1
Review: Travel Book by RPCV Starley Talbott
2
Panic at Idlewild As Michelmore Arrives, Part 4
3
Review of Joe Monninger (Upper Volta [now Burkina Faso] 1975-77) ) Hippie Chick
4
Meanwhile, Back In Washington PC/HQ Waits for Marjorie Michelmore, Part 3
5
APCD Murray Frank In The Middle, Part 2
6
NPCA's Green Acres
7
The Infamous Peace Corps Postcard, Part 1
8
Talking With RPCV author Robert Albritton
9
Obama Does It: An RPCV!
10
Capital Hill Chatter About The Peace Corps

Review: Travel Book by RPCV Starley Talbott

Four Corners: The Vineyards and Wineries of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado by Starley Talbott (South Afirca 2001) Plainstar Press March 2009 182 pages $24.95 Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975–77 ) Starley Talbott’s new book Four Corners: The Vineyards and Wineries of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado is a prize for wine lovers and travelers. If you have ever considered a road trip around the Southwest, this is the book to take. After a fascinating introductory history about wine making in the Four Corners region, the author methodically studies thirty-five local wineries, offers beautiful color photographs, local history and valuable interviews. Using Talbott’s guide, one will not only know where wineries (and tasting rooms) are but will already know the proprietor’s names and stories. Armed with that knowledge, a traveler can expect better conversation and maybe a kind gesture. Good listeners (and readers) are always treated . . .

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Panic at Idlewild As Michelmore Arrives, Part 4

Tim Adams arrived at Idlewild Airport to a terminal overwhelmed with press people carrying tape recorders, cameras and microphones. Michelmore and Ware were about to touch down on a BOAC flight and Adams saddled up to a group of reporters and asked innocently, “Who’s coming in?” Adams thought it might be Grace Kelly, then due back in the States. “It’s that Peace Corps girl,” someone said and Tim’s heart dropped. Slipping away from the reporters, Adams pulled out his official government Peace Corps ID and got past the customs officials and when the BOAC flight landed pulled Marjorie and Dick Ware into an empty room. The reporters, however, could see them on the other side of Customs, see Tim frantically telephoning Shriver at the Peace Corps Headquarters. Tim asked what he should do. Shriver told him, “Tim, I don’t want the press talking to Michelmore.” Adams told Shriver that there . . .

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Review of Joe Monninger (Upper Volta [now Burkina Faso] 1975-77) ) Hippie Chick

Hippie Chick by Joseph Monninger ((Upper Volta [now Burkina Faso] 1975-77) and published by FRONT STREET Press in Asheville, North Carolina is reviewed by W Tucker Clark PCV (Nepal 1967-70) When John Coyne said I have a former PCV’s book called Hippie Chick to review, I had visions of having an insight into my 1960’s former life. When it came–as a nice short 156 pages novel–I immediately started reading this tale of Lolly, a 15 year old ‘hippie daughter of a hippie woman,” who loves to sail her Boston Whaler solo in the Florida Keys. On one of these full moon later afternoons, Lolly hits an underwater obstacle and her boat is impaled and the mast breaks. She is knocked unconscious, and like the spat of movies about being shipwrecked, she is alone in the ocean, desperate and afraid of circling sharks. Hippie Chick reads like a true-life survival account, except Lolly has typical . . .

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Meanwhile, Back In Washington PC/HQ Waits for Marjorie Michelmore, Part 3

One of the early staff  of the Peace Corps that I spoke to about the post card incident was Warren Wiggins, then the Associate Director for the Office of Program Development and Operations, and later to be the Deputy Director. Wiggins told me that the staff in 1961 were waiting for something to happen overseas with the Volunteers. Too many young people were overseas, he said, and there “had to be” an incident of some kind. On the afternoon of October 15, 1961, they got their incident when word reached Washington about Marjorie Michelmore and her postcard. Gathering at HQ on that October Sunday afternoon, the senior staff was initially worried about Marjorie’s life, as well as the lives of the other Volunteers. Wiggins also realized that “The Peace Corps could be thrown out at any moment. It could be the domino theory–first we’re kicked out of Nigeria, then out of Ghana, . . .

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APCD Murray Frank In The Middle, Part 2

A couple of Nigeria I Volunteers hitched a ride from the University College of Ibadan to APCD Murray Frank’s home with the news about the postcard. Protests were beginning on campus they told Murray; Volunteers were being ostracized. This was clearly not a training issue, and now Murray Frank was in charge of what to do next. Frank had arrived in Ibadan early in October. While Volunteers were settling into dormitories at the University of Ibadan (then part of the University of London and called University College of Ibadan) to continue the training started at Harvard, he was arranging for Volunteer assignments. This meant Murray would visit a potential location, meet the principal and staff, establish that there was a position for the Volunteer to fill, and check out living conditions. By Friday, October 13, he was just getting started with this work, and also learning who the new Volunteers . . .

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NPCA's Green Acres

I was on a conference call yesterday sponsored by the NPCA and their new Africa Rural Connect (ARC) “experiment” which is, they write, a  “global collaboration. We put our collective thoughts together to assemble the best business plan for agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa.” This project — with website — is being paid for with a $400,000 grant from the Gates Foundation, and is managed for the NPCA by Molly Mattessich (Mali 2002–04) who also runs their website, PeaceCorpsConnect. In on the conference call was RPCV Arlene Mitchell (Niger 1974–76) senior Program Officer in the Agricultural Development Market Access team in the Gates Foundation. She was, more or less, the ‘authority’ on the call. Additionally, there were several other RPCVs on the one hour call who had real life farming experience in Africa, and are with NGOs that work daily with trying to grow food and find water in Africa. The problem for me on . . .

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The Infamous Peace Corps Postcard, Part 1

A number of people have emailed me to ask about my mentioning of the “Marjorie Michelmore Peace Corps Postcard.” What was that, they asked, having never heard of it. Well, here’s the full story, in 10 blogs. Marjorie Michelmore was a twenty-three-year-old magna cum laude graduate of Smith College in 1961 when she became one of the first people to apply to the new Peace Corps. She was an attractive, funny, and smart woman who was selected to go to Nigeria. After seven weeks of training at Harvard, her group flew to Nigeria. There she was to complete the second phase of teacher training at University College at Ibadan, fifty miles north of the capital of Lagos. By all accounts, she was an outstanding Trainee. Then on the evening of October 13, 1961, she wrote a postcard to a boyfriend in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here is what she had to say: Dear . . .

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Talking With RPCV author Robert Albritton

A few weeks ago, Phil Damon (Ethiopia 1963–65) wrote a review of Let Them Eat Junk: How Capitalism Creates Hunger and Obesity by Robert Albritton (Ethiopia 1963–65) for Peace Corps Worldwide. Phil was nice enough to contact Robert again to interview him. Special thanks to both Robert and Phil, two RPCVs who are still doing their best. • Phil Damon: Well, Rob, since this interview is for PeaceCorpsWorldwide.org, maybe we should get this question taken care of right away: how did your Peace Corps experience shape your sensibility in directions that shaped your career and ultimately this admirable book? Robert Albritton: First I want to thank you for writing such a thoughtful review of my book, and for formulating the questions of this interview. There were three formative experiences that had particularly strong influences on my thinking as a young man. First, I studied at UC Berkeley and lived in the International . . .

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Obama Does It: An RPCV!

THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 14, 2009 President Obama Announces Intent to Nominate Aaron Williams as Director of the Peace Corps WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today announced his intent to nominate Aaron Williams to be Director of the Peace Corps. President Obama said, “America was built on a belief that the best progress comes from ordinary citizens working to bring about the change they believe in.  Through a lifetime of service, Aaron Williams has embodied the very best of that American ideal.  I am grateful for his service and honored to nominate him to direct the critical work of the Peace Corps.” The announcement comes as the President prepares to throw out the first pitch at tonight’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game and appear in a video with all five living presidents to spotlight the stories of five of Major League Baseball’s “All-Stars . . .

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Capital Hill Chatter About The Peace Corps

A Washington friend of Babbles dropped us a note with some interesting, and unsubstantiated, gossip:  At a Washington dinner party over the weekend with journalists and Capital Hill staff types,  I heard two bits of gossip which intrigued me.   The first is that the $450 million Peace Corps appropriation may be in trouble because, as one staffer told me, “The director of the Peace Corps hasn’t made a personal visit to Senator Leahy asking for the money.” “Humm,” I replied, “There is no Director of the Peace Corps. Obama hasn’t appointed one yet. I’m not sure the acting director is expected to do that sort of thing.” This stumped my source who said he was just repeating Hill gossip that Leahy was somehow offended.  So never mind all the lofty arguments about Peace Corps needing a larger appropriation, it may come down to ego and a protocol misstep.  The second point has to do with lack of action on the Peace Corps director.  “If you think that is a problem, what about . . .

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