Guatemala

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The Volunteer who became a National Presidential Campaign Manager | Timothy Kraft (Guatemala)
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AMERICAN SEASONS by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala)
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School of Nursing Alumnae Robin Page (Guatemala) selected as Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing
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Brian Silverman (Haiti, Guatemala) | Actor, Writer, Director
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Florence Phillips (Guatemala, Jamaica, Kenya) is still volunteering. You can too!
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2023 Winner of Peace Corps Writers’ Award for Best Travel Book
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Dennis McCarty (Guatemala) | THE QUEST TO END HUMAN TRAFFICING
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Glenn A. Blumhorst (Guatemala) writes about his new job
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Review — MY SADDEST PLEASURES by Mark Walker (Guatemala)
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16 New books by Peace Corps writers — May and June, 2022
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Mark Walker (Guatemala) essay wins Bronze in Solas Literary Competition
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Review — IN THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING by Alan Howard
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“Nebaj Notes: Revisiting Peace Corps Guatemala” by Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala)
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Mark Walker (Guatemala) publishes DIFFERENT LATITUDES
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Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-93) In D.C. and Virginia This Week

The Volunteer who became a National Presidential Campaign Manager | Timothy Kraft (Guatemala)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • • • Timothy Kraft graduated from Dartmouth College in 1963, then went on to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala, 1963-65. After graduate studies at Georgetown University, he began a long career of professional involvement in state and federal political campaigns, beginning as Executive Director of the New Mexico Democratic party in 1974. In 1975, he connected with then-Governor Jimmy Carter who came to New Mexico to campaign for the election of a Democratic governor. In 1975, Timothy connected once again with then-Governor Jimmy Carter’s national presidential campaign as its National Field Director and then as its National Field Coordinator. In the Democratic presidential campaign, he worked to solicit contributions from ten Western states so that candidate Carter could qualify for federal matching funds under the Federal Election Campaign Act. After then-president Jimmy Carter won the presidency, he named Timothy as his Appointments . . .

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AMERICAN SEASONS by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala)

  American Seasons by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) Main Street Rag Publisher 228 pages June 2024 $18.95 (Paperback)  (*Buy now at a pre-publication discount of $10.95)   Mark Brazaitis’ third novel and ninth book, American Seasons, will be published as a paperback original in June by Main Street Rag. • • •  American Seasons is about a small college basketball team in the early 1960s, its ambitious coach, his young, idealistic, beautiful wife, the team’s two star players (one black, one white), and the sports editor who hopes to chronicle a championship season. All goes well  . . . until it doesn’t. Past secrets and present tensions threaten to upend the team’s magical season — and explode the lives of everyone connected with it. American Seasons, Brazaitis says, began as a play, “but with all the ambitions I had for it, it would have run nine hours.” In addition to basketball, the novel is about . . .

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School of Nursing Alumnae Robin Page (Guatemala) selected as Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing

In the news —   Founder and director Robin Page (Guatemala 1988-90) is the visionary founder and director of the Program of Excellence for Mothers, Children and Families at Texas A&M. Through partnerships with interdisciplinary leaders, she brings evidence-based care to the most vulnerable. For 30 years, she has provided direct services as a Certified Nurse-Midwife focused on the highest risk populations, including as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. Her research impact is exemplified by her more than two dozen publications and active funding of more than $11 million as principal investigator on extramurally funded grants centered on maternal health equity. For the Texas Research to Policy Collaborative, she wrote sections of a maternal health policy brief distributed to lawmakers who successfully passed postpartum Medicaid expansion. Her leadership in maternal health led to her appointment by the Texas Health Commissioner as the sole Certified Nurse-Midwife on the Texas Maternal . . .

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Brian Silverman (Haiti, Guatemala) | Actor, Writer, Director

  Brian Silverman (Haiti & Guatemala 1991-94) is a Los Angeles actor, writer, director, and former Peace Corps Volunteer. He produced and starred in the independent feature, After We Leave, which premiered at Sci-Fi-London in May 2019 and took home the festival’s prize for Best Feature Film. It went on to win Best Ensemble Cast and Best Cinematography at OtherWorlds in Austin and is currently streaming on Amazon. Currently, he is in post-production on his directorial debut through Three Rivers Films LLC on his original feature script, Two Lives in Pittsburgh, which was filmed as a SAG ULB feature during the summer of 2021 in Pittsburgh, PA. He was a writer, director, and lead actor on West Rosencrantz, a web series comedy. Some of his television credits include guest starring roles on NCIS: Los Angeles, Grimm, Leverage, Cold Case, S.W.A.T., and Ray Donovan. On the LA stage, he has played numerous . . .

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Florence Phillips (Guatemala, Jamaica, Kenya) is still volunteering. You can too!

  Born in New York to Jewish parents who fled Europe before the holocaust, RPCV Florence Phillips knows firsthand what is like to be the child of immigrants who don’t speak English. “My parents could not talk to my teachers; my parents could not help me with homework,” said Phillips. But all of that would change when she joined the Peace Corps. Florence served three tours of duty as a Peace Corps Volunteer in three different countries. 1988 – 1989 PCV Guatemala Organized 12 Mayan Indian women in a small village and assisted them in forming a cooperative weaving business. Established local and tourist markets for their products. 1990 – 1992 PCV Jamaica Small Enterprise Development and Business Advisor. Secondary projects established included teaching remedial reading and tutoring at primary school level; organized sport activities; taught adult literacy. 1997 – 1999 PCV Kenya Small Enterprise Development and Business Advisor. Taught . . .

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2023 Winner of Peace Corps Writers’ Award for Best Travel Book

My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road: Part of the Yin and Yang of Travel Series Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73)   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 been mostly off the beaten path rather than to popular tourist destinations. It is apparent he has learned . . .

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Dennis McCarty (Guatemala) | THE QUEST TO END HUMAN TRAFFICING

  by Academic Minute  07/11/2023  Human trafficking is not just fought in the shadows. Dennis McCarty, Ph.D. (Guatemala 1973-75),  a lecturer at the University at Albany says we all have a role to play. He worked for several criminal justice agencies before retiring as an Assistant Director at what was initially known as the New York State Office of Homeland Security. Professional honors include a Gubernatorial commendation for developing and coordinating the NYS Law Enforcement Counter-Terrorism Training Program following the attacks of 9/11. His volunteer work includes service with the Peace Corps in Guatemala, assisting residents of a shelter for domestic violence survivors, and helping vulnerable youths living on the streets of New York City. Academic honors include several teaching awards and the 2021 UAlbany Terra Award for helping the university earn national recognition as a Fair-Trade institution. The Quest to End Human Trafficking People often assume that only legislators and law . . .

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Glenn A. Blumhorst (Guatemala) writes about his new job

  November 9, 2022 Dear Friends, Sargent Shriver urged us to “Serve, serve, serve! For in the end, it will be the servants that save us all.” It is fitting that today – Shriver’s birthday – I continue my service to the Peace Corps community in my new role as the lead fundraiser for the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation (PCCF). I am grateful for the warm welcome extended by Tony Barclay and the PCCF Board of Directors as we embark on an $8 million capital campaign to underwrite the design and construction of a commemorative work on the National Mall that honors the creation of the Peace Corps in 1961 and those aspects of the American character exemplified by Peace Corps service. Peace Corps Park will forever be a place in which to gather and reflect; to be inspired by the Commemorative’s meanings and messages; and to share in programmed activities embodying . . .

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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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16 New books by Peace Corps writers — May and June, 2022

  To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com — CLICK on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance from your purchase that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. We include a brief description for each of the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  to order a book and/or  to VOLUNTEER TO REVIEW IT.  See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? Send a note to Marian at marian@haleybeil.com, and she will send you a copy along with a few instructions. In addition to the books listed below, I have on my shelf a number of other books whose authors would love for you to review. Go to Books Available for Review to see what is on that shelf. Please, please join in our Third Goal . . .

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Mark Walker (Guatemala) essay wins Bronze in Solas Literary Competition

Mark Walker’s (Guatemala 1971-73) review of “Tschiffley’s Epic Equestrian Ride: Over the Andes Through Guatemala to Washington D.C.” (Part of the Yin and Yang of Travel Series), in Revue Magazine, April, 2021, received a Bronze in the Solas Literary Competition for “Best Travel Writing” in the Travel Adventure category. The winning review includes stories from his Peace Corps experience in Guatemala. He looked at the complete winners list and didn’t recognize any RPCVs, but remembers that Paul Theroux was the editor for one of Review Magazine’s annual “Best Travel Series.” Last year one of Mark’s essays received an Honorable mention in the competition. According to Mark, his review of “Letters of the Peace Corps in Honduras” by R. Scott Berg received many positive responses.  

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Review — IN THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING by Alan Howard

  In the Land of Eternal Spring by Alan Howard Harvard Square Editions June 2017 305 pages $22.95 (paperback) Reviewed by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala, 1991-93) • If Ernest Hemingway had written a novel about the Guatemalan civil war — or la violencia, as it’s sometimes called — it might well have looked like In the Land of Eternal Spring. Alan Howard’s debut novel features an idealistic hero with a fondness for the ladies, Peter Franklin, and an alluring, brave, but dangerously naïve heroine, Laura Jenson. If you close your eyes slightly as you’re reading Howard’s book, you might think you’ve been transported to the Spain of the 1930s and into Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. Robert Jordan, meet Peter Franklin — you’re soul brothers. Howard’s prose, sometimes effectively functional, often quietly poetic, is reminiscent of Hemingway’s. So, too, is his melancholic tone. This is all a compliment. Howard’s novel . . .

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“Nebaj Notes: Revisiting Peace Corps Guatemala” by Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala)

  Nebaj Notes: Revisiting Peace Corps Guatemala Taylor Dibbert (Guatemala 2006–08) — freelance writer • I RECENTLY DID ONE OF THOSE “security clearance” interviews. A friend of mine listed me as a reference; he had applied for a job with a certain U.S. government agency. I’d never done an interview like this. Minutes into the conversation, I’m reminded that I know a lot about this guy (the person whose background is being ‘checked’), which really shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’ve known this person since 2006; we lived in the same rural town in Guatemala – Nebaj – for two years. We were Peace Corps volunteers. The Peace Corps is an awesome journey. Yet it’s not something that one does alone. Lasting friendships are cultivated during those highs and lows. And some of the strongest relationships are formed in one’s “site.” In our case, rather uniquely, one of the members of our Nebaj . . .

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Mark Walker (Guatemala) publishes DIFFERENT LATITUDES

  SUMMER, 1971. A naïve young man must decide his path upon graduation from a small university in Colorado. Amidst the turmoil of the counterculture years and the looming possibility of being sent to Vietnam, he concludes that he wants to travel, serve, and, if possible, save the world. As a Peace Corps Volunteer Mark embarks on a vigorous cross cultural experience in a Caribbean and two Central American countries, with a final stop in one of the more isolated areas of the highlands of Guatemala. Though beset with a fear of the unknown and feelings of profound isolation due to being the only Volunteer in a remote village, he eventually gets to know and appreciate the people of the rural communities he is privileged to live among. After a near-death experience takes him to another part of Guatemala and eventually to a horse town, Mark meets the love of . . .

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Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-93) In D.C. and Virginia This Week

Tuesday, Sept 15Thomas Balch Library, Reading/Discussion Subject: In addition to reading from Landfall, Ellen will be discussing her recent travels to New Orleans on the 10th anniversary of Katrina. Location: 208 W Market St, Leesburg, VA 20176 Time: 7 pm Wednesday, Sept 16Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe Reading/Discussion Subject: Listen to a bit of Landfall, talk about storms both public and personal, and then join Ellen for drinks afterwards at …. (you guessed it) … Afterwords Cafe. Location: 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20036, just above DuPont Circle (Q Street Metro exit) Time: 6:30 pm

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