The Barrios of Manta by Earl & Rhoda Brooks (Ecuador 1962-64) Now an ebook

In February 1962, Earle and Rhoda Brooks (Ecuador 1962-64) left home in Illinois to become PCVs in  Manta, Ecuador. Their book  Thebomfinalsmall2 Barrios of Manta: A Personal Account of the Peace Corps in Ecuador was published by New American Library in 1965. It was one of the first two books written by Peace Corps Volunteers. The other was To The Peace Corps, With Love by Arnold Zeitlin (Ghana 1961-62) published by Doubleday also in 1965.

Earle and Rhoda begin their story with their decision to enlist as PCVs. They were assigned to a community development project in Manta, a fishing village on the coast of Ecuador.

The jacket of their first edition (a photo of Rhoda embracing an Ecuadorian woman,) was on the cover of National Geographic Magazine in September, 1964 (Vol. 126, No. 3). That issue featured the Peace Corps, Sarge Shriver, Earle and Rhoda Brooks, as well as PCVs in Bolivia, Tanganyika (as it was known then) Gabon, Turkey, and Sarawak.

In 2012, on the 50th anniversary of the agency, and fifty years after their decision to join the Peace Corps, Rhoda Brooks has created a new Foreword and Afterword to her book to highlight the intervening years during which she and her husband adopted two Ecuadorian youngsters, ages 2 and 4, and brought them home to Minnesota. She tells of the growing up years of Carmen and Koki (Ricardo) in a suburban community west of Minneapolis, the birth of their biological son and the adoption of a mixed race daughter three years later.

Brooks explores the challenges and opportunities presented in the raising of their bi-racial family, the pain and sorrow of the untimely deaths of her husband Earle and their daughter, Josie, as well as the excitement and apprehension generated by the return to Manta for a visit when the children were in their teens. Brooks continues the Afterword with the return to Manta of her five Ecuadorian grandchildren who, then in their teens, went to explore their roots and meet their own biological grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. She concludes the final part of her story with an update into the lives of her seven grandchildren and the arrival of new great grandson. And she has republished her story, and her years with Earle in Ecuador in the early Sixties as an ebook. It is available at:

Congratulations, Rhoda.


Leave a comment
  • For years now I have had this National Geographic issue by my bedside for some reason(along with other older editions). I am happy to hear that Ms. Rhoda is well and wrote a book about Manta and then recently followed it up. My wife- who is from El Salvador- and I were very curious as to what happened to Rhoda Brooks , her husband and children from Manta. I will order this book. God bless her.

  • my husband, Milton Thomson, served in Peace Corp in Riobamba, Ecuador at the same time as the Brooks

  • Glenn & Patricia Tewksbury
    August 31, 2021
    We served as a married couple along with two other married couples in Ecuador with Earl & Rhoda Brooks. Back in 1962 very few married couples served in the Peace Corps. Unfortunately we have lost track of the other Ecuador I volunteers.

    • Not sure if I have the right person by the peace Corp rent a shop in my grandmothers house in Manta my name is Xavier Chavez

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