Guatemala

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THE GUATEMALA READER by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala)
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“Famous People I Have Touched” by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala)
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NEW — WALKING WITH EVARISTO: A MEMOIR OF CELEBRATION AND TRAGEDY IN THE LAND OF THE ACHí MAYA by Christian Nill (Guatemala)
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News on Peace Corps Park in DC from Glenn A. Blumhorst (Guatemala)
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Review | BURMA SAHIB by Paul Theroux (Malawi)
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New books by Peace Corps writers | January — February 2024
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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)

THE GUATEMALA READER by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala)

  The Guatemala Reader: Extraordinary Lives, Amazing Stories by Mark D.  Walker (Guatemala 1971-73 Million Mile Walker 194 pages Ages 16-18 May 2024 $9.99 (Paperback) Mark Walker has studied and written about Guatemala for fifty years, and in this book, he focused on some of the extraordinary people of Guatemala and their amazing stories. Guatemala draws up to 1.8 million tourists per year, whose visits start in the largest city in Central America with brief visits to ancient Mayan ruins and contemporary Maya villages, which provide a partial folkloric understanding of Guatemalan society. Over the years, Mark traveled to places most Guatemalans have never seen. He has used encounters with ordinary Guatemalans, and stories from local Mayan leaders, advocates, writers, and poets to bring a new appreciation and understanding of this country. Maps, graphs, fact sheets, and photos support 19 stories to provide insights into the inner workings of Guatemalan . . .

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“Famous People I Have Touched” by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala)

  by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991–93) First published in Under the Sun • • •   I was ten years old and my sister was eight when our parents took us to the White House Fourth of July picnic in 1977. Jimmy Carter was scheduled to appear on the White House lawn to shake hands with his 300 or so guests — mostly reporters, like my father, and their families. Walter Mondale, the vice president, would also be present. My father, who worked in the Washington bureau of The Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest newspaper, prepped us on what to expect. Guests would line up to shake the president’s hand and a photo would be snapped. The process would be orderly and easy. If orderly and easy were synonyms for chaotic, he was right. In the early evening, the president appeared on the lawn, surrounded by four secret service agents. Some guests rushed toward . . .

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NEW — WALKING WITH EVARISTO: A MEMOIR OF CELEBRATION AND TRAGEDY IN THE LAND OF THE ACHí MAYA by Christian Nill (Guatemala)

  “To do the thing that was necessary — wasn’t that at the heart of our mission? And wasn’t it obvious what we needed to do? Plant trees; teach others to plant trees; save the crops from the inexorable forces of erosion.  . . .  but was that the only task that would be needed of us?”   Walking with Evaristo is a gripping journey — at turns lyrical, occasionally boisterous — venturing deep into the heart of a breathtakingly beautiful country torn by strife. And as the story unfolds, it also becomes a radical exercise in the recovery of personal memory. Nill chronicles three turbulent years working as a Peace Corps volunteer in a deeply traditional Mayan community that fell under the shadow of the sinister forces of oppression. Immersing his readers in the vibrant tapestry of life in a town called Rabinal, the author gradually becomes a witness to Guatemala’s . . .

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News on Peace Corps Park in DC from Glenn A. Blumhorst (Guatemala)

–Glenn Blumhorst Writes This month, we are excited to share a few updates that capture our tireless work to level up everything we are doing and make this project a reality. First, we have released our most comprehensive annual report to date, noting the Peace Corps Foundation’s main accomplishments in 2023 and our progress toward the major milestone of approval on the final designs that will clear the way to break ground. We’ve also published the final inscriptions that will be included in the design proposal to be inscribed on the Park’s benches. And, we are seeking your input as we get the ball rolling on the digital companion that will enhance both the in-person and virtual experience of visiting Peace Corps Park. As for the fundraising campaign, we are nearing the halfway point of our goal thanks to the recent challenge grant from philanthropist Jacqueline Mars and the matching gifts from . . .

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Review | BURMA SAHIB by Paul Theroux (Malawi)

  Burma Sahib by Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) Mariner Books February 2024 400 pages $14.99 (Kindle); $30.00 (Hardback);  1 Credit (Audio book) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971-73)   • • •  Here one of the more prolific, best-known Returned Peace Corps Volunteer authors reimagines one of English literature’s most controversial writers in his early, formative years. Theroux leads us on the journey of Eric Blair, a British Raj officer in Colonial Burma to his transformation to George Orwell, the anti-colonial writer. Blair set sail for India shortly after graduating from the same prestigious private school of Eton whose alumni included Boris Johnson and nineteen other British prime ministers. Despite his young age (19), he would oversee local policemen in Burma and deal with his fellow British’s racial and class politics while trying to learn new languages. His father, a middling official in Britain’s opium trade, had served in India, and . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers | January — February 2024

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 free copy along with a few instructions. P.S. 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 . . .

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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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