For Stone
5
Who Stole Marjorie's Postcard? Part 10
6
Who Is Aaron Williams And What Does He Know About The Peace Corps And International Development?
7
Harris Wofford to Introduce Aaron Williams at Senate Hearing on the next Peace Corps Director
8
The Peace Corps Gets Vaccinated, Part 9
9
What They Wrote About Michelmore in America, Part 8
10
PCV Aubry Brown Shows Them How, Part 7

Murray Frank Remembers The Postcard Affair, Part 11

In the Fall, 1999 issue of the Friends of Nigeria Newsletter, Frank recalls the incident and those early tense days in Ibadan, Nigeria. Murray writes: The Postcard Affair began October 14, 1961. That was the day Peace Corps Nigeria almost came to an end . . . before it started. And I was in the middle of it all. Nigeria I had arrived in Ibadan early in October. Volunteers were settling into dormitories at the University of Ibadan (then a part of the University of London and called University College of Ibadan) where they would continue the training started at Harvard. I was the Western Region Peace Corps Representative. My family and I arrived in September, ahead of any other Regional Representatives and their families. Brent Ashabranner, who left AID to become Nigeria’s first Peace Corps Director, helped us get settled. We had a house in Bodija, a middle-class development between the center of . . .

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Nepal RPCV Wins National Press Club Journalism Award

Marlena Hartz, who served in Nepal, and is a reporter for the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, won this year’s National Press Club’s Dennis Feldman Fellowship for Graduate Studies in Journalism. Marlena Hartz  of Lubbock, Texas, won a $5,000 stipend for graduate school. She is headed to the University of Denver, where she plans to study print and digital journalism. Hartz has previously won awards for stories in competition with much bigger papers. A narrative writer who knows how to tell a good story, she’s found a lot of stories in her small corner of the world. Her articles include the story of a local soldier wounded in Iraq and the revelation that the president of Texas Tech’s medical school spent thousands of dollars of university funds on travel for his wife.  As a Volunteer in Nepal, she said, she met people who she cannot forget and they inspired her to tell stories back home. “The recipe for successful journalism . . .

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Givens Reviews The Mind Dancing, Poems by Tony Zurlo

The Mind Dancing, poems by Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1962-64) with Art and Chinese calligraphy by Vivian Lu was published in 2009 by Plain View Press, Austin, Texas, (80 pages, $14.95) This collection of poems is reviewed here by John Givens (Korea 1967-69)  A problem faces the poet who wishes to write about a culture not his own: how fully should you occupy its experiences and expectations? You can accept the advantages and limitations of being an outsider and describe what you observe objectively; or you can attempt to mimic the stance of an insider in order to generate a “truer” sense of what it feels like to be there. When the culture in question is China’s, with its ancient and well-known poetic forms and traditions, the task becomes like that faced by a translator: phrases characteristic of one language won’t have equivalencies in another. You can try for a literal word-for-word  . . .

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Bachrach Reviews Ethiopian Novel Cutting For Stone

John Coyne recently published an interview with Abraham Verghese, whose first novel, Cutting For Stone, was published this past winter. [http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/verghese/]  A well-regarded author of nonfiction and a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Verghese has a day job as a physician and a professor at Stanford University’s medical school.  Much of Cutting For Stone takes place in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, a rare setting for fiction. Verghese brings the unusual perspective of having been born, raised and educated in Addis, even starting his medical training there. He uses his familiarity with Addis life, but it is a rather precious slice of that life.  Verghese was born to Indian parents who taught in the private schools for the prosperous middle class and above, who lived nicely in a city where the vast majority struggled in poverty.  Verghese’s fictional Addis suggests that he didn’t often venture much beyond the circle of expatriates . . .

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Who Stole Marjorie's Postcard? Part 10

In 1965 Bob Gale, then running the Peace Corps Recruitment Office, traveled out to Ibadan, Nigeria, for a COS Conference. Gale had been a vice president at Carlton College and had developed the famous Peace Corps recruitment blitz [the most famous of all was the first in early October 1963 when teams of recruiters hit college campuses; these were mostly non-RPCVs as the first PCVs were just arriving back in the States. These all-out assaults on college campuses were very successful at recruiting Trainees. These early blitz teams were replaced by ’67 with teams of RPCVs working out of regional offices, and HQ non-PCV staff rarely traveled outside of Washington to recruit Volunteers.] Back in Nigeria, Gale arrived late in Ibadan from Washington and met up with a Nigeria APCD and headed for a local bar where he was the only white man having a drink. Then in walked another . . .

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Who Is Aaron Williams And What Does He Know About The Peace Corps And International Development?

 A lot I’d say. Williams is a Chicago kid. He graduated from Chicago State University in 1967 with a B.S. in Education and Geography. Next he was in the DR as a PCV from 1967-70. When he returned home, he worked for the Peace Corps in Chicago and Washington (1970-71) as the Coordinator of Minority Recruitment, then went to the University of Wisconsin for his MBA in Marketing and International Business, graduating in ’73. He is fluent in Spanish and also speaks French. He worked in Minneapolis with General Mills before beginning a long USAID career with various positions and stationed in Honduras, Haiti, Costa Rica, Barbados and South Africa. In 1998, he went to Baltimore as the Executive Vice President of the International Youth Foundation. He has received the USAID Distinguished Career Service Award in 1998, and the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service in 1992 and 1988 for his government service. A board member of . . .

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Harris Wofford to Introduce Aaron Williams at Senate Hearing on the next Peace Corps Director

Former Senator Harris Wofford, a key architect of the Peace Corps in the days of Sarge Shriver, will introduce Aaron William (Dominican Republic 1967-70) to be the next Director of the Peace Corps this Wednesday afternoon in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The Hearing will be held at 2:30 PM in Room 419. Senator Chris Dodd (Dominican Republic 1966-68) will preside over the Hearing. Wofford, who was the CD in Ethiopia (1962-64), then worked in Peace Corps Washington before becoming the founding president of SUNY Old Westbury. From 1970 to 1978 he was president of Bryn Mawr College. Later Wofford chaired the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, and in 1991 he became the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania since 1962. During most of the Clinton years, Harris headed the Corporation for National Service. An early supporter of President Obama, Wofford campaigned for Obama in Pennsylvania, and introduced Obama . . .

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The Peace Corps Gets Vaccinated, Part 9

In a memorandum to Sargent Shriver–attached to an Evaluation Report on Morocco (1963) done by Ken Love–and written by the legendary early Peace Corps Director of Evaluations, Charlie Peters, Charlie wrote, “Marjorie was as sensitive and as intelligent a Volunteer as we ever had in the Peace Corps.” The lesson that was learned by the Peace Corps was that “even the best young people can be damned silly at times.” According to Gerard T. Rice in the first serious study of the agency and its creation entitled, The Bold Experiment: JFK’s Peace Corps, “The President’s personal support helped the Peace Corps weather its first storm.” Kennedy hand written note to Michaelmore said, “We are strongly behind you and hope you will continue to serve in the Peace Corps.” At the Peace Corps HQ the feeling was that the agency had weathered this early storm. Warren Wiggins would write, “The greatest . . .

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What They Wrote About Michelmore in America, Part 8

Segments of the U.S. Press were all over the postcard incident. The U.S. News and World Report wrote,” From the moment of its inception, despite laudable aims, the Peace Corps was bound to run into trouble.” They condemned the naiveté of the entire concept and claimed, “this is only the first big storm.” Commonweal wrote in an editorial “The problem involved is really bigger than the Peace Corps for it reflects the gap that exists between the wealthy U.S. and most of the rest of the world. Given this fact, incidents like the postcard affair are bound to happen.” Former President Eisenhower added his two cents, saying the “postcard” was evidence of the worthlessness of Kennedy’s new idea However, columnist James Weschsler of the New York Post came to the aid of the Peace Corps and Marjorie. “Nothing in the card was sinister. It contained the instinctive expression of horror . . .

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PCV Aubry Brown Shows Them How, Part 7

Peace Corps Volunteer Aubry Brown, who had had training and experience in non-violence resistance in the late fifties, led the Volunteers, and the Nigerian students, out of this confrontation over the postcard by the end of October, 1961. The Nigerian PCVs were take some meals and sleeping in the dormitories of the University, but they were isolated and shunned by the Nigerian students. Then Aubry Brown told the Nigerian students in his dorm that he would not eat if they would not eat with him. The Nigerians, seeing that Brown wasn’t eating, began to bring dinner trays to his room. Still he refused to eat. Next they invited him to join them at meals. Other Volunteers and Nigerian students began to eat meals together. Slowly, a dialogue began between the students and the Volunteers which was, as Murray recalls, “more valuable than if the incident had not taken place.” Other Nigerians came to . . .

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