TAKING THE PLUNGE INTO ETHIOPIA by William Hershey (Ethiopia)


Peace Corps experience

Taking the Plunge Into Ethiopia: Tales of a Peace Corps Volunteer
by William L. Hershey (Ethiopia 1968-70)
University of Akron Press
September 2023
134 pages
$18.99 (Kindle); $24.95 (Paperback)

William Hershey  served as the only Peace Corps Volunteer in the small Ethiopian town of Dabat. He taught seventh and eighth grade students the English that they would need to continue their educations and brighten their futures.

He became part of the community, eating the local food and doing his best to communicate in Amharic. He also navigated cultural gaffes — having his house stoned by disgruntled students angered at being assigned to clean the outhouses; and nearly sparking international trouble by clashing with a player from a rival school during a heated basketball game.

Decades later as a journalist, he used his once-in-a-lifetime Peace Corps experience to reflect on immigration, global goodwill and the hope the United States should share with the rest of the world.

William Hershey

William Hershey spent more than 40 years reporting on Ohio government and politics at the local, state and national levels. He was the Akron Beacon Journal‘s Washington correspondent and Columbus Bureau Chief for the Beacon Journal and the Dayton Daily News. He was a major contributor to coverage that won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for the Beacon Journal staff for reporting on Sir James Goldsmith’s attempted takeover of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. He is co-author with John C. Green of Mr. Chairman: The Life and Times of Ray C. Bliss.

He holds a B.A. in history from Albion College and a M.S. degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia. A native of Flint, Michigan, he lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife Marcia, also a former PCV in Ethiopia.

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  • It’s a fascinating book and he ties his experiences in Ethiopia to current American experiences. His writing is direct and honest. It’s no wonder that he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize.

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