Peru

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Sweet William (Peru) publishes JFK & RFK MADE ME DO IT: 1960–1968
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A Writer Writes — Death at Tinta by Michael J. Beede (Peru)
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24 New books by Peace Corps writers — July & August 2020
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“Fifty Years On: Sicaya 1964 & 2016” by Thea Evensen (Peru)
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New book by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru)
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“The Road Taken” — Hank Fincken (Peru): Fulfilling the Third Goal of the Peace Corps
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A Writer Writes — “Up On The Mountain” by Michael Beede
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Sixth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “A Nice Black Shirt” by Nathan Hecht (Peru)
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Fifth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Where Carbs Mean Friendship” by Lucas Gosdin (Peru)
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“The Peace Corps Radicalized Me” by Thomas Pleasure (Peru)

Sweet William (Peru) publishes JFK & RFK MADE ME DO IT: 1960–1968

  In this fast-paced, fact-packed memoir of The Sixties, a veteran social activist recalls the idealism of the Kennedy Brothers’ push for peace and how it shaped him and others to become peacemakers. With eloquent words the brothers laid out their peace agenda — from JFK’s call in 1960 to join the New Frontier to RFK’s “End the War” Presidential Campaign of 1968.   In June of 1963, JFK’s “Strategy of Peace” speech given in response to the nuclear-war standoff with Russia, motivated a recently graduated UCLA couple to volunteer for the Peace Corps. They were assigned to serve in Peru. This richly informed memoir documents how these two Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs), and others, made a difference in U.S. international relations in ways that money could never buy.  The emotional heart of this book is the emergence of RFK. Following his 1964 election to the U.S. Senate, he visited Peru . . .

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A Writer Writes — Death at Tinta by Michael J. Beede (Peru)

  DEATH AT TINTA By Michael J. Beede (Peru 1963-64) • At dawn on February 4, 1964, my partner Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) and I left our home base in Sicuani, Peru. We were headed for Tinta, 17 miles away, a small nearby town in the Quechua-speaking boondocks three hours south of Cuzco.  It was to be a routine inspection trip to monitor the distribution of USAID food in the rural schools enrolled in the government’s school lunch program.  Nothing out of the ordinary was expected. At the time, Ron and I had the use of a Peace Corps Jeep to visit these rural areas. That morning I was driving our pastel blue Peace Corps Jeep with Ron riding shotgun. We stuck out like a sore thumb, an inviting target for mischief. A fine powder billowed up from the unpaved dirt road filling the cab with a choking cloud of . . .

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24 New books by Peace Corps writers — July & August 2020

  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 now include a one-sentence description — provided by the author — for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order the book and 2) 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 we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. • Mystics and Warriors Michael Ellis Banister (Ethiopia 1972–74) Independent March 2020 179 pages $10.99 (paperback) When Shamsuddin, the “Mage of Malta” encounters five young merchants from Persia, neither he nor the young men have any idea of the conflict their . . .

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“Fifty Years On: Sicaya 1964 & 2016” by Thea Evensen (Peru)

  by Thea Evensen (Peru 1964–66) • YEARS AGO, THE TRAIN to Huancayo ran on a regular schedule, an early morning departure from the Desamparados station near the river behind the Presidential Palace in Lima. It was a twelve-hour trip. From sea level through the rugged Central Andes, the train traveled by switchbacks over a 16,000 ft. pass before descending into the Mantaro Valley. On the way to its final destination, there were stops at Chosica, San Bartolome, Matucana, San Mateo, Casapalca, La Oroya, and Jauja. At each station women and children crowded onto the cars with their baskets, selling sandwiches and fruit to the passengers. It was a slow trip, but breathtaking, a chance to ride one of the highest railroads in the world. Now, the train runs infrequently and most people travel to Huancayo by bus. Transportes Cruz del Sur offers double-decker, first class comfort with wide padded seats, . . .

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New book by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru)

    Between Inca Walls: A Peace Corps Memoir to be published by Evelyn Kohl Latorre   At twenty-one, Evelyn is naïve about life and love. Raised in a small Montana town, she moves at age sixteen with her devout Catholic family to California. There, she is drawn to Latino culture when she works among the migrant workers. During the summer of her junior year in college, Evelyn travels to a small Mexican town to help set up a school and a library — an experience that whets her appetite for a life full of both purpose and adventure. After graduation, Evelyn joins the Peace Corps and is sent to perform community development work in a small mountain town in the Andes of Perú. There, she and her roommate, Marie, search for meaningful projects and adjust to living with few amenities. Over the course of eighteen months, the two young . . .

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“The Road Taken” — Hank Fincken (Peru): Fulfilling the Third Goal of the Peace Corps

      The Road Taken by Hank Fincken (Peru 1970-72) • In June of 1970, I arrived on the coast of Peru a week after the worst earthquake in the country’s modern history.  What a beginning! I saw PCVs at their finest; delivering aid, and I saw the military government at its worst, confiscating supplies — although it took me almost two years to know enough to talk about it. My Peace Corps work was with el Programa National del Arroz. Our goal was to make Peru self-sufficient in rice, no imports necessary. Because rice is a twice-a-day staple, self-sufficiency would provide huge national budget relief.  We succeeded and then we didn’t. To tell that story I would need to know that my readers suffer insomnia. I enjoyed the outdoor work, the people and the irregular adventures. For example, in early December, my Peruvian co-worker and I were sent . . .

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A Writer Writes — “Up On The Mountain” by Michael Beede

    Up On The Mountain by Michael Beede (Peru 1963-65) and (Venezuela 1968-70)   From March of 1963 to February of 1965, my good friend, Ron Arias, and I served as Peace Corps volunteers in the high Sierra town of Sicuani in the Departamento de Cuzco, Peru. I was 20 years old, and Ron was a year older. We had been assigned to the PNAE, Peru’s National School Lunch Program, and we were having the time of our lives. School holidays and vacations provided the time and opportunity to explore in the  Andean Cordillera surrounding Sicuani. There were backcountry regions in those mountains where few foreigners, if any, had ever ventured.  The march of civilization was rapidly changing the environment forever. The time to visit these isolated places while they were still in a relatively untouched  state was fast ebbing away. The opportunity to do so was now. We were young and . . .

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Sixth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “A Nice Black Shirt” by Nathan Hecht (Peru)

  Nathan Hecht (Peru 2012-15) was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the high Andes Mountains near Huaraz, Peru. Nathan worked on projects to promote community environmental management, including reforestation through agroforestry, trash management, environmental education, and, in his third year, climate change adaptation and water quality monitoring with The Mountain Institute. Originally from La Crosse, WI, he is now a graduate student at the University of Minnesota studying sustainable agriculture and diversified farming systems.   • A Nice Black Shirt by Nathan Hecht “I DON’T HAVE a nice, black shirt.” A familiar feeling of anxious uncertainty rose as I realized I didn’t know if Quechua people even wore black to funerals. “White is okay, Natan,” my host mother said kindly, “for the angels.” My mind grasped at thoughts of training on cultural integration, the historical influences of Christianity in Peru, the Spanish word for “condolences,” as I brushed a layer . . .

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Fifth Prize Peace Corps Fund Award: “Where Carbs Mean Friendship” by Lucas Gosdin (Peru)

    Lucas Gosdin (Peru 2013-15) served as a community health volunteer in Peru where he had two host families and lots of friends. He loves to visit them and communicate with them through WhatsApp. Lucas never learned how to make good ceviche, but he can make a lot of delicious dishes you have never heard of. Lucas is a doctoral student studying maternal and child nutrition at Emory University. He also conducts research in Peru.   •   Where Carbs Mean Friendship by Lucas Gosdin EVERY GUEST KNOWS that refusing food might be considered rude. Now imagine being in a place where friendship is measured in food. After hugging me and calling me her new son, the first question my host mother, Teo, asked was, “Qué no te gusta comer?” — what don’t you like to eat? After living in Peru for a few months of training, I knew the connotation . . .

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“The Peace Corps Radicalized Me” by Thomas Pleasure (Peru)

The following article was published on Argonaut Online — the web presence of The Argonaut, a local newspaper for the westside of Los Angeles — on June 1, 2016 under the title “Opinion Power to Speak.” We are delighted to have received permission from the author to repost it here. •   •  The Peace Corps Radicalized Me by Thomas Pleasure (Peru 1964–66)   SINCE FRANK MANKIEWICZ’S DEATH in 2014, activists, historians, cineastes, journalists and spinmeisters had been awaiting publication of his posthumous memoir, So As I Was Saying . . . My Somewhat Eventful Life. I imagine we all felt that Frank — son of “Citizen Kane” writer Herman Mankiewicz, nephew of director Joseph Mankiewicz and a political force of the 1960s and ’70s in his own right — had a special message for us. We were right. Movie buffs will lap up Frank’s tales of growing up in Hollywood and his conversation . . .

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