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The Ethnic Hoosier
Published by the Nationalities Council of Indiana
Its back! The International Festival: November 3-5 at the State Fairgrounds! We -- the immigrants, students, visitors or born and bred Hoosiers with interest in different cultures right here in our community and around the world -- have been busy preparing great entertainment, food and authentic cultural experiences for you, our friends and neighbors.
year our theme is Tradition and Innovation, as a program partner of the Spirit and Place Festival. International Festival participants experience the timeless dance between tradition and innovation in their native cultures, in their lives as immigrants, visitors, foreign students and now as residents of the U.S. -- and all of us are challenged by it.
As we move ahead in the
21st Century such strains on individuals and cultures may be intensifying. Accelerating advance of science and technology, exploding world population, globalization, world trade, unprecedented movement of capital and peoples around the world, increasing power and reach of weapons, instant communications world wide, resource and ecology issues, even new understandings of the meaning of life and our world view imply one thing: tradition, innovation and change will occupy our minds and our agendas in the years to come!
We hope you will come to see this timeless dance reflected in the International Festival!
Did you know
The Indiana Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers was formed in June? For information, contact Marna Renteria, chapter president, 260:428-3755.
A letter of intent has been signed to formalize the long-term collaboration between National Taiwan University and Purdue University? The two institutions will exchange students and faculty and assist each other in training agricultural researchers and officers.
In May, a trade delegation from Taiwan visited Indiana and were served wines from Easely Winery in Indianapolis and Oliver Winery near Bloomington. Wines from both of the companies are now being sold at Allen Wine and Spirits in Taipei.
Novembers International Calendar for Indy
NOTE: following are excerpts from the extensive website calendar. For complete information, please go to: http://nationalitiescouncil.org/calendar.html.
1: Celebration of Native American Indian Month. Rotunda, Indiana Statehouse, Indpls.
1: "The Great Escape: Nine Hungarians Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World" presentation by Kati Marton (Part of the Ann Katz Festival of Books). Jewish C. Center.
2: "At Face Value: Asian Immigrants in the Midwest". Noon. Indiana History Center.
3: "The Economics Impact of AIDS Treatment: Labor Supply in Western Kenya," presentation by Dr. Markus Goldstein of the World Bank. 10:30 a.m.-noon. IUPUI.
3: "Mombasa Party and the Royal Drummers of Burundi." 8 p.m. $30. Clowes Hall.
3-5: "Tradition and Innovation: 30th Anniversary Celebration of the International Festival, Exposition Hall, Indiana State
Fairgrounds, 1200 East 38th Street, Indianapolis. Featuring the San Jose Taiko Drummers. Info: http://indyinternationalfestival.org.
4-5: Special notice: From noon until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, a shuttle bus will run between the International Festival and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
4: "(German-style) St. Martin's Day Celebration." 5-8 p.m. Athenaeum, Indianapolis.
4: "Diwali 2006." Murat Center, Indpls. Sponsored by India Association of Indianapolis.
5: "Reopening of Asian Art Galleries." 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Indianapolis Museum of Art.
6: "Globalization and the American Challenge, a presentation by Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.)." 9:30 a.m. IT152, Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.
7: "Found in Translation: A Western Journalist Sees His World through Asian Eyes," presentation by John Northcott. 7 p.m. Marian College, 3200 Cold Springs Rd, Indpls.
8: "Native American Commission Meeting." 1-3 p.m. Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis.
8: Regular meeting, Indiana German Heritage Society. 6:30 p.m. Stammtisch (no-host dinner) followed by 7:30 p.m. program. Athenaeum, 401 East Michigan St., Indpls.
9: "Everyday Finances for International Families." Orchard Park Presbyterian Church.
10: "Celebration of Native American Indian Month." Indiana State Museum, Indpls.
11: "Shalom Ireland" (part of Ann Katz Festival of Books). 7:30 p.m. Jewish Comm.Ctr.
11: "Annual Meeting and Elections." Polish Cultural Society of Indiana.
11: "Night in Vienna". German-American Klub, 8602 S. Meridian Street, Indianapolis.
13: Nationalities Council of Indiana meeting. 7 p.m. Max Kade Room, Athenaeum, 401 E Michigan St, Indpls. All are welcome! Info: president@....
15: "One Voice, Many Voices: The Holocaust and Remembrances of my Mother and my German-Jewish Childhood," presentation by Dr. John Neumaier. Jewish Comm. Center. 15: Opening of play, "I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me By a Young Lady from Rwanda". Indiana Repertory Theater, 140 W Washington St, Indpls.
16-17: High School Model United Nations." Indiana Univ Southeast, New Albany.
17: "Immigration in Indiana: Real Life Diversity." 8:30 a.m.-noon. Library, IUPUI.
18: "La Independencia de Cartagena Dinner Dance." By Sociedad Amigos de Colombia.
18-19: "(German-style) Christkindl Markt." Downtown Ferdinand.
Do you have an item for the next issue of The Ethnic Hoosier?
We have the perfect Group for you. Check out the handy changes to Yahoo! Groups.
I hope that you will be able to attend the panel on immigration on
November 17th at the IUPUI University Library Lilly Auditorium, 8:30
a.m.-noon. Our panel will address the diverse concerns and solutions
and will offer the most up-to-date academic and real-life
considerations. There will be 2 question and discussion sections and
I know that we have many valid concerns and insightful questions to
The program can be found at http://www.iupui.edu/%7Eicic/Immigration%
A nationally recognized center for language research and language
training, the Indiana Center for Intercultural Communication (ICIC)
is a center in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. ICIC was
created in 1998 to enhance links between the city of Indianapolis,
the state of Indiana, and cultures/nations throughout the world.
ICIC strives for excellence in language and intercultural training
in academic, professional and other occupational contexts.
As part of ICIC's mission to promote and share research that
improves intercultural communication, we have partnered with the
International Center of Indianapolis to present "Immigration in
Indiana: Real Life Diversity." This panel's goal is to inform
central Indiana about the diversity of immigrant Hoosiers and their
contributions to our state. Presentations will focus on immigration-
related issues that affect the community: economic impact; immigrant
business ownership; language, culture, and education issues;
immigration laws; and services available to immigrants. The panel
will conclude with life stories that we hope will put a human face
on the issue of immigration and show how immigrants make a positive
contribution to the state of Indiana.
If you will attend this FREE event let me know by November 13th at
alscampb@... or 274-2555.
Peace Corps Panamá, 1998-2000
I applied to the Peace Corps last March, and everything was going
smoothly until I recently found out that I have been medically
deferred, until I have a small medical procedure done. The Peace
Corps stated that I then would not be eligible for service for at
least 4 months after that. I am very concerned that I will not be
able to serve at all, and am not quite sure how serious a medical
deferment is. Has anyone else had an experience like this before?
On a side note, I really enjoy the message boards - they have a wealth
of information - thanks!
Please email me ASAP and let me know if you are an NPCA member. Give
me your name, address, telephone, email, country of service, years of
This is in order to apply (once again) to be an affiliate group with the
Thank so much,
My schedule has finally lightened up and now that I
have a little free time I'm looking for a Spanish
tutor/conversation partner. I'm willing to pay for
lessons/conversation. If you are interested or know
someone who would be interested please let me know. I
Yahoo! Music Unlimited
Access over 1 million songs.
Dear RPCV Group,
My name is Jill Jones and I am a RPCV from Moldova. I served as a TEFL volunteer from 2004-2006. I returned stateside about 5 weeks ago and I'm currently trying to readjust to life as I once knew it. I'm sure you know all too well how challenging it can be.
Fortunately, I did find a job in a field of interest to me. I am working for International Cultural Exchange Services (ICES), a nonprofit organization that places international exchange students in American homes and communities. Students are high school age, from countries in Europe, South America and Asia. They typically stay in America for an Academic Year (ten months) or an Academic Semester (five months).
My position with the organization is as a Field Manager, serving as a liaison between ICES Local Area Representatives and the ICES National Office. I am currently seeking interested, qualified individuals to serve as Local Area Representatives in the state of Indiana. Area Representatives contact local schools to determine if there is an interest in receiving an exchange student, locate host families for the students, provide guidance and assistance with the actual placement of the child, and supervise and support both the students and the host families throughout the duration of the placement. This is not a full time job, but serves only as an income supplement. Therefore, a person working full time could easily serve as an Area Representative without interfering with their regular job.
Seeing as we all know the importance of a valuable, caring host family and that we've all benefited from the kindness of a host country national somewhere, I am hopeful that you will be interested in assisting. If you would like to receive more information about this position or the organization, please respond via email or contact me toll free at 888-793-6283. We are always seeking potential host families, so contact me with such an interest as well. Feel free to forward this on to anyone else who might be interested.
Thank you for your consideration and I hope to hear from you soon.
All the best,
RPCV Moldova 04-06
Hi, I'm new to the group and am looking forward to learning more about
all of your PCV and RPCV lives (I think job tips will be in order!)
I am a current PCV in Senegal West Africa in the Small Business
Development sector. I'd love to hear particularly about
revenue-generating projects you may have been involved with as a
I am also curious to know if there is any grant/scholarship program
administered by the CIRPCA. We were recently notified of one by the
Chicago Area PCA and I thought it might have been a widespread
initiative? I haven't seen all of the details, but I think it was a
plan application for small scale funding of PCV-led or PCV-supported
Thanks very much!
Potato dumplings with sheep cheese and even better, fried cheese with
--- In CIRPCA@yahoogroups.com, Jay Cevelo <jaysweep@...> wrote:
> david gaus <david_gaus@...> wrote: Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006
08:21:41 -0800 (PST)
> From: david gaus <david_gaus@...>
> Subject: Food
> To: Jay <jaysweep@...>
> Rice and goat meat. I also remember a nice curry once at a school
party. Ever since that, I've been willing to pay, a sometimes upscale
price, for curry powder at the groceries back home.
> Best Regards,
> Jay <jaysweep@...> wrote:
> What food do you remember eating at your host country?
> Check out the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta - Fire up a more powerful
email and get things done faster.
> Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
Volume 3, Issue 11
*The NPCA Shop at CaféPress.com Is Open for Business*
Just in time for the holidays...NPCA has opened a "shop" at
CaféPress.com featuring a selection of Peace Corps-related apparel and
merchandise. Let the world know what an "RPCV" is or pass the Peace
Corps message on to the next generation with one of our very cute baby
onesies or kid t-shirts.
Every purchase you make supports the NPCA's advocacy, global education
and Peace Corps community building efforts. This is our maiden voyage
with CaféPress and a "work in progress." So if there is merchandise or
are messages you'd like to see in the future, let our News Director
*And the Winner is...
Update on GlobalGiving.com Challenge Grant*
Last month NPCA and GlobalGiving.com announced a challenge grant in
conjunction with our pilot program, RPCVs Project!
. Any of the three
featured RPCVs Project! projects that generated 100 or more donations by
December 15, 2006 would receive $5,000 in funding. Well...drum roll
please... both Friends of Burkina Faso and the High Atlas Foundation met
those goals. Congratulations!
Visit NPCA's page at GlobalGiving.com
to learn how RPCVs
Project! uses the power of the Internet to help our community promote
high-impact, grassroots projects around the world--projects with direct
links to RPCVs and NPCA members. Consider making a contribution in honor
of someone on your holiday list. Spread the word.
If this NPCA
initiative is successful, we hope to make this available to more groups.
*RPCVs Hold Peace Corps Reunions In-Country*
Put three former Peace Corps volunteers or Peace Corps staff members
together anywhere and you have an instant reunion. Some country of
service groups, however, are doing things on a grander scale to mark 40
years of Peace Corps.
In October close to 100 former volunteers, non-returned volunteers as
well as teachers and staff came together in Korea for several days of
events. Peace Corps/Korea officially ended in 1981, but it's still not
unusual to meet Koreans from all walks of life--from taxi drivers to
diplomats--who vividly recall their first encounters with PCVs as middle
school English teachers in the late 1960s. Click here
to hear more about this fabulous reunion.
reunions are slated for Dominican Republic in February and
Thailand in March, so look for more reunion stories in coming
*"Peace Corps Entrepreneurs on the Edge" Set to Launch Next Month*
Several months ago we put out a call for nominations of Peace Corps
alumni who are "social entrepreneurs."
We're pleased to report that our collaboration with Social Edge
, a project of the Skoll Foundation, to
produce 50 brief podcast profiles of Peace Corps social entrepreneurs is
moving along nicely. The new Social Edge website, featuring the
podcasts, will launch on January 19. To date, seven interviews have been
completed with RPCVs such as Dave Schweidenback (founder of Pedals for
Progress), Jerr Boschee (founder of the Institute for Social
Entrepreneurs) and Pat Christen (President of HopeLab). More profiles
will debut throughout the year...stay
*NPCA Part of Building Bridges Campaign*
NPCA is joining numerous like-minded organizations in support of the
Building Bridges Campaign. As the need to increase dialogue and
cooperation between the United States and people of different countries
grows, the *Brookings Institution Initiative on International
Volunteering and Service* seeks to explore ways in which the culture of
volunteerism can help enhance global understanding and security. The
Building Bridges Campaign has an ambitious goal--to double the number of
Americans that volunteer overseas every year. Lex Rieffel, who served as
a Peace Corps volunteer in India in the 1960s, is spearheading the
effort. Click here to learn
*RPCVs Speak on Reproductive Health Overseas*
Recently Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope shared the Woodrow
Wilson International Center for
Scholars stage with five other returned
Peace Corps volunteers who have worked in reproductive health programs
overseas. Panelists discussed the evolution of programs from concerns
with about population to women's rights and family health. Click here
to learn more and
to get the link to a video webcast of the event.
*Friends of Ukraine Creates Sister College Partnership*
Returned volunteers continue to foster cultural understanding in many
ways. With the help of a grant from the NPCA, Friends of Ukraine has
created a program of sister college relationships between U.S.
universities and colleges, and institutions in Ukraine. They'd like
share their experiences and help RPCVs create similar partnerships in
their countries of service. Click here
to read a Q&A
conversation with Jodi Simek (Ukraine 98-00) who chairs
the Sister College Partnership Program.
*NPCA Advocacy: 2006 Year in Review*
A highly successful Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. Multiple resources to
assist and engage advocates on a range of global issues. More than 30
outreach events in twelve states.
These were among the 2006 highlights of NPCA's Advocacy Program. Click
the 2006 NPCA Advocacy Year in Review, with summary of activities,
photos from the past year, and links to get connected for 2007. Click
current Advocacy Program headlines.
*It's Been a Busy Year at NPCA*
December is the month when we look back on the many accomplishments of
* Things started off on a high in early January, when the President
legislation to rescind an earlier initative tying Peace
Corps service to military recruitment
NPCA spotlighted the issue and coordinated our community's
successful advocacy effort.
* We held 10 very successful Open House events around the country in
celebration of the 40th anniversary of Peace Corps
culminating in special events in Washington, DC in September.
* Add in a special issue of WorldView magazine
various advocacy and global education efforts, and it's been quite
Big thanks go to the many, many supporters who made it all happen: our
board, advisory council, group leaders, members and supporters. Have a
wonderful holiday season!
*In This Issue*
. The NPCA Shop at
CaféPress.com Is Open for Business <#11>
. And the Winner is... GlobalGiving.com Challenge Grant <#22>
. RPCVs Hold Peace Corps Reunions In-Country <#33>
. "Peace Corps Entrepreneurs on the Edge" Set to Launch Next Month <#44>
. NPCA Part of Building Bridges Campaign <#55>
. RPCVs Speak on Reproductive Health Overseas <#66>
. Friends of Ukraine Creates Sister College Partnership <#77>
. NPCA Advocacy: 2006 Year in Review <#88>
. It's Been a Busy Year at NPCA <#99>
. President of Benin visits and thanks Peace Corps
. Peace Corps Turns Hope Into Action On World AIDS Day
. Out of Africa, Onto the Web: NY Times profile of RPCV Reed Hastings,
. Serving in Sudan : Couple help develop schools in war-torn African
. Corvallis woman creates libraries in Africa
. St. Louis team fights crop killer in Africa
. Boy Scout's efforts commemorate life of fallen Peace Corps volunteer
. Outgoing Mass. Environment
Chief to serve as Ghana Country Director
. Alberto Ibargüen is named Newseum Chairman
. On the NPCA Bulletin board: International Youth Volunteerism Summit,
Masters in Latin America Studies...more
. Seeking: Eyo White is seeking Patrick Nye who served in Liberia, Dixie
Fraser Singh who served in Sierra Leone and Nigeria
. On the NPCA Calendar: RPCVs of South Florida Partnership Dinner, Film
and Panel Discussion, Everglades outing...
. Peace Corps community news clippings updated daily!
. Making a Difference -- Stories from our Community
*We're Moving Offices*
In early January, NPCA will be moving offices. Not very far, just
upstairs in the same building from Suite 205 to Suite 404. We hope
you'll understand that despite our best efforts there might be some
slight disruption of services.
*Tony P. Hall Joins
NPCA Advisory Council*
We're pleased to announce that Tony P. Hall (Thailand 66-67)--former
U.S. Congressman and former Ambassador to the U.N. Agencies for Food and
Agriculture--has joined the NPCA Advisory Council
recent book, "Changing the Face of Hunger," was recently excerpted in
*Like to Write, Edit?*
We're looking for a volunteer to help compile and edit brief alumni news
items. If interested, contact news@...
*Did You Know...*
/WorldView/ magazine is available online!
That's right. Many of the stories that you enjoy in print format are
also Web accessible. Plus, you can read "Dispatches" - Web-only stories
from the developing world.
kids connect with kids...
all around the world
Contribute to NPCA
| Update Contact Information
National Peace Corps Association . 1900 L Street NW Suite 205 .
Washington, DC 20036 . 202.293.7728 news@...
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
I hope you all have had a good holiday and everyone is healthy and happy! My fiance is going to India for a couple of weeks with a group of fellow students and I thought I would send out an email to see if anyone had any advice on what he should bring, and really any advice in general. His school has already made all the travel plans, but I thought I would seek the expertise from my fellow RPCVs as well, so that he experiences everything he can while he is there! I would appreciate any advice from anyone who has served/traveled/knows someone who has been there. Thank you in advance!
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Family finishes project after Peace Corps Volunteer Tessa Horan dies in shark attack in Tonga
On Oct. 17, Tessa's parents, sister Jasmine, McDowell and boyfriend, Scott Jones, got on a plane to Tonga. "She left a year ago, and we basically retraced her steps," Prater said. "We stayed with the host families, met the Peace Corps people, flew into the airport. We went through what she did. Her fellow Peace Corps workers took time off their islands and spent all the time we were there getting the library together." The family was treated like dignitaries while in Tonga. People talked to them on
the street, and they were accepted everywhere with grace. Even the crown prince met with the family, breaking a tradition wherein the royal family does not receive guests within 100 days of the death of a king. What may have struck Horan's family the strongest, however, was a healing similar to their own. After the shark attacked Horan, she called out for help. Tatafu, a 25-year-old villager, put fear aside and swam out to help her. "I don't think we realized," McDowell said, "if he hadn't been swimming with her that day ... we would not have known what happened to her." Read more
Tess Horan's family traveled to Tonga to carry out her dream of establishing a library on the island
They visited the school where she had taught, met the other volunteers in her Peace Corps group and visited the tiny house where she had lived. They took a boat to the spot in the ocean where she had been attacked by the shark and scattered her ashes and flowers over the water. Prater said she was touched by the reverence with which the villagers treated the family and the respect they seemed to have for Horan. "She had made notice of her integrity, intention, and sincerity so immediately in this small village,'' Prater wrote in a journal she kept of the trip. "In a way, she had lived there a lifetime, as far as they were concerned. The first day she arrived at her site, she
went to every house and introduced herself to 60 different households.'' Read more
Caption: Dan Equinoss, a Peace Corps volunteer from Group 70, trained with Tessa Marie Horan during her time in the South Pacific. The new library was constructed using money from a memorial fund established in Tessaâs name and is now stocked with about 1,500 donated books.
Nigeria Returned Peace Corps Volunteer John Sherman writes libretto for opera "Biafra"
The world premiere of the opera, "Biafra," was presented at the Artsgarden in downtown Indianapolis on December 6. Sherman wrote the libretto for the opera, based in part on his book, War Stories: A Memoir of Nigeria
and Biafra, in which he provides details of his work with the International Committee of the Red Cross during the Nigerian Civil War in the late 1960s. This program fulfills the requirements for a presentation by Indianapolis resident John Sherman for his Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship received from the Arts Council of Indianapolis in 2005.
A "stunning array of talent" has been assembled to bring the opera to life. The leading role of Mary Okonkwo, a Red Cross nurse, is portrayed by Paula Ingram who received rave reviews for her performances in London's West End and in the PBS production of "Porgy and Bess." In the opera, Ms. Ingram wore the actual Red Cross badge worn by Sherman during the months he served on the food/medical team near the front lines in what had been the Eastern Region of Nigeria, then Biafra, and, when he was there, once again a part of Nigeria. Also in the set was a full-sized reproduction of a Biafran propaganda poster that Sherman
found in one of the former elementary schools where they held a clinic. The sets have been lent for the performance by the Indianapolis Opera. A dozen dancers from the Kenyetta' Dance Company performed in a dream sequence, lending their talents to the setting in a clinic in an abandoned school in the heart of war-torn Biafra. The opera's logo is based on the Biafran flag â in that flag, the middle bar had a yellow "rising sun" that was the symbol of the secessionist republic that survived for 30 months before surrendering and becoming, once again, Nigeria. Read more and comment on the story
The Opera is based on Sherman's Book "War Stories"
John Sherman had been a Peace Corps teacher in the Eastern Region of Nigeria for nearly a year when the region seceded and became the Republic of Biafra. He spent his second year in the Peace Corps in Malawi, then returned to Nigeria to work with the Red Cross. War Stories is based on a diary he kept in the Red Cross, with flashbacks to his Peace Corps/Nigeria days. Sherman, now a resident of Indianapolis, is a freelance writer and the author of three books of poetry and two pictorial history books on Santa Fe and Taos.
An Excerpt from "War Stories"
Every night we approach the roadblocks at about the same time, and every night it is
the same reaction from the men guarding them: Screaming soldiers holding loaded guns which probably have their safeties off (if they have such devices at all), surrounded by blinding lights and more soldiers. What's worse, too often the soldiers holding those guns are drunk, so that the weapons are waving wildly about in the air.
I scream out, "Red Cross! Red Cross!" when I am challenged, but the goddamned soldiers can't hear me because they're too busy shouting for me to identify myself. One night, a few weeks ago, I got out of my Land Rover (something I have to do most nights, anyway), walked up to the man who had finally realized who I was, and said loudly, "I come through here every bloody night! At the same time, too, damnit! Why are you doing this?"
Ryan Morris who volunteered with the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan from 2000 to 2002, said he never saw anti-Semitism there
"I don't recall them ever having any sort of difficulty at all about their religion or their heritage," said Morris, now a photographer and Peace Corps recruiter in Tampa, Fla. In an ironic turnabout, many Kazakhs have misimpressions about life in the U.S., he said, such as their tendency to believe that all Americans are rich, fat and happy. Ultimately, said Morris, the countries share similar patterns of regional variation. "Just like Appalachia, you find communities and families (in Kazakhstan) that don't have everything that's up to modern times," said Morris. The former Peace Corps volunteer said he was "humbled, almost intimidated" at times by Kazakhs' knowledge of history and
geography. "By no means are they an uneducated group of people at any level," Morris reported. Read more and leave your comments
Ivory Coast RPCV Tony D'Souza writes: "Djamilla, the unmarried daughter"
"The girl stopped in her tracks, surprised to see me. I had never before been alone in the village in this way: in the daytime, the time when the village belonged to women. She was tall and slender, old colonial coins hammered into a necklace that hung over her collarbones, strings of amber beads hanging from her long earlobes. Her lips were tattooed around with black ink, and her hair was woven into tight plaits, coins arranged again in them. Of course I knew who she was: Djamilla, the Peul patriarchâs unmarried daughter. She would have been considered beautiful anywhere." Read
Laura Miller reviews "Whiteman" by Tony D'Souza
Somehow, this novel beats the odds: It manages to be quirky, seductive and funny, but most of all it has captured a shard of the host country in a way that NGO novels rarely do. The Ivory Coast village that young Jack Diaz lives in for a couple of years feels more real than Jack himself -- which may sound like an artistic weakness, but it's not. Africa, or rather this small corner of Africa, gets so thoroughly under Jack's skin that he forgets to make this the story of how he was tested and learned the true nature of love, loss, want and independence, all those tedious lessons that would make the novel a routine coming-of-age saga about an earnest young man. Instead, "Whiteman" is really the story of an addict, a guy who gets hooked on a village, and of how he's finally forced
to kick the habit. Read more
Tony D'Souza writes: Ivory Coast, 2000
"I was in Abidjan in 2000, shortly after General Robert Gueiâs bloodless Christmas Eve coup, which eventually helped to usher in the bloodshed of the past six years in Ivory Coast. At the time, there was a small contingent of United States Marines in the cityâthe U.S. Embassy Guard. They were
housed in a spacious apartment in a downtown high-rise in the Plateau district. I was in my first year with the Peace Corps, and whenever I was granted a break from my posting in the bush Iâd travel to the city, to a Peace Corps-run hostel that was always crowded with volunteers. Now and again, eager to spend time with the white women among us, the marines would invite us over. They were well provisioned: alcohol, air-conditioning, and all the latest magazines, CDs, and DVDs. When they called, weâd round up a couple of cabfuls of the willing, and then happily dig into the marinesâ top-shelf goods. The women needed little coercingâthey enjoyed the Snickers bars, People magazines, and Bacardi as much as anybody." Read more
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Can I ride a motorcyle in the Peace Corps?
"No PCV ANYWHERE can operate a motorcycle unless it is a life/limb/sight emergency. Some PCVs in certain places are allowed to ride motorcycles if no other transportation is readily available...some Cameroonian PCVs and a lot (maybe all) Beninois PCVs have that privilege. Peace Corps provides them with motorcycle helmets. For most PCVs world-wide, riding a motorcycle is grounds for immediate administrative separation due to the HUGE safety risk. I cannot tell you how many motorcycle accidents I witnessed as a PCV in Chad. Bad ones too. Some volunteers choose to risk being ad-sep'd and take motorcycles, but it really is a pretty big risk." Read more
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: How did 'Kumbaya' become a mocking metaphor?
An extensive (and we do mean extensive) search of databases of newspapers, magazines and other sources turned up what may be the first ironic reference to "Kumbaya" in print, from Aug. 16, 1985. The line is from a Washington Post review by Rita Kempley of the comedy movie Volunteers: "Tom Hanks and John Candy make war on the Peace Corps in Volunteers, a belated lampoon of '60s altruism and the idealistic young Kumbayahoos who went off to save the Third World." How did she settle on "Kumbaya?" Had she heard others mocking it? Was it something about the cynicism felt by liberals under Reagan? A commentary about the religious theme of the song, at a time when the Moral Majority was making its name? Ms. Kempley can't remember. "I guess that song was the ultimate expression of people in the '60s who really cared," said Ms. Kemply (who accepted a
buyout last year from the Post). "And then everyone decided, Let's just make fun of that." Read more
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Has anyone had issues with blogs or personal websites in the peace corps, or do they really only care about what you say about them?
Here is PCs official blog policy, garnered using the FoIA: http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rules.html
. It's basically "you're welcome to maintain a blog/personal website, but you should do so with cultural sensitivity, discretion for private information/etc/etc". They don't care if you have a blog/website, but if you do, they want to know about it, and they want to make sure you're well, playing nice. Peace Corps maintains that it owns everything you create, write, design, or communicate during your service.
They also maintain the right to kick you out if you reveal too much information about where you are posted, your work, etc. Read more
RPCV Carl Pope writes: Renewable energy offers new jobs
"The fact that we buy wind turbines from Denmark and not from Cleveland may be absurd, but it is no accident because until now America as a whole hasn't really been serious about creating a new energy economy. Meanwhile, actions by individual states give some clue about how forward-thinking energy policies can create good jobs. " Sierra Club President Carl Pope served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India in the 1960's. Read more
Sierra Club, Steelworkers to Announce Historic Strategic Alliance
The Alliance will promote a new vision for American public policy -- creating jobs by promoting smart energy solutions to global warming; reducing the risks from toxic chemicals in the workplace and the community; and building a responsible trade policy for America. This unprecedented alliance will chart a new direction for the nation's labor and environmental movements, bringing together almost 2 million members around a shared vision of the future. Read more
Carl Pope writes: The Trickle-up response to global warming offers hope
"We don't have the luxury of waiting for an administration in Washington that can read a
thermometer. We can flex our muscle at the state and local levels, challenging our elected leaders to greater creativity and resourcefulness in cooling the planet. Global warming is a big challenge, but it's one each of us can do something about starting today." Read more
Peace Corps Volunteers in Bolivia Are Safe
Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter announced that all Volunteers serving in Bolivia are safe and are returning to their working and living sites. Several Volunteers were consolidated last week following recent political events in the country. The Peace Corps staff in Bolivia remains in constant
communication with Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. Each Peace Corps program has an Emergency Action Plan specific to that country and developed in cooperation with Peace Corps Washington and the local U.S. Embassy. The plans are evaluated and tested frequently and information is updated constantly. Volunteers are thoroughly trained in their roles and responsibilities, and posts are prepared for all emergencies. Read more
PCVs were caught in street protest in Bolivia, Peace Corps withdrew volunteers from a violent neighborhood near the capital
Caption: Demonstrators attend a rally in Santa Cruz December 15, 2006. Leaders in the eastern Santa Cruz region said they expected 1 million people to take to the streets of its main city, Santa Cruz, to press demands for greater autonomy from the central
government and more control of local taxes but they denied wanting to create a breakaway state. Photo: Reuters/Stringer (Bolivia)
An attack by a pro-government mob on a bus carrying an American Peace Corps worker has prompted the U.S. agency to temporarily withdraw from a violent neighborhood near the capital. "The Peace Corps has pulled out its contingent of about a dozen volunteers from the area. We expect to go back when the situation calms down," said Payne Huffman, 33, of Lexington, Ky. Mr. Huffman survived an attack last weekend by rock-throwing supporters of President Evo Morales, who were attempting to block anti-government protesters from reaching the capital, Santa Cruz. "We lay for almost two hours between the seats as rocks crashed through the windows and pelted the roof above us," said Mr. Huffman, who was traveling by bus with his girlfriend, Mariela Ruiz, and her 2-year-old daughter when the assault took place in the town of San
Julian. Read more
"Peace Corps Online" and NPCA collaborate on story "Snowshoe Bob" in Worldview Magazine
Robert Paul died September 8 of this year when a suicide car-bomber struck his Humvee in Kabul, Afghanistan. Sgt. Paul was in his third year of active duty in the Army reserves and had completed two years in Iraq commanding a civil affairs unit in Baghdad. Paul had also served in Peace Corps in Kenya and last year, while studying Thai at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, joined a 2005 e-mail debate peacecorpsonline.com (sic) about Peace Corps as an incentive for military recruitment. Read more
with honorOne year ago, Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul (RPCV Kenya) carried on an ongoing dialog on "Peace Corps Online" on the military and the peace corps and his role as a member of a Civil Affairs Team in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have received a report that Sargeant Paul has been killed by a car bomb in Kabul. Words cannot express our feeling of loss for this tremendous injury to the entire RPCV community. Most of us didn't know him personally but we knew him from his words. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. He was one of ours and he served with honor.
Read the original discussion with Bob Paul on "Peace Corps Online" here
Friends and Family remembers Returned
Peace Corps Volunteer Robert Paul killed in Afghanistan
Paul's mother said her son never stopped charting his own path, whether it was taking German when French and Spanish were the only languages offered, or announcing over dinner that he had joined the Peace Corps. "His first year there, he learned Swahili, and that's a very hard language, I understand," she said. "Then when that year was up, he called and said he was staying another year." When he left for Afghanistan "I asked, 'Is there anybody I can call to get you out,'" his mother recalled tearfully. "He said, 'You don't understand; I want to go.' Kenya RPCV Robert Paul worked in a Civil Affairs unit in Afghanistan. He was killed in a car bombing in 2006. Read more
John Nichols writes: Congressman Tom Petri ought to consider making a party switch from Republican to Democrat
Republican Tom Petri has been told by party bosses that they don't approve of his willingness to work with Democrats to address major issues. "Maybe I'm missing something," jokes Petri, perhaps a bit bitterly. "Sometimes I think you can be more effective by working with people." Petri's spokesman, Niel Wright, is blunter. After the Wisconsinite was passed over for the Transportation Committee chairmanship, Wright said, "It was pretty clear that those making the decision wanted a more confrontational and less bipartisan approach to the
committee." It is, by now, abundantly clear that Tom Petri is not going to be given an opportunity to play a major role in Congress by his fellow Republicans. That's bad for his agenda, which is characterized by practical concern for advancing sound education and transportation policies. And it's bad for Wisconsin, since Petri is a senior member of the House who is being prevented from delivering for his home state. If Petri were a Democrat, he would be a committee chairman, and no doubt a highly effective and successful one. That's just one reason why the congressman ought to consider making a party switch. By crossing the aisle to the Democratic caucus, Petri could strike a powerful blow for bipartisanship. He would be welcomed by Democratic leaders, who would unquestionably treat him more respectfully than do the current Republican leaders. And he would be able to finish his tenure in Congress in a position to be a responsible and effective legislator, as opposed to
just another victim of crude and increasingly dysfunctional Republican partisanship. Congressman Tom Petri of Wisconsin served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia in the 1960's. Read more
Thomas Petri's Student Aid Reward Act of 2005 called for using $17 billion in savings from an expansion of the federal direct student loan program to increase Pell grants at colleges that participate in the programPell grants for an estimated 1.7 million low-income college students would increase by $1,000 to $5,050 a year under bipartisan legislation unveiled in March 2005 by four House and Senate lawmakers. The Student Aid Reward Act of 2005 calls for using $17 billion in savings from an expansion of the federal direct student loan program to increase Pell grants at colleges that participate in the program. âWe have a tight budget this year,â said Rep. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac, who described the legislation as offering a way to increase federal support for low-income students
without increasing spending.
Petri and his three co-sponsors â Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. â said the $17 billion in estimated savings over 10 years would come from an increase in the percentage of colleges using the federal direct loan program. Read more
Tunisia RPCV Jeannie Ritter is new first lady of Colorado
Her expertise is special-needs children, a passion that manifested years ago when she worked at a center for the disabled in Tunisia as a Peace Corps volunteer. She moved to Tunisia without Bill, during a period in their 10-year-long, on-off courtship when they were on the outs. "She's a natural extrovert," says Theresa PeĂ±a, president of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education.
"Parents really want to be part of their kids' education, and she's embraced them, inviting them to be part of the larger classroom. She has a natural ability to connect with people, adults and kids." This skill will translate to her new career as first lady, which starts in January. Read more
Jeannie Ritter and her husband served in Zambia as Catholic Lay Missionaries
With an 18-month-old son, the couple decided to go to Africa as Catholic missionaries. "It took courage for us to say 'let's sell everything, let's give it all up and not make money for 3 years while we're raising a family,'" Bill Ritter said. The couple described the time in Africa as rich. They enjoyed it so much, they tried to stay longer. Read more
In 1987, Jeannie Ritter and her husband closed up their house, packed up their 1-year-old son and headed off to Zambia where they managed a food distribution and nutrition center
As lay missionaries with the Catholic Church, they trucked 60 tons of food a month from the Zambian capital 400 miles to their depot in Mongu. They then distributed the food deep into the drought-stricken sub-Saharan bush. Bill and Jeannie also added poultry and fishery
programs. They taught women the importance of good nutrition and food preparation for their families. And in a country ravaged by AIDS, malaria, leprosy and chronic malnourishment, Bill and Jeannie taught basic health care. Nearly 35 percent of children younger than 5 suffered from chronic malnourishment. Bill and Jeannieâs young son, August, became fast friends with the local children. Their second son, Abe, was born in Africa. Read more
RPCV Micah Schaffer has produced a feature length documentary called Death of Two Sons about Amadou Diallo's slaying and the car-crash death of Peace Corps volunteer Jesse Thyne, an American who lived with Diallo's family in Guinea
Micah Schaffer's moving, stunningly shot documentary juxtaposes the deaths of a Guinean in America and an American
in Guinea. The Guinean in "Death of Two Sons" was Amadou Diallo, senselessly gunned down by four New York City policemen with 41 bullets. The American was Peace Corps volunteer Jesse Thyne, who lived with Amadou's family in Guinea and died in a car crash there. The two men never met, but their destinies are intertwined in this unique film. Jesse's California family is mainly represented by his father, Rick, whose generosity spiritually allies him to the indomitable Kadiatou Diallo, Amadou's mother. Though the film contains TV coverage of the spontaneous protests that arose after Amadou's death, and many of his kinsmen weigh in on the injustice of the absence of punishment meted out to his killers (in contrast, the Guinean taxi driver whose speeding contributed to the accident killing Jesse was sentenced to three years in jail), it is Jesse's father who delivers the most telling political indictment: He states his son's death was a tragedy, but Amadou's was also a travesty
caused by the "worst of our armed, racist, hostile culture." Read more
Peace Corps Volunteer Melinda writes: The Guinean Life
"Trip to the Market: Walk past street venders seeing numerous items in search for what you need. All the while you are fighting mobs of people wanting you to buy their items. 1. Find what you need; 2. Bargain price which takes loads of patience; 3. Price still too high; 4. Move on to another vender; 5. Repeat steps 1-4 several times until you realize the first guy gave you the best price; 6. Humbly return." Read more
Guinea Peace Corps Volunteer Andrea writes: Riding on Taxis
"The taxi pulls over, a few words are exchanged, I hoist my bike on top with the 2 other guys and I climb up the back of the car. The car
takes off as I am finding a place to settle. I strike the pose of a cowboy trying to ride a bull. I grab the metal bar mounted on the top which happened to be in between my legs. As I am getting settled, I realize it is not a bull that I am sitting on but rather a live goat. The goat seems to agree with the situation so I settle in and enjoy the beautiful valley views for miles until I am forced out of my admiration to deal with the present." Read more
Guinea Peace Corps Volunteer Devon writes: Middle America vs the African Bush
Village life is laid back, relaxing and more slow paced than I have ever seen. Every day I see Guineans laughing and enjoying the simple pleasures of life; sitting in the shade of a front porch on a particularly hot day, chatting in the local tea bar or singing as they work in the rice fields. Yet
the Guineans in my village live without electricity, refrigeration or plumbing. They have limited knowledge of French, no concept of sanitation or preventative health-care and yet they still function and live happy lives. I donât mean to paint guinea as some kind of 3rd world utopia, or spout some back to nature Emersonian propaganda. There is certainly more than an ample amount of discontent and unhappiness here, as is dictated by human nature and socio-economic conditions. However, my goal is merely to illustrate the contrast between unhappiness that is justified and one borne out of a culture consumed by materialism. Read more
Taft plans to revisit Tanzania where he served
as a Peace Corps Volunteer
Ohio Governor Bob Taft will go full circle in January when he leaves office and returns to the roots of his public service some 40 years ago. He said one of the first things he and his wife, Hope, plan to do is to visit Tanzania, the African country where Taft served as an idealistic Peace Corps volunteer teacher in the 1960s. A black-and-white picture of a younger, thinner Taft digging a ditch in Africa was used in Taft campaign ads and is prominently featured near the front of The Taft Years, a 128-page state-published book detailing his tenure as governor. Read more
History may recall Taft more fondly than polls
He left an enduring mark on Ohio by funding the largest school construction program in history, establishing the Third Frontier job-creation program and overhauling the stateâs
antiquated tax code. "Fifteen, 20 years from now, I think Taft will go down as one of the smartest and most accomplished governors weâve had," Ohio Republican Chairman Robert T. Bennett said Friday. Taftâs legal troubles resulted from his failure to report on his annual financial-disclosure forms 52 golf outings, meals, hockey tickets and other gifts worth almost $6,000 since 1998. By law, all gifts of $75 or more must be disclosed to the public. "Obviously, I made a mistake. ... Iâm the governor. Iâm the one thatâs responsible for making sure itâs accurate, and it wasnât. Thatâs why I took responsibility. It was the right thing to do." Ohio Governor Robert Taft served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania in the 1960's. Read more.
Dayton Daily News says: Bob Taft deserves more respect
Nobody thinks Bob Taft
is corrupt. The violation was the result of sloppiness. A lot of Republicans did think the governor was too weak to be worth defending from his own mistakes. He was also hurt politically by the fact that, on his watch, the performance of the Ohio economy generally ran behind that of the nation. But the truth is that governors don't have much control over that sort of thing. The real case against Bob Taft is that he never emerged as a forceful leader on a wide range of subjects. There was little in the way of a Taft legislative program that was strikingly bold. He seldom used the governor's pulpit to get something important done -- or stopped. And yet, with nearly all said and done, there is a clear legacy. His baby -- the Third Frontier, his effort to use state money to seed high-tech research in a formerly blue-collar, low-tech state -- is in place. The task of getting it there did not go smoothly, and the size still isn't what he had hoped for. But it's there, with a
high profile, and it could grow. Read more
China RPCV Craig Simons writes: Wolong today is home to the largest cluster of the world's remaining wild pandasPhoto: tangtang Courtesy Flickr: Creative Commons
Beautiful and Pure were tussling: Pure had just scampered up a 6-foot post when Beautiful charged over and locked her teeth around a clump of his hair. After some determined pulling, both fell in a pile on the grass below.Then the real melee began: Four other year-old giant pandas padded over and joined in the raucous play, tumbling over each other in a black-and-white ball that left me and a handful of overjoyed tourists guessing where one animal ended and the next began. A plethora of pandas is why most visitors journey to the Wolong Nature Reserve, an 800-square-mile park in China's
southwestern Sichuan province. Set up in 1963 to protect giant pandas, Wolong today is home to 153 wild pandas (the largest cluster of the world's estimated remaining 1,590 wild pandas) and 69 captive pandas (of 212 worldwide).
Wolong had some 80,000 visitors last year, about 20 percent of them foreigners, but fall is off-season and we shared the 64-acre center with only a few dozen other tourists. With aid from the World Wildlife Fund and American zoos -- including Zoo Atlanta, which works with researchers in Chengdu -- birthrates have soared as scientists have mastered using artificial insemination and raising young pandas abandoned by their mothers, which often give birth to twins but generally will raise only one cub. Read more
Peace Corps Volunteer Peter writes: The Beats in China
It looks like I will be starting
a reading group with some graduate students on the Beat Generation. This was my idea, not theirs. ...I think they will definitely get something about America out of studying the Beats, for I think there is something quintessentially American about the Beats, especially about Kerouac, with whom we will begin. One of the article I assigned described On the Road as a love poem to America, and I think that is right. Read more
China Peace Corps Volunteer Chinkfly writes: How much Mandarin can you expect to learn during your assignment?
How much Mandarin you learn during your two years is completely up to the individual volunteer's ambition. Of our group of 50, about 10 had good Mandarin and the remaining 40 of us were starting from the very beginning. During PST, we started with the alphabet and learning the tonal sounds, and worked
our way thru about 30 sections in the workbook on subjects like introductions, where we're from, what we do, direction, shopping for groceries, taking public transport, etc.. Basically, the how to get around in China stuff. We had a full 12 weeks of language training, and had a tough time (4+ hours a day, plus homework) getting thru it all---so due to your abridged training time, I'm not sure what the staff have planned for you. We learned a little bit of Hanzi (the Chinese characters), but most of that was left for us to learn on our own. Peace Corps does pay a certain amount for you to hire a tutor, up to a max per week(which I can't remember). It's up to you to find your own tutor when you get to site. You'll get guidelines for how much to pay your tutor---but it is really up to you to make your own deal. Some volunteers pay, some trade English lessons for Mandarin...you can be creative. If your tutor wants more than PC is willing to pay, you just have to make up the
difference with your own monthly stipend. Read more
Peace Corps Volunteers to Return to Ethiopia
Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody Olsen announced that volunteers will be returning to the African nation of Ethiopia, the second most populated country in sub-Saharan Africa, for the first time since 1999. The Peace Corps/Ethiopia program is scheduled to open in fiscal year 2007, with approximately 40 volunteers arriving next summer. The volunteers will be working in the field of health and HIV/AIDS education and prevention, with possible expansion into other sectors in the coming years. Read more
Ashley Tsongas writes: Ethiopia lost Worldâs Focus, but Aid Needs Remain
"Two decades after Live Aid drew millions of dollars in donations to help people starving in the Horn of Africa, hunger in Ethiopia is no longer headline news. The focus on other world crises â Darfur, the South Asian tsunami and a myriad of others â has obscured Ethiopia where four million people are in need of emergency assistance." Ashley Tsongas, daughter of Ethiopia RPCV and Presidential candidate Paul Tsongas, is an emergency media and advocacy officer for Oxfam
America and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar. Read more
President Dr. Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin Visits Peace Corps Headquarters
President Yayi was introduced by Africa Regional Director Henry McKoy and Deputy Director Jody Olsen. Dr. Olsen began her introduction in French and shared a story of how former Peace Corps Director Paul D. Coverdell had been an advocate for Benin, even while serving as a U.S. Senator. She noted that the former Director had been given a hat indigenous to Benin, and displayed it prominently in his Senate office. President Yayi remarked that he has heard only positive stories of the grass-roots level work of Peace Corps Volunteers. He said he hopes to build on these strong relationships and look for new programs and ways to work with Peace Corps. "American has a face in Benin that is helping my brothers and sisters," he said about the
Peace Corps program. Read more
Hill to lead negotations with North Korea after 13-month hiatus
U.S. officials played down the chances of a breakthrough on North Korean disarmament talks, which will start this weekend in Beijing after a 13-month hiatus, but said they will press for tangible signs of progress. In a briefing for reporters on December 13, the chief U.S. negotiator, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher R. Hill, declined to discuss specific U.S. objectives for the talks, saying that listing them would invite reporters to measure the outcome against the original goals, resulting in possible headlines like "U.S. Fails Once Again." Hill added that when he presented his suggestions at meetings with North Korean officials in November, "there were indications that the North Koreans
would be prepared to deal in specifics at the coming round." Christopher R. Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon.
Peace Corps Writers (www.PeaceCorpsWriters.org
) has agreed to edit and publish a collection of correspondence of Peace Corps Volunteers as part of the
celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. Letters Home from the Peace Corps will be one way for Peace Corps Writers to preserve the history of the Peace Corps. Your letters and emails to family and friends are treasured documents that must be saved because they offer valuable insight into the experience we all shared. Your personal correspondence tells a story, and with this book, we hope to preserve your story â as expressed in your own words â for posterity, and we ask you to share them with us.
While we prefer to see previously unpublished material, letters and/or emails that have already appeared in local newspapers, self-published books, and/or family web sites are all acceptable.
Selecting your correspondence for submission
In selecting a letter or email to be considered for publication in the book, we ask that you choose it thus: Would a reader find the letter intriguing? . . . dramatic? . . . humorous? . . .
historic? . . . insightful? If you can answer yes to one of these questions, please send it.
We will select the very best letters that tell the story â through the eyes of PCVs and Staff â of the Peace Corps since its beginnings in 1961.
Your letters can be about any aspect of the Peace Corps experience: Making the Decision to Join, Training, Peace Corps Service, Friends, HCNs, Family Visits, After the Peace Corps, Life as an RPCV, Returning to the Host Country.
Send us no more than three of your best letters or emails. Select the letter(s) that have the most meaning to you; that tell a story you want to tell.
Mail us your correspondence for the first round of selection by June 1, 2007. For letter(s):
âą Send a legible photocopy or typed transcript. Do not send originals. We cannot return anything sent to us. (If we have trouble reading your handwriting, your letter will not be considered for
âą Send to:
Marian Haley Beil
4 Lodge Pole Road
Pittsford, New York 14534
For email(s):Send to: jpcoyne@... Put in the subject line: âLetters Home From the Peace Corpsâ
Please include for either letters or emails:
âą Information about yourself or the PCV/RPCV or staff member who wrote the letter (e.g.,
where and when he or she served, and any other important personal and/or background
âą Your phone number.
âą Your email address.
âą Your mailing address.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Marian Haley Beil
Editors: Letters Home from the Peace Corps
Jennifer Hagenow had already been an international traveler when she joined the Peace Corps in 2001, but nothing prepared her for the life-changing events she experienced in Senegal during her two years there
Hagenow formed strong bonds
with both the family she lived with and in the community she worked. She and her host family still speak on the phone or write once a month. âWhat Iâd really love to do is have my brothers and sisters and mother who took care of me, Iâd love to be able host them, and love for them to meet my mom and my family, and to be able extend the same kind of warmth and hospitality they extended to me. In Senegal it was called âteranga.â That was the word for hospitality.â âI think itâs one of the best experiences an American can afford him or herself, especially now. We are generally a people with such a strong spirit, so good-hearted, so good-natured, and we have so much to offer,â she said. âEven if it does seem like a smaller scale, even if weâre not changing the world, we can change a small part of it, and in the process, change ourselves.â
Senegal Peace Corps Volunteer Heather writes: Peace Corps has all new volunteers do a demystification visit
during their first week in the country
"I went to Kaffrin with another girl from my stage (group of volunteers who started at the same time), and we stayed with Anne, an urban agriculture volunteer. I expect my work will be similar to hers. On the first day she took us to the market for bean sandwiches and grocery shopping. This was a shocking experience. The market is a hot, crowded, loud, fish-smelling series of stands where people sell vegetables, fish, fabric, sandals, and other things. The stands are generally just tables on which the salable items are displayed in piles. Because I would not push people or force my way forward, I kept getting separated from the others. We went to the market every morning, and gradually I got used to the sites. An elderly man who sells vegetables likes to joke with Anne about her being his wife. When he saw Anne with two new females he broke into praises to Allah for giving him three wives, and he hollered threats at all nearby
men lest they look at his wives."
Senegal Peace Corps Volunteer Christine writes: Things that crack me up about Senegal
Non-verbal communication. For example, pointing to things with your tongue instead of your finger, and doing a gesture which resembles a short, clipped version of the chicken dance when you want to refuse to do something. It's funny enough seeing a little kid do this when a bigger child tries to take something away from him; it's all I can do to keep a straight face when my 31 year old brother does it while scowling and urging me to reject a marriage proposal from a 'sai-sai,' a Wolof word which means 'trouble.' (I think the closest American translation would be 'player,' as in, 'He's such a player,' or 'Don't hate the player, hate the game.')
Senegal Peace Corps Volunteer Claire writes: Guilt and Empathy
"In four months Iâll be home and the village will still be here. When I first arrived it seemed incomprehensible that I could ever go back to America, much less go back to living as I had before. How could I just walk away from these people who were so quickly friends and family? How can I ever again take for granted what Aldous Huxley describes as âthe unthinking and
almost unresentful acceptance by millions of my less fortunate fellow-beings of my claim to be educated, leisured, comparatively wealthyâ? What gives me the right to condemn killing a cat with rocks when I indulge the other extreme, providing a pet cat in the U.S. with medical care beyond the reach of any of the children in my village family? Is putting a cat to sleep with expensive drugs and then burying her in the backyard garden next to gerbils and goldfish any less absurd? B. Kite writes, 'What are the limits of empathy? Certainly if we were wholly to open ourselves to suffering it would be impossible to function in the daily world. That path leads to isolation and/or sainthood. Yet the issue of where those limits can securely be placed is unresolvable; its provisional resolutions make up the moral task of a lifetime.' Fully confronting our culpability in workings of the world is overwhelming and unsustainable. But I canât shake the feeling that allowing oneself
the distance to analyze is also permitting oneself to slowly forget. I donât want to forget."
Liberia RPCV Ann Easterly creates libraries in Africa
In 1965-66, Easterly was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia. She returned in 1976, but the Liberian civil war prevented her from another trip until 2004. Her time in Africa and her love for the continent inspired her literacy project. âI knew the need,â she said. A combination of donations from individuals and from her former school district allowed Easterly to send the first shipment of 17 boxes of books to Nigeria in 2001. Since then, sheâs conducted library training and provided aid toward building libraries in several African countries, and Monday she sent her fourth shipment of books, about 96 boxes or around 4,000 books, to Monrovia.
Tess Horan's family traveled to
Tonga to carry out her dream of establishing a library on the island
They visited the school where she had taught, met the other volunteers in her Peace Corps group and visited the tiny house where she had lived. They took a boat to the spot in the ocean where she had been attacked by the shark and scattered her ashes and flowers over the water. Prater said she was touched by the reverence with which the villagers treated the family and the respect they seemed to have for Horan. "She had made notice of her integrity, intention, and sincerity so immediately in this small village,'' Prater wrote in a journal she kept of the trip. "In a way, she had lived there a lifetime, as far as they were concerned. The first day she arrived at her site, she went to every house and introduced herself to 60 different households.''
When Joann Reichling's grandson Kehl Mandt e-mailed that he needed books for a
public library in the Philippines, where he's stationed with the Peace Corps, she started sending them
The group called the project "Bucks for Books." "We have books, but we always need more," Hirsbrunner said. Now, they need money cover shipping costs. A fund-raiser will be at 2 p.m. Oct. 15 at First Banking Center, Darlington. Reichling already shipped about nine boxes of books, many culled from libraries in Wisconsin, to her grandson. The original project, a children's library in the small village where Mandt works, eight hours north of Manila, is complete. Now, the books are headed for school libraries in the Philippines.
Dodd Introduces Effective Terrorists Prosecution Act
âI take a backseat to no one when it comes to protecting this country from terrorists,â Sen. Dodd said. âBut there is a right way
to do this and a wrong way to do this. Itâs clear the people who perpetrated these horrendous crimes against our country and our people have no moral compass and deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But in taking away their legal rights, the rights first codified in our countryâs Constitution, weâre taking away our own moral compass, as well.â
Dodd outlines priorities as new Chairman of Senate Banking Committee
Dodd says he will propose ways to keep people from losing their homes when mortgage costs rise and to end predatory lending practices "that strip equity out of consumers' homes and leave them on the verge of default." The senator wants to provide more scrutiny of how regulators, and those they regulate, deal with credit card consumers. He also plans hearings about how to combat terrorist financing, and he will consider whether to extend the Terrorism Risk
Insurance Act. The law, which helps protect companies and consumers from economic fallout from terrorist attacks, is due to expire at the end of 2007.
Philippines RPCV Michael Beaudoin thinks U.S. foreign policy could use a serious overhaul
"I think if we had more Peace Corps workers around the world Â and fewer soldiers - the world would be a lot better off," Beaudoin said last week. It's more than just an idle observation. Beaudoin, 64, traveled to San Francisco this month to reunite with 38 other 60-somethings who share a two-year chunk of history. "So many of these people have gone on to travel the world," he said. "And of the 62 who went (to the
Philippines) that year, all but 10 went on to what I'd call service-oriented careers." Beaudoin sees a cause-and-effect here: The more little connections you make with the world at large (a young girl whom he taught to throw the javelin went on to represent the Philippines in the Olympics), the better the world becomes. "If more of our political leaders had had the Peace Corps experience that we had, we wouldn't be asking the question today, 'Why do they hate us?' " he said.
Laura Smail was sent to the Philippines to Nabua, a town in the province of Camarines Sur
Smail completed her commitment to the Peace Corps in late September. Because one of the Peace Corpsâ objectives is to educate others about other cultures and people, she was eager to speak to her church about her experience. Dressed in a traditional Filipino dance costume â a long, silky blue skirt with a matching scarf in her hair
and a white blouse with printed blue flowers and distinctively rounded sleeves, Smail, 26, discussed Filipino culture and her job as a volunteer.
Philippines RPCV Dennis Alexander to be sworn in as Monterey's newest councilman
Alexander, 45, graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in business administration. He intended to attend the Marine Corps officer candidate school after college, but joined the Peace Corps in 1985, serving in the Philippines. He taught math and started a program to build outhouses in the rural town where he lived. The two-year commitment allowed him to serve his country, he said. "I had a Pat Tillman moment," he said.
Philippines Peace Corps Volunteer Julia writes: Going to the Prom
Last night I went to the prom. It's been a long time in the waiting, since I didn't
attend my senior prom in high school. But at the age of 39 (yes!), I got dolled up in a black dress and heels and rode a tricycle to the ball. Filipinos apparently take their proms seriously. Last night, there was four hours of prepared dances and promenades of class beauties -- and that was before the real dance actually begun! Samba, Pantomina, Waltz, Cha Cha. You name it, these kids knew how to do it. Of course, they lost about two weeks of school practicing for the thing, but, eh, you only have one prom, right? Hmmm.
Congress passes Jim Walsh's Resolution expressing support for democracy in Nepal
The US House of Representatives passed a resolution on December 6 drafted by Congressman James Walsh, demanding that Maoists must give up arms and violence permanently and live up to their commitments to the government and the people. Reiterating its support for democracy and to
holding elections for the proposed constituent assembly (CA), the Congress resolved that the US government supports Nepal's efforts to bringing permanent peace and democracy in Nepal. Congress has also urged the government of Nepal to take initiatives to ensure free and fair elections. Congressman James Walsh of New York served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal in the 1960's.
Read the full text of the original resolution here.
Since his glory days as an All-American soccer-style kicker for the Harvard football team, Honduras RPCV Harry Van Oudenallen has become a world-class architect, professor, mentor and teller of fascinating stories
Van Oudenallenâs experience in Honduras taught him the valuable lessons that idealism will meet reality in a developing nation and nothing is quite as humbling as stepping into another culture. "We were so young and idealistic
when we went to our first job in an agricultural co-op," he says. Shortly after arriving in a banana growing area, three in-country workers were murdered; Van Oudenallen learned his reward for organizing workers was that he was next on the list. Peace Corps transferred him to another town to serve as a community developer. In an area where people voted by dropping a grain of corn or a coffee bean into a box, he organized a savings club. He convinced them to take a payroll deduction of 25 cents; these monies were pooled for micro loans. No PowerPoint in those days, so Van Oudenallen worked out a flannel board to illustrate saving and loans using donkey and hay cutouts. Years later when he returned, the little savings club had grown to assets of $10 million and many workers, by starting small businesses, had managed to get out from under the oppressive thumb of companies that heretofore controlled their lives.
Peace Corps Volunteer Karen writes: The day finally cameâthe day I boarded my last bus out of Colomoncagua
Now that I am looking back on the entire experience, I realize that more than anything I have done or contributed, the Peace Corps for me has been a journey into understanding myself and where I came from. It sounds strange to say that because my ancestors are not Latino. But at times, living here has felt like a journey back in history to the lifestyle my grandmother must have experienced in her village of MĂŒnnerstadt, Germany during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. It too was a rural, agrarian village ravaged by economic depression and limited educational opportunities. Like in Colo, she lived in a place where gender roles were strictly defined. She served my grandfather every single day of their life together just as so many women here serve their families and that defines who they are. Like many of the
young women from villages in Honduras, my grandmother completed her formal education in the seventh grade and began working as a house servant at age 14.
Peace Corps Volunteer Ian Everhart writes: Linguistic History
Spanish differentiates between your friends, whom you call tĂș, and people you donât know as well, with whom one uses the Usted form. In Spain, one further uses vosotros for groups of friends and Ustedes for multiple strangers or people owed respect, but in Latin America, vosotros is generally not used. The rule I heard there, which made sense to me, is that if youâre on a first-name basis with the person, theyâre tĂș, but if you call them SeĂ±or So-and-so, that calls for Usted. But in Honduras, the principle seems to be that you had better be very good friends indeed â or better yet, family members â before using the tĂș form. And as a result, the tĂș forms come to me now
with only great difficulty, and often when Iâm speaking to people who have started calling me tĂș, I still relapse into the more formal Usted, sometimes switching back and forth in the same sentence. The literature Iâve seen says that tĂș is especially appropriate for small children, but more often than not, theyâre Usted to me. In Honduras, as well as other Central American countries and Argentina, the vos form is also used, a form considered archaic in the rest of the Hispanophone world with the same usage as tĂș. My latest adventure in exploring different levels of formality came when I was walking down the street with my friend Shannon and her puppy Eva, who was distracted by everything she saw, and was consequently slowing us down en route to our destination. So Shannon shouted out to her apparently-bilingual dog, âvengase,â a reflexive command in the Usted form. But I had to translate it to myself as âcome on, your grace!â I had to draw the line there
and say that cute though she is, Eva the dog does not qualify for status as âyour grace.â More properly, it would be ven, vente (in the reflexive), or maybe venĂ to call her vos.
Peace Corps Volunteer Joshua Reynolds writes: We are the champions
As the song played on, the situation reminded me of a theology class I took in college on the gospel and the kingdom of God. The class focused on the gospel of Mark and we often discussed JesusÂŽ complete overturning of the social structures and expectations of the day when he described GodÂŽs kingdom. As ironic as the situation would seem to our society, Jesus would be completely comfortable assigning the Queen song to the landless poor. I smiled, knowing that in GodÂŽs kingdom, the poor who are so often abused and forgotten really are the champions. ThereÂŽs one more beatitude for JesusÂŽ famous sermon: "Blessed are the landless poor, for
they are the champions of the world."
Ex-Chilean dictator Pinochet dies at 91
General Augusto Pinochet, who overthrew Chile's democratically elected Marxist president in a bloody coup and ruled this Andean nation for 17 years, died Sunday, dashing hopes among many that he would see justice for his regime's abuses. He was 91.
Sargent Shriver talks about the Peace Corps and Pinochet in Chile in an interview from 1986
"When [General Augusto] Pinochet came into power a lot of Peace Corps volunteers were in Chile and they started protesting Pinochet and writing letters to newspapers. I was criticized in Washington for the actions of these volunteers. My response was that we should rejoice that we are the only country in the world that had the vision to send abroad
people who are not under government control. Instead, they are independent free-standing human beings. I maintain that they are the greatest advertisement for the American system of government that there is in the world, they are worth a thousand Coca-Cola signs. There is no better advertisement for what this country stands for than an individual Peace Corps volunteer walking down the street unarmed, wearing the same clothes that the people do, eating the same food, living the same life, and being there as an independent free-standing person who believes in democracy and who is compassionate to his fellow man. That's what we're supposed to produce here. We're not here to produce bombs. We're producing a certain kind of human being. When we started the Peace Corps no country had such an activity abroad, no other country had the nerve."
Peace Corps Volunteer Ben Hanes writes:
The Importance of Speaking Ukrainian
While the Russians have the stability and economic might to keep one foot in Asia and the other in Europe and leave the question of their identity unanswered, Ukraine does not. Squeezed between the E.U. and the former U.S.S.R., Ukraine, as a developing nation, will fall under the sphere of influence of one of these giants; as Ukraine develops, it will need a senior partner in the process. Ukraine must decide where to look for this partner: East or West. Westerners saw Yushchenkoâs victory in the Orange Revolution as Ukraineâs choice of the latter over Russia. Nearly two years later, with Viktor Yanukovych serving as Prime Ministerâa man with close ties to Moscow and whose 2004 presidential campaign was publicly supported by Putin himselfâit seems this was an oversimplification. Ukrainians are very much conflicted about which direction their country should be heading. The language struggle in Ukraine is symbolic of the
struggle for the future of Ukraine. The central government is pushing for more Ukrainian (a rejection of the Soviet Unionâs legacy, linguistically closer to Polish) yet a large contingent of the population clings to Russian (a remnant of Russian imperialism). In deciding what language we speak, PCVs take part in this struggle. Of course in some regions, Crimea and the Lviv area for example, this struggle is not present. But throughout the majority of the communities in Ukraine, language is a contested issue. Although we are apolitical and should not pick sides in this struggle, Peace Corps has a responsibility to send Ukrainian speaking volunteers to these communities where the language question is contested.
When Rabbi Loraine Heller began her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, she asked the organization to place her in a city with a Jewish community
In all of the former Soviet
Union, some 70 Reform -- or progressive as they are known here -- congregations are served by only six ordained rabbis. No wonder the local congregation gave her a warm welcome, and she has led Shabbat and holiday services since then. Thanks to Heller, "we began to feel more like a religious congregation," Emma Spektor, the chairwoman of the Kirovograd Progressive Jewish congregation said, while pointing out that like elsewhere in the region, most members of her community are secular Jews with little knowledge of Judaism. Not only is she the first Reform rabbi to lead weekly services in the Kirovograd progressive congregation; most of her congregants have never seen a female rabbi before. "Some of our men were shocked at first, but now they fully accept her as a rabbi," Spektor said. "And our women liked her instantly."
Peace Corps Volunteer Andrea writes: Thanksgiving, The Ukrainian Way
"We returned to the house tired, but refreshed, and were welcomed by a very strange sizzling sound. âIt has been doing this ever since I put it in the ovenâ Caroline said not sure whether to laugh or give up. The Turkey was a-sizzlinâ it was making all sorts of sounds, like the sound of pop rocks when they are in your mouth and it sounds so loud in your own head! The bad news was that the sizzling never stopped, but the good news was that it ended up tasting really good, well thatâs what other people said since I didnât eat any (Iâm vegetarian you
Ukraine Peace Corps Volunteer Miller writes: One of the biggest challenges in Peace Corps is creating your own motivation
There are many who do not adjust well. This usually entails doing a minimal amount of work at site, visiting other Peace Corps Volunteers at every available occasion, and drinking more than one should. For these people, the experience may not be great, but what they lose in the process of character development they gain in having a resume buffer to clinch that marginal lifetime career. In these instances Peace Corps is a well-fare-to-work, where people live comfortable lives with a minimal amount of responsibility. In other instances, Peace Corps is a great opportunity to develop personal motivation.
Thirty four U.S. Peace Corps volunteers were sworn in in Moldova
U.S. Ambassador to Moldova Michael Kirby said the volunteers have the valuable task to make progress "through self-sacrifice, while bringing a change for the better in Moldova. You will contribute to developing the civil society, by joining the efforts of non-governmental organisations, local public administrations, farmers, schools etc., so as to edify a better future for the citizens of this country," the U.S. diplomat also said.
Moldova Peace Corps Volunteer Greg writes: Underwear Anyone?
"I have now joined the league of people who have said completely and utterly embarrasing things in another language without having the slightest idea until it's all said and done. My passing into the ranks happened earlier this week when I showed up to meet some friends at the school for a workout."
Moldova RPCV Marc Williams practices Acupuncture
Originally from Ohio, Marc initially visited Vermont in 1996 while hiking the Appalachian Trail. After that adventure, he joined the Peace Corps in the Republic of Moldova, which is between Romania and Ukraine. While there, he developed a nerve blockage and partial paralysis of his fingers and arm. "It was undiagnosed for a long time,
but after a treatment of acupuncture and massage by a Soviet neurologist I was cured," he said. "When I returned to the U.S., it felt like a natural progression to study this field."
US to extend low tariff regime for Andean nations
Negotiators from the House of Representatives and the Senate agreed on the ATPDEA extension, a compromise between opposing proposals from the two chambers. The House bill would have extended the preferences for six months only for Peru and Colombia, which have agreed to bilateral deals with US trade officials. A bipartisan Senate bill proposed to grant all four countries a one-year extension. Most Peruvian goods enter the United States tariff-free under the Andean Trade Preference Act, granted in return for anti-drug cooperation. The original agreement with Peru expires in December, but was renewed when the new trade pact was not ratified.
The new free trade agreement was negotiated during the term of President Alejandro Toledo, the Peace Corps President
and supported in the Senate by RPCV Chris Dodd.
PCOL announces News Feed
PCOL announces a news feed for Peace Corps news. The purpose of the "Peace Corps Online" blog and news feed
is to provide up-to-the-minute news about the Peace Corps and to provide a daily collection of top stories about the Peace Corps, the Returned Volunteer community and what Returned Peace Corps Volunteers are doing around the the world. To subscribe to our news feed, first install a news aggregator, then click on the link in the upper right hand corner of this page that says "Subscribe to this blog's feed." Read more
All Volunteers in Fiji are Safe and Accounted for
All Volunteers in Fiji are safe and accounted for. The Peace Corps is monitoring the situation very closely. Volunteers are on standfast but there are no plans for evacuation at this time. Peace Corps is working closely with the US embassy and with host country partners to monitor the situation. Peace Corps is confident that volunteers are not in harm's way. The military seized control of Fiji on December 5 after weeks of threats. Subscribe to our news feed for the latest breaking news.
Statement of Senator Dodd on the Iraq Study Group's Report
âI couldnât agree more with the groupâs conclusion that there is no magic formula for fixing the problems in Iraq. I also totally concur that we must set benchmarks for Iraq to meet as a condition of our continued assistance. Iraq must make progress on reconciliation, security and improvement in the daily lives of the Iraqi people. Iraqâs neighbors and regional leaders should be included in finding a solution to Iraqâs problems. The United States does indeed have long term interests in the region and a broken Iraq does not advance those interests; that is why the work of the group must be given very serious consideration by President Bush.â
Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut
served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the 1960's.
Sam Farr calls the findings of the Iraq Study Group "honest" and "realistic"
"Honest, realistic assessments like incoming Defense Secretary Bob Gates yesterday admitting that 'we're not winning' in Iraq, and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group today highlighting that the situation is 'grave and deteriorating' have been missing and ignored in Republican-run Washington for the last three years," Farr said.
Congressman Sam Farr of California served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia in the 1960's.
Chris Shays Reaction to Iraq Study Group Report
âThe Iraq Study Group is providing momentum for changing the course at a critical time for the future of Iraq and we need to move quickly to review its recommendations,â Shays said.
âIraqis are facing increased violence yet their government is not showing the political will to make the tough decisions that will begin to resolve the conflict. Based on my 15 oversight trips to Iraq, I agree with the ISGâs assessment that we need to transition combat operations to Iraqi forces; encourage national reconciliation; and increase diplomatic efforts in the region. It is important to note the panel unanimously agreed our support needs to be conditional on the Iraqisâ performance.â
Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji in the 1960's.
Rep. Tom Petri says the newly-released high-level Iraq Study Group report is "a pretty sobering document"
"One thing that impressed me as I was reading through it was the answer to the question, 'What happens if they establish these benchmarks, and they don't, in fact, help make real
progress toward achieving security so that we can withdraw our troops and redeploy them," Petri said. "And the answer in the report is if they don't do that, the United States should keep open the option to reduce its political, military or economic support for the Iraqi government, which to me means that they are keeping open the option of maybe finding a stronger government that can deliver over in that part of the world."
Congressman Tom Petri of Wisconsin served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia in the 1960's.
RPCV Michael O'Hanlon writes: Iraq is one of the top five deadliest places on earth
"The simplest conclusion to reach is that Iraq, now one of the two or three most
violent places on Earth, is in civil war but not yet all-out absolute civil war. Does it matter? Politically, here at home, I believe Americans care less about semantics and more about whether they sense we have a credible strategy for victory â or at least for achieving some measure of stability in Iraq.(Research from various scholars, including Duke University professor Peter Feaver who now works for President Bush, backs up this generalization about what most determines American public support for the nation's wars.) I think the answer is that clearly Americans do not believe we are winning. They do not believe we presently have a strategy that will change the trajectory in Iraq. In other words, we already knew we were losing, whether one called this a civil war or not. The important question is can we turn things around, not whether we can find some way to spin events in Iraq into a more positive picture than the facts warrant. But let's call a spade a spade: Right
now we are part of a losing operation, and Iraq is in a civil war. What is more, American voters know it â meaning that 2007 will probably be make or break time for this country's willingness to continue the war effort."
Michael O'Hanlon, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute and a Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Congo Kinshasa.
Barbara Bertrand is heading off to Niger to teach environmental conservation
Born near New York City to a French father, Gerard, and a Brazilian mother, Sonia, she moved with her family, including two brothers and a sister, to Peters about nine years ago. She's hoping to bridge the language barrier with the years of French she picked up from her father, but though French is the primary Nigerien language, there are local dialects that vary widely. "I am looking forward to meeting the people and learning the culture most of all, but learning the language will be the hardest," she said.
Niger RPCV Peter Chilson writes "Riding the Demon: On the Road in West
Chilson, 45, first visited Africa in 1984 as a Peace Corps volunteer, following his graduation from Syracuse University. His posting was in Niger, West Africa. After three and a half years, during which he worked also as a freelance writer and temporarily as an Associated Press correspondent, he returned home to do postgraduate work at Penn State University. For the past few years he's gone back to Africa two to three times annually to research his forthcoming book. And, he said, "Now that I am a lot older, I look back at that book and it was a little crazy to do the traveling the way I did it." "Riding the Demon," then, stands as a look at a world, and a way of life, that has changed. But it's a look that, at the time Chilson lived it, portrayed an honest view of how difficult things were. "I wanted to write a book that gave a good idea of just how hard it is to survive daily in Africa," Chilson said in 1999. "I wanted to write a book that really shows the
genius of what the Africans are and how they've managed to build what they have today, which isn't much. But they still maintain this incredible will to live in the face of absolutely terrible circumstances."
Niger Peace Corps Volunteer writes: There is a strange feeling I get when I come out of the bush and spend large amounts of time in Niamey
"When I am in the bush, it is basic living. It is like camping for long periods of time. I have a gas stove, but I pull my own water and have no electricity. My time is spent between learning Zarma, reading and playing my Banjo. Life is simple, but very full, and I never get bored or feel useless. When I come to town it is a complete shift. I have electricity, running water, stores and restaurants. I spend my time e-mailing and swimming at the American rec center. I have work here as well, but that is mostly team meetings and whatnot. I donât
ever get bored, but I feel like it is too easy being in town. I donât get any satisfaction from being here. It is not a bad feeling, but I feel like I get more done at post, even though I donât."
Niger Peace Corps Volunteer Sarah Pharr writes: 1 down... 23 to go
"My villagers have taken to calling me Sarah Doun-dibi (pronounce Saharatou). Since I live alone that means I don't have a last name to them... and I'm not married (at the ripe old age of 22) they elected to give me Doun-dibi. I quite like it. My hut has now become my home, complete with cat hair on everything I own. I'm also slowly but surely learning how to cook in Niger. I have learned that my hut leaks...more like clumps of mud fall when it rainds. After a quick trip to Niamey I returned to a shade hangar (PRAISE THE LORD!!!) My fence isn't totally complete but will be soon as the harvest is coming to a
Recently retired editor-in-chief of Cox Ohio Publishing, Bruce was editor of the DDN when it was recognized three times as Best Newspaper in Ohio by the Society of Professional Journalists. Journalistic efforts under his direction included "Casualties of Peace," a project about the dangers faced by Peace Corps volunteers. Read his testimony before Congress on Peace Corps Safety from 2004.
Parents plant seeds of caring for Armenia RPCV Carrie Jane Dulin
The Dulins' daughter, Carrie Jane, died in a car crash on her 28th birthday, Aug. 5, 2003, en route to a new assignment in Nigeria. She had spent five years as a Peace Corps and World Vision worker in Armenia. A year after her death, the Dulins took a trip to Armenia to deliver money donated in their daughter's name to two orphanages in Sissian and Spitak. They purchased appliances for the kitchen in Spitak and an organ for the orphanage in Sissian. They also took part of Carrie's ashes and spread them at a deserted monastery near Sissian. As they left the orphanages, they asked
the directors what they could do to make a difference in the lives of the children there. They were told that the children at both orphanages needed warm clothing for the winter, when they are forced to bundle up in bed and stay home from school because the buildings aren't heated. Last year, the Dulins' church, Doylestown United Methodist, organized a coat campaign and collected about 30 boxes of coats that were shipped to Armenia through the United Methodist Committee on Relief, just after Hurricane Katrina.
Obituary for Ethiopia Country Director Henry Donald Wilson
Mr. Wilson graduated from Columbia Law School in 1948 and worked for two years as a lawyer before becoming a regional organizer for the United World Federalists, an international peace movement. In 1955, he joined the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York, and joined Arthur D. Little in 1960. Mr.
Wilson took a leave from Arthur D. Little in 1964, when he was appointed by R. Sargent Shriver as a Peace Corps director in Ethiopia.
Obituary for Togo RPCV John Peter D'Agostino
He worked as a freelance artist as well as a Peace Corps Rural Development Volunteer in West Africa. John also worked in many facets at The Ohio State University in addition to working at the BakeHouse Richmond and Dunbar Elementary Schools in Florida, The Historical Museum of Southern Florida, the Miami-Dade Community College, Pine Villa Elementary in Florida and at Enka Schools in Istanbul, Turkey. He spent his life learning and teaching.
Obituary for Malaysia RPCV Ross Pelton
Ross Pelton taught chemistry in Malaysia through the Peace Corps. He said his parents and sister visited him there and quickly fell in love with international
travel. Like everything else in life, Pelton and his wife traveled with gusto once they got started, eventually visiting all 50 U.S. states, Mexico, South America, Australia, New Zealand and China. Pelton served as principal at Logan with no assistants, Fregin said, and volunteered to coach the school's football team as well. He said the school, which then held grades 7 through 9, had more than 800 students at the time. "That was his life," Fregin said of Pelton's commitment to the school. "He devoted everything to that."
Obituary for Belize RPCV Charlene Andrews
Andrews, known internationally for her support of Oregon's Death with Dignity law, wanted to keep helping people even after her death. In lieu of flowers, Andrews had asked people to bring children's books to donate to a library she created while serving in the Peace Corps in Belize.
Every night when Burton went home, he was reminded of how good the everyday Internet had become at connecting dots. âWeb
2.0â technologies that encourage people to share information â blogs, photo-posting sites like Flickr or the reader-generated encyclopedia Wikipedia â often made it easier to collaborate with others. When the Orange Revolution erupted in Ukraine in late 2004, Burton went to Technorati, a search engine that scours the âblogosphere,â to find the most authoritative blog postings on the subject. Within minutes, he had found sites with insightful commentary from American expatriates who were talking to locals in Kiev and on-the-fly debates among political analysts over what it meant. Because he and his fellow spies were stuck with outdated technology, they had no comparable way to cooperate â to find colleagues with common interests and brainstorm online.
By the late summer, Fingar decided the Intellipedia experiment was sufficiently successful that he would embark on an even more high-profile project: using Intellipedia to produce a ânational
intelligence estimateâ for Nigeria. An N.I.E. is an authoritative snapshot of what the intelligence community thinks about a particular state â and a guide for foreign and military policy. Nigeria, Fingar said, is a complex country, with issues ranging from energy to Islamic radicalism to polio outbreaks to a coming election. Intellipediaâs Nigeria page will harness the smarts of the dozen or so analysts who specialize in the country. But it will also, Fingar hopes, attract contributions from other intelligence employees who have expertise Fingar isnât yet aware of â an analyst who served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria, or a staff member who has recently traveled there. In the traditional method of producing an intelligence estimate, Fingar said, he would call every agency and ask to borrow their Africa expert for a week or two of meetings. âAnd theyâd say: âWell, I only got one guy who can spell Nigeria, and heâs traveling. So you lose.â â In
contrast, a wiki will âchange the rules of who can play,â Fingar said, since far-flung analysts and agents around the world could contribute, day or night.
Swaziland Peace Corps Volunteer Mark Wengo writes: âDo you feel like youâre making a difference? Are your efforts well received by the Swazi people?â
On my way back from a meeting with the chiefdom elders last Thursday, I randomly met some guys who used to run the youth meetings. They said that in 2004, they had gone to workshops and put a lot of effort into getting themselves trained as peer educators. Then they came back to
their rural community and tried to host HIV education sessions for their compatriots. It was a miserable failure. The would-be educators were too well-known in the community, and this diminished their credibility. People would say, âYou are African, just like us. What can you teach us?â Itâs a little sad, this lack of faith in their own people, but I tried to console these guys that maybe itâs not just an African thing but merely a human characteristic to believe that what is foreign or imported is âbetterâ â perfume, leather handbags, exotic fruitâŠ or information.
Swaziland Peace Corps Volunteer Moly Pacenta writes: black and white
"Even though I didn't come here intending to give material things, it continues to be expected of me. And when a young girl comes to me crying after being kicked out of school because her sick mother cant afford the fees, I can't turn her away.
For $150 I'll give her another year of education. I can spare it and it's important. But what will she do next year when I'm gone? And what do I do when word gets out and 10 more girls come knocking on my door? If you give a mouse a cookie. There are big questions that can make my head spin as I drift off to sleep, and there's never an answer. I'm just trying to soak it all up and be the best person I can be."
Swaziland Peace Corps Volunteer Vincent D'Agostino writes: A Day in the Life of a Trainee
4:00-A new day begins...the rooster coos and doesn't fucking shut the fuck up. By the way...my rooster is the leader of the pack. Because its like living in a valley here. You hear each and every one of the roosters go off like alarms but in sequence or in sync. But I assure you...it is absolutely silent until my little fucker opens its beak to make that awful, wretched, ear drum shattering,
make you want to scream "Shut the fuck up" from my hut as loud as I can.
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Spring & Summer Job
Service-Learning Programs for Young People
Spend a week (or a month or two) this spring or summer helping
young people discover how to make a difference in the world!
The Civic Education Project (CEP)
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programs. Learn more
Spring & Summer
CEP offers weeklong field study
programs for 9th-12th graders during the academic year, and
intensive, three-week service-learning courses for 7th-12th
graders during the summer. CEP programs explore complex social
issues through academic study, meaningful service work, and meetings
with community leaders, and help teach young people how to apply their
skills and abilities to pressing social issues in their own
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We are looking for outstanding teachers from public and private
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Hope your New Year went well!
I have the NPCA calendars for sale $7.00. You can get them at the next dinner, Wed. January 17, 2007 at 6:30 pm. Norm will be sending more details soon. Plan on being there. If you are not able to get to the dinner then contact me (email below or 317-627-8982) , and we can make arrangements for you to get a calendar.
A couple of you have emailed me and let me know that you renewed your membership, which is great since we still need a few more to meet the quota of 10. Once we are there, I'll send in the application for the NPCA for us to be an affiliate.
Board Member positions are as follows:
- Debbie Anderson, Group Leader, ombili9@...
- Mike Cupp, Membership & Outreach, mpcupp@...
- James Phillips, Editor, jphil46222@...
- Colleen Turner, Education, turnerc@...
- Steve Wolcott, Treasurer, swolcott@...
- Norm Yeh, Social, nyeh@...
See you soon,
On a personal note: I'm job searching. If anyone knows of any jobs in the social service area, please let me know. Something in service learning would be the ideal match.
Please Forward Widely
Early Bird Rate Increases After January 20th
GLOBAL HEALTH & INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE: Innovation,
and Best Practices to Achieve Global Goals
Unite For Sight Fourth Annual International Health
More Than 300 Renowned Speakers from North America, Africa,
Asia, Latin America, and Europe
April 14-15, 2007 at Stanford University School of Medicine, California
Join over 1,500 leaders, doctors, professionals, and students from
continents for an engaging exchange of ideas and best practices.
April 14-15, 2007
Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA
Who should attend?
Anyone interested in eye care, international
health, medicine, health education, health promotion, public health,
international service, social entrepreneurship, nonprofits, or
EARLY BIRD RATE INCREASES AFTER JANUARY 20:
Current Rate is
SPEAKER HIGHLIGHTS (20 OF THE 300 SPEAKERS) INCLUDE:
--"Millennium Development Goals, Partnerships, and Eye Care (By
Prepared Videotape)", JEFFREY SACHS, PhD, Director, Earth Institute at
Columbia University; Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development;
Professor of Health Policy and Management
--"Challenges in Public Health: From Smallpox and Polio Eradication
to SARS and Avian Influenza", DAVID HEYMANN, MD, MPH, Former Executive
Director for Communicable Diseases, World Health Organization
--"Public Private Partnerships to Advance Technologies for
Neglected Disease", CHRISTOPHER ELIAS, MD, MPH, President of PATH
--"The Right to Health: Towards Social Inclusion and Universal
Health Care in Latin America", ARACHU CASTRO, PhD, MPH, Assistant
Professor of Social Medicine, Academic Director; Program in Infectious
Disease and Social Change, Harvard Medical School / Partners in Heath
--"The War on AIDS - Integration Equals Impact", GEORGE GUIMARAES,
President and CEO, Project Concern International
--"Critical Health Issues in the 21st Century", SUSAN BLUMENTHAL,
MD, MPA, Former US Assistant Surgeon General, Clinical Professor of
Psychiatry at Georgetown School of Medicine and Tufts University
--"The Neglected Tropical Diseases: New Promise For Their Control",
PETER HOTEZ, MD, PhD, Professor and Chairman, Department of
Microbiology and Tropical Medicine, The George Washington University
--"Microfinance and Health: New Synergies and Opportunities", ALEX
COUNTS, President, Grameen Foundation USA
--"Public Private Partnerships to Provide Safe Drinking Water in
Africa", GREG ALLGOOD, PhD, Director, Children's Safe Drinking Water,
Procter & Gamble
--"Antiretroviral Drugs and Issues of Drug Access and Quality in
the Developing World", TERRY BLASCHKE, MD, Professor of Medicine and
Molecular Pharmacology, Stanford University
--"Technology Social Entrepreneurship", JIM FRUCHTERMAN, Chairman
and Founder, The Benetech Initiative
--"International Women's Health and Human Rights", ANNE FIRTH
MURRAY, Founding President, The Global Fund for Women; Consulting
Professor, Human Biology Program, Stanford University
--"High Quality Eye Care To The Most Marginalized Populations: The
Challenges and Possible Solutions", GULLAPALLI N. RAO, MD, Chairman,
Board of Trustees and President, International Agency for the
Prevention of Blindness; Distinguished Chair of Eye Health, L.V. Prasad
--"Impossible Dreams - The First Ascent of the East Face of Mt.
Everest and Eradicating Blindness in Mountainous Asia", GEOFFREY TABIN,
MD, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; Director of the
Division of International Ophthalmology, John A. Moran Eye Center,
University of Utah; Co-Director and Founder, Himalayan Cataract Project
--"Eye Care at Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana", JAMES CLARKE., MD,
Ophthalmologist and Medical Director, Crystal Eye Clinic, Ghana
--"Global Progress in Preventing the Burden of Blindness and Other
Diseases Caused by Measles and Rubella", STEPHEN L. COCHI, MD, MPH,
Senior Advisor, Global Immunization Division, National Immunization
Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
--"Is Women's Health a Human Right?", MINI MURTHY, MD, MPH, MS,
Assistant Professor of Practice,New York Medical College School of
--"Young Leaders In Action: Tomorrow's Leaders But Also Today's",
WILLIAM REESE, President and CEO, International Youth Foundation
--"Community Programs With Vision", DAVID WERNER, PhD, Co-Founder,
Director of HealthWrights (Workgroup for People's Health and Rights);
Visiting Professor at Boston University International School of Public
Health; Author, "Where There Is No Doctor"
--"Medical Discovery and Social Justice: Linking Child Health with
Child Rights", PAUL WISE, MD, MPH, Richard E. Berhman Professor of
Child Health and Society, Stanford University
Hundreds of Conference Sessions For Anyone Interested In:
*Millennium Development Goals
*Health and Human Rights
*Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship
*Health in Africa
*Health in Asia
*Health in Latin America
*Global Eye Care and Vision 2020
Dear Ball State Area RPCVs:
Happy 2007! Best wishes in the New Year from the Chicago Peace
Corps Office. I am preparing for Peace Corps’ 2007 spring
recruiting at Ball State University. As in the past, I feel
it is important to keep the BSU RPCV community informed and involved in what
our office is planning. You have all played a vital role in making Ball State
University one of the best recruiting campuses in the Midwest. Thank
Here is what is new and upcoming from our office:
New Recruiter to Visit the BSU Campus:
Please welcome recruiter Hazel Domangue to the Ball State
campus this spring. Hazel will be visiting on my behalf because I will be
on maternity leave. My husband and I are expecting a son in
mid-February. Hazel is a RPCV who served in Lesotho from 2003-2005.
Some of you were able to meet Hazel this past fall when she traveled with me to
Ball State. You are all welcome to contact Hazel with any needs or
questions at hdomangue@...
Volunteers Needed on January 23rd:
On Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007 Peace Corps will have a
table set up at the Natural Resources & Environmental Management
Internship. The event is from noon-4pm at the BSU Alumni Center. Unfortunately,
no recruiter from our office is available to travel to Ball State for this
event. We are looking for one or more volunteers who might be able to
stand at the table for 1-2 hour shifts and talk to interested students about
the Peace Corps. Please e-mail me at jdiatta@...
if you can staff this table for any segment of time. There is a free
luncheon from 11am-noon for all volunteers.
Mark Your Calendars- Peace Corps
Reception on February 27th:
Each spring semester our office hosts a Peace Corps Reception to bring
together Ball State students who have applied for Peace Corps,
families of BSU alumni currently serving overseas, and RPCVs. Please mark
your calendars for this event. Applicants love to hear the inside scoop on
Peace Corps from you! Invitations will be mailed out in early
February. The reception will be from 6-8pm in the Center for
Guest Speaker Needed on February 28th:
Hazel will be hosting a Peace Corps information meeting for Ball
State students on Wednesday, February 28th. Recent meetings
have drawn large crowds of 75-100 students! Hazel would like to have 1-2
RPCVs come to the beginning of the meeting to talk to students from
approximately 10 minutes about their experiences in the Peace Corps. If
you are interested in being a guest speaker, please email either Hazel me.
Hazel will be recruiting on campus February 27th – March 1st, 2007. Here is a link describing all of her recruiting events: http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=meet.regrec.event&eventid=76814&city=chicago
Please feel free to share this schedule with any of your students who would
like to learn more about the Peace Corps.
If you know of other RPCVs (faculty, staff or students) in the Muncie
area, please forward this e-mail to them and encourage them to contact me so I
can add them to this list.
If you prefer not to receive e-mails from me, please let me
know and I will remove your name from this list.
RPCV Senegal 1999-2001
Chicago Regional Peace Corps Office
"The world is a book. Those who do not travel have read only
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« December 2006 | Main
Dodd declares candidacy in 2008 Presidential race
Dodd scheduled an interview on the "Imus in the Morning" radio show to make the announcement. While the senator has indicated for months he was considering a White House bid, he had yet to formalize his intentions. Kathy Sullivan, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party in New Hampshire, said in an interview that she had spoken to Dodd and he said, "'I'm not going to do the exploratory thing. I'm going to plunge right in.'" "People really like him. He's very smart. He's also very articulate. And I think he might have the sharpest wit of anyone in the field," Sullivan said.
Dodd voted in 2002 to authorize military intervention in Iraq, but has become an outspoken critic of the war and now calls his vote a mistake. He has said he would oppose an escalation of U.S. forces in Iraq and has said Congress should consider withholding funding for such a troop increase. Dodd has been politically active on behalf of other Democrats, raising money and campaigning for candidates across the country and headed the Democratic National Committee from 1995-96. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the 1960's. Read more and leave your comments.
Dodd announces candidacy on "Imus in the Morning"
The difficulty Dodd faces trying to breakthrough the public consciousness in a race that starts off dominated by political celebrities was underscored in a good-natured exchange with radio host Don Imus. "I'll tell you who I saw last night who was very impressive was Barack Obama," Imus told Dodd. "I'm not one of those Hollywood phonies jumping on the Barack Obama bandwagon I'm going to vote for McCain at this point," Imus added, referring to Arizona Sen. John McCain, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
"Now wait a minute, wait a minute," Dodd interjected. "I come on the program, I blow everybody else off, I announce here at least leave the door open a little bit for me here. ... And I'm your pal 14 years you can't just walk away from me. You leave that door open a little bit." Chuckling, Imus responded: "I'm not walking away ... I'm not closing the door, senator."
RPCV Chris Mathews interviews RPCV Chris Dodd on Hardball
"John Kennedy, when he sent off the first Peace Corps volunteers...said you know its going to be a great thing in 40 or 50 years from now there will have been a million young people in this country that will have served their nation in a foreign nation..Thats going to help us in the conduct of foreign policy with a better understanding of whats going on. Well, there have only been 170,000 of us, Chris, that have come back as Peace Corps volunteers, but that experience was life altering and changing. You respected other people, you listened to them. It gives you a better perspective on your own
country. I came back with a deeper appreciation of what the United States was and what it could do as a result of that experience."
Read Senator Dodd's recent speech about his vision for the Peace Corps.
Read about Senator Dodd's strong support for the Peace Corps over the years.
Malawi RPCVs Garry Prime, Michael Hill, and Kevin Denny founded "Orphan Support" to foster effective and sustainable programs in Africa that improve the protection and well-being of orphans and vulnerable children
The Mission of Orphan Support Africa is to support communities in Africa through WORKING WITH effective and sustainable programs, which improve the well being of orphans and vulnerable children and nurture these children to become self-reliant adults. By 2010 there will be 20 million OVC in Africa, while today only 10% are receiving any kind of service.
In Malawi alone, the 4th poorest country in the world, with a population of under 12 million, There are nearly 1 million orphans. Orphan Support Africa is making a difference. It developed from two successful OVC systems of care. The Malawi Childrens (MCV) began delivering comprehensive services ten years ago in a structure that was replicated by The Mango Tree Orphan Support Programme (TMT) in southern Tanzania three years ago. Currently these two organizations serve almost 8,000 OVC in 66 villages. Each delivers services at roughly $30 per orphan per year. Each has a staff made up mostly of volunteers.
Orphan Support Africa is a new organization with deep roots. It's five founders have a combined history of over one hundred and fifty years of commitment to sub-Saharan Africa and have already established community based orphan care programs in Malawi and Tanzania which have become recognized as best practice models.
The lessons that have accompanied this experience are many, but can be boiled down to a simple unifying principal: Orphan Support Africa is in the business of saying goodbye. Each time Orphan Support Africa commits to help a community, it does so with the firm understanding that our role is nurture, not to direct. We present community leaders the opportunity for three years of support and resources that will allow them to develop to the point of self-sufficiency. At the end of that period it is mutually understood that communities will have evolved the leadership skills and commitment that will allow them to continue on their own.
Malawi Children's Village is a social services organization run collaboratively by American volunteers and local villagers
Malawi Children's Village is a social services organization run collaboratively by American volunteers and local villagers. It is on the outskirts of Mangochi, one of the poorest districts in one of the smallest and most impoverished nations in Africa. Malawi Children's Village provides food, medical care and money for school to more than 3,500 AIDS orphans -- those who have lost one or both parents to the disease -- in dozens of surrounding villages. Medical personnel treat the sickest and most malnourished children at an infirmary on the compound, but most of the work is done as outreach so that children can remain in their own villages where relatives or neighbors can help raise them.
To learn more about "Orphan Support" in Malawi visit their web site.
Ethiopia RPCV John Garamendi takes oath of office as California Lt. Governor
"Will history judge that wein the early days of the 21st century -set the stage for the 22nd century California by design, or by default? Will our descendants honor our stewardship or regret the opportunities lost by short-sighted policies and selfish consumption? We cant imagine the economy of the future. None of us can define the dimensions of the frontiers that will be conquered in the next ninety years or anticipate all the challenges to be faced. But the essential foundations of prosperity are no different today than they have been at any time in Californias past."
"We must begin with mother earth. The California we envision depends on our deciding today to reverse the environmental trajectory on which we have placed our planet. Just as miners of the 19th and 20th century gnawed at and destroyed the land, the flawed energy policies of America and other advanced economies threatens to create an Inconvenient Truth. Now it is abundantly clear the that human activity is changing the climate of our world and foisting upon the next generations a far different environment and climate with challenges and effects far greater and more serious than any we have endured."
"We all share deep concerns for our current state of affairs, However as Martin Luther King, once said, The arc of history is long, but it trends toward justice. Dr. King had occasion to see the worst instincts of the human heart, but he woke up every day with the confidence that the progress of human history was moving towards a better day."
"Our Peace Corps experience in Africa many years ago taught Patti and me that we must row our small boat of hope against what appear to be overwhelming odds. If our effort could create one wave for peace and justice in this world, that wave might reach far and on some distant shore bring hope. I expect that Dr. Kings hope was rooted in the assurance of Gods amazing grace
an assurance kindled by the community who stood together, who marched together, and who believed together that justice would one day roll down like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."
Caption: Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, center, is sworn in by State Supreme Court Justice Ronald George, left, as Garamendi's wife Patti, right, looks on during ceremonies held at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday Jan. 7, 2007. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Read more about John Garamendi.
Tunisia RPCV Lance Holter writes: 1st Lt. Ehren Watada risks it all in an act of moral conscience
"I learned about the courage of conviction last week when I met with a courageous young American patriot. A leader who lives by example. An individual, who out of a decision of moral conscience, refuses to participate in a war that he believes (after much personal research) violates the U.S. Constitution, Geneva accords, Nuremberg principals, and the United Nations Charter. First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, a 28 year old U.S. Army artillery officer from Hawaii, has become the first active duty military officer publicly to oppose the war in Iraq. As a result of
his act of conscience and challenging what we now know about the war in Iraq, Lt. Watada is facing military court martial at Ft. Lewis Washington this February 5, 2007."
"I, for one, am outraged. If the past national election or national polls are any indication of Americas dissatisfaction and outrage with the Iraq war then I am in good company. Seventy-two percent of the U.S. troops in a 2006 Zogby poll want the U.S. out Iraq in 12 months. So when an individual emerges with the integrity of Lt. Watada, all of us benefit, whether we agree with him or not. In the national debate on the Iraq war we have an island boy risking all that he has including his future to help us all arrive at the truth." Read more and leave your comments.
Caption: 1st Lt. Ehren Watada
Lt. Ehren Watada, son of Peru RPCV Robert Watada, calls Iraq war illegal, refuses order to go
"I feel that we have been lied to and betrayed by this administration," Watada said in a telephone interview from Fort Lewis. "It is the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order including the order to go to war." His father Robert Watada, a retired Hawaii state official was opposed to the war in Vietnam, and was able to do alternative service in the Peace Corps in Peru.
In making his decision, Watada has reached out to peace groups, including clergy, students, some veterans opposed to Iraq and others. Some war critics are raising money for his legal defense as they seek to galvanize broader opposition to Bush administration policy in Iraq. Read more and leave your comments.
Caption: Lt. Ehren Watada, center, with his niece Kodie Watada and his father, Robert, who opposed the Vietnam War and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru.
Ecuador RPCV John Brandi is the author of more than three dozen poetry collections
When John Brandi moved to New Mexico in 1971, he designed and built a small cottage near Guadalupita, north of Mora. Opposed to the Vietnam War, he had served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador and begun publishing poetry as part of what he calls South America's "mimeo revolution." Using a Rotary Neostyle hand-operated mimeograph machine, he founded Tooth of Time Press in his cabin and thus brought the revolution north. Brandi published the work of other writers in addition to his own, and his press became known for attractive books of poetry. From the beginning, he combined writing poetry
with making art. Currently a resident of Rio Arriba County, Brandi is the author of more than three dozen poetry collections. He has also created many works in a format called broadside -- poems printed with artwork on large sheets of paper and designed for display. Born in California, Brandi began his creative endeavors early. "My parents encouraged me to draw and to write at a young age," he said. "My dad was an accountant for a newspaper in Los Angeles. At the end of the month, he would ask the pressmen to cut end rolls into 8-by-10 sheets for me. He gave me a coffee table to work on and said, 'Draw the places you've gone with your mother and me.' My mother would always add something like, 'Write about how you felt when you were standing on those rocks with all those waves crashing around you.'" Read more about John Brandi.
Robert Davidson wrote short stories to pass the time while in the Peace Corps in Grenada, little knowing that would be the start of a new career
Robert Davidson got his doctorate in American Literature in 2002 from Purdue University. Before that, he and his wife were in the Peace Corps, from 1990 to 1992. He joined because of Linda, who had more of an idealistic "do-good-in-the-world" mind-set. "I wanted to travel," he said. "My intentions weren't as noble." The couple spent two years in Grenada, a Caribbean island. While there, he taught students about reading and writing, but found there wasn't much to do in his spare time except read and write. He hadn't
always wanted to be a writer--"It whetted my appetite, I guess." There, Davidson learned discipline. He would wake up at 5 a.m. and write for two or three hours almost every day before work. "At first, that sucked," he said, the experience still fresh in his mind 16 years later. "Then I realized I had to do it. I liked doing this every day." Davidson's Peace Corps experience changed how he wrote about people. He said he learned to "see with a new set of eyes." Having to live in the 13-square-mile country for two years made him adapt to their way of life, instead of them adapting to his. "I recognized I had biases, preconceptions I didn't know I had," he said. "It was really hard to let go of that." Read more about John Davidson.
Deborah Gardner's murder is impetus for Tonga RPCV Jan Worth's first novel and second marriage
For years, the grizzly murder of a female Peace Corps volunteer in 1976 haunted Jan Worth of Flint, who served with the organization in Tonga in the South Pacific archipelago at the time. Worth came to grips with the tragedy by writing a novel loosely based on the real-life events. The task took more than a decade. Though she made up the characters in the novel, the main events are true, said Worth, who was 26 at the time of the murder. "I never wanted to tell a factual story. I wanted to be able to embroider it." Peace Corps volunteer, Dennis Priven, confessed to the murder
and was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He returned to America a free man, where he worked in a government job for years. Another outcome from the experience occurred when she married Ted Nelson, a man she'd known in Tonga, in July 2005. (She'd been divorced after 15 years of marriage.) Worth and Nelson reconnected through Philip Weiss, who had interviewed both of them for his book, "American Taboo." They e-mailed for months, spoke on the phone and eventually met in Flint. He lives part time in San Pedro, Calif., where he runs a trophy business. "Twenty-five years later, we got together," she said. "It clicked. That'll be the second novel." Read more about Jan Worth.
PCVs to return to Nepal on their own after 2004 evacuation
As the Peace Corps program was suspended on September 13, 2004 in the aftermath of the Maoist's attack at the American Center in Gyaneshwor, Kathmandu, the 84 volunteers working in different parts of the country were evacuated. The evacuated volunteers said that they had to leave all their work and projects unfinished. Some were in the planning phase. PC volunteer Andrew Huston was planning to build a library at Shree Ratna Rajya Secondary School at Ramkot, Bhaktapur. Shana Groseclose was developing a rural health initiative program with Nepal Red Cross Society in Chitwan. Ashish Basuray was working for a training for
science teachers in Langtang. He had to leave HIV/AIDs education training uncompleted. Like these volunteers, other evacuated volunteers had to leave Nepal with their work incomplete.
Love of some of the evacuated PCVs of Nepal is so intense that they are raising funds in the United States to complete the projects they had begun before their evacuation. Evacuated volunteers Amy Clark and Gregory Clark, both now working at the PC Headquarters, said they have already collected $8,000 from the Rotary Club. They want to hand over the money to complete a library in Chhorpatan Higher Secondary School and Kanya Secondary School in Pokhara. "We want to visit Nepal to hand over the money ourselves and say good bye on a good note. But we have not been able to do so because of lack of funds for our travel. However, we are hopeful that we will be able to raise funds for our travel as well. We are planning to go to Nepal sometime next summer," the cheerful-looking and optimistic Clarks said mixing English with Nepali.
The evacuated volunteers hope that peace can be restored in Nepal and that the Peace Corps can resume its program. However, Peace Corps says it has no present plans of resuming its program in Nepal. "Peace Corps would require an invitation from the Government of Nepal prior to making an assessment as to whether or not resuming the program would be feasible. .... We have not had an official assessment and, until one is made, the likelihood of resuming the program cannot be guessed," official Zalansky said. Amidst uncertainty of their return, they still cherish the people and communities where they worked, and also the Daal Bhaat. "People to me were as dearer as the mountains," commented Gregory Clark. Shana Groseclose sums up Nepali people's friendliness as, "Sabai janale aunos swagat chha khanos khanos bhanne".
Read more about Peace Corps Nepal.
Every fall Botswana RPCV Amy Smith, a senior lecturer at MIT, joins her students in a one-week assignment to live on $2 a day, to prepare for field trips to remote villages in places like Ghana, Honduras, and Zambia
"I want to create a generation of engineers who are doers and active problem solvers," she says. "There is a history in international development of people going into the field with little technical background and coming up with things that are not effective. More and more, people are starting to recognize that problem-solving under the severe constraints of the developing world is difficult [and requires] real engineering skills." Inventor Amy Smith teaches at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana.
Smith's efforts to get students involved extend well beyond the classroom. Working with MIT's Public Service Center, Smith cofounded the IDEAS (Innovation, Development, Enterprise, Action, Service) Competition, whose cash awards encourage students to develop and implement projects that make a positive change in the world. She also helped organize the International Development Network at MIT and assists in its annual student fair. This year, a record 50 groups took part, only two of which were spawned by D-Lab or IDEAS. Now she's plotting a month-long design fest this summer to spur visiting community leaders from developing countries to collaborate with student teams from MIT and elsewhere.
Smith's approach to saving the world is pragmatic, much like her engineering philosophy. "There is a certain kind of engineering that I like to do," she says. "I don't like electricity and gadgetry. I simplify and simplify. None of my designs are complex. I always try to eliminate another part." She reduces problems to basic principles, hoping to uncover an equally basic solution. By keeping things simple, she increases the odds that her inventions will be adopted in poor countries.
Botswana RPCV Amy Smith won MacArthur 'Genius' Grant for her work in using technology to solve problems in the developing world
Amy Smith, 41, is dedicated to using technology to solve problems in the developing world. Smith said the MacArthur award "is pretty exciting, though a little scary. I've always operated on a shoestring. It'll be odd to do it differently for a change."
Smith is a mechanical engineer and inventor who designs "life-enhancing solutions and labor-saving technologies for people at the far end of dirt roads in the world's most remote societies -- people facing crises that erupt in health clinics with no electricity and in villages with no clean water," according to the MacArthur Foundation biography.
"Striking in their simplicity and effectiveness, her inventions include grain-grinding hammer mills, water-purification devices and field incubators for biologic testing, each reflecting her inordinate creativity and ingenuity," the biography said.
"I currently have very little funding for my projects, so this gives me a lot more flexibility," said Smith, who is working on two projects in Haiti. "I will be able to move forward a lot faster now. There's so much to do in Haiti, it's really nice to have the resources to keep these projects going, and start new projects, too."
Read more about Engineer and Inventor Amy Smith.
Greg Van Kirk and his team of volunteers comprise Community Enterprise Solutions the not for profit he co-founded with fellow Guatemala Peace Corps Volunteer George Glickley to provide loans to rural constituents
While working in investment banking in New York City in 2000, Greg Van Kirk read about Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus micro-credit work providing loans to the poor of Bangledesh. When I turned 30 and read about Mohammad Yunnus work, I knew it was now or never, so I joined the Peace Corps, he said. Armed with his investment banking credibility, and accrued analytic and business skills, Van Kirk knew that what he needed was real field
experience. His transformation from Peace Corps volunteer to social entrepreneur began in Nebaj, an indigenous, rural town in the mountains of Guatemala, where he found himself surrounded by nature and culture but with no facilities or centers for tourists to stay at or visit.
Seeing an opportunity to help local people bring new money into the community and create new jobs, he donated his own money and solicited the support of family and friends and created five tourism-focused businesses: a restaurant, a Spanish language school, a guiding service, an Internet café, and an artisan store. Van Kirk said Jan. 16 will mark the fifth anniversary of the tourism business and said the businesses have received about $10,000 in total donations to date and are now all locally owned and operated, directly employ over 30 people and have average annual revenues approaching $100,000.
When it came time to create his own venture to build on the success of the tourism businesses, Van Kirk took into consideration the whole picture, using his heart and his head. Since he co-founded Community Enterprise Solutions in 2004, Van Kirks work has had a concrete impact. For example, thousands of women weavers and rural merchants with bad eyesight are now able to continue making a living by buying eyeglasses from Community Enterprise (CE) Solutions. The company trained and equipped local entrepreneurs, as featured in November of 2005 in the NBC Nightly News Making a Difference segment. When summing up his work Van Kirk said, It is the most challenging thing Ive ever done, working with so many human, cultural, and societal issues, trying to come up with solutions to problems that have been around for thousands of years. In the end, my job is to drive myself out of business. We train people and get them to the point of self-sufficiency; to the
point where they dont need us anymore, he said.
Read more about the Peace Corps and Microfinance.
Louise M. Pascale is republishing the collection of Afghan children's songs that she had compiled as a Peace Corps volunteer in the late 1960s
Rummaging through her bookshelf five years ago, Louise M. Pascale, an assistant professor of creative arts and learning at Lesley University in Cambridge, came upon the collection of Afghan children's songs that she had compiled as a Peace Corps volunteer in the late 1960s.
It was sort of like finding an old yearbook, but instead of illustrating how hairstyles and skirt lengths had changed over the years, the tattered green songbook called attention to a greater change: The devastation reaped on Afghanistan after years of Taliban rule. Holding the relic, Pascale was certain that all remaining copies of the songbook, which she distributed in Kabul during her time in the Peace Corps, had been destroyed. She assumed they were lost, along with instruments and archives of local folk songs, when the Taliban outlawed music.
"I said to myself, 'I want to give this back to the kids in Afghanistan,' " Pascale recalls. " 'It's not doing me any good in my bookcase.' "
The songbook has come a long way from its creation nearly 40 years ago, when the 22-year-old Pascale realized, while traveling to Afghan schools to teach music, that students lacked books of songs. She worked with local poets and musicians to transcribe traditional songs.
Pascale's goal, to return these songs to a country stripped of its music, will be realized in the coming months. But the project is not over yet. The Afghan minister of education has asked that songs now be gathered for adults, so a second book can be created. Pascale takes the request as a good sign: "It makes me feel that they see the importance of it, and they know that music is a way to solidify and connect the country."
Learn more about "Children's Songs from Afghanistan."
Husband remembers Niger RPCV Mary Ann Hobson
"She was a person of many accomplishments - an artist most of all, a teacher and linguist who served in the Peace Corps in Africa, taught immigrant children in Australia, sang and acted, and brought a great sense of personal discipline and concentration to everything she tried to do. After her death, I felt a great sadness that many people never knew her - and a fear that what she was might quickly slip away."
"I am certain that many other families experienced the same sadness, the same fear after the deaths of their loved ones. But I am also certain that like me, they have come to realize that so much of those lives does not go away and cannot be negated, whatever we do or don't do to remember them. It is as though each of us contributes to a sort of "Butterfly Effect," by our actions subtly altering the world in ways we may never know or understand, but are real and indelible."
"In Mary Ann's case, I like to think that there are now-grown former students of hers around the world, from Africa to California to Australia, who now and then remember "Miss Hobson" and the high standards she insisted upon. Or that a student or researcher going through the stacks at Cal State San Bernardino may gain a flash of insight from something she wrote in her thesis on Emily Dickinson's poetry. Or that one of her richly thoughtful canvases will stir the soul and the imagination of another artist - or a musician or writer or scientist or child, for that matter. And then there is our son, whom she will not see graduate from high school but who will carry much of her spirit and outlook into what he does with his own life."
"Like these other Lives Remembered in 2006, she wasn't famous, but like them, she changed the world."
Read the rest of the remembrance.
Paul Theroux writes: Remember the Cicadas and the Stars?
A longing for a simpler world, for a glimpse of the past, is one of the motives in travel. But the rest of the world has fared no better in terms of population pressure, and in many places it is much worse, even catastrophic. The population of Malawi 40 years ago was small and sustainable. None of us Peace Corps volunteers there at that time thought in terms of rescuing the country but only of helping to improve it. Now Malawi can't feed itself; it's one of the many countries that people wish to flee, renowned for being hopeless, unjustly publicized as an enormous orphanage of desperate tots, needing to be saved,
devoid of pride, lost without us. The notion that a pop singer (back then it would have been Elvis) would breeze through and scoop up a child in a condescending gesture of rescue was unthinkable then.
Travel, except in almost inaccessible places, is no longer the answer to finding solitude. And this contraction of space on a shrinking planet suggests a time, not far off, when there will be no remoteness: nowhere to become lost, nothing to be discovered, no escape, no palpable concept of distance, no peculiarity of dress frightening thoughts for a traveler.
Yet some of the most populous countries manage to be habitable because they are societies with strict, and civilized, codes of conduct. India, China and Japan are convenient examples, but I would include many African and Middle Eastern countries, too. The vindictive stereotype of the Muslim as a xenophobe does not tally with my experience of wandering in the Muslim world, where I have been treated hospitably, welcomed by strangers as "dayf al Rahman," a guest of the Merciful One.
We are passing through a confused period of aggression and fear, characterized by our confrontational government, the decline of diplomacy, a pugnacious foreign policy and a settled belief that the surest way to get people to tell the truth is to torture them. (And by the way, "water boarding" was a torture technique at the worst of the Khmer Rouge prisons.) It is no wonder we have begun to squint at strangers. This is a corrosive situation in a country where more and more people, most of them strangers, are a feature of daily life.
One of the lessons of travel is that, though half the world is wearing T-shirts and sneakers, they manage to live in overpopulated cities because they have not abandoned their traditional modes of politeness. These grace notes, which make traveling in crowded countries bearable, are a lesson to us in a mobbed and jostling world.
Read more by and about Paul Theroux.
Dominican Republic RPCV Mark Ridoff writes: Productivity doesn't aid middle class
"Forty years ago, I began two years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Latin America. That experience left me with a great appreciation of the opportunities and advantages that I was given as a member of what was then a vibrant and growing American middle class. I have watched with increasing dismay the accelerating erosion of the American middle class. Indeed, I began to think that there was much about America of the late 20th century and the early 21st century that reminded of the highly class-stratified Latin America countries I saw as a Peace Corps volunteer. It is again time for
broad debate on a fundamental question: Why should the workers whose productivity makes greater wealth possible not share in the benefits of that wealth? How can America be America without a strong and stable middle class?" Read more.
Gabon RPCV Terez Rose writes: The Art of Being Globally Thrifty
Sometimes I feel as if I haven't been able to draw a deep breath since the day my husband, our chief breadwinner, came home eight months ago and told me he'd lost his job. "No one's fault, no reflection on your work," he was told. Reorganizations, cost-cutting, downsizing-that kind of thing.
We Americans will adapt-it's one of the things we do best. New jobs will be created and the economy will eventually recover. However, it won't happen tomorrow. But here's another thing I learned from the Africans: how to be patient and weather the storm of challenging times with dignity and grace. How to accept things the way they are, difficulties and all. When I remember this, I look around at what my family does have now: adequate savings to squeak by, a beautiful home and lots of quality time together. My husband and I have the opportunity to sit in the backyard every night and watch our son frolic around, as the sun sinks slowly into the trees. Like my days in Africa, I've ceased to expect or hunger for things that are no longer accessible. I'm simply enjoying the purity of the moment. I think of my African friends, still there, still struggling, but surely finding time to play music and celebrate life. If you ask me, they are the true Wise Men
from the East. Read more.
Thomas Rooney writes: When President Kennedy met Prime Minister Nehru, he told him about the educational benefits the Peace Corps would have in India. Nehru replied; "Yes, I'm sure your young people will learn a lot." Those young people are now running the country. And it is time we started learning.
It is ironic that 25 years ago, the Indians put themselves on this course by discarding socialism, lowering taxes, and encouraging trade. They learned it from us, too. Now we must relearn it from them. And we have a lot to learn, considering that Republicans in Congress can barely get a majority of their own caucus to support free-trade agreements.
Not competing is not an option for our company--or for our country. In our case, we may be laying off nine employees, but we are hiring at least 30 more. In India, we are not just transferring work, but finding new customers. We spent time talking to the water authorities there about cleaning up the holiest and dirtiest river in the world, the Ganges. And we held similar talks with customers and suppliers in Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and other parts of Asia. As these countries grow, so does their demand for goods and services that we in America can provide better than anyone in the world. But only if we are willing to recognize what our value is, and, above all, if we are willing to be fiercely competitive to provide them. No one can make any guarantees to any American company, at home or abroad, other than this: If we do not compete and make our products and services better, faster, and less expensive, we can and will lose. Read more.
Burkina Faso RPCV John Uniack Davis speaks on impoverished African countries
John Uniack Davis, graduate with a political science degree, discussed the most complex of Africa's health and economic challenges after a unique welcome from political science professor, Charles Weed, who shared letters received by his former student 22 years prior, during the first of Davis's experiences in the Peace Corps in Africa. Davis spoke about Africa's extreme poverty and how it is responsible for Africa's challenges with education, social justice, international equality and most importantly, adequate healthcare. "At least 50 percent of Africans live on less than one dollar a day," he said. "That's one third lower than the world's next poorest country, South Asia." Davis explained the complexity of Africa's cyclical debt crisis and the role of The World Bank and International Monetary Fund
(IMF) in its continued economic devastation. Since its impoverishment had made it impossible to borrow elsewhere, Africa had nowhere else to turn to for financial assistance. Davis said for the past two decades World Bank and IMF have kept Africa reliant, bound with irreversible debts, and ultimately helpless in the fight against diseases and poverty. "Africa has found itself on the losing side of globalization," said Davis. Read more.
Read more about the Peace Corps and Globalization.
Father of PCV Stephen Lotti, killed in Plane Crash in Peru in 2005, is searching for Monica Glenn who survived on the same flight
We received the following message which we have been asked to post on our Bulletin Board:
"My name is David Lotti. Stephen Lotti was my son who died in the plane crash in Peru 8/23/05. My attorney would very much like to contact Ms. Monica Glenn and talk with her about that day. Since both Steve and Ms. Glenn served in the Peace Corps we feel that at some point in the flight they may have made a connection. If you have a means of contacting her, please have her contact me at jblotti AT comcast.net OR David M. Lotti 115 Ashton Park, Peachtree City, Ga 30269. Phone 770-486-8502. Thanks for your help in this matter."
RPCVs Monica Glenn and Steve Lotti were traveling separately on a flight in Peru in 2005 that crashed near Pucallpa. Steve Lotti lost his life while Monica Glenn and her husband survived with second degree burns.
Monica Glenn served as a volunteer in China, her family is from the Orange County area, and her husband William Zea-Palacios is Bolivian. They were living in Arequipa, Peru a year and a half ago. If anyone in the RPCV community knows how to get in touch with Monica Glenn, please pass this message on to them.
Nepal RPCV Damian Jones started Annapolis-based "Aid Through Trade" in 1993 to help provide good employment and fair wages to artisans and farmers in developing countries
Since 2000, Aid Through Trade sales have returned more than $500,000 to the economies of Nepal and Vietnam. Workers from his Admiral Drive company visit either of the countries - sometimes both - each year. The visits allows Aid Through Trade officials to meet the workers, and see their conditions and the environment in which products are being made. "We have to make an assessment of the presence of human dignity, besides looking at wages and exterior conditions," Mr. Jones said. "From a business point of view,
that's a big step in the business supply chain." Mr. Jones said he believes fair trade will soon become as popular as organic goods, which are now carried in such grocery stores as Giant and Safeway. "People want to know that their food came from a clean and healthy place," he said. "They also want to know their goods came from a good, healthy, fairly paid source." Read more and leave your comments.
Guatemala RPCV Naren Sonpal Offers Fair Trade Coffee
Naren Sonpal's two-year term of service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala ended in 2001, but he's still working to make the world a better place, one cup of coffee at a time. He was 55 when he entered the Peace Corps, assigned to work with cooperatives of coffee and tea farmers in the Guatemalan highlands near Coban. On his return, Naren and his wife, Gun, built a business on his experience in Guatemala and a subsequent trip to India, becoming roasters and blenders of 100 percent organic, shade-grown, Fair Trade coffees and purveyors of organic Fair Trade teas. The Sonpals opened Coffee-Tea-Etc. in December of 2002 in the lower level of their Goshen home. Sacks of coffee beans from every corner of the globe are lined up near the couple's state-of-the-art drum roaster.
"Our coffee comes from Mexico, Peru, Sumatra, Colombia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, New Guinea, Costa Rica and Ethiopia," Naren told Voices, "and we know the farms they are coming from. Most multinational companies won't pay what coffee producers need to survive." "The farmers suffer a lot," Naren said. "Right now, they're selling to the big corporations at below their cost of production. When farmers can't make money producing their coffee, they sometimes turn to the production of drugs - and who can blame them?"
Central African Republic RPCV Katie Dyer is co-owner of Cadeaux du Monde, a fair trade shop that sells artwork and jewelry from all over the world
Katie Dyer and Jane Perkins of Newport have done their share of traveling. The mother-daughter duo are the co-owners of Cadeaux du Monde, a fair trade shop in Newpor, Rhode Island that sells artwork and jewelry from all over the world, representing over 40 countries. What is Fair Trade? It's fairly traded folk art, directly from the village. There's not a lot of middle men. It's the same idea as fair trade coffee where the producers actually get a fair price. We buy directly from them so they're in control of their prices.
Read more about Fair Trade and leave your comments.
Obituary for Colombia RPCV James W. Thomas
He graduated from high school in Oakdale and went on to serve in the Peace Corps in Colombia. Jim is remembered by all who knew him as a man of few words. He never hesitated to lend a helping hand, whether it was moving equipment for a gymnastics meet, painting sets for plays, or going on stage as a pageant dad. He never complained about doing any ridiculous thing that the women in his life asked of him. He was a wonderful father, husband and friend. The real Jim left us several years ago, and he has been greatly missed by us all.
Obituary for Malaysia RPCV David Behm
Behm enjoyed the outdoors, cooking, his extended family and, of course, music. He was a member of the Angel Band, a Celtic music group and performed regularly throughout the Seacoast area. He was a Friday night regular at the Press Room in Portsmouth for many years and read the Declaration of Independence at Demmons Store and the West Nottingham Post Office on July 4th also for many years. His last CD, Hellfire and Behmnation, a tribute to a fellow musician Chip Chase, is available locally and shows his variety of style and musicianship. Behm was a US Marine from 1956 to 1958 and a union bricklayer for many years. He discovered wood turning and in 1985 opened his own woodworking and chairmaking shop. He served in the Peace Corps with his family in Sarawak, East Malaysia in the early 1970's. He was also a Justice of the Peace for many
years whose last official act was officiating at the marriage of his son on December 1.
Obituary for India RPCV Dennis Best
He joined the Peace Corps and traveled to India, where he was first exposed to eastern philosophies of healing. It was in California where Dennis became a member of the Baha'i Faith in 1970, captivated by its universal principles centering on the oneness of God, of religion, and of humanity. While researching Chinese medicine and acupuncture, he lived with his family in China from 1994-1996.
Obituary for Ethiopia RPCV William Giacofci
After earning his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1966, he served in the Peace Corps for three years as a legal adviser to Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, according to his family. Mr. Giacofci enjoyed reading and genealogy and was also an accomplished artist who created oil paintings in religious themes. He was a communicant of St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in Queenstown, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered.
A record-breaking 162 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle urges President George W. Bush to make a greater investment in America's diplomatic and development programs as the Administration prepares its FY 2008 Federal Budget Request
Despite a packed legislative agenda and with the end of the Congressional session quickly approaching, this outstanding effort was spearheaded in the Senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Norm Coleman (R-MN), with a record 53 Senators from both sides of the aisle signing the letter. On the House side, Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA-28),
Christopher Shays (R-CT-4), Joseph Knollenberg (R-MI-9), and Vic Snyder (D-AR-2) drove the effort to garner more than 109 Republican and Democratic signatures on the letter to President Bush. Currently, the proposed FY 2007 International Affairs Budget totals 35.1 billion dollars -- a mere 1.2 percent of the overall FY 2007 Federal Budget -- yet it provides the U.S. with priceless opportunities to generate much needed allies, partners and friends.
"Today, more than ever, it is critical that we continue to fund our U.S. International Affairs Budget," said Sen. Feinstein. "U.S. foreign assistance programs offer relief to the millions of victims of poverty, starvation, and illiteracy found throughout the developing world. By giving these communities in need the tools to target these root causes of terrorism, we not only help promote basic humanitarian values, we also help establish greater stability and security abroad, and encourage greater economic prosperity here at home."
"As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I can attest to the substantial contributions foreign assistance programs make to economic development, higher living standards and improved health and nutrition," noted Rep. Chris Shays.
Read more and leave your comments.
India RPCV Charles L. Griffin Jr. writes: Why I am for universal national service
"I served in a draft Army, but as a volunteer. I followed that with two years in the Peace Corps, also as a volunteer. In total, I put in five years of service that gave me experiences that would have been difficult to gain on my own. Volunteers in the Peace Corps were also from every walk of life, with the exception that most were college graduates or had valuable life experience to share. Young people, 18 to 30 years of age, mixed with professionals or retirees who might be as old as 80, and all trained together before being broadcast about some developing country to isolated spots in a
totally foreign culture. It was not something they all could handle. Being volunteers, they could un-volunteer at any time, and many did. Some simply could not meet the physical requirements or could not adjust to a different culture or the lack of privacy."
"Through these experiences I came to believe that the dynamics of becoming engaged in an alien culture, and I include the rituals and traditions of the military as a culture alien to everyday Americans, is as valuable in one's education as a degree. Perhaps more so. "
"The ultimate benefit of both kinds of service is the production of citizens knowledgeable of the sacrifice and dedication of those who work to better the world or protect it from those who would bring about chaos and destruction. Neither route is safe. There is a long list of volunteers who died in service and a much longer list of those who died in the military. Today's American youth are famously regarded as soft, fat and self-centered. While there are many exceptions to that stereotype, a universal national-service requirement would go a long way in countering the trend."
Read the rest of the op-ed and leave your comments.
Venezuela RPCV Alberto Ibarguen to be Chairman of the Newseum
The worlds first interactive museum of news, the Newseum, opened in Rosslyn, Virginia in Arlington County, on April 18, 1997. Its stated mission is "to help the public and the news media understand one another better". In five years, the Newseum became an internationally recognized attraction, drawing more than 2.25 million visitors and receiving some critical acclaim for its exhibits and programs.
Ibarguen leads one of the nation's largest private independent foundations. With assets of $1.9 billion, the Knight Foundation makes grants of more than $90 million annually to promote excellence in journalism. Ibarguen has been a newspaper executive for more than 20 years, first at the Hartford (Conn.) Courant and then at Newsday in New York before joining Knight Ridder. He was publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald until July, when he assumed his current position at the Knight Foundation. During his tenure at The Miami Herald, the newspaper won three Pulitzer Prizes. Alberto Ibarguen served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Venezuela in the 1960's. Read more and leave your comments.
Alberto Ibarguen writes: Students are learning 'Five Freedoms'
"Freedom is like a muscle in your body. If you don't use it, it gets weak; but if you exercise it, it gets stronger. Freedom House, a human-rights organization in Washington, estimates that only 17 percent of the world's people enjoy real freedom of speech and of the press. We are lucky to be among that small number. If we want America's next generation to not take our Five Freedoms for granted, teachers are the answer. And there's help available. Any number of Web sites provide teachers, administrators, students, parents and government officials with tips, lesson plans and ideas for discussing and understanding the Constitution." Read more.
Alberto Ibarguen speaks on news and truth
According to Ibarguen, readers want journalists who can organize experiences so they can make sense out of their lives and journalists want to write something that will inspire people to take action in their cause. This is an explosively great time to be in journalism if you arent seeking the past, Ibarguen said. Read more about Publisher and Venezuela RPCV Alberto Ibarguen.
Peace Corps Online
is an online message board and news forum for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. With over 40,000 web pages, Peace Corps Online is the most comprehensive source of information about the Peace Corps on the internet. Over 300,000 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Friends of the Peace Corps visit Peace Corps Online every month. Peace Corps Online has no connection or affiliation with the United States Peace Corps which is a government agency.
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On 1/12/07 3:04 PM, "John & Katy Gyurek" <gyurek@...> wrote:|
Dear Indiana RPCV’s,
With sadness today, I recognized a name in the obituary section of the Indianapolis Star.
RPCV Kenneth Miller passed away a day or two ago. Ken was an ag volunteer in India in the early days of Peace Corps. I believe he was also a founding member of the initial Indiana Peace Corps Volunteer group and served as officer in various capacities over the years.
Services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, January 13 at First United Methodist Church, 900 Indianapolis Road, Mooresville, IN Calling is from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm Friday (tonight).
More information may be found at:
Online condolences may be sent via:
I met him many years ago when I first moved to Indianapolis and contacted the Indiana Returned Peace Corps group that he was instrumental in coordinating. I remember him with a delightful sense of humor and a moral commitment to making the world a better place. I have not seen him in some time, but I am sure he has continued to make people laugh and to make the world somehow improve by his presence. At the time, I was a newly returned volunteer having served in the Philippines and the RPCV group was a great help to me in my readjustment to living in the U.S. and in directing creative energies for activities that included community service, assisting with the third goal of Peace Corps (bringing the world back home) and social activities. Ken was one of our wizened sages, connecting people to people, jobs, and resources.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services is looking for a
Independant and highly qualified person to work in Vincennes Indiana
with undocumented and unaccompanied children.
Please see the job description below.
To ensure professional services to undocumented and unaccompanied
children through assessments and recommendations related to
placements, transfers and releases to sponsors.
Commitment to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service's core
mission and values and an ability to model those values in
relationship with colleagues and partners
Master's degree in social work and a minimum of two years of
demonstrated child welfare, case management, social service and/or
mental health professional experience or a bachelor's in social work
and equivalent professional work experience.
Knowledge and experience in work with refugee or immigrant children
or cross-cultural experience
Professional interviewing skills
Ability to foster teamwork and collaboration among various service
Fluency in Spanish
Knowledge of Microsoft Office software and database management
Ability to manage complex projects with a high degree of
Demonstrated creativity and initiative
Willingness and ability to travel
Implement assessment and placement activities with a holistic
professional child welfare approach for children in federal custody.
Ensure complete assessment information is made available to the
Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) for release or placement
recommendations under the direction of the national agency.
Review family reunification packets from ORR-contracted facilities
to ensure completeness and make release recommendations to ORR.
Track and manage various types of complex special needs cases
including referrals for suitability assessments, follow-up services,
long-term foster care cases, referrals to residential treatment
centers, and trafficking cases.
Act as liaison among local facilities' staff, child, federal
ORR/Division of Unaccompanied Children's Services (DUCS) staff,
national LIRS and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
staff, legal representatives for children in custody, Department of
Homeland Security/ Immigration and Customs Enforcement, relevant
consulates, and others regarding assessment of children's placement
Make regular visits to ORR-contracted facilities, meet with
individual children as needed, and make recommendations for
treatment or other services.
Maintain knowledge of the continuum of care options available
throughout the country.
As part of a national team, consult with other field coordinators on
special cases, provide operational support, and develop and share
effective strategies and best practices.
Assist ORR or ORR-contracted facilities with rapid response on
special cases as required.
Assist with training and technical assistance to local providers to
support smooth field placements, transfers and releases.
Ensure clear and consistent communication with the LIRS national
office and ORR, including regular conference calls and other
coordination meetings necessary to ongoing case management and
Ensure projects and assignments are completed within established
guidelines and agency standards.
Provide statistics and assist with writing reports on activities and
recommendations for ORR as required.
Utilize DUCS Tracking Management System for processing releases and
transfers as well as other functions that are incorporated into the
Monitor changes on the ground; identify new trends and effectively
communicate those trends to LIRS.
Assist in the identification of social and mental health services
for children in custody.
Where appropriate, monitor trends in immigration proceedings for
DUCS children in the region.
Organize and participate in local and regional meetings with
agencies and providers in the region to address current and future
issues affecting the program operations.
Provide on-call assistance in emergency situations.
Perform other job-related duties as assigned.
Send cover letter, including salary requirements, and résumé to...
Human Resources Department
700 Light Street
Baltimore MD 21230
No telephone inquiries, please.
As this is a new position, this announcement is subject to change,
please visit the LIRS websitewww.lirs.orgfor any revisions before
sending in your materials.
Salary and Terms
This full-time position, to be based in Vincennes, Ind., is exempt
from the Fair Labor Standards Act. The salary, in grade level 22, is
negotiable and commensurate with experience. An excellent benefit
package is offered.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is a registered 503(c) tax-
exempt organization and an equal opportunity employer that does not
discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, age, disability,
national origin, race, veteran status or any other status protected
by federal or Maryland law. The employees of the Lutheran
Immigration and Refugee Service shall carry out the duties to which
they are assigned in faithfulness to the mission of the agency.
Please also see the job decription on our wesite.
|You may know that one in seven women will be stricken with breast cancer in her lifetime. What you may not know is that you can help these women and thousands of others in the fight against breast cancer.|
On April 21st, 2007, I will be participating in the Komen Indianapolis Race for the Cure with a great team of dedicated people. Join the fight by registering as part of our team or by supporting our efforts with a pledge contribution. The money raised through the Race will fund vital education, screening and treatment programs for underserved women in our own community and support the national search for a cure.
My coworker and friend was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and seeing her go through everything has been very sobering. She is unbelievably strong though, and she amazes me every day at how she is dealing with it all. I really understand now how important the research and fundraising is for women like her. PLEASE make sure all the women in your lives are getting their mammograms when needed!! Thank you and take care,
Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
Click here to view the team page for GRIFF'S CIRCLE
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
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1) If you want an RPCV calendar for $7.00, please email me with how many, as we still have 39 left! ONLY 11 have sold.
I can send the calendar to you for just over $2.00, so your total would be less than $10 for the best calendar ever.
2) January dinner was held at Macchu Picchu on W. 38th St. AFS exchange students, host parents, and staff joined us (14 of them total). We had about 14 RPCVs. Put the next dinner on your calendar, Wednesday, April 18, 2006 at 6:30 pm
The 2006 Year in Review is posted under the file section!
3) Friday, February 23rd at 7:00 pm: Duckpin Bowling. Contact for event is Colleen Turner: EVITE has been sent.
4) Wednesday, March 14th at 6:30 pm: Movie night at Mike & Pat Cupp's house, Pitch in at 6:30 and movie will start around 7:30 and last 90 minutes. By the People is best described as "important, insightful, and often quite humorous,"--more info by checking www.bythepeople-themovie.com . After seeing it, most people are ready to volunteer to help with voter registration and/or help to set up at poll sites. This is a potential service project for us RPCV's and the 2008 election couldn't be more important. EVITE to be sent at a later date.
5) I encourage you to join Stephanie on the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation walk!
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OFFICIAL NPCA AFFILIATE: The 3rd week of January 2007 I sent in the affiliate group application. NPCA Executive Committee approved our group on a conference call on 2-5-07 and I was notified on 2-6-07. I have added some information to our page and added calendar events. Check it out and let me know if you have suggestions as to any additions, changes.
NPCA is currently advocating on a Senate Dear Colleague letter: The Dodd-Coleman letter calls for increased funding for Peace Corps in federal Fiscal Year 2008. The letter will be open for Senators to sign onto through Monday.
Anything your members might be able to do over the weekend to weigh in with your Senators offices would be extremely helpful. Heres the basic background information on what people need to do
Call and leave a message saying "I'm calling to urge Senator ______ to sign onto the Dodd-Coleman letter in support of increased funding for the Peace Corps in Fiscal Year 2008. Please contact Josh Blumenfeld in Senator Dodd's office to sign onto this letter."
From: Jonathan Pearson <Jonathan@...>
Sent: Friday, March 2, 2007 7:56:15 PM
Subject: Update from NPCA Advocacy on Senate Peace Corps letter
Dear Group Leaders in Nebraska, Indiana (including Kentuciana), and Oregon
Hi: This is Jonathan Pearson, NPCA Advocacy Coordinator:
As you may know, we are currently advocating on a Senate Dear Colleague letter: The Dodd-Coleman letter calls for increased funding for Peace Corps in federal Fiscal Year 2008.
The letter will be open for Senators to sign onto through Monday.
Anything your members might be able to do over the weekend to weigh in with your Senators offices would be extremely helpful. Heres the basic background information on what people need to do
1. Call the Senate Switchboard (202-224-3121). Ask to be connected to the office of your Senator.
2. Leave the following message:
"I'm calling to urge Senator ______ to sign onto the Dodd-Coleman letter in support of increased funding for the Peace Corps in Fiscal Year 2008. Please contact Josh Blumenfeld in Senator Dodd's office to sign onto this letter."
If you prefer to take action by e-mail, click here.
If you need information/links to your U.S. Senators, click here.
To read the Dodd-Coleman letter, click here.
While we are picking up Senators onto the letters, neither of the Senators in your respective states have signed. Senator Hagel in Nebraska is considering but not yet signed. Senator Lugar of Indiana, as Lead Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee would be extremely helpful to get on this letter. Getting Senator Smith on board from Oregon
would help greatly with the bi-partisan nature of this letter.
I will be in the office during part of the day on Saturday. So if you have questions/concerns, I will try to respond during the day tomorrow.
A note that efforts on the House side, with a similar letter will begin in earnest next week. But anything you can do to generate some more constituent voices on the Senate side this weekend would be great.
For all information related to this current effort, you can visit www.peacecorpsconnect.org/dayofaction
Have a great weekend, and a great Peace Corps week!
Jonathan Pearson (Micronesia 87 - 89)
National Peace Corps Association
1900 L Street NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20036
202-293-7728, ext. 21
NPCA merchandise available at www.cafepress.com/pcorpsconnect
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Hello, I am looking for support for a project that I was involved with as a Crisis Corps volunteer in Jamaica. In Jamaica I worked with an NGO, Ewarton Community Development Action Committee (ECODAC). My project was to help start a life skills training centre for youths. As part of my work I wrote a proposal that was accepted by the NGO Pedals for Progress to partnership Pedals and ECODAC. Pedals will provide gently used bikes and tools to ECODAC to be used as part of their life skills curriculum. The participants of the life skills program will work to put the bikes together and fix them up, market them and sale them. The proceeds will go to further the programs of the Lifes Skills Training Centre and to go back to get more shipments from Pedals for Progress. This income generating project will help provide small business skills to young people while being sustainable. The bikes will also provide much needed cheap transporatation to needy people. Please donate
today. Pedals for Progress needs $5,000 USD to ship a crate of bikes and tools that are worth $30,000 to $50,000 USD. So, your donation, which is tax deductable, will grow exponentially. Go to the Pedals for Progress Web site at p4p.org. Here is more info:
New Partners on the Horizon for P4P
2007 Looks to be an exciting year for Pedals for Progress with these new partnerships in the works:
|ECODAC, Ewarton Jamaica
The Ewarton Community Action Committee (ECODAC) has been identified as a qualified non-profit agency that meets all of the criteria of a successful international partner for Pedals for Progress and we are seeking funds to facilitate the collection and shipment of the first container of bicycles as seed capital to ECODAC.
The bicycles will be used in two ways, the first as a bicycle mechanic training program and the second will be a bicycle business that will be run by the students as business training. The sale of the bicycles will allow the youth to operate a business first hand as well as raise money for the operations of the center. This will benefit the entire community of Ewarton as it is a rural community where there is no public transportation system and the taxi fares are increasing every year. It is becoming more difficult for the people of Ewarton to travel to school, work and to bring their products to the local market.
We have a partner all ready to go with ECODAC, contracts have been signed the only thing we need now is to raise money to send the first contianer.
Price of Container to ECODAC: $5,000
Amount Raised to Date: $700
P.O. Box 154
Knightstown, Indiana 46148
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Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2007 4:36:28 PM
Subject: water, water everywhere, cultural madness, and iguanas....
I was returning to my site after the seminar in the beginning of February, tired from the activities and kindof drifting off to sleep in between the almost stops every 20 feet to avoid the countless potholes in the road, (cuando de repente), when the bus slams to a sudden stop and I jolted myself back to reality to see that we had stopped quickly not for the typically cow crossing or to avoid dogs or chickens in the road (which is typical), but rather, we were stopping because a nice bright green iguana was stupidly attempting to cross the road and making itself a target that might as well have been hanging directly in front of the bus like a bone in front of a dog causing the dog to salivate. The bus slams to a stop and out run 3 or so guys now ON THE CHASE. Now running in all directions after the iguana, oh, and to the ground, almost like they were sliding into first or second base in a baseball game. I have to say when they started falling down, it
really was very comical and I couldnŽt help myself but laugh. Eventually of course, the iguana was victim to yet another illegal poaching experience I have witnessed, and I can add the iguana to the list of animals I have now shared a bus with.
The congo dancing into the night continued into carnaval which culminated with fat tuesday and then ash wednesday. The dancing, drunkness, and million people flooded the town. Not enough water for all the visitors, as the dry season has now taken affect and the rains are very shortlived nowadays. Congo Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Sunday was Carnaval acuatico in a neighboring town. Everyone comes and goes swimming all day, they have this big machine that shoots out tons of water onto the crowds of people, food is sold, drunkness, congo dancing, the queens (what is an event in panama without the queen contest?), singing with a local band......Monday was more dancing, craziness, and wetness, with Tuesday as the wettest day by far. Basically all day Tuesday the idea is that you walk and run around town with tanks and buckets of water dumping them all over each other. No point to change your clothes because youŽll just get wet
again. Although not really sure and no one could tell me the purpose or reason for the water dumping. Wednesday in Colòn, Ash Wednesday in the States ended Carnaval. In my province the big thing they do is the event of the diablos, devils. Several people were these big masks and red and black outfits dressed up as devils running around with whips to go after the several others dressed as slaves. The slaves and devils basically attack each other, running after one and the other, the devils whipping the slaves and the slaves teaming up against the devils, bearing with the beating through their 3 pairs of pants they have on underneath their pieced together quilted looking skirts, capturing the devils one by one. As each devil is captured the slaves pin them down on the ground and do what they call a baptising, which is basically just putting water and salt in the devilŽs mouth. Eventually all the devils are captured, with the head
papa devil last and that ends the event. This event is going to be twice as big in a neighboring town this Saturday so I am excited to go witness this on a larger scale. It is really quite interesting-entertaining.
I will write more before I head back to my site, but just a little taste of the past few weeks to hold you over til then.....
Take care, SHAZIA
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Jay County Library has contacted me and Stephanie Schuck inquiring
about a speaker. They expressed interest in having a former Peace
Corps volunteer speak and think it would draw a decent crowd.
Contact information is below. If you are able to do it and contact her
please CC me so I know this request has been filled.
Adult Services Librarian
Jay County Public Library
315 N Ship St
Portland, IN 47371
Hi...I just moved back to Indiana from Colorado and was looking for an
RPCV group and found you. I was in the Peace Corps from 2003 to 2005
and served as a Health Volunteer in Suriname, South America. Thanks.
There was an article in the Indy Star about a local RPCV last week.
Her name is Dee Johnston and she served in El Salvador and Ukraine.
The Chicago office is trying to contact her and was wondering if
anyone knew Mrs. Johnston or how to get a hold of her?
My name is Rex Casey and I am a RPCV Belize 01-03. I am currently
completing my matriculation for a MPA degree from SPEA at Indiana
University-Bloomington. In my database management course, I have an
opportunity to construct a RPCV database for the midwest region. The
goal of the database is to provide CIRPCA with the immediate data that
pertains to each volunteer in case a school or venue is seeking a
volunteer to discuss his or experience while living abroad.
The database will be access based and not MS SQL oriented, so it will
be slightly easier for the end user. I attended a CIPRCA dinner at El
Sol restaurant prior to returning to graduate school. I would love to
complete the database and then hand it over to the CIRPCA group as a
whole. Perhaps, someone in the group can assist me with some basic
data. I am capable of preparing the schema, but I do lack the
necessary data. I would also be interested in any input as far as the
RPCV Belize 01-03
MPA Candidate, SPEA 2007
|I met with a group of teenagers quite a while ago that work with YPress, which is run by the Indianapolis Star. They planned on going to Benin and were in the process of doing research on the trip. Here is a link to what they discovered and wrote about. They were in Benin for about two weeks I think, and they did a tremendous job. I am SO PROUD of them, they are an amazing group of kids. Some of you were in Peace Corps Benin with me, some of you were Peace Corps in other parts of the world, and some of you are non-Peace Corps friends, but I really wanted to share this with everyone, I thought everyone would be able to appreciate their efforts and ideas. Make sure you check out the videos and pictures - they are truly wonderful!!|
"In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we
understand. We will understand what we are taught."
-Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist
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I did want to sign-in and say that I am newly in Evansville, IN (arrived, Jan 4). I have recently returned to the States, having spent the last seven years in Central Asia - including Peace Corps in Uzbekistan 1999 - 01.
I would like to know if anything is planned for this group in the foreseeable future.
Good to know you exist.
Michael A. Benson (Mike)
Just address an email to CIRPCA@yahoogroups.com
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