Costa Rica

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The Volunteer Who Became America’s Premier Sports Writer — Arnold Hano (Costa Rica)
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Review — THE LAST OF HIS MIND by John Thorndike (El Salvador)
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Review — MY SADDEST PLEASURES by Mark Walker (Guatemala)
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Review — STREETS OF GOLFITO by Jim LaBate (Costa Rica)
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Another RPCV Runs for Congress: Joel Rubin (Costa Rica (1994-96)
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Bob McCord (Costa Rica 1986-88) Poem "NEMO"
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Jennifer Keller (Costa Rica 1985-87)

The Volunteer Who Became America’s Premier Sports Writer — Arnold Hano (Costa Rica)

by Jerry Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • Arnold Hano served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica, 1991-93, after achieving nation-wide recognition for his coverage of the professional baseball sports world as an editor, novelist, biographer and journalist. Both he and his wife Bonnie served as community development volunteers. Arnold earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Long Island University, graduating cum laude in 1941. Shortly after, he became a copy boy for the New York Daily News. He was tasked with providing captions for the photos he brought back from professional baseball games. This afforded the nineteen-year-old, undreamt of opportunities, to chronicle baseball history. Interrupted in these endeavors by the US entry into WW II, he participated in various campaigns in the Aleutian Islands. After his discharge, he returned to New York and a career in book publishing, first as managing editor with Bantam, then as Editor-Chief with Lion Books. In . . .

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Review — THE LAST OF HIS MIND by John Thorndike (El Salvador)

  The Last of His Mind: A Year In The Shadow Of Alzheimer’s by John Thorndike (El Salvador 1966-68) Swallow Press 264 pages $18.82 (paperback), $27.94 (hardcover), $7.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by: D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • This is a moving story of a son’s devotion to his dying father who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. His determination to help his father fulfill his desire to die at home is admirable. Of interest as well is the author’s recounting of the details of how he arranged for others, including his two brothers, to spell him, giving him needed breaks from his around the clock care for his father. Beyond being a memoir of spending his father’s last year caring for him, the book also covers much of the elder Thorndike’s professional life, marriage, and personal life. It also discusses the author’s raising of his son as a single parent. One . . .

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Review — MY SADDEST PLEASURES by Mark Walker (Guatemala)

  My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road: Part of the Yin and Yang of Travel Series by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) Cyberwit.net May 2022 63 pages $15.00 (paperback) Review by: D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • This book is part of the author’s “Yin and Yang of Travel” series of ten essays, which was inspired by Paul Theroux’s (Malawi 1963–65) The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road  Mr. Walker has spent over 50 years traveling in many countries around the world, first as a Peace Corps volunteer, and later as a professional fund raiser for various nonprofit organizations or NGOs. The book is an easy read. Walker writes in a conversational style, and it is only 63 pages. It is primarily a journal of his travels alone, with his family, and leading trips for donors to NGOs he worked for. His travel has . . .

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Review — STREETS OF GOLFITO by Jim LaBate (Costa Rica)

  Streets of Golfito: A Novel by Jim LaBate (Costa Rica 1973-75) Mohawk River Press 252 pages October 2020 $9.99 (Kindle); $19.95 (Paperback Review by James W. Skelton, Jr. (Ethiopia 1970-72) • Jim LaBate has crafted an exceptional Peace Corps novel that takes place in Golfito, Costa Rica, the same town in which he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in the 1970s. One of the main characters is, coincidentally, named Jim, a prospective PCV, who has just arrived in Costa Rica in 1974 to train for his assignment as a Sports Promoter. While attending in-country orientation in San Jose, one of the Peace Corps administrators advises Jim to change his name if he really wants to immerse himself into the culture. The PC official’s reasoning is that Costa Ricans seem to accept the PCVs more readily if they use a name that’s familiar to them. So, Jim adopts the . . .

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Another RPCV Runs for Congress: Joel Rubin (Costa Rica (1994-96)

Joel Rubin, Candidate for Congress & Returned Peace Corps Volunteer October 14, 2015 Dear Peace Corps Community, My name is Joel Rubin and I’m writing you to ask for your support as I make a run for Congress in Maryland’s 8th District.  Like you, I’m an RPCV, and I would be honored to be a champion for both the Peace Corps and international development in the U.S. House of Representatives. The key vote in this race is the Democratic primary on April 26, 2016, and we will be organizing every day until Election Day to win it.  I need your help to do this, through volunteering for, spreading the word about, and donating to my campaign. Like you, I’m a fighter for positive change.  And much of my passion is traced to my experience in the Peace Corps.  It changed my life.  When I went to Costa Rica in 1994 as an Environmental Education . . .

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Bob McCord (Costa Rica 1986-88) Poem "NEMO"

[This poem, “Nemo” by Bob McCord (Costa Rica 1986-88) appeared in April 1990, (Volume 2, Number 2) issue of RPCV Writers. Bob wrote me that the poem was written on Sunday, March 13, 1988 in Liberia de Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Shortly after sending me this poem, Bob took a three month position with the National Marine Fisheries Service as an observer. On the night of March 22, 1990, the boat that he was on capsized in the Bering Sea. He was one of nine men lost. ] NEMO I want to live like Nemo Walk my donkey on knife’s edge Pounded corn cakes, the host of dawn Bear greased hair, sage mane A stone razor, agate eyes I want to live in a cave Breathe the ancestral air Cook fossil pollen for breakfast Chip away my history in rock Gather cold blue, moonless stars I want to dance for rain . . .

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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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