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San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter

July - August 2003 -- Volume 16, Number 4


A Path for Hope

The Road to Middle East Peace
Department of Peace? President's Message: Welcome!

Board Minutes

New Membership Committee

Mark J Tonner International Support Fund Spring 2003 Grants

Report from Jude Wallaway: Fall Grant recipient in Honduras

Global Awards Announcement

My Name Is Tyler: A New Correspondent

Potpourri

Recruitment Corner

New Members

Newsletter Credits


Editor
newseditor@sdpca.org

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A Path for Hope

Jennifer Jones is a current PCV from San Diego. The age of the Internet has changed our world, and our connections back to the States during service... In her own words, here is Jennifer’s bio:

"My mom lives in Escondido, my dad lives in Carlsbad and I went to the Bishop's High School. After studying for a semester in Brazil, I graduated from UCSC with a degree in Global Economics. This is my 10th month in the Dominican Republic and I recently started my primary project—forming a network of women that have micro-credit loans. Within this group we will learn business, parenting, and personal life skills. As for secondary activities, I have a summer camp coming up soon and I look forward to doing library projects and a youth conference for teenage girls. I am very excited to participate in SDPCA both while I am down here and after I COS (Nov 04)."

Jennifer can be reached at jenniferamandajones@hotmail.com

The sun was in the tail end of the mid-day heat routine but relief was still not tangible. The women were rocked back on wooden chairs with cowhide seats having offered me, the white guest, the prized plastic throne. I accepted of course, to be polite.

Fresh from three months of Peace Corps Training, I was ready for my first solo presentation: leading ten women to create a mission statement for their Mother’s group. I couldn’t help but think that they needed more than a collection of words. As farmer’s wives these women were no strangers to hardship. Their diets alternate between rice and beans or yucca and eggs. A non-profit organization was in the process of constructing an aqueduct and in the mean time dirty water flowed through the pipes only two days a week and children often died of diarrhea. From high blood pressure to the epic "gripe" cold, each house in that small community had more than its share of illnesses.

As I surveyed in the motley of brown and black aged faces, I wished I could turn back the years of their lives and meet them as children. To avoid the low-grade malnutrition most Dominicans know well, I would give them fruits and vegetables, vaccinate them and make sure they ate their protein. I would hug their little dust-covered bodies as often as possible. As much as my heart aches to see children today that are in need of these things, it screams to know that these adults around me, themselves having never had a healthy immune system or experienced mental engagement, do not know how necessary they are nor how easy they would be to provide.

I would love to have been there for these women as children but today I meet them as adults, adults who have not had a childhood.

Blinking back into the present, I look around me. As the secretary of the meeting took role, which for some reason takes up most of the meeting, heads drooped and one pair of eyes closed completely. Was it the blanketing heat that attributed to the low energy? Perhaps the lethargy around me was the ceiling poverty can place over hope. In its youth, aspirations are manifested as action: no doubt this Mother’s Group was formed because the women really believed it would make a difference. But without direction or channel, time chews away and nothing changes. Hope that does not move takes on less useful forms—apathy or resentment. Members still attend the meetings and speak to their importance but in my travels I have found few groups that have not become estranged from that creative, ambitious energy that got them started.

Given the floor, I open my presentation with an icebreaker. A gray haired volunteer is instructed to leave from here and "arrive." She hesitates at first, not having been given a destination, but I urge her on. As she walks away the entire group bubbles in laughter. I called to Blanca, "Have you arrived?" Giggling, she said she had. "How do you know?" I asked. My directions had been to arrive but I had not specified where. Heads nodded in agreement and the group welcomed their "guinea pig" back with animated applause.

This small exercise, designed to demonstrate the theme of the presentation--Without a Destination We Do Not Arrive--was received with simple and unabashed joy. We went on to discuss what the women wanted for their group. We then used these words to form a mission statement. However, I never recaptured their attention in the same way that the icebreaker had. The dancing eyes told me that they would much rather play than learn a lesson, much rather experience themselves than struggle forward.

I realized that my initial judgments were inadequate. I am not working with adults who have not had a childhood but rather a group of children still lingering in the forms of these aging women. Yes, they desperately want to develop their community and achieve certain goals but hidden under these grand aspirations are the unmet demands of youth. Each of us yearns to know that we matter, aches for the unconditional love of a parent and the mental engagement only education can provide. If our needs are not fulfilled by a certain age, we don’t stop needing, we just stop asking.

Hope alone cannot provide the community with its basic needs but hope channeled through education and physical well-being can move mountains. The capacity to think critically and plan, what most of us learned throughout our elementary and high school years, is all that is needed. My brain, fortified by my mother’s balanced meals, figured out in 7th grade how to drop an egg out of a 2nd story window without it breaking. Today my challenge is to help this community develop economically. The picture is different but the mental process is the same.

My responsibility as a development professional is then twofold. As I help this community move forward, create new sources of local wealth, raise the standard for education and preventative medicine, I must also move backwards. Working with adults, I must fill in some of the missing gaps; this presentation was a start. The icebreaker was a visual representation of a larger truth: To achieve anything we must first choose our goals. The activity of creating a mission statement allows each woman to reflect up on and commit to her dreams for the group.

For the next meeting I suggested we look at the community and decide what, as a group, they would like to work towards. Unless I push there is very little chance that these women will ever look at their mission statement again; however, they have been involved in the process of group decision making and goal setting. Although they may not comprehend its significance, it is now etched in their bones as a part of their foundations.

At the end of the meeting I asked for feedback from the participants. The president stood up and in grand form told me that I and the organization I represent are their only hope. In that split second I saw her, not the 70 year old woman who offers me coffee but a child seeing me as a child sees a teacher, as if I had something to give her. With compassionate eyes I told her that I was not (nor could ever be) her hope. Hope lies deep down inside of oneself-- it is the decision to choose a destination. I have the opportunity to be a part of the process, to share tools with which then can channel their dreams, but with great humility I must concede that how deeply they allow this message to penetrate into their lives depend entirely upon them.

As I heard another development worker say, I am here to build processes, not monuments. Re-laying the foundations take time. I could jump right in and tell them how to run their group but that is bulldozing, not development. Profoundly more important, through this process, dynamic and challenging as it is, these women have the opportunity to change the way they think of their lives; to look inward, choose their goals and then work towards them. The hope is already there, as evidenced by the group; it is the return to this beginning and then methodically working towards a goal that is the essence of development.


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"Letter from Palestine," (Pacific Waves May/June 2003), generated much good discussion of widely varying positions among a number of us, and inspired this piece from member Michael Hirch, Bolivia (1970–71), Ecuador (1980–82) and Dominican Republic (1992–97). We are honored to print the diversity of opinions among the Peace Corps community, not to convince, but to understand other perspectives which is the foundation of peace. Michael may be reached at finanintl@aol.com

The Road to Middle East Peace

The day I received the last issue of Pacific Waves, I sent the Editor an objection to the front-page article entitled "Letter from Palestine." The Editor’s response was that there are many ways to work for peace, and that Pacific Waves tries to inform without taking sides on a particular matter. She invited me to write a piece with an "opposing view."

I don’t believe I am qualified to debate the issues of the Middle East conflict, nor do I believe that Pacific Waves is the proper forum to do so. But I would like to explain my objections to the article and provide you with an example of a program based here in San Diego that I believe makes an important contribution toward peace.

I had three objections to the article. First, I believe that Pacific Waves should be a publication dedicated to news about Peace Corps and the activities of current and former PCVs from San Diego. "Letter from Palestine" had nothing to do with Peace Corps or with San Diego, or even about a country where Peace Corps has ever served. There are many excellent journals where one can explore foreign policy issues. I don’t believe that Pacific Waves should be competing with them.

Second, the article was terribly one-sided. If the editors of Pacific Waves do want to take on foreign policy issues, they should consider doing it in a more balanced fashion. Not only was the letter biased, but the introduction stated as a fact that the author’s death was intentional, whereas there is a great deal of credible evidence being reported in the press that her death was an accident.

Third, and most important, I do not believe that standing in front of a tank in a combat zone makes a helpful or legitimate contribution towards peace. Being a human shield, while bullets are flying, only means more needless loss of life. In our exchange of e-mails, The Editor asked if I felt the same way about the individuals who lost their lives in the struggle for civil rights in the 1960s. Absolutely not. The most effective tactics in the civil rights movement were non-violent: Rosa Parks’ refusing to sit in the back of the bus, Martin Luther King’s dream. Those who lost their lives did not intentionally put themselves into harm’s way. They went to register voters and to escort students to classes, situations that unfortunately turned violent. That is a far cry from entering an active combat zone.

The Middle East situation is complex and highly charged. Both sides have legitimate arguments, and both sides have made serious mistakes. I am no expert on the situation. I have only been to Israel once, for a week in 1991. I only know one person who lives there, a fellow former PCV. Nonetheless, in my humble opinion, I believe that three elements are critical if peace is ever to be achieved: more effective leadership on both sides, significant economic development for Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, and legitimate dialogue, mutual respect, and understanding between the parties.

In many ways, this last element may be the most challenging to achieve. It will require a lot of good will on the part of many courageous people, and progress will most likely take place only in small steps. Fortunately, one example of what needs to be accomplished is based right here in San Diego. In 1999, philanthropists Gary and Jerry-Ann Jacobs founded the Jacobs International Teen Leadership Institute, known by the acronym JITLI. JITLI brings 10 San Diego Jewish teens, 10 Israeli Jewish teens, and 10 Palestinian or Israeli Arab teens together for two weeks of travel and dialogue. The first week takes place in Spain, where Jews and Muslims coexisted peacefully for centuries before both groups were expelled at the end of the fifteenth century. The second week takes place in Israel, where the group spends most of its time in the Jewish and Arab communities from which the respective students come. Six staff members, an educator and a counselor from each community, accompany the students, and Gary Jacobs actively participates as well. In addition to the trip, an array of pre- and post-trip educational activities takes place in each community.

This summer will be the fourth year of the trip. For all four years, the participating Israeli Jewish community has been Sha’ar HaNegev, a struggling rural area of about 6,000 people located right on the border with Gaza. This is the second year that the Arab community will be Segev Shalom, a Bedouin town of about 10,000 located a few miles further inland.

I had the occasion to have lunch with the mayors of the two communities at Seaport Village, during a visit they made to San Diego last November. Both of them spoke highly of the impact the program has had on their communities. The reality of Israel is that except for superficial contacts, Jews and Arabs do not interact with one another. There are separate school systems and, with few exceptions, separate neighborhoods. This was the first time the youngsters from Sha’ar HaNegev had ever spoken with Arabs in any meaningful fashion, and the first time the youngsters from Segev Shalom had spoken with Jews.

Since last summer’s JITLI trip, the teens from Sha’ar HaNegev and Segev Shalom have maintained contact and have gotten together every week for further dialogue, socialization, and community service projects. In addition, there have been get-togethers for the parents, plus community events such as soccer matches. The San Diego participants maintain contact with the youngsters from the two Israeli communities via e-mail.

Gary Jacobs makes it clear that the purpose of JITLI is not for anyone to convince others to change their minds on any of the issues. Rather, it is to understand where the others are coming from. Only with understanding can peace be achieved.

Participating in JITLI involves courage on the part of all participants. The mayor of Segev Shalom has been threatened by more militant Arabs who do not want to see any dialogue with Jews. Likewise, there are plenty of nay-sayers in Sha’ar HaNegev, who do not want anything to do with Arabs. Although the security situation has improved slightly, the San Diego teens who went the last two summers were well aware that Israel was suffering from suicide bombings and other terrorist acts. Nonetheless, leadership in all three communities recognize the importance of the program and believe the benefits warrant the risks.

One might wonder if a small program like this can have any impact in the greater scheme of things. We’re only talking about 30 teens and seven adults participating each year, and the two Israeli communities that participate are small and rather insignificant. The same question could be asked, I suppose, about our Peace Corps service. I would postulate that most of us do believe that the world can be changed one step at a time, as long as there are enough steps taking place.

Fortunately, Gary Jacobs has been in touch with philanthropists in other cities, to see if JITLI can be replicated. If all goes well, additional Israeli Jewish, Israeli Arab, and U.S. communities will be involved in coming years.

A professional cinematographer named Richard Berman accompanied last year’s trip. He has put together a photography exhibit of the trip and a nine minute trailer of a longer documentary he is still editing. If you would like to learn more about JITLI, a good place to start would be Richard’s website, http://www.fire-within.org You can see pictures of all 30 teen participants, view pictures of the participants in Spain and Israel, and if you have more computer savvy than I do, download the nine minute trailer. If you’d like more information than that, let me know, and I should be able to put you in touch with JITLI’s director and some of last year’s participants.

If Pacific Waves seeks to honor peacemakers, it should seek out positive examples like this, especially ones with San Diego connections. Thank you for allowing me to express my opinion.


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Department of Peace?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) http://www.house.gov/kucinich, is a democratic congressman, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus in the house, and one of the leading voices for peace in American public life. Some people feel Dennis Kucinich is a political visionary who combines a powerful activism with a spiritual sense of the interconnectedness of all life. He is passionately committed to public service, peace, human rights, women’s right to choose, workers rights, and the environment.

Kucinich has sponsored a bill to create a cabinet-level Department of Peace. As an outspoken opponent of the war against Iraq, he has been catapulted onto the national stage, and has consistently shown the courage to question current policies of expanding war and limiting personal freedoms.

"Let us pray for our children. Our children deserve a world without end. Not a war without end. Our children deserve a world free of the terror of hunger, free of the terror of poor health care, free of the terror of homelessness, free of the terror of hopelessness, free of the terror of ignorance, free of the terror of policies that are committed to a world view which is not appropriate for the survival of a free people, not appropriate for the survival of democratic values, not appropriate for the survival of our nation, and not appropriate for survival of the world."

 


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Better than a thousand hollow words,
Is one word that brings peace. --Buddha

Welcome!

Welcome to Our New Board!
I am honored to serve as board president this year along with a great team of volunteers. Tony Starks will continue as Vice President and Happy Hour organizer. Our new secretary is Nikol Shaw who served in Mauritania 1999–2000. Frank Yates will continue as CFO, thank goodness! Cindy Ballard, Botswana 1993–1995, will take on the Communications Chair which includes the newsletter, overseeing the website, voice-mail and e-vite systems; a very big job. Please call her and help her. Barbara Casillas, Mali 1996, Dominican Republic 1997, chairs the Social committee and I am looking forward to more fun events from this committee again this year. Dave Fogelson, El Salvador 1998–2000, and our Peace Corps Recruiter for San Diego will also head up the Speakers Bureau. Ray Slanina, Cameroon 1996–1998, will handle Fundraising and Ted Finkel returns to chair our newly re-titled Global Awards Fund. Brenda Hahn will spearhead the new Membership Committee. I encourage you all to come out to our next ethnic dinner evening and meet the new board. It’s going to be a great year for the San Diego Peace Corps Association.

Thanks:
We had a great booth at Earth Day again this year thanks to some wonderful volunteers. Ron Ranson created a new display stand to showcase photos from some of our members. Dave Fogelson donated lots of give aways. And a tireless group of RPCVs were there to answer questions and share the Peace Corps story with the many people who stopped by. Thanks Bob York, Gregg Pancoast, Xandra Garanzuay, Jim Clyne, Dave Tomchek, Ellen Shively, Marilea Swenson, Lori Killpatrick, and Hank Davenport.
--Marjory Clyne, Western Samoa (1972–74), President SDCA


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Board Minutes: for June 2, 2003

Officers/Assignments: For the current year, the following were elected or appointed

  • Marjory Clyne, President
  • Tony Starks, Vice President
  • Nikol Shaw, Secretary
  • Frank Yates, Chief Financial Officer
  • Cindy Ballard, Communications
  • Barbara Casillas, Social
  • David Fogelson, Speaker’s Bureau
  • Ted Finkel, Global Awards
  • Ray Slanina, Fundraising
  • Needed, Newsletter Editor
  • Needed, Community Outreach

Attendance: Marjory Clyne, Nikol Shaw, Frank Yates, Cindy Ballard, Barbara Casillas, David Fogelson, Ray Slanina, Ted Finkel, and Rudy Sovinee.

President’s Report: Marjory Clyne explained the Strategic Plan and the roles and responsibilities of the Board for the new members. Marjory discussed a request from KPBS for volunteers. It was decided we would not be able to help with the current request because of short notice but are very interested in future opportunities. Marjory also presented a request for participating in Blitz Week, a function of the LA Peace Corps office to build awareness of Peace Corps in San Diego. The LA office has suggested we coordinate a project with Urban Corps and that some San Diego RPCVs be available for interviews with the press during the last 2 weeks of June. The Board decided this would be an excellent opportunity for community involvement; Marjory will continue to coordinate this effort.

Financial Report: Frank Yates presented the financial report for April and May, 2003. Frank moved to amend the budget to change the Restricted Expenses for Programs from 2004 ISF Awards at $4,200 to 2004 ISF Awards at $3,900 and establish a new account of Domestic Awards at $300. David Fogelson seconded the motion. Upon further discussion, the motion was amended to change the 2004 ISF Awards to $3,700 and establish the Domestic Awards account at $500. The motion carried. The financial report was accepted and will be filed for audit.

Membership: Frank Yates reported there are 153 current SDPCA members, 43 SDPCA members past due, 109 current NPCA members, and 35 NPCA members past due.

Fundraising: No report.

Social: Barbara Casillas will finalize details for the July dine-out.

Global Awards: Rudy Sovinee will design a form to nominate community groups for awards. The nomination form will be available on line and in the July/August newletter.

Communications: The Newsletter is now a part of the new Communications Committee and a newsletter editor is needed. Cindy Ballard, the Communications Chair, will now be responsible for evites.

Community Action: A chairperson is needed to coordinate the Community Action Committee.

Speaker’s Bureau: David Fogelson discussed upcoming recruiting/speaking opportunities, including the Del Mar Fair and the monthly informational meetings he holds. Interested RPCVs are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

Next Meeting: July 7, 2003, 6:30 PM, at the home of Nikol Shaw. All RPCVs are welcome.


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New Membership Committee

SDPCA’s new Membership Committee had a dynamite first meeting with smoked teriyaki meats and a full moon rising over Mt. San Miguel! We are excited about designing a new outreach and networking structure to more specifically answer the needs of you, our members, especially the new RPCVs, including:

  • Outreach welcoming new RPCVs to SDPCA with a readjustment Welcome Packet and personal support
  • Supporting new RPCVs in readjusting to the USA and (re)settling in San Diego
  • Fostering more active contact and support between members and leaders
  • Having satellite area events, especially in outlying areas (you who have complained about distance, we expect to see YOU soon; call your area Coordinator and demand a social event in your locality or for your host country RPCVs!!)

This new Membership Committee is the Membership Coordinator, six WONDERFUL Satellite Coordinators and Assistants, and the TERRIFIC Membership Records Coordinator:

Membership Coordinator:
Chair: Brenda Terry-Hahn, Nepal (1964–66), membership@sdpca.org, 619-479-6620

We look forward to supporting our new RPCVs more promptly, having a closer contact with you, our members, having more fun with you, and making a difference together while we bring the world back home! Stay tuned and let us hear from you!!
--Brenda Terry-Hahn, Nepal (1964–66), 619-479-6620 or membership@sdpca.org


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Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund Spring 2003 Grants

Spring Awards were granted to three volunteers, in Thailand, El Salvador and Honduras.

  • Shellie Norris, Thailand $444.00: for a library project, which will affect 409 students and 22 teachers.
  • Seth Colby, El Salvador $265.00: for the development of a fruit tree nursery and a mango jelly production enterprise. [We expect all to buy their output!—Let us know how to do so!
  • Ginnie Malan, Honduras $375.00: for her environmental education program. She will be building 15 wood burning stoves.

Please pass on the word to any volunteers that you may know that we will be granting additional funds in the fall. Thanks to the efforts of our outstanding fundraising committee! If anyone is interested in joining our committee for the next grant cycle please contact me directly.
--Ted Finkel, globalawards@SDPCA.org


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Previously Awarded Project in Honduras

Jude Wallway was a PCV serving in Honduras until April, 2003. Last Fall she was a recipient of $620.39 from the Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund for a secondary project with Habitat for Humanity in which your generous contributions went towards the development of necessary drainage of rain and waste water from the colony—where within the 36 homes, there are approximately 100 children (mostly very young) included in the 175 total people living in the colony. Jude has sent these pictures showing the benefit of our contributions.


Before (above): The area prior to our contributions.

During (below): Community people hard at work.


After (below): Improved conditions for the community with the drainage system now installed.

[photos by Jude Wallway]

Welcome home Jude!


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Global Awards Announcement

The SDPCA raises money each year to carry out our goals. This award is the implementation of a process authorized by the membership in May 2000, and defined by subsequent boards. The Board has chosen to allocate these funds as follows:

First priority will be given to funding proposals through the Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund (ISF). We can often make a greater difference with small amounts and assist today’s volunteers. Typically, projects of $300 to $500 have upgraded village clinics, infrastructure and provided the seed money for new businesses.

Second priority will be given to funding Project Mini-Grants ($200-$400) or Awards to honor other 501(c)3 organizations in the San Diego area for proposals that best satisfy our organization’s goals.

At this time we are pleased to open nominations that you deem worthy or at which you have volunteered. For more information please see the Programs area of this site for directions and an application form.

The deadline is September 30, 2003. Mini-Grants and Awards will be announced in December.


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My name is Tyler–I am a Navy Photographer...

[continued from the last issue]
Historically a number of RPCVs have served in the military either before or after PC service. Tyler Phan Osburn, Philippines (1997–99), serves on the USS Stennis as ship’s photographer, currently in port in San Diego. He has agreed to write us during the Iraqi conflict about life aboard and this unique perspective. He may be reached at ORSBURN@stennis.navy.mil

Having returned from a lazy weekend in Orange County visiting former Peace Corps batch mates that I had not seen in years, an elusive reality struck me: that people still judge a book by its cover and form opinionated illusions even prior to holding the book in their hand, much less opening its pages and reading a few lines. Typically I never leave San Diego, for as far as I am concerned the city has everything one could ask for: open spaces, wide horizons, good places to eat and attractive people to engage with. Nevertheless, when my buddy Traina from Massachusetts called one day and said he would be in Southern California attending a symposium on satellite imaging, I couldn’t resist the temptation to reunite some of the dudes near The City of Angels for some late night reminiscing.

Upon Traina’s arrival to the Pacific Coast we immediately contacted Mister Irvine, California, himself--Wave--and then met up for darts, beers and billiards that evening with Miss Nonprofit Graduate School herself, Romero. All in all I cannot say that the years of absence had changed anything about our personalities, for our camaraderie was natural and our love and respect for one another immense.

Our first full day together was spent cruising the waters of Orange County in Wave’s vintage Volkswagen van, Traina and myself meandering the cool beaches, while Wave and his girlfriend Naomi hit the waters looking for that perfect swell. Later that evening Wave invites us to attend his sister’s party in the city where we were to meet horse trainers from Argentina and Uruguay, aspiring actors and models, some graduate students pursuing business degrees and a former NFL football player. Needless to say, the whisky and beer flowed quite easily and the new 50 cent album bounced off the stereo’s walls like an American Bandstand.

About an hour and a half into the party, Traina and I meet this tall and handsome guy form Germany--I wish I could remember his name, but his presence is the type that commands attention once he enters the room. We all exchange friendly greetings and eventually start talking about the war. Mister Germany explains how he moved to the United States when he was 15-years old and has no intentions of leaving although he despises our current government and President Bush’s apparent thirst for Enduring Freedom.

Needless to say we start discussing how I work for the Navy and have already been deployed to The Gulf for Operation Enduring Freedom. Mister Germany thought that it was noble that I was serving my country as photographer, for he, too, was a schooled photographer and was curious how his style of photography was similar or differed from a naval one. And this was about as far as we got, for after I told him about some journalistic-style projects that I had been on, I proceeded to excuse myself for the restroom, leaving my Peace Corps friend, Traina and Mister Germany to themselves.

Later that evening Traina told me how once I excused myself for the restroom, Mister Germany whispered to him in a hush tone, "You see, it is guys like him that can let war exist." And once I heard this I could only shake my head in disbelief at how ideal many people’s lives truly are, and how far removed they are from their roots and history.

The other afternoon my Navy buddy Kevin put me through his Navy Seal workout of pull-ups and sit-ups. Normally I would consider myself as being in shape, but having gone through that little regimen of grunts and groans, sweat and grimaces, I’m going to have to reconsider what I define as being in shape. Two days later my deltoids and biceps are still killing me.

Having sat through nearly two weeks of war coverage on CNN and CBS, it now appears that our soldiers are about to enter Baghdad - a reality that stirs cautious confidence. When the war actually broke out nearly two weeks ago, I found myself feeling a sense of relief, for I was no longer going to be left in limbo as to what the nature of my job and lifestyle would be for the next couple of months. If one were to ask a typical sailor what they thought of the war in Iraq I think you would hear the same: that this is a just war, but one that cannot linger.

Being a Naval photographer on a multi-million dollar aircraft carrier has its perks. For starters, photography is not your typically dirty Navy job (our uniforms stay fairly clean). We get to hob knob with the brass (even though we are there just to make them look good). And lastly, we get to use incredible photographic equipment that would be nearly impossible to afford or use as a civilian. Sailors that have typical seafarer jobs consider their photographer’s mate shipmate in either of one or two ways: photographers are sissies, or photographers have the best job in the Navy. Not being partial by any means, I tend to lean towards the later.

How I landed in the Navy after the Peace Corps can be another Oprah show, but not necessarily an episode of Kleenex and resurrection. What I like to think is that I knew all along that I was going to serve in the Navy, but that I just didn’t have the time, date or order of events that my life would unfold. My two-year stint in the Philippines as a natural resource conservation educator was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life, and one which opened other doors into Guatemala as a Crisis Corps volunteerI, but this whole military/war thing really is a different condiment.

To understand what goes on within the skin of a military ship is to understand the logic behind what makes New York City function: a 24-hour production of non-stop action, various characters performing various jobs, all vital to the functionality of the mission. Airplane mechanics, physicians, lawyers, captains, deck-hands, pilots, journalists, chefs, intelligence people, nuclear engineers and janitors all make ship life quite a unique experience. Walking down a passageway without bumping one’s shoulder into another person would be heaven; using a clean commode would be nice, too - but these are just minor inconveniences, experiences that any seasoned Peace Corps volunteer could relate to.

My typical day begins at two-thirty in the afternoon, for I work the photo lab’s graveyard shift. At two-thirty I will either exercise in one of the various gyms on board, or take a shower. At four-thirty I will enjoy my breakfast (which is actually dinner stuff) in a galley that accommodates hundreds at a time. From 5 until 7 I will relax by reading a book or watch news updates on what is going on in the world. And from 7 until 7 in the morning I am performing various photojournalistic-like activities: shooting images and writing.

Supposedly a Navy photographer’s money shot is getting on the flight deck and capturing jets taking off from the flight deck burdened with ordnance: the color of all the flight deck hands directing each plane into position; the white steam escaping from the catapult as it launched forward; the afterburner as the pilot puts the engine onto full throttle--all these things caught in one moment can make for quite an impressionistic photo. Once we capture images such as these, we are responsible for sending them to an AP-like organization that then forwards these images to major new sources such as Time magazine, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

But this is not all we do, for we are responsible for capturing the normal routine of a sailor, too: awards at quarters, re-enlistment and retirement celebrations, work setting scenarios and recreations activities such a karaoke, golfing ranges, basketball and movie nights. These types of activities are considered mundane to the average Navy photographer and are avoided as much as possible.

It is now time for me to sign-off and enjoy a little R&R in the famous port town of sunny San Diego.


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"Violence just hurts those who are already hurt...
Instead of exposing the brutality of the opressor, it justifies it." –Cesar Chavez

Kudos, Bows, Muchas Gracias
I hereby toss metaphorical bouquets and my deep appreciation to the following for exemplary service to SDPCA during my several-year term as editor--
To all our writers--members, RPCVs, PCVs, or Global Souls, from around the world--who opened your hearts to us and trusted us (sometimes with only an online relationship) with your stories, with your very personal moments, and allowed us to enter your experiences so that we too could learn new ways of making peace in the world..
To the Board members, bless them, who submitted their respective news and notices (MOSTLY on time) so our members could be updated on activities...
To Jeff Cleveland, who, without a word of complaint or a bobble of problems, accepts the original copy of each issue, sometime picking it up on my doorstep at 6:30 a.m., arranges to have zillions of copies printed and collated, then folds, labels and closes them, alone on his boat, and negotiates with the gargoyles at USPS Bulk Mail so that each of you can get your copies, then also manages the payment process on his end with his credit card...it is a blessing to know people who live to serve...
To Don Beck, who gives his considerable talent and skills as layout artist, designing our prize winning layout with two-finger typing and state-of-the-art systems; who set up a global system so that the newsletter is truly produced internationally online, and also now performs as webmaster, where he posts our notices, articles, newsletters, photos as well as maintains the site...
To Frank Yates, who always remembers with zilch reminders to print 300+ mailing labels at his own expense AND coordinates with Jeff to deliver them on time for production and mailing, on his own, in spite of carrying two other full jobs for SDPCA...
These are the HEROES who bring you the newsletter. Deep bows from me to each!! You have my heart
--Brenda Terry-Hahn, Nepal (1964–66), formerly Editor, Pacifc Waves.

 

Member to Member Connections
Check out the newest RPCV Connections

  • Joy Andrews. I am a recent RPCV from El Salvador. I have plans to move to San Diego in middle to late July and am looking for work in the area. I have a B.A in psych and sociology and a minor in Spanish from Indiana University. As a result of my PC service, I have become interested in a teaching career.
    I would prefer to teach in a bilingual setting of some sort. I have also broadened my search to work with immigrants or even community development. If you have any related job suggestions or know of any open positions in the area, please contact me at: andrewsjoy@yahoo.com or call 574-232-5397. Thanks.
  • Jessica Waechter. I am a RPCV from Belize (1997–99) who has recently relocated to San Diego. I am looking for work in the realm of Public Health and/or Social Work.
    I have an MPH/MSW; an intermediate/advanced level of conversational and written French; a beginning/intermediate level of conversational and written Spanish (with review); and an interest in program planning, evaluation, and organizational development/capacity building of non-profit organizations.
    If you have any suggestions or knowledge of related employment opportunities in the San Diego area, you can reach me at jwaechte@umich.edu or 619-255-6095. Thanks!

 

SDPCA Rocks
At the Rock N’ Roll Marathon
At 5 o’clock in the morning on June 1st, 2003, SDPCA members joined together to support the 20,000 runners and walkers in the Suzuki Rock N’ Roll Marathon. The rock n’ roll part of the race includes 40 live bands playing from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. to keep the participants going.

We were located on Morena Boulevard at mile 20.6. There were sister acts (Cindy & Eileen), father-son acts (Hank & Juan Carlos), mother-sons acts (Gail, Ousseynou & Assane), husband-wife acts (Ronnie & Jennifer), friends supporting runners (Summer & Hilary), and other brave Peace Corps vets and friends (Marjory, Lenore, Barbara, Steve, Lisa, Rebecca and Carol).

After overloading on coffee and pastries, our group worked together with the Chi Omega Alumni and the Escondido Center for the Arts volunteers to set-up 24 tables stacked with cups of water and to practice our ‘water-cup-holding’ form. Runners were very gracious and many took an extra breath to say ‘thank you’ as they passed us.

In addition to the two bands playing down the street, the disco Elvi, Jamba Juice banana-costumed crew, wig wearing wonders and flag-carrying runners kept our attention throughout the race.

Everyone was enthusiastic to the bitter end–even when we found out we had to pick up cups around our water station a half mile in either direction at 1:30 p.m.! In six years, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training participants have raised over 70 million dollars.

Here is a hearty thank you to everyone for their time, smiles and energy. Let’s do it again next year!!
--Xandra R. Garanzuay, Honduras (1999–2001)


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Recruitment Corner

Here’s a super ginormous double mega hugantic thank you to everyone that helped out at the Del Mar Fair and information meetings this past month. We could not have met the call from the Peace Corps curious public without your help, support, and time. Thank you again!

The months of July and August are noticeably more tranquilo. I’ll have my regular information meetings:

  • Third Tues of Every Month (7/15/03, 8/19/03) 4PM–5PM, SDSU Career Services--General Informational Meeting
  • Fourth Tues of Month (7/22/03, 8/26/03) 7PM–8:30 PM, SD Library, 820 E St, San Diego--General Informational Meeting
  • SDSU Office Hours--Every Tues and Thurs. from 2PM–4PM SDSU Career Services

Any time you’re curious about information regarding Peace Corps, or know someone who is, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached at (619) 594-2188 or by e-mail:
dfogelson@peacecorps.gov

Stay tuned for an upcoming get together of returned and future volunteers in late July (we’ll send out invites)...

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow,
learn as if you were to live forever." --Gandhi

Vaya Con Paz,
--David Fogelson, El Salvador Agroforesty (1998–2000)
Peace Corps Los Angeles--San Diego Regional Recruiter
619-594-2188


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Welcome, New Members!

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!!

New members are listed (whenever this information is given) by name, country and years of service, current occupation, area of residence, and email.


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Newsletter Credits

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: newseditor@sdpca.org

Editor
Cindy Ballard [interim]

Layout / Production
Don Beck, Jeff Cleveland

Contributors this issue are:

Jennifer Jones, Michael Hirch, Benda Terry-Hahn, Tyler Phan Orsborn,
Ted Finkel, David Fogelson, Barbara Casillas, Marjory Clyne,
Xandra Garanzuay, Nikol Shaw, Frank Yates, Rudy Sovinee

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