Back issues are archived and links in them may not be current
September - October 2007— Volume 20, Number 5
NOTE: SDCA email addresses here are no longer clickable to prevent roaming spam servers reading them. Sorry for the inconvenience- 9/05
International Peace Day – September 21st
"Peace is a paramount mission of the United Nations. It is the basis of our existence; the essence of our identity; the course that animates everything we do. 21st September, the International Day of Peace, is the day on which we reaffirm our commitment to this quest. It is an opportunity to consider how to strengthen our system of collective security. And it is meant to be a day of global ceasefire.
I call on all countries and all people to stop all hostilities for the entire day. I urge all people around the world to observe a minute of silence at Noon.
24 hours is not long enough, but it is time enough for combatants and political leaders to consider the destruction they are visiting on their people and on their lands. It is long enough to look over the barricades and through the barbed wire to see if there is another path.
On this International Day of Peace, let us all honor those who have suffered from violence. Let us hold in our hearts the ideal of peace.
~ Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Taste of Thailand
Thailand is wonderful! I have chosen well :)
After 2 days of being a tourist, and getting past jet lag, I met RPCV Hugh Leong who took me to the temple halfway up the mountain NW of Chaing Mai. At the mall I asked a few people if I might take their photos. (The one with 6 school girls started when I offered to help one) Food at the food court is street pricing, but cleaner! Yummmmm!
I attended and am now a member of the Chaing Mai Ex-patriate club. The meeting this week featured a new DVD by a local NGO that has united farmers into organic farming, with market in town every 3-4 days. Use of pestisides by the big ag interests is polluting water and harming the health of regional farmers.
My cell phone lets me talk, but I can’t hear a thing. The problem started in the USA, but is now at the extreme. This will let me explore more of local service networks( smile.)
I just finished another lesson in Thai. Sharon Darrough had strongly recommended I learn to read sooner rather than later, so I bought a few books to supplement the lessons. Thai has 44 consonants, 32 vowels, and 5 tones. Vowels have various placements - some in front of their consonants, others above or below, with some following. It is a bit much to absorb, but some of it is beginning to sink in. Similarly, I might go 2-3 minutes now being able to respond to specific questions—then my mind goes into a swirl of sounds I know I’ve heard but cannot begin to remember what they mean. Answering a question is at least simplified by having the sounds just spoken. Asking a new idea in the midst of the lesson is generally a total overload
In Ghana, the elders say “Little by little a chicken will drink the water.” I hope and believe that I will continue to improve - but the path will be long.
While it has been the rainy season the whole time I’ve been here, my first week was without rain. That is no longer the case. When it rains here it can come down pretty heavily. The good news is that the rains also cool things nicely.
Last night’s performance in town was the first ever in Thailand by Up With People.They had added in some Thai aspects that kept the audience well engaged - and people seemed to enjoy it greatly. I took too many photos—attempting to capture the action and mood—but was hampered by the dramatically dim lighting for my little camera. I’ll need to review and delete most of the photos. I spoke with several of the cast about the 1WOW School Program and they were interested in learning about becoming presenters. It seems a given that they already have the on-stage level of comfort needed. I hope you are also looking at options to engage and use the training materials in San Diego. At this end I also met a monk/school principal who wants to see if I can help his students once I learn more Thai.
My phone just worked! I got a call, but what a reminder of the gap between my Thai and her English... a reminder to keep studying. :) It is the universal message of living pleasantly anywhere—learn the local language.
I learned that my family has placed bets among themselves as to how long before I find a new wife… Better to meet someone who has a good reputation for kindness and generosity (what Thais value and esteem.) These photos include a woman named Boon. She and I are Giik (same pronunciation as geek.) Giik means some one you think is interesting… You have not chosen but are considering. Anyway. I am enjoying Boon’s company and thought you’d enjoy knowing there is a happy guy on this side of the planet. Tuesday I take the sleeper train to Bangkok, meet the PC director on Wednesday, open a bank account on Thursday and tour on Friday.
–More later, Rudy
Evanston, IL , July 3, 2007 -- Civic Ventures, a think tank and program incubator, has designated Kenneth Lehman (Guatemala 66-68), chairman of Evanston-based non-profit Winning Workplaces, as one of 40 2007 Purpose Prize Fellows. The Purpose Prize is a three-year, $9 million program investing in Americans over age 60 who are leading a new age of innovation to solve critical social problems in the second half of life.
The Purpose Prize seeks to shine a light on the critical work of individual innovators and combine these individual efforts into a wave of social entrepreneurship that could transform America.
Winning Workplaces was founded in 2001 by Lehman and his family following the sale of auto parts manufacturer Fel-Pro, Inc., which was nationally recognized for its innovative people practices and outstanding financial performance. In creating Winning Workplaces, Lehman aimed to provide small and midsize organizations, both for profit and civic, with information, consulting services, and networking opportunities to help them build great workplaces.
Winning Workplaces is an Evanston, IL-based not-for-profit, whose mission is to help the leaders of small and midsize organizations create great workplaces. Founded in 2001, Winning Workplaces serves as a clearinghouse of information on workplace best practices via a website and a monthly e-newsletter; provides seminars and workshops on workplace-related topics; and, helps organizations assess their workplaces through employee surveys and other feedback tools.
The Purpose Prize supports Fellows by helping develop their capacity, linking them with funders and venture philanthropists and connecting them to other social innovators over 60. The 2007 Fellows will meet for the first time at an Innovation Summit cosponsored by Civic Ventures and the Stanford Graduate School of Business’s Center for Social Innovation, one of the world’s leading academic centers focused on social entrepreneurship. The Summit will take place November 10-12 on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, Calif.
I am concerned. When I turn on my American television and see Muslims, I feel scared. I see acts of violence. I hear rants of anger and hate. I see war and threats and tempers boiling. You see, Muslims do not have a peaceful face on my American TV. They do not appear to be happy people. I feel these images and this anger, over and over, again and again, every time I turn on my American television.
These images are shocking to me. I do not doubt that they are real. Several parts of the Muslim world are experiencing unimaginable suffering from war, death, poor human rights and fear from social insecurity. What I know, however, is that these images of anger and hate are not universal traits across the Muslim world. I know this because I recently returned from Muslim lands and I experienced quite the opposite.
I traveled through Pakistan, lived in Jordan, and worked in Morocco. In these places, I witnessed the euphoria of simple happiness; a sincere joy of living that I had never before seen in any other part of the world. I laughed alongside new friends from these Muslim countries who took me into their homes and into their lives as if I were a member of their family.
While visiting Lahore, a spectacular city in eastern Pakistan famous for its art, architecture, cuisine and hospitality, I noticed that a man was following me at a rather fast pace. It was night and I became worried that he might want to do me harm. He began waving at me. I turned onto a busy street and increased my pace. After a good 15 minutes of brisk walking down a well-lit main street, I thought I had lost him. I sat down on a bench for a rest. Within a couple minutes I saw him coming up, walking fast. He appeared out of breath and called out to me to stop.
I jumped up and took off again, hoping to lose him. It didn’t work. Finally I came to a dead end. I was trapped. My only option was to confront this man. When he got closer to me, he said to me in a very polite albeit exhausted voice, “Sir, you dropped your book back there.” He handed me my book, wished me a lovely evening, and turned to walk the couple miles back to where our chase had started. I was left standing there in awe, feeling ashamed of my assumptions and amazed at his perseverance and loyalty to his cause.
In 2002 I joined the Peace Corps, accepting a post as an NGO development advisor in the Jordan River Valley, the lowest place on earth. One hot autumn morning, I boarded a local bus on my daily commute to work. A man in traditional Muslim robes began preaching to the bus audience, encouraging them to pray and to attend the mosque. When he noticed me, an obvious Westerner, his attentions suddenly turned and focused on me. I did not comprehend all that he was saying. I felt uncomfortable and decided to get off at the next stop. I was scared of what I did not understand and of being a foreigner. This preacher’s gaze on me only intensified as his voice grew louder. When the next stop came, I prepared to pay the driver my bus fare. The man who had been preaching got in front of me, paid my fair for me, and said to me in Arabic, “Welcome to Jordan. Our home is your home and I hope you love it here.”
Bewildered, I got off the bus and felt guilty about my discomfort. I took solace in my punishment of the long walk up that hot dusty road which I normally only saw from the bus window. Later that day, I found the bus driver and asked him what that man had been preaching about. The driver said that he was preaching about how taking care of strangers, regardless of their background or religion, was an utmost duty for all Muslims. I was seeing similar behavior all around me and I felt humbled to be in the presence of these good and kind people. Unfortunately I was only allowed to stay in Jordan for five months: Toward the end of 2002, the Peace Corps suspended its programs in that country due to security concerns.
In late 2004 I reenrolled in the Peace Corps, accepting a post in Morocco for work as a small business development volunteer. I rented a small house in the old section of a strikingly picturesque town at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. I was the only American living in this town of 50,000 people.
When I arrived, I did not know anyone. No one, however, treated me as a stranger. Everyone I met invited me into their homes for tea and for jovial lunches of luscious couscous. They asked about my family, my country and how I liked Morocco. Many people asked me how Americans viewed Muslims. They were also concerned with the images they saw on their televisions.
I stayed in that Moroccan town for two years. I made close friends whom I grew to love. People took care of me and I tried my best to take care of them. During this time I only felt uncomfortable being an American when I watched TV and saw unpleasant images from and harsh criticisms about the United States. People, however, never made me feel ashamed for being an American or for not being Muslim. Their genuine warmth and welcoming nature continually showed me the good feelings that exist across the Muslim world.
How contrary my experiences are to the images I see on my television. Of course, happiness does not often make the evening headlines; death always does. Perhaps it is not the media’s role to provide information about daily life across the world. I do not complain, for example, that the media rarely tell me about life in New Zealand, Bhutan or Bermuda. I am only left to assume that life in those countries has its trials and its joys, similar to life in the United States and in much of the Muslim world.
In the past few years I have come to understand that the Muslim world is vast and varied. In my experience it is also exceptionally welcoming. Since I do not see the everyday life in much of the Muslim world in the media, I do my best to seek it out. Using the internet, I contact people all over the world – perhaps their televisions give them as negative an image about us as ours do about them. I search out venues in my home community to discuss intercultural relations, especially relations with the Muslim world. Most importantly, I simply share my experiences with people. I share stories in the hopes of counteracting negative feelings and misperceptions acquired through the media. Though I do not reach audiences as wide as those reached by CNN and Fox news, I feel blessed to be able to spread positive news from the Muslim world to anyone who will listen.
The author (Lee WIlbur, Jordan, 2002, Morocco, 2004-06) lives in Washington, D.C. and is an intercultural relations consultant with Petra Communications Group of Monterey, CA. A version of this article was originally published as “The Peace I Found” in The Arab Washingtonian, http://www.arabwashingtonian.org, in February 2007.
Assessing Peace Corps four years short of its 50th year suggests that despite significant contributions by more than 187,000 who have served as volunteers in 139 nations, we’ve not done enough.
When President John F. Kennedy proposed it, he had in mind a corps whose ranks would swell to 100,000 volunteers each year. But Peace Corps never fielded more than 16,000 volunteers, and despite President George W. Bush’s pledge in his State of the Union address to Congress five years ago to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers to 14,000, it never happened. The current corps of 7,800 volunteers is far short of what President Kennedy expected in 1961.
Kennedy had also imagined, as a result of a larger international volunteer corps, a U.S. public far more savvy and empathetic to the plight of the people elsewhere because by the new millennium there would be more than 4 million returned Peace Corps volunteers who understood the world.
In its first 45 years, Peace Corps proved a highly effective if small-scale means of promoting human development and advancing U.S. interests. Given modest resources, Peace Corps has a proud record-perhaps unequalled by any other international development or cultural exchange organization of its size.
As a consequence, demand for the Peace Corps continues to grow. While Peace Corps is now active in 73 countries, more than 20 others have requested Peace Corps programs for which Congress has authorized insufficient resources. There is also growing desire by Americans young and less young to serve in Peace Corps or in other some other form of national service. A handful of political leaders who want to become President and change the U.S. government’s course overseas have stepped forward. One of them, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, a member of Congress who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1960s, recently introduced a bill in the Senate to authorize doubling the size of the Peace Corps.
Scaling Peace Corps Up
The Peace Corps Act of 1961 sets three simple but ambitious goals: train the citizens of interested countries; promote understanding of Americans by those countries; and enable all Americans to better understand other peoples. These goals are neither strictly about development nor cross-cultural understanding, thus complicating any assessment effort. Generally, Peace Corps has succeeded best in achieving its first goal, moderately in its second, and least in its third.
Assessing our service
Education continues to be the largest and most important Peace Corps sector: strengthening the educational infrastructure, writing curriculum and training new teachers. But Peace Corps’ role pales in comparison to that of the World Bank or the U.S. Agency for International Development. Peace Corps’ most dramatic and compelling educational impacts are with individuals. Most are untold stories, but a few stand out: Peru’s former president, Alejandro Toledo, tells us that without the support and encouragement of two volunteers-Joel Meister and Nancy Deeds-that impoverished shoeshine boy would have never left his rural home, attended U.S. schools, and returned home to be elected president.
Health remains a major Peace Corps goal. The emphasis has shifted, however, from access to potable water, nutrition and sanitation to combating HIV/AIDS. For example, two country programs-Botswana and Swaziland-are exclusively committed to HIV/AIDS. Since joining with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to combat HIV/AIDS, Peace Corps’ role has quickly grown, proving the high value of having volunteers who live and work in remote communities where the need is great. But Peace Corps’ $14 million share in the President’s Emergency Plan is modest in comparison with the Plan’s $2 billion annual budget.
In all these development sectors, the limited scale certainly contributes to Peace Corps’ modest impact.
Measuring the second goal is more difficult.
Many of our nation’s leaders, Republican and Democrat, appreciate the value of our service. President George H. W. Bush said we served as “influential emissaries of hope and goodwill.” President Bill Clinton said, “The Peace Corps is a remarkable tradition that emphasizes that our country is about more than power and wealth.”
I’ve personally heard testimonials from more than 4,000 women and men that the work you performed, the people you worked with and the culture you absorbed changed your own lives. Now you are in offices, classrooms, clinics and public service across America and you tell me, “It all started with Peace Corps.”
You and I changed because we saw first-hand the poverty and suffering in the poorest countries of the world. We learned that we can prevent it. We are outraged that problems such as poverty, hunger, malnutrition, inadequate access to water, sanitation and health care persist even when significant resources exist to solve these inequities.
Although we get it … overall, the Peace Corps community has not done enough to promote America’s understanding of other peoples and their problems. We must share with our fellow citizens what we did, what we learned, and why our country must do more to combat poverty and suffering. In doing this, we must declare it with all of the available tools: on the internet, in schools, churches and service clubs, through our hometown newspapers and volunteering in our own communities.
Greater need for the greater good
The challenge is here. The recent Pew Global Attitude Survey reports that overseas perceptions of the United States are declining precipitously.
Given that, the need for Peace Corps couldn’t be greater. The agency known as “the best face of America overseas” is one of our nation’s most cost-effective means of international engagement. In reality, however, there is an overwhelming pressure on the federal budget and increases in the Peace Corps’ budget are unlikely. Current funding patterns suggest the number of volunteers and trainees will inevitably decline. So the solution must necessarily go beyond numbers.
Adapt the model
To place more volunteers in more countries might require reductions in the length of service or negotiating broad cooperative partnerships with such international volunteer organizations as the United Nations Volunteers, the British Voluntary Service Organization, or Japan’s International Cooperation Agency or with multinational corporations sponsoring overseas volunteer programs. It may also be time to launch a reverse Peace Corps, a suggestion President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana made to Sargent Shriver when Peace Corps began.
Strong resistance to each of these proposals is likely. However, if Peace Corps is to remain relevant in human development programming and to answer the precipitous decline in America’s reputation, we need to adapt and to grow significantly Peace Corps in size and scale. As we pilot new approaches, we must carefully measure the effects of modifications in the length of service and the expansion of international partnerships.
Following the recent significant mid-term elections, our nation has a chance to rethink its engagement with the rest of the world. A necessary part of that new role is to deploy many more Americans in the pursuit of peace. Peace Corps must necessarily be a part of that effort.
Now is the time to lobby Congress to achieve the goal that President Bush set to double the size of Peace Corps. We need to expand the number of volunteers, the numbers of purposes served, while enhancing the volunteers’ impact. We should do this by the 50th anniversary in 2011.
In the 20th century’s most famous call to action, President Kennedy said, “… ask not what your country can do for you: ask what you can do for your country…” However, it is the next line in his 1961 inaugural address that best reflects his boldest vision: “Citizens of the world ask not what America can do for you … but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
With the benefit of decades, we can now see that Peace Corps is the clearest expression of President Kennedy’s call for a new global vision. And it resonates deeply today. So now is the time to expand Peace Corps. And we’ll need to work together-relentlessly and effectively-to achieve this. '
Senate Hearing on the
July 25, 2007: Proponents of the Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act say this is legislation written from the volunteer perspective and is designed to improve the volunteer experience and help PCVs succeed during their service.
Others say some aspects of the legislation are already being addressed or should be considered through management systems, not legislation.
The bill also outlines provisions for more volunteer input and support in areas including medical screening, program development and site selection and staff review. Funding authorization is proposed with the goal of doubling the number of volunteers to 15,000 by 2011.
Allison West is a PCV in Namibia, from San Diego. Here are some excerpts from her recent e-mail letters. Photos from Allison.
June 10, 2007
I have decided that my village works through the seasons as though it were working its way backwards through the rainbow. Only a few months ago…everything was blue and purple. The great quantities of water dumping out of the sky, like I have never seen, filled vast oshanas with water. Some oshanas stretched for a quarter mile. White lilies popped up out of the water everywhere, looking blue in the light, reflecting off the water, which reflected the sky. The skies were amazing and dramatic each and every day… deep blues and purples, also like I had never seen before. After the blue came all the green.
With the onslaught of water the Mahangu flourished. It shot up out of the ground as though each and every seed sown was one of ‘Jack’s magic beans.’ Within a month the fields were a sea of 12ft tall stocks one could get lost in. Even the weeds were beautiful and green with big purple flowers. At one point I wanted to collect the weeds and make a bouquet, but my family already finds me strange as it is, so I resisted the temptation. Right now we are in the yellow belt of that rainbow. The rain has passed and the temperature has dropped. The air is cold and dry…and so are all the fields. Tall yellow grasses cover the sandy soil and the Mahangu has been harvested and is now dead.
All that remains are the yellow bodies of Mahangu from the neck down. They tilt at every angle possible causing the fields to look as though they had been trampled on by giants. The cows are working hard to eat the remains and clear the field for next year. This really is an amazing cycle. With the cold dry weather comes wind, and with wind comes sand… a lot of it. Not only are the fields and sand and sun yellow, but the air itself is yellow with sand, too. I suppose after winter the temperature will rise and the environment will change from yellow to orange, and then to red. It really is a beautiful painting that is created, and recreated, each year.
June 25, 2007
July 8, 2007
As we pulled up to the school I suddenly felt as though we were characters in some Lifetime, made-for-TV movie: Our school, the disheveled village kids, roll up, without team uniforms, without a coach who knows anything about the sport (cough - that would be me!), even without shoes to play in. As the kids unload, like lethargic cattle after a long journey, from the back of the truck, the opposing Netball team is already on the court running through a series of organized drills. I was half expecting some up beat adrenaline pumping music to suddenly come on and for these girls to do some warm up dance routine or something. So, just as would be the case in a movie, my girls shyly walked up to the court with their arms folded across their chests, very intimidated, as though they were already defeated. And these town girls were loud and sassy making comments like, “Uh oh girls, we better only use Oshiwambo if we want them to understand”. So, the movie would have been a blockbuster had my girls, the TOTAL underdogs, clobbered these stupid girls and walked away with their heads held high hoisting a regional trophy or something above their heads. But in fact, this was the first time our team had even played together as a team...and they lost - miserably!
And the boys lost their soccer match too! Even so, this was still an awesome and extremely exciting experience for these kids. More than half of them had never even been to Ongwediva, let alone interact with learners from other schools. Also, we bought them rolls, apples, cookies, and cool drinks from the market. So really they were more than stoked! On the way back into the village, as I sat in the warm cab of the truck I could hear all their laughter and joking around from the back. All their little cold bodies huddled together in a giant human mass- it was great! They got to get out and about. They had fun. They were winners. Then, once out in the bush after dark, the truck started making crazy clunking sounds and we soon discovered that one of the bolts on a wheel snapped! I guess under the weight of 30 people in one old truck it was to be expected! So, in the end, the Tate sent these kids scattering like field mice off into the darkness to run home! I guess, that was the beginning of their training. So maybe they can win - or lose less miserably, next match. Again, from beginning to end, this situation would never fly in the US.
July 29, 2007
Another thing my dad and I talked about was the amount of money contributed. With such a large sum of money...we can actually buy more than just microscopes. Here is what I am hoping to purchase for the school: 6-8 microscopes (enough for a whole class of students to use them while working in groups), 24 test tubes, 10 graduated cylinders, 10 beakers, 10 flasks, 4 test tube racks, 2 volt meters, 2 ammeters, some dictionaries for the library, and possibly even a desk top computer!!!! Currently I use 4 test tubes (that are actually broken and cracked at the tops), 1 beaker, 1 flask, and 1 graduated cylinder…I can barely carry out a simple demonstration, let alone give the kids a chance to handle the science equipment!!! I know this sounds like lots and lots of stuff…but that amount of money will go a lot farther here than at home in the U.S. I am so excited!
Also, very soon (well, within the next 2 months) I am hoping to have a website up. This website will introduce anyone that is interested to the teachers and learners at Uukwiyoongwe Combined School, the projects that have been completed, as well as the projects that we are interested in completing. I think this will be a great way for everyone to see more of what is going on at my school, the people I regularly interact with, and you’ll get to see your own donations put to great use in the classroom!!!
Alright, well, I am all jittery with joy and I cannot help but want to dance and sing through the streets of Windhoek (I know I am a serious nerd…but I am really okay with that). You are all amazing and I thank you all for being who you are.
P.S. Anyone interested in donating in the future there will be information on the website stating exactly how to do so.
Know that 100% of your donation will go directly into a project that will improve the resources at the school…ultimately making a positive impact on the lives of the future leaders of Namibia.
In Nashua, Dodd
Published: Sunday, June 24, 2007
NASHUA – Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd unveiled a plan for national service that he believes will move the country to greatness by inspiring as many as 40 million Americans to volunteer by 2020.
The plan would expand AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, require high school students to perform 100 hours of community service, provide tax breaks to employers whose workers volunteer and enlist the skills of retirees, Dodd said Saturday at City Hall Plaza.
Dodd’s series of ideas would cost about $10 billion to initiate, he said. But the reciprocal value of having a generation of Americans volunteering would strengthen the nation and boost its image abroad, he said.
“By building on successful service initiatives and finding new ways for Americans to serve, I believe we can connect all generations to our most timeless ideals,” said Dodd, a U.S. Senator from Connecticut.
Dodd used his speech – heard by a mixed group of residents, campaign workers and activists – to criticize President Bush for not requiring Americans to do more after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Instead of calling for national sacrifice, Bush advised people to continue shopping, Dodd said.
Americans yearn for a deeper sense of community but have lacked the presidential leadership that would harness this energy into national service, he said. But Dodd said he would take the steps necessary – including promoting a community service director to presidential cabinet-level status – to involve 40 million Americans over the next 13 years. ...
Take a Vacation and
You joined the Peace Corps to serve and to learn first-hand about our world and its people. Now we invite you to do that again! Through a new collaboration with Global Volunteers, NPCA members can connect and engage in service projects around the globe - and at home - on short term “volunteer vacations”. Whether you are 25 or 75, single or with a spouse and family, make a difference again by working with at-risk children and their families.
Global Volunteers, a private, nonprofit international volunteer-assisted community development organization, enables you to maximize your contribution abroad through two- and three-week standard service programs. (Extended stays up to 40 weeks offered in some countries.)
Seeking to help establish a foundation for peace through mutual international understanding, Global Volunteers began long-term partnerships with local community leaders in 1984, and today offers you opportunities to serve in 19 countries on six continents. When you join a team or return to the world of service in this way, Global Volunteers makes a direct financial contribution to NPCA... and you make a difference in just a few weeks!
– from July NPCA e-newsletter and Global Volunteer website
Writers in Search of Characters
Before being there, my only reference point for any African country was a reading of Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King which, as I recall, was more about crazy Henderson than about Africa. It turns out that this is typical of Americans who write about Africa. Even those like Hemingway who were there.
“You can make the same case about writers in Paris,” says John Coyne. “They were not writing about Paris and Parisiennes. They were writing about Americans in a foreign country.”
Coyne has been a catalyst in the book-writing careers of hundreds of Peace Corps volunteers who returned home inspired to write. He was a volunteer in the first training group to enter Ethiopia in 1962. So, too, was Marian Haley Beil. They met years later to create PeaceCorpsWriters, a small but well-regarded bi-monthly published for 10 years in print and the last 8 electronically. They deliver book reviews, interviews with authors, awards for good writing, the names of agents and acquired a bibliography of the work of more than 850 returned Peace Corps volunteers.
“The more prolific writers have come out of Micronesia,” Coyne says. Surprised? He named two of them: P. F. Kluge, the author of Edge of Paradise: An American in Micronesia and several novels, and Roland Merullo, who started his career with a novel about a Vietnam veteran thrust into a Peace Corps-like existence and the recently published Golfing with God, which is actually about a failed golf pro whose afterlife assignment is to help God get rid of his slice. The Peace Corps experience, while life-changing, does not limit these writers.
Board Meetings March – July 07 & August 07
Attendance July 9: Marjory Clyne, Lisa Eckl, Sharon Darrough, Gregg Pancoast, Sean Anderson, Tracy Addis, Carl Sepponen
Financial: SDPCA received $375 from an award given to the water station at the Rock-n-Roll Marathon. Ten SDPCA members participated. Great job!
The SDPCA board decided to put $3,000 in the Calvert Foundation which invests in micro-enterprise programs in developing countries. We must leave the money there for one year. The SCPA is in good financial shape with sufficient funds for operating expenses. The Calvert money will be used for a good cause.
Support Fund: The four International Support Fund projects have been selected and funded. The next applications will be due November 1.
Fundraising: SDPCA will sell Entertainment Books again as a fundraiser. Sales will start in September. SDPCA will also order 200 International Calendars again for fundraising.
Community Action: Silvie Georgens was voted in as the new Community Action Chair. Silvie is a RPCV who served in Honduras.
Social: Upcoming social events include A Night at the Theatre, a Vietnamese dinner, and dim sum meal.
Membership: There are 115 current members.
Next Meeting: September 6, 2007
--Sharon Kennedy-Darrough, Thailand 1989-91
Peace is the one condition of survival in this nuclear age.
Hello, my name is Sean Anderson and I am the new San Diego Peace Corps Association (SDPCA) President for 2007-2008. I was a PCV who served in Romania from 2002-2004. I participated in the Environmental Management and Education Program. In the past, I have served on SDPCA Board in 2004-2005 as Fundraising Chairperson. Now I am back on the board with many new members; therefore, it should be an exciting year for social and community action events.
We are entering our fundraising time for the year. Again, we are selling Entertainment Books and Peace Corps Calendars. These items make great gifts or for personal use. The money raised from selling these items will be used for our Global Awards Program. The Global Award Program is designed to assist San Diego based Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving overseas. They will have opportunities to submit grant proposals for their projects.
In addition to my duties as President of SDPCA, I am a member of Hostelling International Speaker’s Bureau. In June 2007, the local chapter of Hostelling International sent me to San Francisco for a training session regarding their outreach programs. These programs consist of World Travel 101, Cultural Kitchen and Community Wall. The San Diego Chapter of Hostelling International would like to have Returned Peace Corps Volunteers participate in their programs. If any SDPCA members would like to learn more about Hostelling International programs, please contact me. I will be one the training coordinators in their programs.Lastly, I hope you have time to participate in some social and community action events we have planned for the year. I am looking forward to meeting and working with you.
One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.
Peace Corps Teen Website?
Deputy Director Olsen said, “Our new teen website will help future Volunteers learn about the life changing experience of the Peace Corps. American teenagers are our future; they share a volunteer spirit and have extensive skills to offer other cultures. Our new website will help them gain and exchange information about Peace Corps service."
The main Peace Corps website draws over 8 million visitors a year. In addition to the main site, the Peace Corps maintains a website for kids which has gained popularity in the last 7 years, www.peacecorps.gov/kids. To fill the gap between these two age groups, the new teen website targets the large audience of American teenagers. The teen site promotes current volunteerism in their local communities and future Peace Corps service.
Many of the 2,600 attendees of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service who attended the Peace Corps presentation at the Pennsylvania Convention Center were inspired by the site. The creation of a teen website allows Peace Corps to share ideas in novel and fun ways with this unique audience. The content will feature Peace Corps Volunteer profiles, blogs, photos, samples of music, recipes, and trivia from around the world.
Elimination of International Surface Mail
In Memory: Ellen Elliott
Ethiopia/Eritrea II Reunion
PC Wiki [not affiliated with PC/Washington]
The beginning entries and original outline of Peace Corps Wiki were copied directly from the official Peace Corps website.
Recruiter’s Corner – Sept. & Oct. 2007
The summer’s gone by quickly, and we’ve had some very successful events. Our senior events in June drew large crowds; it is very exciting to see so many retirees and older Americans still interested in making a contribution to our mission.
While we are busy planning our fall recruitment activities, it is also possible that Peace Corps Director Tschetter will make a special visit to San Diego in October to speak at the annual WEFTEC conference (October 15-17). Peace Corps will host a booth at the conference, and if there are any RPCVs out there with water/engineering backgrounds, your help may be needed!
There also may open up other opportunities for SDPCA involvement, and I’ll keep you informed of any possibilities (since the Director travels internationally to visit Peace Corps countries so often, these events can come together rather suddenly).
Keep spreading the word about the countries you served in, and about Peace Corps, and I look forward to seeing you at an SDPCA event this fall!
--Jacob Hall, Regional
Recruiter, SD County, 310-356-1114
Welcome: New Members
SDPCA extends a warm welcome to our newest members, as of June 11, 2007. 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!
• Dena Bushman, Paraguay (2005-07)
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