March-April 2003 -- Volume 16, Number 2
firstname.lastname@example.org [Photos from the Author)
Sojourn in Costa RicaJust before leaving, Julie sent friends the following story:
Except for Robbie's deluxe hotel, most hot water in showers comes from an electric heater device that’s in the shower head-- are you surprised to hear that they are called “suicide showers?” I have a hard time getting them to warm up at all, but haven't been bothered at all by the lack of hot water as the cool water is refreshing.
Back to Thrusters, well, we've been up late nights for what seems like forever and we're finally ready for an early night. We head to bed at 8 p.m. just as the rap music began; then it turned to Techno Pop until about 4:30 a.m. Needless to say, we found another place for the remaining days. A seasonal local American had a good laugh at us. Locals know better; they only go there for drinks, pool, and great pizza.
It continued to rain a lot. It was hot and humid. I thought people were nuts to lie on the beach, as I preferred the hammock! Craig got some good surf and I played on a board in the white water. There we met another great couple, Niall and Nicole from Switzerland. Niall is a tico, but has lived all over the world and is also a Chef!
View from our porch (in Dominical, where we are currently settled)
All in all we were glad we made the trip to Dominical. We had heard great things about and it was in the back of our minds whether that would be a better place for us. Before leaving we finally found Dennis. Kenny, the best man at our wedding, had driven from California to Costa Rica with Dennis a couple years ago and told us to look him up. He has a rental house in Dominical and a ranch in the next town, Hatillo. So on our way out of town, we stopped at his ranch.
Another character! He's been in town about 10 years, lives in a nice, if small, cabina with his girlfriend and their two darling children. He built that and is working on larger house, has a rental cabina below, with cows and goats. He knows everything about construction. He has everything growing on his land including Ylang Ylang trees! He's up the hill and has incredible ocean views. He has about a half acre for sale for about $45,000 where one could build an awesome house, if anyone is interested. He gave us some pipas and ylang ylang flowers and we were off.
Agua de pipa comes from unripe coconuts and apparently is very good for keeping the intestinal track healthy. Sylvia, who makes the breakfast and cleans at the B&B, also told me it’s good with cacique (or guarro as it’s generically called: sugar cane liquor). Since we didn't get to go to the Spanish School for a refresher course, I'm winging it.
Comprehension on the basics and just a bit more is not bad and I can manage to ask for what I need. Ticos are fabulous about being patient and helping with the language!
Then we remembered about Dennis’ place in Hatillo, six kilometers north of Domincal. I hadn't thought I'd want to explore Dominical but did start thinking about the locals I had met there. The business owners were friendly: some ticos, some ex-pats, and most are friendly with one another. People told us how Dominical could use a another really good restaurant as they had just lost one. So some of the tourist crowd might be a bit rowdy, but in high season we hear there are plenty of every type to go around. We are still exploring/researching the area so no location as yet.
Our house is a small two-bedroom a short distance up a private drive! It has an A-frame ceiling (which helps keep it cool), and the doors and window frames are done in beautiful laurel wood from the property. We do have a suicide shower, but really this one is not bad: I get the hottest water with the best pressure yet! We have a yard with all kinds of trees and plants and if you stand on your tiptoes you can see the ocean. One large old tree is the hang out for a crowd of Tucanettes--like Tucans but not quite as colorful.
Today we drove south down the coast. It hadn't rained much in the last couple of days and the sun was out. Without the rain the river mouths haven't washed so much mud into the ocean and it was a beautiful blue! We stopped at several beaches. Playas Ventanas is a secluded cove with mountains rising up so high just behind it that they get lost in fog, and the jungle comes to the edge of the beach. It's stunning!
The Swampdog arrived just fine and seemed quite happy when he realized it was us. He's adapting rather well and enjoying the freedom to romp on the beach and come into restaurants. Still have no photos to send, the USB card I bought for my computer doesn't fit-aargh, technology! I'll get it figured out one of these days. I'm sure there's a ton more I could say, but I'll let it go for now. Having been away from access for a while I've got lots of details stacked up to attend to just now.
We had bagels ‘n’ lox, homemade meatball subs, real deli smoked turkey, foccacia bread, biscotti–things folks had not seen in Dominical before! We were jamming, people liked the food and told their friends. A local businessman told us what we did was “explosive!” The location was nice, too--we had a little wood deck overlooking the river and down to the ocean. It felt like one was in the jungle with lots of trees, toucans and other birds and bunches of lizards running around.
A bit of our patio and view, in Domenical.
Then at the end of our fifth week, Hal, the owner of the Dominical and San Jose Century here came in for lunch. He started talking to us about this restaurant he owned. It was a great location, but he was having trouble finding the right people to run it, maybe we’d be interested? We spent time talking with him, other staff, a former manager, and checking the place out for several days. The following Thursday we sealed the deal and January 1, 2003 Craig became the Executive Chef and I, the General Manager.
We’ll have the website constructed soon (http://www.laparcela.com), but for now to get a feel for where we come to work everyday go to http://www.puntadominical.com [Still under construction...] It’s a large open air restaurant on the point with amazing ocean views on both sides. There's no place else like it! It’s everything we could have dreamed of--location, great staff, a partner willing to front some improvement costs. Craig’s creating a new menu and I am working with Hal’s marketing guy in San Jose to create some really nice new advertisements. And because in the last three months we’ve made so many friends and a good reputation from the sandwich shop, folks who wouldn’t have come back here before (due to inconsistency or a bad meal) are now willing to come.
As we say here, it’s all good! Costa Rica is treating us right. Yesterday we finished moving into our new rental house. The road to Hatillo was just too dusty and far to endure. And the cute little house turned out to be a rather falling apart house. Our new place is in an area called Escaleras. It’s three miles south of La Parcela and about three minutes up the mountain. The house itself is just okay, although big with two stories, three bedrooms, but it’s the large covered patio and gorgeous ocean view with Cano Island right in front of us that we took it for. Oh, and the fact the owner is putting in real hot water and a new fridge, all of this for--guess? incl. electricity: $350/mo.
Our patio from the outside.
Yes, we are working really long hours and don’t have that much time to enjoy our beautiful new homeland, but it will all come time. We are happy to work hard, knowing we are working for ourselves and a great future. And... Swampdog is loving life. He’s dropped a bunch of weight from running around the finca. Today, his first day alone. We left him on a leash, but soon he will be running around the jungle, maybe making friends with the howler monkeys that hang out nearby.
Some days I’m amazed at how much my Spanish has improved (like when I get a credit card authorization over the phone!) and others I feel like I can’t speak a word. My wait staff doesn’t speak much English so it is really good for me.
The Ticos have been everything we imagined and more.
They are kind, helpful, patient and genuine. They are humbly proud of
their country and their people. We have made some great friends here in
Dominical and have also met some fabulous folks visiting the area from
all around the world. Add in the sheer physical beauty surrounding us
everyday, and you really can't ask for more.
Catherine Reilly, Panama (1994-96), former ISF Chair, resigned the board to travel “the global path” in December. She sends us this diary of her adventures.
On the Global Path
I'm off to Buenos Aires tonight for a cruise Jan 5 with my mom. We'll be stopping at Montevideo, Uruguay; the Falklands; bits of Chile; I'll travel on to Panama for Carnavales and be back in California before I head off to Tonga. From Tonga I go to New Zealand on March 21, on to Australia on April 10, to Thailand May 2, finally to Turkey on May 22. Between then and my flight home on August 12, I would like to see Turkey and Iran, depending on the current climate. Other ideas include Tunisia, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. And I’ll be landing on my friends in the UK before flying out of London. I'm going to go the hostel-and-cheaper route. Mom is along the first couple weeks, and 13 other friends and family want to join in at various itinerary points. So, between them, this may be the most accompanied “solo” tour around the world!
Argentineans are very pleasant but they win as the worst drivers. Lanes are painted on the roads but seem to be optional at best, definitely not the rule. I didn’t see accidents, so someone understands it. The hours Argentineans keep are also very late. I can see why my US Argentine neighbor Jorge finds San Diego so odd. We didn’t need to adjust to the time change since we got home from eating the first night at midnight. The second night we left the restaurant at midnight to drive to a park where people showed no plans to leave at 1 a.m., and finally went to eat ice cream (like gelato, very good). When we left, the ice cream store was still completely crowded at 2 a.m. My mom did say there weren’t many young people at the early mass the next day (I guess they sleep sometime).
Argentina is really hurting from the economic devaluation and mom can see a major difference since her visit last year. Everyone has lost at least two-thirds of their resources. It’s great for tourists (3.5 pesos per dollar--formerly one-to-one). With everything so reasonable it was hard to pass up good buys. Among the Argentinean women, I feel extremely plain, and it makes trying to buy a one piece bathing suit a little difficult since they appear to enjoy very small bikinis, which, of course, they can pull off!
After the Falklands we continued south to Cape Horn in windy, fairly clear days with little rain. We saw the Cape Horn Island and its monument. Then we headed north away from the Cape and ended the day with a rainbow: can’t get much better than that. Yesterday we were in Ushusaia, the southern most Argentina town, went through the Tierra de Fuego National Park, saw great lakes and tall, glacier-covered mountains. Had a great taxi driver that showed us around with great narration. It definitely helps to speak Spanish. Ushusaia’s architecture is European, more specifically Alpine, pretty wooden bits on the houses, all the flowers out. On leaving Argentina we cruised through the Beagle Channel passing several great, beautiful glaciers coming down to the channel. Alaskan travelers said it was even more impressive than the Northwest Passage. Tomorrow we continue through the Strait of Magellan and Chilean Fjords.
In town there are a bunch of Chilean navy ships docked next to us and we asked if we could have a tour on a cute little patrol ship (crew of 27) that isn’t designated for military but rather civilian use, such as accompanying the president around. A very nice, cute sub-lieutenant Exo was kind enough to show us around, including the engine room and storage areas, and served us coffee in the officers’ mess and a refresher on recent military issues facing Chile.
Overall the cruise was very nice. Got to see things out of the typical tourist route: Cape Horn, the Falklands, the Malvinas. And meet some nice people. One couple will have traveled to 95 countries by this May. Another man is a retired steel worker whose wife will only eat: potatoes (baked/roasted), corn, plain green beans, no meat/fish, hearts of iceberg lettuce, spaghetti with plain tomato sauce, and a few other bits and bobs. They both had a very good sense of humor. A professor at London College received $100 for providing the address of a previous occupant to a sales group. He figured if the company were going to get paid, why not him.
Our favorite person to watch was a five-foot Latina-Texan who was never seen in the same outfit during the trip. Outfits seen on her include a short, red sequined dress for tango lesson, a full length red dress for eating out, a short wispy pink dress, a cowboy outfit with yellow leather fringed jacket, leopard pants for casual wear, and several other fancy get-ups. The question was where the hell it all fit since our rooms weren’t that big. Also, how old was she really, because the face and hands didn´t match (this was our one catty bit at gossip).
Then there were also those poor travelers that did not make it to the end of the trip including the woman left in a Falklands hospital and the mystery person who did not survive (literally) the first couple of days of the trip. We and our friends tried to guess where that passenger had been moved (i.e. stored) and how “it” was removed from the ship (we were a little curious about those large laundry bags that kept moving around.)
But, enough. Our last stop was Puerto Montt where we were happy to debark. My mom arranged a very nice tour through the beautiful countryside and around a large lake, several smaller towns with very strong German influence. Reminded the Germans of home. The lakes and waterfalls all have that glacier blue-green color and the beaches are black sand from the volcanoes. Chile has great pastries, a result of the strong German influence. Not sure if the tummy will be going away while in Chile.
Now in Valpariso, a really amazing city, and Viña del Mar area. The country’s major harbor, the town is built mainly in the hills with early 1900s lifts, one an actual elevator, the others funiculars. Some of the streets make San Francisco look like an easy hike. The buildings are of varied older architecture, i.e. Britain Street reflects more traditional British building styles.
The navy training colleges are based here (Ben ,I promise to find someone else to flirt with since the navy seems off limits, though I did move my wedding ring to the left side today since I received my first Latino comment. They do seem much less likely to make comments here than in Panama, either that or I am finally getting too old (sniff, sniff). Viña del Mar is adjacent to Valpariso, but is more upscale with some very impressive architecture here as well. Tomorrow mom leaves early in the morning. We’ve actually managed to get along for three weeks, the biggest problem having been my getting grumpy at her taking pictures of everything. At least she quit asking me to be in them after the fiasco at Cape Horn where I had to have cold sea water poured on me (three times while all three cameras would not work)--not too impressed, was I! I think I will head north to check out the Altiplano for flamingos, check out the largest open pit copper mines, get a trip to Iguazu Falls in Argentina, feed piranhas there (anyone want a pet?).
For those of you that have requested photos, I do not have a digital camera, still clinging on to the old methods of film. My mother does have two so I should be able to send out some of those photos, or maybe get someone to load them on a website so as to avoid overloading emails. I am also going to have a CD made when I develop my photos.
So, everyone off and we waited for 15-20 minutes. Then our original bus showed up again and we all got back on to take a short trip to the main terminal. At the La Serena terminal where we all got off again (of course, we all had to get all of our luggage each time). On to bus two and off we went. It didn't take too long after this to realize that something was wrong with bus two since it would start to beep annoyingly and we’d pull over. This, on top of pulling over at all road check points. Throughout the night we stopped at least every 10-15 minutes.
During this time the two women behind us talked constantly and also managed throughout the night to drop a jacket, bag, and cup on my head. (The man who finally replaced them after they got off immediately dropped a pencil on my head). Around 10 a.m. the bus driver finally gave up and we all unloaded at a mysterious, unknown spot. They told us we'd get another bus. Then bus one showed up and most people got on it, though it wasn't going as far as San Pedro. Bus three showed up soon after, but we had to wait around over an hour to get lunch. (They serve food as part of these long trips, which isn't too bad, but we would have all forgone meals to save an hour.)
Bus three was old and smelled of chemical toilet, but it did keep moving. We originally were going to be dropped off at Antafagasta for bus four. That plan changed to our getting off at Calama, but I think there were enough of us on the bus that they decided to just keep going up to San Pedro. In all the trip took 31 hours, the last through the most tedious brown dirt hills with no vegetation. The only breaks were mining activities and a few small towns, both active and abandoned. And the very common roadside shrines. This gave me the idea to do a coffee table book on roadside shrines along the Pan American Highway from the south to the north. If anyone is interested in driving the whole way and taking photos let me know.
It was dark when I got in so I haven’t seen much of the small adobe village. One good thing is I met some nice tourists: a Dutch woman, two German women, and a nice Irish couple. The place I am staying is really nice: rooms are basic, beds are comfortable, with a central courtyard, plants and a restaurant. It is almost like camping in cabins. I'll let you know how town is. Take care.
The very nice Irish couple I met on the first bus ride told me about a trip into Bolivia from San Pedro de Atacama. I would have to make it back for my flight, which only gave one day in San Pedro, but the four day trip let me see a lot of the same things and was cheap: $100, food and housing included. So I got tickets, looked around San Pedro (which I recommend), and took off for Bolivia. The trip was cool and I’m really glad I did it. It had a good vibe (that was before the return bus ride). We headed over the border check (a small house in the middle of nowhere--literally); a few minutes from the last pavement we were to see for sometime. The passport stamper for Bolivia slept in the same room as his desk--one of the shortest commutes ever--and only gets to go home every 30 days.
After clearing passport control, we drove through the Bolivian Andes Altiplano, listening to Andean music with our guide, Carmello. My German compadres were really fun and I’m glad I was in their group. I was voted the official translator from Spanish, so I’m not sure what final information they received English to German. I think that I drank more beer in the few days with them then I have for a while. After the first day we also had a Brit added to our group. Poor guy had been robbed of his passport, money, credit cards, and camera after arriving Bolivia.
lus, he found not having Spanish difficult. So we
adopted him as he had a pretty good attitude, especially after what he
had gone through.
In Uyuni that night, a larger town then I thought, the main street paved with hexagonal stones; the next morning we saw the biweekly market. Some stalls were really beautiful, with pastas, vegetables, spices, etc. laid out.
We also had a great trip through the Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Lake). It’s huge, partially flooded and sometimes we were driving with no ability to see a horizon since the water reflected the sky. Someone described it as flying. A neat experience, but I’m afraid the photos won’t capture it. All the 4x4s were literally covered with salt, all over. I don’t think cars have a very long life there.
We visited the Isla de Pescado (Fish Island) in the middle of the lake. I think it used to be a coral reef/underwater volcano within the sea. It’s covered with large cacti and just sits, with the horizon merging into the sky. One nice thing: I wasn’t as affected by the altitude tromping around the island. We were over 3,500 meters for much of the trip, going over 4,000 a lot. Driving back we passed nice rock formations, Andes lagunas, geysers, and hot springs. We got to the geysers at sunrise and it was beautiful. The air escapes up through mud in some places making a really cool ‘glub-glub’ sound.
In addition to lovely landscapes, we got to see flamingos; vicuñas (relatives of the llama); llamas with cute tassels on their ears; some relative of the chinchilla that sat on the rocks and let us come right up to it--we all thought of the rabbit from The Holy Grail with the big teeth; and various birds that I couldn’t identify. Overall I highly recommend the trip, though portions are roughing it and you get to know the others in your group very well, which could be good or bad.
Now back in Santiago with a few more hours until I go to Panama. I splurged and got a hotel room for only a few hours. Nice to get a real shower since we went the last two days without and with a 23-hour bus ride. I don’t want to scare the Panamanians or friend Nelly as a rank American sitting nearby.
The baile was in Parita, a nearby town. We got there early, 7 p.m.(no other transportation), though the dance was much later. There was a Cantadero and Tamborito before so we listened into them. Cantadero is two guys doing a traditional Panamanian music form, almost like a rap. Tamborito is a group of women in a circle clapping, with a leader singing and the others adding the refrain. Very traditional for Panama. Often there will be a couple, or sometimes several, dancing. They do not touch, but there is definitely a strong flirtation.
During this, we were outside the fenced dance area where they were charging $1 for women and $2 for men. I went in with my group. The odd thing here is that often, the women and men prefer to go to dances without their spouse. They don’t feel comfortable dancing with other people with the significant other around. I think in some cases it is to meet other significant others, but I think also they get bored of dancing with the other person and it is nice to have a night out.
I love the whole atmosphere of the dance. We stood there for several hours basically checking out the men as they did likewise the other way. In some cases there was a car full of guys passing with their heads hanging out oogling the women. Mostly just looking, unless there is a drunk, then he may say something. As Eliza says, we need to know who is there to see if there are any good dance partners since we didn’t bring any. I’ve learned that if you don’t like someone who asks you to dance, you just shake them off and ignore them without eye contact until they finally go away--no need to feel too polite.
The dance finally started at 11 p.m. Since there were enough people to make a good dance, we entered. For the first dances, no one asked me to dance. Roxysnelly didn´t have that problem. From a scrawny girl of 12 when we first met, she has definitely turned into a really pretty woman. With an attitude. I heard once a guy ask her to dance, and she responded with “Do you know how to dance?” and “We are NOT going to dance really close.”
For the first dance the guys are usually polite (if not they don’t get a second chance). On a second dance, you start talking (are you married, why not, where are you staying, can I come visit, etc.). My new rule is to cap the maximum number of dances with someone I don’t know at two. I still prefer to bring my own dance partner, less problems, but at least the ones I danced with knew how to dance. After arriving home at 3 a.m., we took a bus at 7 a.m. to visit Cristian who is training at the officers school for the National Police (they don´t have a standing army here).
Bus much nicer than Chile. We were driving along before reaching the Pan American Highway when the bus driver pulled over and ran across the street to the shoulder. We were all looking out to see what was up, and he was bent over in the grass looking at nothing we could see. Then he started to slowly inch forward and then sprint ahead. We were figured out that he had seen an iguana cross the road and went to catch it. Lookouts in the bus shouted directions. Two guys ran out to help, but Mr. Iguana escaped. Unfortunately for the endangered iguanas the people in this area love to eat them.
We finally arrived in Panama City and found our way to the former base being used for the officer training school. It seems well maintained, but no one was there, a waste to have all of it vacant. Some American soldiers are also on base. Not quite sure what they are doing there. Brought their own helicopters. Cristian seems to be doing well with basic training, sounds as though it is similar to basic in the States. Early rising, lots of exercise, cleaning stuff, etc. I feel bad since the one guy says that everyone cries at sometime. They all live for weekend family visits. At least if they really decide they hate it, they can leave.
So much for this installment of Life in Panama. No, I have not been attacked by any jealous women and I think generally things have been resolved for the good or bad. I will be traveling and away from the computer from the 17 to 27 of February so if I do not answer at that time, you know why.
Take care --Cat
Some responses to our editorial in the Jan/Feb 2003 issue:
Letters to the Editor...
To the Editorial Staff:
My thoughts are that based on the irrefutable historical perspective, those who above all else lived Peace did indeed end up being silenced by the aggressors. Perhaps it might be more helpful to look at what it is that the aggressors want/need instead of asking ourselves what we can do. Will the resultant of the latter change the way of peacemakers throughout history? I think not. Yes, there have been those whose message has lasted over the course of time.
I know I don't have to recite the names. However, and unfortunately, even through their impact, there are some in this world who are in position of power who don't want to hear of Peace, as we contend. it should be. So, it isn't us that need to examine or reexamine our efforts. We are THERE. I believe that "WE" have to look at ways in which to change the thinking and actions of those in power, ie. those that have the decision making capability to wreck havoc on the vast majority who don't... US!
In summary, I think it much more
useful for the forum that you have created to not ask us what more can
we do (of ourselves) but to ask for suggestions on how those in a position
of power, ie. control, can be presented with other than violent alternatives
that would benefit the whole human race... and, take care of their wants/needs.
Great start... don't let up...I understand where you are coming from.
t is in motion, and acts somewhat like a pendulum. We use force when enough people have forgotten the horror of war. Then we create plans to prevent that path again. Hitler and others use the instability to amass power, and the UN is ill equipped to exercise control over the sovereignty of member nations.
f course, even if this were fixed, the alternative might be an Orwellian world with power too centralized. Ultimately, civilization only has a chance to be a healthy democracy if its members are educated and informed. Such a world was promised by TV, and now the Internet-- but is still far from being achieved.
While I don’t trust the
purity of Bush’s motives (oil/ domestic power)--I trust Hussein’s
motives and impulses far less.
If it's natural to kill, how come men have to go into training to learn how? --Joan Baez
Combined Board Minutes
It is with profound sadness that we report the sudden death of SDPCA member Sandor Johnson, India (1966-68) on December 3. 2002. After his retirement from the US Foreign Service, Sandy lived in the North County area with his wife and children. He volunteered with SDPCA (in Member to Member) and to the Foreign Service Association of Southern California. In both positions, he served as an advisor to those who sought to pass the Foreign Service Exam or wished career information on serving abroad. Sandy was an enthusiastic supporter of SDPCA activities, of international friendships and of peacemaking.
He had spoken October 21 at Thomas Jefferson School of Law on employment opportunities with the US Foreign Service. He was also a very willing and capable speaker about Peace Corps for SDPCA, once driving to Ramona by 7:30 am for middle school students who enjoyed learning about his Peace Corps service in India, and another time to a retirement group in South San Diego to talk about Peace Corps and other positive efforts overseas. We are all saddened by the loss of this man of gentle nature and unfailing courtesy, and we will miss him!
Condolences may be sent to his widow, Carole, and the family at 1815 Willowhaven Road, Encinitas CA 92024.
Even though I am writing this in February, we are already planning the annual business meeting in May. Please hold the afternoon of Sunday, May 18, for the SDPCA Annual Shindig–to share food, discuss the past year’s accomplishments, solicit ideas for the coming year, and elect the new Board of Directors.
The Filipino dinner in National City was fun, and what a pleasure to see familiar faces and several recently RPCVs. We also met and visited with a new PCV, off to her placement in El Salvador–and filled her head with all sorts of nonsense. On another note, check Potpourri section for information on The SD Latino Film Festival (http://www.sdlatinofilm.com) March 13-23. See you there!!
It was a busy year with an ever-active Social Committee and much energy refining a committee structure, with the Board concentrating on policy issues and future strategies. We also get together, have fun and eat good food–what a great way to run an organization!
It has been a pleasure to work with the current Board
members who have shown interest and dedication to the many tasks at hand.
I invite your attendance at the annual meeting and your participation in activities. More details in the next newsletter and on the website. See you there!!
--Gregg Pancoast, Costa Rica (1985-87)
Members, please send your email address to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org in order to receive Board-approved immediate news flashes from us. We have an active email notification of alerts that occur between the newsletter mailings and Evite reminder invitations of social events. In addition, in some point in the near future we may be totally electronic in communications (including the newsletter). You will ONLY be notified of important things and your email will NOT be shared with other groups.
Want to have a potluck with all RPCVs who served in your COS? Having a garage sale to which you’d like to invite the SDPCA community? Seeking a dear lost PC friend who served with you? Want to invite us all to a party? Have an activist event you think we should know about?
Well, now there’s a way!! The Connections button (here on the website) opens a page ready for your announcements! Notices will be posted weekly to communicate promptly, between newsletter deadlines. Send your notices to newseditor@SDPCA.org, to be posted. Be sure to include important details and dates, edit your text to about 45 words or less. Because access is public, we recommend use of email addresses only and with discretion.
SDPCA has been a nonprofit organization for some15 years, but has always relied on its volunteer elected Chief Financial Officer to keep the financial records and manage its financial affairs. It also relies on other volunteer members to informally review the financial records as the CFOs have changed to assure the Board that its financial affairs were in order. It has been several years since the last financial review.
If you are a professional accountant or bookkeeper,
the SDPCA Board would welcome your assistance to complete a financial
review and help the Financial Committee to establish accounting procedures
appropriate for an organization of our type and size. If you are interested
in helping, please contact Gregg Pancoast, President, or Frank Yates,
--Frank Yates, Ghana (1973-76)
Kris Kohler is our new UCSD PC recruiter at the Programs Abroad Office, International Center. He will be working about 15 hours per week here in a new strategic contract with Peace Corps whereby we hire the recruiter and provide an office for them, and they reimburse us for the expenses.
Kris has worked directly for PC for over a year at
UCSD, following his service in Zambia (1999-2001) as a Community Heath
Project organizer. He earned his B.A. at UCSB, in Black Studies and Political
Science. He’s now working on a Ph.D. in Sociology at UCSD. Kris
also has extensive experience in student and statewide government as UC
Student Association Chair (1995-96), External Vice President, Statewide
Affairs at UCSB (1994-96), Students for Social Justice (1995-96), Student
Action Coalition (1993-96) and many more. We will keep you posted on coming
events he’ll be hosting. He can be reached at (858) 822-5725 or
--Bill Clabby, Senegal (1985-87), Coordinator, Opportunities Abroad Program/ EAP Japan advisor, UCSD. 858.534.1123, email@example.com
The new SDPCA Communications Committee is off to a very active start. Our original goal was to consolidate our multiple communications, which have grown quickly in the last few years from only a newsletter and voice mail to include multiple email structures, Evite, and website. Our discussions have included these, as well as new membership development and support and the lack of a major membership focus. If you are interested in the future of SDPCA and increased participation of interest to all members, please join us! Communicate your interests and/or ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.491.1801.
SDPCA learned about this project in a meeting with Bob Klein, Ghana I (1961-63). In subsequent area meetings we had a great response from all who attended. We have decided to participate by interviewing RPCVs here in San Diego. The documents and tapes from these oral histories tapes will be part of the RPCV Volunteer Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. So get ready. We may be calling you soon for an interview. If you would like to help--plan, organize, strategize--or be one of the first interviewed, call Marjory Clyne at 858.576.9909 or http://www.thegogetter.com
Thanks to Rachel Cook, Moldova (1998-2000) and SDPCA member, we learned that RPCVs nationally are uniting to run ads in the New York Times (the first to appear sometime before March 1) voicing opposition to war with Iraq. Over 300 have signed on and donated, at our press date, and due to the response more ads will be run with YOUR support.
his important and timely effort states: “We
call upon our fellow Americans to join with us in supporting a peaceful
resolution of the current situation--one that is respectful of the UN,
the Iraqi people, and international law.” To learn more and donate,
SDPCA raises funds each year to support small San Diego-based PCV field projects overseas through our Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund. We review proposals and grant funding to PCVs whom we feel propose valuable projects for their community, but lack adequate funding in-country. The typical project is for $250 to $350 (rarely more than $700) and either enables a community to implement a micro-enterprise, helping many, or supports needed educational, environmental or health related projects.
Like all PC projects we strongly encourage local
shared funding or in-kind contributions. If you know any current San Diego-based
volunteers that may need our support, please contact them and inform them
that their country director has applications for the March 1, 2003 grant
---Ted Finkel, Venezuela (1967-69)
Former PC Director John Dellenback (1975-77) passed
away in December. John Dellenback embraced the spirit of the Peace Corps
as wholly as anyone ever has, saying, "The Peace Corps comes as close
as a government agency can to living out genuine concern for others. It
conducts the United States' most effective foreign relations. It [gives]
our brightest and best the opportunity to put their lives on the line
in meaningful service to others." Read tributes and remembrances
I have informed the NPCA Board that I will leave my position as NPCA President in 2003....I am proud to be associated with the advances we have made in advocacy, peace-building, global education, WorldView, the Microenterprise Program, and the expansion of our affiliate groups, and to have been deeply involved with our wonderful 40+1 Anniversary Conference of last June. I have been inspired and energized by the innumerable RPCVs and former staff I have met during my tenure and by the 80 NPCA affiliate groups I have visited in 44 states.
I have given it my very best effort. I can not continue,
however, to devote as much time and energy to this work as I have in the
past...I have informed the Board that am prepared to stay at least until
the ending of the February 2003 Board meeting but not longer than the
August 2003 Board meeting. That should give the Search Committee adequate
time to find a replacement. ...It has been a great pleasure and privilege
to work with all of you.
--Dane Smith, President, NPCA
Check this story on the status of President Bush's compassionate agenda including his proposal to double the size of the Peace Corps. "I've seen no push for legislation from the White House," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who sought Bush's help with national service legislation. After an early expression of support, "we never heard from them again," he said, adding he would use parliamentary tactics to pass the bill.Aides say Bush will redouble efforts and now he will have the leadership of one of his closest allies on these issues, incoming Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).
Aides expect larger proposals--expanding AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps--still await action. Last year RPCVs proved they have the political muscle to move Congress when the Senate passed the Dodd Peace Corps Bill by unanimous consent on October 15.However the bill stalled in the House without passing. This year the bill must be passed by both houses of Congress to become law. We will be reporting every month on the status and what RPCVs need to be doing to move the bill through Congress. Complete story at:
RPCV Kelly Moon and forty recent RPCVs
ask Director Vasquez to reconsider the rule limiting the usage of PC Career
Centers to only one year after Completion of Service. They say the expansion
plan is good, but the one-year time cap excludes RPCVs. For most, it takes
more than a year to find the right career. To restrict benefits and resources
of the Center to one year deprives RPCVs of needed support and information.
To support this effort, see:
It is extremely difficult to stay current as to how the UN is confronting the major international problems ranging from combating terrorism, to containing the Iraqi situation, to battling global warming, to encouraging international trade. Fortunately, there are several free informational sources available. Following FYI are two of those sources.
Crisis Corps sends RPCVs overseas for three-to-six month assignments working on areas including Natural Disaster Reconstruction, HIV/AIDS, and Post-Conflict Country Assistance. Current Assignments include:
Chris J. Cassell, Armenia (1997-99) notes that “there
is a great way to connect secondary classrooms to Central Asia via week-long
online exchanges in user-friendly projects. Students and teachers from
Armenia and/or Azerbaijan hook up with Americans in a guided forum to
exchange ideas and perspectives. Our projects have been rated A+ by the
teachers from Education World:
Note our upcoming deadline: March 23: ‘Social Justice and Change for the Future:’ choose Armenian or Azeri students.
Curriculum packets are easily downloaded and were designed using the global learning methodology, consisting of exploration, responding and action. Students will explore topics, form opinions and respond along with students from either Armenian or Azerbaijan.
They also analyze opinions of their fellow students and exercise practical actions through in-class activities that help shape decision-making in their everyday lives. For general information about the programs please see: http://www.projectharmony.org/ac2k/rec2002.html or email@example.com.
Thank you for helping to sow the seeds of peace through
--Chris J. Cassell, Armenia (1997-99)
Come to Portland, Oregon for NPCA’s Annual events August 1-3 and turn it into a Northwest vacation! Activities include workshops, an international bazaar, a career fair, and a visit to the Celebrations Exhibit presented by the Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience.
Or go to the coast,the mountains or down to Ashland for the Shakespeare Festival. The following weekend, travel to Silver Creek Falls State Park (the Eugene RPCVs have reserved group campsites) for the annual Regional RPCV Campout. It’s 90 minutes from Portland with a series of waterfalls and trails through lush forest, RV hook-ups and cabins.
Once again the US has decided to give a thumbs down to an international agreement... a resolution by the UN Security Council on the inspection of prisons and prison camps in order to insure that no torture is taking place. It must be a little embarrassing for the Americans to end up in the company of other countries like Cuba, Iran, China and Libya....
The US blames the problem on states’ rights, but it’s not unreasonable to believe that the Afghan prisoners in Guantanamo base in Cuba have something to do with the case. Furthermore, the majority of broadcasts from American police stations and prisons suggest that conditions don't exactly have the individuals’ well-being as a primary goal.
In addition, resistance to international agreements has been a strong and clear position in George W. Bush's politics....he threatened to pull American forces out of Bosnia with the establishment of an International Criminal Court that could bring war criminals to trial. The temporary solution: Americans have been given a one-year period of amnesty from any prosecution.
There are several possible explanations for Bush's political views in this area....he simply doesn't like international agreements. He only wants the rest of the world to cooperate with the US in hunting terrorists on American terms. Otherwise, the rest of the world can do what they want so long has they don't bother the US.
One also can't discard the idea that Bush and many other Americans consider themselves people in a special class. They think in fact that they are the best in the world at most things; a really unbelievable misunderstanding. The third possibility is that it simply is a matter of good old fashioned arrogance of power. After the fall of the Soviet Union the US is the only superpower. It's not unreasonable to believe that this has some influence on the President's actions.
What this will mean for international cooperation,
which is not initiated by, or in the best interest of, the US during the
rest of the Bush Administration is, unfortunately, very clear.
--Submitted by Joan Clabby, Senegal (1985-87),
from Dagensnaringsliv (Norwegian Daily Financial Times, July 2002)
The Hospital by the River: A Story of Hope
by Catherine Hamlin, M.D. with John Little is a story of hope for the
thousands of girls and women suffering the catastrophic effects of obstructed
childbirth, a problem easily managed in the developed world by assisted
delivery or caesarean section, but disastrous without medical intervention.
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Australian gynecologists Catherine and Reg Hamlin arrived in the late fifties to set up a school for midwives. What evolved was a specialty for treating a severe complication of prolonged labor called a fistula. In the resulting incontinence, young women are shunned socially and live out lives of isolation and recurrent health problems.
The book is biographical as the doctors’ lives and work parallel the political and social upheaval spanning the reign of HM Haile Salassie; through the dark Dergue, the civil war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and into the present. Many patients, impoverished and abandoned by husbands and families, travel on foot for hundreds of kilometers for assistance.
Dr. Hamlin exemplifies the need for social change and attitude and urges the Orthodox Church to rethink its policy: the requirement of physically immature girls to marry and raise large families. Most importantly, adequate public health and medical facilities are still scarce and largely unavailable in rural places.
You will also find the book fascinating and utterly compelling from the perspective of the aging, widowed physician whose genuine love of country, compassion and perseverance with the "fistula pilgrims" continues four decades-plus.Check the website: http://www.fistulahospital.org
“Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.” —Jane Addams
--SOJOMAIL, via Tropical Currents, RPCV of South Florida
I am an RPCV and now volunteer with the Hesperian Foundation, a small nonprofit publisher that writes and distributes community-based healthcare books for rural villages worldwide where access to health services in limited. My work is in the small Gratis Book Program. Our most well-known book, Where There is No Doctor, has been identified as the most widely used health manual in the world, and the Peace Corps now gives a copy to all volunteers when they go in-country.
Last year we shipped through Gratis over 1500 books to 55 countries. We rely on individual donations; each book costs about $15 to send.
For more information, contact me,
Lee Gallery, firstname.lastname@example.org
or The Hesperian Foundation Home, 631 Spruce St., San Francisco, CA 94118,
--Lee Gallery, Ethiopia, (1964-66)
Leading technology providers have donated their products to help create Discountech, a discount tech store for nonprofits. It carries most popular software packages; visit them at www.techsoup.org/DiscounTech/about.asp.
Repatriate Distress Research
Maren Wolfe, Tonga (1994-96), is completing a dissertation in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, focusing on repatriate distress (reverse culture shock). She would like to reach RPCVs who might be interested in participating in the study. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Updated PC Fellows News
For the latest Peace Corps Fellows/USA
newsletter and listing of programs, see: http://www.peacecorps.gov/gradschool/fellows/news.cfm
--Gina L. Wynn, PC Washington
PC Workshop/Career Fair
Members of the PC Community are invited
to share their knowledge and expertise with RPCVs by presenting at the
Workshops/Career Fair during the 2003 NPCA Annual General Meeting in Portland,
OR, on August 1-3, 2003. The conference brings together RPCVs and group
leaders from around the United States. Presentations must fit into one
of three themes: RPCV Career Development (Friday, August 1), Regional
and Country of Service Group Organizing, and Sharing Your Peace Corps
Experience (both Saturday/Sunday August 2-3). All submissions should reflect
this orientation toward Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. The allotted
time is 60 minutes. For an application form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
. The application deadline is March 15, 2003.
--NPCA Group Leaders Digest
The Tenth San Diego Latino Film Festival
is being held March 13-23 at Madstone Theaters, Hazard Center, Mission
Valley. The Festival has gained momentum and support over the years and
it’s great to see Latin American films (with/without subtitles--practice
your Spanish!!) and gain insight into our multicultural Southern Californian.
--Gregg Pancoast, Costa Rica (1985-86)
...needs news articles for the information page that are relevant to the Peace Corps interests and values. Please send any such articles about your host country, political issues relevant to our service, international service/crises/needs to email@example.com We will post your relevant article on the website and putlish a notice in the newsletter to attract attention of members.
Just south of and across from Home Depot Expo in Kearny Mesa. In this tiny, tasteful corner of this stripmall, delightful traditional Thai cuisine is served to your choice of heat with prompt courteous attention.
Beautiful decor of Lao and Thai sites and art. It’s also VERY reasonable. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Share the wealth!! Submit YOUR favorite PC Palate Restaurant to firstname.lastname@example.org!
We of SDPCA extend a warm welcome to our newest members. (If we received your membership late because you joined us through NPCA, this is beyond our control but we apologize anyway.) We've seen some of you at our events already and we want all of you to get involved in our activities. Let us hear from you!! You can reach us by the contact information listed on page 2. .
New members are listed by name, country and years of service, area of residence.
Pacific Waves is published six times a year by the San Diego Peace Corps Association which is fully responsible for its content. Except for copyrighted material, articles may be reprinted without permission with credit to the SDPCA.
Contributions are encouraged: e-mailed text file on disk- Mac preferred, or typed copy.
Please send to Editor, SDPCA, P.O. Box 26565, San Diego, CA 92196 or e-mail: email@example.com
Layout / Production
Don Beck, Jeff Cleveland
Contributors this issue are:
Gail Souare, Rudy Sovinee, Frank Yates, Bill Clabby, Joan Clabby, Ellen
Shively, Tony Starks, Rachel Cook, Jeff Cleveland, Marjory Clyne, Ted
Finke,l Jay Lopez, Greg Panacoast, Julie Schwab,
Dan Taylor, Peace Corps Online