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30Re: [cheyennerpcv] Some news from John Coe

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  • Judy Kallal
    Jul 5, 2010
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      Great to hear from you. I am now the Wyoming Geographic alliance Coordinator
      for national Geographic....love the low paying job---guess it is the Peace
      Corp attitude. Let Me know When you are back in WY and we will plan a big
      festive get together. Judy 307 6302026

      On Sat, 26 Jun 2010 14:40:24 -0400
      John Coe <jgleed@...> wrote:
      > Even though I am living some 1300 miles away from you guys in
      > Winchester, Kentucky, where I have been taking care of my mother for
      > the past 3 years, I am
      > still a legal resident of Wyoming with a continued interest in Wyoming
      > affairs.
      > Recently, I received an internet newsletter from RPCV Marion Haley
      > Beil. We were PCV's in Ethiopia in the early 1960s. She is largely
      > responsible for getting this publication off the ground. In Issue #2
      > was a call for volunteers to go to Ethiopia this summer for a two week
      > stint with Habitat for Humanity. Thanks to my sister who is flying in
      > from New Mexico and several people in this country who contributed to
      > Habitat towards building and in-country living costs, I am going back
      > "home" August 11 to be part of a team of 16 to join volunteers there
      > and future home owners to help build several houses in Debre Birhan, a
      > city of 60-90,000 3 hours north of Addis Ababa. Four of us are former
      > Ethiopia PCVs and I know two of them.
      > I will have a couple of days in Addis after we return to look up
      > former colleagues. It is also possible that an Ethiopian filmmaker who
      > teaches in New York may interview me then or later back in Kentucky
      > about Orchestra Ethiopia. I was its second director for two years and
      > helped get it on firmer financial and artistic ground. My successor,
      > an Ethiopian, Tesfaye Lemma, brought it much further along and was
      > helped by another PCV, Charles Sutton, who actually learned to play
      > one of the instruments and became a member of the group. With
      > connections back in the states, he was able to book a tour here. The
      > first two performances were on Ed Sullivan and NYC's Town Hall! You
      > can imagine what a thrill it was in Ethiopia to know that Ethiopian
      > traditional music with Ethiopian instruments was experiences in
      > America. It all helped re-legitimatize their own music in the face of
      > western music which some thought was more important. Anyway, this
      > filmmaker, Yemane Demissie, is making a documentary about important
      > developments and leaders that had influence on Ethiopian live during
      > the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. One of the people I hope to see
      > is Tesfaye Gessesse, my boss at the Creative Arts Centre where I
      > worked. Retired now, he is an uncle, I believe, of Yemane Demissie.
      > The other thing I can say is that my experiences in Ethiopia as a
      > music teacher in Jimma, a composer there and in Addis, director of the
      > orchestra and assistant director of the Creative Arts Centre all
      > helped launch my arts administrative career in the states which
      > involved children's theatre, two state arts agencies and a united arts
      > fund. To go back now, some 44 years later to do some volunteer work
      > with Habitat for Humanity is a small way for me to thank Ethiopia for
      > the privilege of spending four very special years there which greatly
      > influenced the direction of my life.
      > I have no idea when I will be able to return to Wyoming. My mother
      > requires care 24/7 and unless I have a sitter, I don't have much
      > opportunity to go much further than the grocery store or to Kiwanis
      > and church which provide a bit of respite.
      > I wish you all a great summer. I understand you are finally getting
      > some nice warm weather. Enjoy Frontier Days and some of the other
      > cultural activities taking place in the state. Perhaps we can all
      > meet at the Peace Corps' 50th year reunion.
      > John Coe, PVC Ethiopia 1962-1966
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