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San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter

January – February 2005 -- Volume 18, Number 1

Index: click on your choice:..... ....... ..Welcome to a New Year!

Peace Corps Week 2005: Feb 28 - Mar 6
Register Now ........Speak Your Peace ........Peace Match

from the Pres... Stay Connected

Board Minutes-Nov & Dec '04

Congratulations Michael Hirsh

Annual Holiday International Party

What is The BookMan? News From Northern Uganda

Community Action Events

Newsletter Credits

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Responding to the Earthquake &
Tsunami in South Asia

Many of you may be fielding questions about the best way to help in response to the tragedy in South Asia. To help you better direct your group members, please refer to the following resources:

  1. InterAction Disaster Response: Earthquake and Tsunami in South Asia
    InterAction is an alliance of more than 160 US-based international development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations. If you or someone you know is considering making a contribution, either financial or material, this site lists all InterAction members who are accepting contributions for assistance. In addition, the guidelines for appropriate giving found at
  2. Crisis Corps

    Crisis Corps is a Peace Corps program that mobilizes RPCVs to help countries address critical needs on a short-term basis. They are currently making arrangements for volunteers to assist in South Asia, most likely in Thailand. In particular, they are in need of RPCVs with water sanitation, engineering and general construction skills. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Crisis Corps directly at (202)692-2250.

Peace Corps has issued a press release indicating all volunteers currently serving in Thailand are safe.

Thank you for your concern and generosity.
–Jayne Thomisee. NPCA Advocacy Program Volunteer
202-293-7728, x-21

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Online Resources: News & Info

See more Online Resources for Tsunami news articles, volunteeer efforts, raising of monies, etc.

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Join Us: The Year(s) in Review

Peace Corps National
Total years: 42 years, estabished 4/6/1962
Total volunteers and trainees to date:
Total countries served:

Current Volunteers

  • Volunteers and trainees: 7,733
  • Gender: 58% female 42% male
  • Marital status: 89% single 10% married
  • Minorities: 15% of volunteers
  • Age: Average–28 years old Median–25 years old
  • Volunteers over 50: 6% of volunteers (oldest volunteer is 82)
  • Education: 83% have undergraduate degrees,
    13% have graduate studies or degrees

Current number of countries served: 72

Current Volunteer Service Sectors:

  • Education (34%)
  • Health and HIV/AIDS (20%)
  • Environment (16%)
  • Business Development (16%)
  • Agriculture (6%)
  • Other (6%)
  • Youth (3%)

Current Budget Fiscal Year 2005: $317 million

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San Diego Peace Corps Association

Total Years: 16 years, established 3/1988
Current Members:

The San Diego Peace Corps Association is a non-profit corporation of returned Peace Corps volunteers and others interested in world peace. Its mission is:

To build and maintain an active membership of RPCVs. their families and friends; to support and inform RPCVs and local communities through social, educational and community service activities; to provide funding for PCV projects overseas; and to influence the direction of Peace Corps through advocacy.

Jan 2004. Sandbagging at Harbison Creek. Photo by Rudy Sovinee


Community Action
: One current goal is to participate monthly in at least one Community Action event. We want to thank all of our members who took action and came to help in these events. This past year our events were varied:

  • Sandbagging in Harbison Canyon
  • Soup Kitchen Volunteer Work at St. Vincent DePaul’s
  • Water Station for Suzuki Rock’n’Roll Leukemia Marathon
  • 15th Annual SD Heart Fund Walk
  • Help with Special Olympics games
  • Collecting needed items for Bantu families in
  • Our members also made donations at both our Annual Meeting and Annual Holiday International Party for Somali Bantu Refugee Families arriving to San Diego.

Thank You San Diego RPCVs!

YOU make it all possible! As a member of SDPCA we encourage you to take part in one community action event per year. The idea is to build camaraderie while encouraging SDPCA members to be involved and active in our local community. If you have any ideas on where our services are most needed be sure to contact our chairperson at


SDPCA at Del Mar Races in August 2004. Photo by Rudy Sovinee


Social Activities:
Members also came out for some fun! As usual we encouraged nominees and those interested in serving as Peace Corps volunteers to join us. Events were planned to mix and mingle. A few of last years’ highlights were:

  • Happy Hour at Tio Leo’s
  • Fifth Annual Superbowl Party
  • International Film Festival at the home of Gail Souare
  • Cultural Night: Rhythms of Brazil at Museum of Man
  • Dining Out at A Taste of Thai in Del Mar
  • Padres Game at Petco Ball Park, Padres vs Dodgers
  • Annual Day at the Races, Del Mar Racetrack
  • Carrizo Badlands-Arroyo Diablo Loop Hike
  • Celebrate Autumn! at Torrey Pines Beach State Park
  • Global Warming Advocacy Training
  • Acapulco Restaurant Happy Hour
  • SDPCA Goes Peruvian
  • Snow Goose Thanksgiving with Victor Villaseñor


Dance Group at PC Week 2004, Horton Plaza, San Diego. Photo: Rudy Sovinee.


Peace Corps Week 2004: Members of SDPCA joined with the Los Angeles Peace Corps Office for an International Festival at Horton Plaza which coincided with Peace Corps Week 2004. For two days Returned Peace Corps Volunteers shared their experiences and artifacts with the community.

The LA PC office brought out some fabulous, local, entertainment: The Lucky Lion Dancers, Belly Dancing by Sohaila, Ballet Folklorico de Centro Comunitario de Sherman Heights, Mariachi Sherman, Omo Ache Afro-Cuban Dance Co and PASACAT.

Members spoke at local events, schools and service groups, sharing experiences on a personal level with young and old.

Earth Day 2004: On April 25, 2004 the SDPCA was led by Marjory Clyne in organizing a table at the Earth Day festival in Balboa Park. Returned volunteers staffed a table for the day sharing experiences and knowledge of the peace corps experience with all who visited our table. SDPCA participates annually in the Earth Day celebration.

Annual Meeting: On May 23, 2004 family and friends met for the SDPCA Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner. SDPCA presented its first Global Awareness Award to Victor Villaseñor. The Global Awareness Award was created to honor an organization which carries out work consistent with SDPCA.

Annual Holiday International Party: The year came to a close with SDPCA’s annual holiday potluck party. Friends and family came to share tastes and stories from around the world. Nominees and applicants residing in San Diego were also welcomed along with friends and family. The evening included a viewing of the newest recruitment video from Washington D.C.

Friends and family continued to give to the Bantu Refugee Families with more than two truckloads of necessities for new families to the San Diego area.



Photos from Projects in Dominican Republic funded by SDPCA Grants.

Photos: from Laura Sundquist & Jenniferf Jones

Dues & Fundraising At Work:: Over the past year your SDPCA membership continues to give back to PCVs. As a community of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers our dues and fundraising support a variety of projects both overseas and locally.

The first priority has been given to funding proposals through the Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund (ISF). Since 1988 SDPCA has made 100 grants totaling $34,000+ to assist San Diego native volunteers in the field. This past year we were able to assist 15 Peace Corps Volunteers for grants totaling $6,276. The projects funded spanned the globe and enabled projects of all kinds. A few of the projects are as follows:

  • Building a network of Garbage receptacles, Costa Rica
  • Equipment for English Resource Center, Bulgaria.
  • New Computer system, Kyrgya Republic.
  • Outdoor equipment & learning tools, Dominican Republic.
  • Poems and stories into books, to promote literacy, Lesotho.
  • Bee-keeping equipment for enterprise startup, Mauritania.
  • AIDS prevention awareness through Womens sports, Togo.
  • Fence to protect gardens for AIDS orphans, Swaziland.


SDPCA wants to thank all of its members for making our organization such a big success. Without our dedicated and pro-active members we would not be able to make a difference for volunteers in the field, those just returning to San Diego and those just beginning their adventure. We also would not have met the third goal, “To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.” Lets keep the Peace Corps spirit alive and continue a strong and active SDPCA membership. Renewal Form

Membership has its privileges!

Please take the time to renew your membership today. As a member you will continue to receive the Pacific Waves newsletter. Receive notices of our community action events and social events. Be part of our member-to-member “support corps” which provides career advice, support, job search tools, resume assistance and networking. Most of all being connected in our effort to build a world of peace.

YOUR Membership MAKES a Difference.

Now more than ever we need to use the understanding we bring home to help bring peace to a world we find more in need of peace than ever.

JOIN US at Peace Corps Week 2005.
Feb 28-Mar 6, see next article.

JOIN US at Community Action events
to continue the volunteer spirit that gets more than it gives.

JOIN US at Social Events
to simply share the day.

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February 28 – March 6

Peace Corps Week 2005:

Help celebrate 44 years of making a difference in the world and make Peace Corps Week 2005 a rewarding experience for your community. Commit today and encourage others to join you. Last year, during the weeklong celebration of the 43rd anniversary of the Peace Corps, more than 7,000 former Peace Corps Volunteers shared the experiences and insights they gained from their overseas service with communities across the country. More than half a million students in the United States welcomed returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) into their classrooms.

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Register Now

Peace Corps Headquarters is now accepting registration for the upcoming Peace Corps Week 2005. Peace Corps Week will take place between February 28 - March 6, 2005. Each respondent who registers will receive a free Peace Corps Week presentation kit, which includes souvenirs for the audience, a poster, and other materials to help RPCVs prepare for and promote the day.

Information to register for Peace Corps Week 2005 can be found on line at

If you have any questions, please contact us at, or call (800) 424-8580, press 2 then extension 1961. This year’s coordinator is Agnes Ousley, 1111 20th St. NW, Washington, DC 20526.

SDPCA encourages ALL of its members to get involved in Peace Corps Week 2005. It is our goal to continue to share our experiences as Peace Corps Volunteers and meet the third goal of Peace Corps. If you want to participate but do not know where you are most needed, please email our speakers bureau chair ( or communications chair ( and we will be sure that you too can be part of Peace Corps Week 2005.

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Speak Your Peace!

Start the New Year by speaking about your Peace Corps experience. Each year during Peace Corps Week, former Volunteers take time to celebrate the Peace Corps’ birthday by sharing their knowledge and experiences with their communities in the United States. As all Volunteers know, part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to educate Americans back home about the people with whom they lived and worked. Peace Corps Week activities offer a great opportunity to promote a better understanding of the people of your host country by those in your current community.

Presentations by former Volunteers are a positive and fun event for both students and former Volunteers. So why limit it to one day? This year, the Peace Corps will celebrate Peace Corps Week, from February 28, 2005, through March 6, 2005. This way, you’ll have seven whole days to fit Peace Corps Week activities into your schedule. No matter how long it’s been since you served in Peace Corps, your neighbors, students, and/or colleagues are sure to be interested in hearing about your experiences.

So start planning now! There are plenty of ways to participate.
Or if you’ve spoken recently, please let us know! Please contact the Speaker’s Bureau chair, Rudy Sovinee, at

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Peace Match: Speaking to School Classes

By Lynn Jarrett, Ukraine 2001-03
Recently I had the experience of speaking to four classes at the UCSD Preuss High School in La Jolla. As a recently returned RPCV, I felt good to have had this opportunity to speak about my experiences in Ukraine, especially while Ukraine was in the midst of the Orange Revolution which was taking place at the same time as I was speaking! I was able to share stories out of the newspapers that appeared during the same week that I was speaking.

I have also been asked to speak to an International Studies class at Soka University in Orange County next semester. And soon I will be speaking at an assembly of students at the school of my grandchildren in Orange County as well.

How did I get these speaking opportunities and how can you get such opportunities yourself? I registered at the Peace Match web site and teachers who were looking for speakers contacted me. You can be a part of this as well.

The Purpose of Peace Match
Through the Peace Match Program, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) continues to carry out the third goal of the Peace Corps: To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people.

Through the Peace Match Web site, NPCA links returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) together with teachers to bring the Peace Corps cross-cultural experience to students throughout the United States

Teachers register on this site as Hosts and can find speakers that match their needs in the classrooms.

If you are an RPCV, register as a speaker on to become a speaker for a classroom. (You will not be able to search for Hosts until your data has been confirmed and you have been notified by e-mail.)

I urge you to sign up now if you’re interested in sharing your Peace Corps experience. You will energize students and plant the seeds of volunteerism through your PCV experiences. It feels awesome.

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Those Peace Corps Years Live On and On

by Ron Ranson, Education, Nepal 1964-66
I have had two significant Nepal related experiences lately that bring back the “in country” life I lead and the “ripple effect” of the wonderful person-to-person contact that is such a solid strength of the Peace Crops mission.

My wife Nicola and I knew a year ago we were going to be in London on June 30, 2003. She had friends she wanted to meet and I had heard through the grapevine that at least two of my Nepali college students from 1965-66 were now living in London. After many months of phone calls and emails, I tracked them down and we arranged a “potluck” picnic at the London Eye, (a 450 ft. high very slow moving ferris wheel-type ride on the Thames), at 6 PM on June 30th. (It took a long time to explain to the Brits AND the Nepalis what an American potluck is all about, but they went for it and the idea worked. Although all the Brits received culinary assistance from the Marks and Spencer’s take-away, which was nicely spiced up with divine home-made Nepali party food for the “bhoj”.)

At 6 PM on the dot in walked Nic’s 14 university friends AND 5 Nepalis all carrying various baskets of delicious food. I had not see or been in touch with these former students in 38 years! We spent the next four hours catching up on family additions, jobs, our mutual friends back in Nepal, and most surprising to me, they discussed my lectures and the grades I had assigned their English homework 38 years ago! I was stunned they could remember all those details! And I was quite humbled that I had unknowingly played such an important part in their lives.

My wife’s brother William is the Personal Director on a cruise ship that makes the 7 day cruise from Los Angeles to Mexico every week. Through his generosity we were able to secure a vacant cabin for a cruise in December. Much to my surprise, when we went through the ship’s security line, the security personnel are mostly Nepali–ex-British Gurkha soldiers. (The others are Filipinos.)

One night at the Captain’s dinner table I mentioned how impressed I was with the efficiency and helpfulness of the security crew and the Nepalis–and gave him some of my background on teaching in Nepal. He thought for a moment and said, “I should really do something for them. They work so hard and are so dedicated to the ship’s security. (Photo: from Ron Ranson)

What do you think I could do for them? I immediately responded, “I’m sure they would like some castrated goat,” (a prize party food in Nepal). “Would that be barbequed?” he asked, not missing a beat. “I’ll work something out.” The next day the Captain found Nicola and said to her, “Be in my cabin at 7 PM tonight; I’m throwing a reception for the security crew and the Nepalis.”

At the appointed hour we arrived to witness a wonderful catered party with huge shrimp, satayed chicken and lots of drinks. (No goat to be seen!) The Captain gave a very impressive speech about their devotion to duty, loyalty, honor, and how nice it was to work with them. It was great speech–and it’s easy to see why some people are captains and some of us aren’t! He thanked me for prompting him to honor these terrific people. The Nepalis and I talked about mutual places and people we know in Nepal and did a lot of laughing. Three of the Nepalis even KNOW some of my former college students.

As we left the ship for the final time in Los Angeles, a couple of of the security crew jumped out from behind their equipment to give us big hugs and to wish us well for a great holiday season! It brought tears to our eyes and we’ll never forget that Peace Corps connections are to be found in the most surprising places...even at sea!

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As a PCV in Dominican Republic, Jennifer received an ISP Grant of $400 from SDPCA for Preschool Play Equiment and Learning Tools in 2004. The November-December Pacific Waves had a letter and pictures from her project. She has now returned to San Diego and submitted this article of her experiences as an RPCV. She includes her email address:

Right Here–At Home

by Jennifer Amanda Jones, Domincan Republic 2002-04
When I finished my Peace Corps service and boarded a plane back to the United States, I thought I was leaving the third world behind.

I was wrong.

Somehow the third world has found a niche right here in San Diego. Mostly we don’t see it; its tucked away in different communities and neighborhoods, hidden from view and wedged just out of site of America’s Finest City.

The horns of departing cruise ships blow to signal their journey to far, exotic places. Passengers wave handkerchiefs or walk anxiously up and down the ship’s corridors thinking of pyramids, beaches and beer. Pan out just 10 miles east of those ships and you will find houses and houses of people recently arrived from those exotic places, sometimes recently escaped.

San Diego is home to thousands of immigrants. Some are refugees; some are survivors of torture. Many are illiterate and without basic education.

It is a fair assumption to say that each one seeks something better for their children, but do they always find it?

Not without help. As those of us who have served overseas already know, people need support as they move out from poverty and into self-sufficiency. They need to be guided. This is especially true with education.

I am the program director for Kids at Heart, an after-school tutoring program for inner-city youth. The program sponsors eight different tutoring sites that together provide academic mentoring services to over one hundred children.

The students come from the urban communities of San Diego County. Most do not speak English in the home and very few of their parents have a high school education. Over 90% live below the poverty line.

In my daily interactions with students and parents, I brush up against the lifestyle challenges I thought I had left behind when I finished my Peace Corps service. Parents say that they want their child to succeed in school but do not know how to help them. What may seem the simplest of routines—completing homework right away, communicating with a teacher, reading aloud to a child—are radical departures from traditional behavior for many of these parents.

Beyond these challenges, I am moved by the differences that can and are being made through consistent mentoring activities. In the Kids at Heart program, volunteer tutors work one-on-one with students for one hour each week. The time is structured, expectations are clear, and the students thrive and grow!

Children want to learn, but they need to be shown how. They need structure, guidelines and lots and lots of love along the way. That seems like common sense, but for those who have not see it in their own homes it is unimaginable. Habits need to be taught

Education is key to development, whether it is in the third world or right here in San Diego. This is the lesson I took from my Peace Corps experience and is the lesson I live out daily. Through my position as program director of Kids at Heart I have the pleasure of working with students, families, and volunteer tutors to make dreams of a better life a workable possibility.

Right here–in San Diego!

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Thanks, SDPCA, for your Support!

from Sharon Kennedy Darrough, Thailand 1989-91
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) of San Diego would like to thank the San Diego Peace Corps Association for all of their support in 2004. Particularly, we would like to thank the SDPCA for their dedication to the newly arrived Somali Bantu families. We recognize that the Bantu are somewhat of an obscure group and we would like to share their story with so you can truly understand the significance of your gifts.

More than 200 years ago, Bantu people from Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi were brought to Somalia as slaves by Arab traders. They remained enslaved and marginalized until civil war broke out in 1991. Like other Somalis, when the war broke out, the Bantu fled Somalia for Kenyan refugee camps. In the camps, life was not much better. The Bantu continued to be victims of rape, violence and forced labor.

Recognizing the history and status of the Somali Bantu, the United States government selected the group for permanent resettlement which started in early 2004. However, the collective history of the Somali Bantu as an oppressed people created significant obstacles for their resettlement in the United States. Many are illiterate in their native languages and less than 5% could speak any English upon arrival. With little experience with modernity and more than 15 years in refugee camps, many of the Somali Bantu struggle to find jobs and to deal with American culture, systems and institutions.

In the next few months the IRC expects to resettle 30 more Somali Bantu in San Diego where they will join the more than 200 who arrived in 2004. Your donations of shampoo, soap, clothing, food, household items, toys, and money will help us provide new families with basic necessities upon arrival. Only two days after we received your donations, a widowed Somali Bantu father and his five year old daughter arrived from Kenya with only the clothing they were wearing. The little girl picked out clothing, new underwear, soap, food, and a beanie baby teddy bear. She looked at each item with amazement, viewing even basic hygiene items as extravagant gifts. She smelled the clothing, soap, and food, asking her father to identify the scent of each object. When I saw her next, she was dressed in one of her new outfits, hair newly braided, ready to meet her new teacher.

On behalf of the IRC and our clients, thank you for your support in 2004. The IRC mission statement expresses a “commitment to human dignity” and your donations have helped us continue this promise. Also, the SDPCA has been a great source of volunteers for IRC – many of you have become mentors for newly arrived refugee families. RPCVs make great mentors as they have some inkling of what it is like to move to a new culture.

If you would like more information on the IRC in San Diego, please feel free to contact Sharon Kennedy Darrough at IRC, 619 641-7510 x249.

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An act of love, a voluntary taking on oneself of some of the pain of the world, increases the courage and love and hope of all. –Dorothy Day

Stay Connected!

It’s mid-December and I’ve just finished reading twelve proposals from Peace Corps volunteers for monies from our International Support Fund. After almost 20 years of being a RPCV, these proposals brought back memories of what it was like living and working in another world, both the pleasures and the difficulties.

A couple of proposals address basic human needs such as latrines—others are assisting in the maintenance/restoration of community buildings—and a couple are working with community gardening projects. However the selection process falls out, the funds raised here in San Diego through our efforts will be put to good use and much appreciated.

This ties in to having met a handful of “nominees” at the SDPCA annual holiday party (where a good time was had by all)—and feeding off their enthusiasm and uncertainty regarding the future—this positive energy is such a good thing in this time of crisis and war in the world—where can we get more of it?

Wishing everyone a happy new year—and good energy. Stay tuned for SDPCA’s on-going events and stay connected.

–Greg Pancoast, Costa Rica (1985-86)

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Board Meetings 6/29 & 8/3


Present: Marjory Clyne, Lynn Jarrett, Frank Yates, Gregg Pancoast, and Nikol Shaw attended both meetings. Liz Brown, Kristen Slanina, and Ray Slanina attended in November. Rudy Sovinee and Jesse Santos attended in December.

Minutes were approved as amended.

President’s Report: See committee reports.

Financial Report: Frank reported balances and provided a detailed statement of income and expenses. Frank, Gregg, and Ted Finkel are coordinating an independent review of the finances.

Membership: Lynn reported that the SDPCA membership is at 129 current and 52 past due, totaling 181. The membership database duty has transitioned to Lynn.

Community Action: Past and present activities are covered in newsletter stories.

Fundraising: There are a few remaining calendars for sale. Entertainment Books are also on sale.

Global Awards: The deadline for ISF selections is 12/15. Review will be done via email. One nomination has been made for the local Peace Award; nominations are still being accepted.

Communications: Our next newsletter deadline is 02/10/04. Lynn sent an email to all SDPCA members asking whether or not they wish to be included on the Evite list and has sent responses for action to the appropriate Board Members. Changes have been made to the way Evite is done (i.e. separate Evites for Social, Community Action, etc.), which is working out for now. The SDPCA website is hosted from SDSU, so we cannot set up a list serve from the current arrangement. Don Beck suggests the Board talk to member Bernie Dodge about list serve options.

Social: Past and present activities are covered in newsletter stories.

Speaker’s Bureau: A motion was made for SDPCA to co-sponsor the Panel Discussions with Peace Corps; the motion carried.

Speakers are requested for the following events:

  • 1/7/05 Brownie Troop Meeting, Poway
  • 1/8/05 Meteorologist Meeting, Downtown

Old Business: None.
New Business: None.

Next Meetings: The January Board meeting will be hosted by Rudy Sovinee and will take place at 6:30 PM, 1/12/05, at the home of Marjory Clyne.
All members are welcome to attend.

–Nikol Shaw, Mauritania (1999-2001)

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Congratulations and Best Wishes!

One other point that is worth celebrating... SDPCA member for at least 14 years, Michael Hirsh, has just been accepted as the new Country Director for Peru. (I heard about his last interview–grueling and discouraging. This is great news for Peace Corps, returning another experienced staff member to a Country Director post.)

Michael has served as a PCV, and then as staff, most recently as the Country Director for the Dominican Republic. Since returning to San Diego about five years ago, he has worked for the Jewish Community Foundation, and has helped guide the One World, Our World program as a director, sharing sage advice and physical labor as needed.
–Rudy Sovinee, Ghana (

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photos by Liz Brown

Annual Holiday International Party

The San Diego Peace Association hosted its Annual Holiday International Party and Potluck on December 4th at the Friar’s Clubhouse in Mission Valley. The party was a great success. A mix of RPCV’s, nominees, applicants, friends and family members were all in attendance.

Brenda Hahn was at the door to greet all party goers and to keep people current on their membership. Greg Pancoast, our SPDCA President opened the evening with a toast, moment of silence and introductions by all in attendance.

Around 40 guests attended the festivities and we had more food than we could eat. After we were able to get our fill and make our way around the room Frank Yates entertained us with the latest Peace Corps recruitment video.

This year’s party also incorporated a theme to raise money and supplies for Bantu refugee families in the San Diego area.
We collected several boxes of goods for the refugee families. The collection was extended to co-workers, friends, and family and the response was overwhelming. I had the whole living room full of clothes, toys, toothbrushes, soap, towels, sheets, shampoo, and other well needed items. We also collected over $250 in monetary contributions. The International Rescue Committee was completely surprised by the response. They had to send a second and then a third truck to pick everything up. The IRC called back thanking the SDPCA for all our help. They made many wonderful gift baskets for several Bantu refugee families.

I would like to thank all those involved in this effort. All the donations did make a difference for those in need.
–Kristen Slanina, Cameroon 1993-97, Social Chair

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What is The Bookman?

The Bookman is a global charitable organization based in San Diego, California. A registered 501(c)3 charity, The Bookman supplies books free to anyone who asks. Operated with all volunteer labor by Irwin Herman, the organization gives away more than 600,000 books per year, primarily to the underprivileged and to other charitable groups.

Since its creation in 1990, The Bookman has given away more than 7 million books to people across the US and in 42 other countries.

How did this happen? How did it come about? Irwin Herman, a San Carlos resident, retired from his appliance repair business in Chicago In 1988 and moved to San Diego with his wife, Shirley. In 1990 apparently at loose ends, he went along one day with a friend who did outreach at the local jails. At that time he learned the prisoners needed reading material so he provided some books and was amazed at how grateful the recipients were. Thus began “Irwin the Bookman.”

Photo from The Bookman Website (url below)

Irwin began going around to yard sales buying books and accepting book donations that he was offered, and started accumulating an inventory. First, he filled up his own garage and then cajoled neighbors into letting him use some of their garage space. He worked out of garages for six years, expanding his book giving from jails to schools to homeless shelters. In 1998 he was offered the current warehouse space by Jack Grace who until then had been offering Irwin space in several garages he owned. Grace even pays the utility bills.

The Bookman keeps a map showing all the countries he has served. So far, he has donated books to over 43 countries. He reaches out to 350 groups and gives away an estimated 600,000 Items every year. In mid-2004, The Bookman shipped several boxes of nursing reference books to the Hue Medical School in Vietnam.

In addition to general distribution of free books to anyone who asks, The Bookman also operates a program of ‘instant libraries’ for organizations and institutions that need reading material. Call us up, tell us what type of clientele you serve, and we will prepare a library in a box. All you have to do is pick it up as The Bookman is unable to pay for shipping.

The Bookman warehouse is on the second floor at 4275 37th Street in San Diego. It is open to receive book donations Monday through Friday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, or by appointment. Donations can also be dropped at the back door loading dock anytime the gate to the alley is open.

Telephone: 619-521-9830.
Postal Address: 4275 37th Street, San Diego, CA 92105.
–from Brenda Terry-Hahn, Nepal 1964-66.

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For those around the world, the New Year is a time for hope and a time to move towards new and positive directions in their lives. Unfortunately, there are places in the world that will continue to suffer and need help and voices to make a change. The following is a report on the situation in Northern Uganda. We provide this information to help educate ourselves and others of the atrocities of the world.

News from Northern Uganda

Excerpts from the ReliefWeb website
“The actions of a fanatical rebel movement, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), have displaced more than 1.6 million people in northern and eastern Uganda, a number even higher than in Darfur. The conflict, which has destroyed lives, communities and rich cultural traditions, cannot be allowed to continue. The international community must help bring it to an end and stanch the hemorrhage of human suffering.”
“More than 20,000 children have been kidnapped, including 12,000 since 2002. This is a conflict fought by, with and against children. More than 80 percent of the LRA forces are children. They are forced to become child soldiers or sex slaves to their commanders.”
“Where else do we see the phenomenon of the “night commuters”? Each night in northern Uganda, more than 40,000 mothers, grandmothers and children leave their homes and travel many miles by foot into the towns of Gulu, Kitgum and Kalongo seeking refuge from abduction by the LRA. When the sun rises, they make the trek back to their villages, usually on an empty stomach.”

Release from MSF (Doctors Without Borders)
A mental health survey <
in Pader Town Centre revealed that almost all respondents have been exposed to severe traumatic events since 2002: 63% report the disappearance or abduction of family member, 58% report the death of a family member due to the insurgency, 79% have witnessed torture, and 40% have witnessed a killing.

Another very disturbing figure is that 5% of the population have been forced to physically harm somebody.

Civilians in Northern Uganda have been exposed to extreme levels of violence throughout the 18-year conflict, with reports of torture, abduction of children, and killings commonplace. More than 1.6 million people have fled their homes and are living in camps or “protected villages.”

“The extent of suffering is overwhelming, and the situation remains critical,” said Monica de Castellarnau, head of mission for MSF, from Kampala. “Not only do people live in constant insecurity, they lack basic resources and safe access to water, food and healthcare.

“Our findings show a situation that is beyond an acute emergency. We are doing what we can, but more assistance is needed immediately.”

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Community Action Events

December 4, 2004: Collect Donations for Bantu Familes in SD
Our December group action activity focused on collecting more items needed by the Bantu families who are now settled in San Diego. SDPCA undertook in May 2004 to help sponsor a Bantu family new to San Diego (see July-August issue of Pacific Waves) ... More than two truckloads of items were collected! See the letter of thanks above from the IRC of San Diego for our ongoing support.

I encourage everyone in the SDPCA to make it to one of our community action events. I will continue to coordinate events, such as these, and hope we will see you at the next event !
–Jesse Santos, Papua New Guinea, 1998-’00, VP SDPCA,
Community Action Chair

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

Online Monthly Report from the NPCA President
Every month, Kevin Quigley, NPCA President, reports to the NPCA Board on current activities and future projects of the organization. To find out what the latest report included:

• Visit theNPCA website and Click on “Latest NPCA News”

• or more directly and scroll down to “Monthly Report from the NPCA President.” The document can be downloaded in Word for your convenience.

There’s lots of other current news about NPCA activities as well. Check it out!

Fundraising for San Diego BRIGHT Families Mentor Project
The San Diego BRIGHT Families Mentor Project is participating in the Chip-In for Charity fund-raiser, by selling discounted tickets to the Buick Invitational PGA Golf Tournament to be held at Torrey Pines Golf Course, January 17-23, 2005. Tickets are good for any one day of the tournament and cost $14 (normally $22-28).

100% of tickets sales will go directly to the San Diego BRIGHT Families Mentor Project, which aims to prevent teenage pregnancy among San Diego’s youth. No money collected goes to the PGA Tour.

Tickets are on sale now through Jan. 23, 2005. For more information on purchasing tickets, contact Valerie Orrison at (858) 514-7549 ext.113 or
–Valerie Orrison, Paraguay (2001-03)

The PC Palate: Soltan Banoo
4645 Park Blvd., San Diego,
619 298 2801,

“Eclectic Persian Cuisine” is presented beautifully and deliciously at Soltan Banoo, near the corner of Adams and Park Avenues. Choose indoor or heated outdoor seating in a tastefully cultural environment full of artifacts, complete with quotations from the poet Rumi (a personal favorite). The lamb dishes and salads are wonderful. Vegetarian items abound, brown rice available by request.

Service is excellent, servings generous, prices rock bottom, and they even have wine and beer! Open M-F 11-3, 5-9; Sat. 11-9.
–Brenda Terry-Hahn, Nepal (1964-66)

Matching Gift Offer for Donations to the 1WOW School Program.

This non-profit school program is an official collaborator with the NPCA’s Global TeachNet. Its format helps share the world with kids in a way that has
SDPCA members have heard occasional news reports since we were founded. If you look at the board and advisors of our non-profit, or if you visit our web site, ( you’ll know how the SDPCA and wider RPCV community has long supported this endeavor.

All gifts through Jan 31, 2005 will be matched.
–Rudy Sovinee, Ghana 1970-73

New Online Career Search Offered to Members
The NPCA now offers an online, interactive career center at for anyone who served in the Peace Corps as volunteers or staff. The site lets you: find jobs posted by recruiters seeking RPCV skills and experience; post your own resume; read tips written by professional career counselors and recruiters for the Peace Corps community; navigate hundreds of links to web sites; and join online discussions categorized by topic.

SDPCA Discount Card
Those current members who attended the holiday event were able to pick up our SDPCA Corporate Discount Card to Barnes & Noble, Bookstar, and B. Dalton. This card gives members discounts on store AND online merchandise.

If you are a current member and would like to claim your discount card, please contact and we will send you the card information.

Attention Members!
It has been a great 2004 and we have had many social activities with good member participation.

I would like to ask members what kinds of social activities they would like to see for 2005. [See the list of social activities in Join Us! article]. Some members have suggested more adventerous iteneraries such as : Catalina Island Kayaking trips, Baja Whale watching, camping,Temecula wine tasting,..

Tell us what activities you would like to see this year–as specific as possible. It will help us plan events for 2005. Send all suggestions to Kristen Slanina :

Thanks and a great 2005 to all!
–Kristen Slanina, Camaroon (1995-97)

News Bytes–Links
Peace Corps Online: Has a new, more organized look and set up. Sections organized by Top Stories, PCOL Magazine, PC Library, RPCV Dicredtory. Top stories are organized by month and you can refer back to previous months, watching stories develop in their reporting. Check it out!

Peace Corps Suspends Program in Nepal (9/15/04)
Historic First Group of PCVs into Mexico (9/15/04)
• More Muslim Countries Requesting Peace Corps (10/15/04)

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Welcome to New Members

SDPCA extends a warm welcome to our newest members. We’ve seen some of you at events already, and we want all of you to get involved in our activities. Let us hear from you! And contact us that we might help you as well.

Here are the new members since the last newsletter:

  • Renee Lorion, Agricultural Extension- Bolivia 2002-04, SD, 92115
  • Chris Vaught, Environmental-Mali 2001-03

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Newsletter Credits

Pacific Waves is published six times a year by the San Diego PeaceCorps 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:

Liz Brown

Layout / Production
Don Beck

Contributors this issue are:
Brenda Terry-Hahn, Lynn Jarrett, Rudy Sovinee, Ron Ranson, Jennifer Jones, Valerie Orrison, Sharon Kennedy Darrough, Kristen Slanina, jesse Santos, Gregg Pancoast, Nicole Shaw

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