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San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter
March – April 2008— Volume 21, Number 2
Index: click on your choice...
March - April International Peace Days
Fabulous Tijuana Luncheon - March 15th
Global Awareness Nominees
Due April 15
Annual Celebration May 17:
Run for a Board Position
NPCA Advocacy: National Day of Action - March 4
.....Mark J. Tonner ISF Grant Reports
.......• from Leslie Andrus, Morocco
.......• from Julianne Dunn, Ukraine

.....Too Many Innocents (editorial)
.......• Reply from Ron Tschetter
.......• Reply from Chris Dodd

NOTE: SDCA email addresses here are no longer clickable to prevent roaming spam servers reading them. Sorry for the in convenience- 9/05

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Women will not simply be mainstreamed into the polluted stream. Women are changing the stream, making it clean and green and safe for all -- every gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, age, and ability. -- Bella Abzug..

"A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers but borrowed from his children." ~ John James Audubon

March 8 - Women's Day

April 22 - Earth Day

(above-Susan B. Anthony) from http://www.betterworldcalendar.com

March 8 -- Women's Day:
Even though they make up half the population, women and girls have endured discrimination in most societies for thousands of years. In the past, women were treated as property of their husbands or fathers - they couldn't own land, they couldn't vote or go to school, and were subject to beatings and abuse and could do nothing about it. Over the last hundred years, much progress has been made to gain equal rights for women around the world, but many still live without the rights to which all people are entitled.

The United Nations Charter was a major milestone for women's rights because it was the first international agreement to affirm the equality between men and women. Since then, the UN has been an important advocate for the rights of women. The UN adopted an international bill of rights for women in 1979 and sponsored four global women's conferences. The Millennium Development Goals, which all nations agreed to at the UN in 2000, sets tangible goals for nations to achieve by 2015, several of which deal directly with empowering women.

International Women's Day on March 8 and Women's Equality Day, on August 26 (commemorating the certification of the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote), are important annual rallying points to help eliminate discrimination and build support for the rights of women everywhere.

April 22 -- Earth Day:
The environmental movement is one of the most successful social change movements. Popularizing Earth Day celebrations can be credited with bringing
the movement to the mainstream. Through grassroots efforts, festivals, fairs, assemblies and concerts have helped popularize concern for our environment in the public's mind. Since so many people participate in Earth Day activities, Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to get people to tap-into the better world movement, so that they can find the inspiration and encouragement to continue activities for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world all year long.

When is Earth Day? Actually, there are 3 Earth Days - 3 dates that are dedicated to helping raise awareness about the health and well being of the land, skies and water of our planet Earth. The original Earth Day is celebrated on the Spring Equinox each year (In 2006 it falls on March 20). April 22 is the date that most people know as Earth Day. Both of these Earth Days were first celebrated in 1970. In 1972, the United Nations designated June 5 as World Environment Day to commemorate the opening of the Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm that year, which ultimately led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the main UN body devoted to protecting our environment.

There are many different ecological issues to raise awareness about, on Earth Day and all year long - global climate change, protecting wildlife habitat, preventing pollution and cleaning up polluted air, water and land, conserving our natural resources, and many other issues … What's your ecological passion?

Focusing on Peace through the year...

Internt'l Peace Days
Great site for Peace-full things:  Check it out!
Books, quotes, links, ideas, heroes, clubs, resources.

One Day In Peace
Freedom Day
Women’s Day
Earth Day

Diversity Day
Interfaith Day

CoOp Day
No Nukes Day

Peace Day
End Hunger Day

Tolerance Day
International Volunteer Day
Human Rights Day

--January 1
–February 1

–March 8
–April 22

–May 21
–June 22

–July 7
–August 6

–September 21
–October 16

–November 16
--December 5
–December 10

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Fabulous Tijuana Luncheon:
Join us March 15th!

(below - January 2003 SDPCA at Robertos!)

Join us for lunch and music in Tijuana on Saturday, March 15.   Jerry Sodomka will take us for a return visit to La Fonda de Roberto, the place where these trips all started.  Those who have eaten at La Fonda know that it has some of the best food in Tijuana.  Jose Guadalupe de Villar, known as Lupe the Troubadour, will provide the music.  He played for us at La Lagartija.  Those who heard Lupe play and sing last time know that he is a talented and entertaining musician. He promises new repertory and new instruments. 

Lunch will be family style with corn soup, salad, fish with orange sauce, chicken with mole, stuffed chili with walnut sauce , choice of beverage, plus beans, rice, and guacamole.  There will be a vegetarian option.  Cost is $22 per person, which includes everything but the tip and any extra drinks.

We will meet at 1 pm at the south end of the San Ysidro Trolley Station, walk across the border, and take taxis to the restaurant.  There will a chance to walk back to the border and stop along the way.  Regulations crossing back in the US have changed.  Everyone will need either a US passport OR a picture ID (such as driver’s license) with a birth certificate or naturalization papers.   A single picture ID is no longer sufficient.


Make your check payable to San Diego Peace Corps Association and mail to: San Diego Peace Corps Association, P.O. Box 26565, San Diego, CA 92196-0565, post marked on or before Wednesday, March 12, 2008.

Please indicate if you would like the vegetarian option.

Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes, to bring sunscreen and hat if it is sunny and an umbrella if it is rainy, and to have extra money (dollars are fine) in small bills for taxis and other expenses. 

¡Vamos a divertirnos mucho!
–Kate McDevitt, Social Chair

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Global Awareness Awards:
Nominees Due April 15

Each year the SDPCA honors a San Diego group that shares one or both of the goals of our mission statement:

  • Bringing the world back home.
  • Building a network of RPCV’s in the San Diego area.

Which San Diego group do YOU believe shares these goals with us?

Nominations are open to any non-profit organization; nominations must be received by April 15th. The Global Awareness Award will be given out at our annual May meeting.

A one-page nomination should describe the following:

  • What is the organization, and its activities?
  • What results have the organization and its members achieved recently or over the last two years?
  • What makes the organization and its members worthy of recognition?

Application forms are online: http://sdpca.org/programs.html#global  Nominations must be received by April 15th. 

Send nominations to:SDPCA c/o Global Awareness Award, P.O.Box 26565, San Diego, CA 92196.
 –Lisa Eckl, Global Awards Fund Chair, East Timor (2005-06)

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May Annual Meeting
Board Positions Open
Get involved!

Our annual meeting is on May 17th this year. The main purpose of this meeting is to elect our new Board of Directors. Below you will find a short description of each position. We hope you will be excited about the opportunity to serve on the 2008/2009 board of the SDPCA.  

President:  POWER—PRESTIGE—PRAISE---   Well, you get the idea, except this isn’t that kind of president. Our board works as a team. But the President does organize and run the monthly meetings, keeping us on course and on time, is our representative with local and national organizations, and has the privilege of working with some of the nicest people around. What an honor.

Fill in for president if unavailable.

Fundraising is the primary source of the monies we grant to current San Diego Peace Corps volunteers under our ISF project. It is important but unbelievably easy. We have 2 very successful sources of this money; both have been in place for years, and almost run themselves. Everyone is aware of the beautiful calendar we sell that the RPCV Madison group puts together. And because of one of our members, we are able to sell Entertainment books in PostalAnnex stores throughout the county each and every year. These storeowners make no profit—they are generous and believe in what we are doing. You can make a difference in many lives by helping to provide funds for many worthy projects. Join the board, become our fundraising chair.

Chief Financial Officer (Treasurer)
Doesn’t everyone know what the treasurer does? Handles all financial transactions of the Association.

Global Awards
Do you want to stay connected to the Peace Corps World? Well being Global Awards Chair is the way to do that. As Chairperson you get to stay in contact with current volunteers from San Diego who apply to receive funding from SDPCA. Not only that you get to stay in touch with volunteers who have already received money and learn about all the wonderful projects they have going on. Global Awards Chair…a great way to be an involved RPCV. Any questions feel free to contact me at .

Community Action
Arranges community events for RPCVs, their families, and friends.
Communications Chair
If you like to play with the numbers and pride yourself in keeping good records on behalf of your favorite volunteer organization, the Communications Chair position is for you. Just run to the post office to collect the mail, post all deposits into our Membership Database, deposit incoming funds, keep excellent records on members’ dues and create necessary Excel reports for SDPCA and NPCA incoming funds -- all while being a contributing Board member of SDPCA.

The Secretary of the SDPCA Board has the responsibility of taking notes at meetings and occasionally conducting correspondence on behalf of the group. If you enjoy being in middle of everything, this position is for you. Skills of a good secretary include listening, attention to detail, and typing. For more information, feel free to contact the current secretary, Sharon Darrough, at .

Social Chair
* Do you consider yourself a “people person”?
* Do you love planning & organizing for events?
* Do your friends call you to find out what’s on in San Diego?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then 2008 might be the year that you should consider joining SDPCA’s Board as the SOCIAL CHAIR! Here’s your chance to plan one event per month where SDPCA members can come together to have a good time! Happy hours, ethnic dinners, sporting events, cultural excursions, art exhibits, holiday parties . . . the sky’s the limit! Start brainstorming now! You will also be responsible for attending one Board meeting per month and overseeing two long-standing & popular events: the Annual Holiday Party (December 2008) and Annual Meeting (May 2009.) Let the planning (and fun) begin! Questions about the position? Contact the ‘07-‘08 Social Chair, Kate McDevitt, at .

Speaker’s Bureau
* Do you enjoy speaking in public?
* Would you like to help others fulfill the third goal of PC?
* Might you enjoy coordinating RPCV’s with outside organizations who request our help?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then 2008 might be the year to try out as SDPCA’s Board SPEAKER’S BUREAU CHAIR! Here’s your chance to introduce RPCV’s to other organizations and help fulfill the third goal of the Peace Corps. A new instructional DVD on presentations is available. Let the sharing begin! Questions about the position? Contact the ‘07’-’08 Speaker’s Bureau Chair, Tracy Addis, at .

Newsletter Editor
Help is needed for the newsletter preparation every two months: gather, edit, coordinate content and reports.

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NPCA Advocacy: March 4, 2008
National Day of Action

NPCA’s Advocacy Program is preparing for the fourth annual National Day of Action to support Peace Corps!  Mark your calendars and make plans on Tuesday, March 4th, to take five minutes out of your day to urge Congress to increase PC funding.

By taking less than five minutes out of your day, you can join fellow RPCVs, former staff and other members of the Peace Corps community in a national call-in/e-mail blitz to Congress. Tell your representatives that a strong, robust Peace Corps is needed now more than ever. This page will be updated as the Day of Action approaches. On March 4th, this page will provide simple, clear and specific actions you can take to make a difference.

Go to http://www.peacecorpsconnect/dayofaction for more information and updates as the Day of Action approaches.

Download Take Action, San Diego! flyer (pdf file 96 kb) from NPCA for March 4 acton and after...

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Mark J. Tonner
International Support Fund

Two of the ISF Grants from November 2007 sent us reports on their progress.
Thanks For Keeping Us Informed!

Report from Leslie Andrus - Morocco

Nov. 2007-- Ain Chaib Sewing Resource Project, $515
–Leslie Andrus, PCV. Ain Chaib, Morocco
Leslie Andrus is serving in Ain Chaib, Morocco. She received funding to purchase materials to expand the sewing project. With the revenues generated the artisans hope to start projects such as a day care center and literacy activities.

I must apologize for the delay in getting back to you, but our Sewing center has been closed for a couple weeks during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. I’m happy to let you know the women at the sewing center purchased the materials they needed to fill their first order for a high-end boutique in Marrakech. They spent roughly $100 and made $350 in return. The boutique purchased 6 Tunic shirts and 21 pillows, and truly gave the women something to be proud of. Not only are they becoming more confident but aware of the importance of client relationships and product quality.

They are currently producing 250 black cloth bags for an awards ceremony funded by the French NGO Planet Finance for roughly $780. This is the LARGEST order they’ve ever been given so everyone is a little nervous, but I know they can do it with a little guidance and organization.

Because of the Mark Tonner Award the women of Ain Chaib are finally getting their small business afloat, and with a little more training and financial guidance they will be maintaining their product development and client base without assistance. I’m so grateful for what SDPCA has done for these women and the opportunities they are now looking forward to.

Thanks again and enjoy the pictures!  Peace.
–Leslie Andrus / Douar AinChaib / ainchaibwomen@yahoo.com
   (photos from Leslie Andrus)

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Report from Julianne Dunn - Ukraine

Nov. 2007--Valky Lyceum Language Resource Center, $221
–Julianne Dunn, PCV. Valky, Kharkivska oblast, Ukraine
Julianne is serving in Valky, Kharkivska oblast, Ukraine. She receved funds for language center resources: grammar books in French and English, posters, idiom dictionaries, DVDs on English-speaking countries and ink to print materials.

The Valky Lyceum Foreign Language Resource Library was a project that was initiated by PCV Julianne Dunn and English Department Head Valentyna Ivanska.  There are 6 English teachers.  Two of the English teachers double as French teachers.  Also, Olya Nozarko (an English and French teacher) supervises 2 independent students studying Spanish. As support to this project, the administration of Valky Lyceum repositioned the classroom placement to create an English “corridor”. 

As an avid reader, I wanted to create another method for the students to use their English language skills.  I requested and received donations from two books donation organization although the bulk of Free Reading books were sent from Books for Peace.  Free Reading is the curriculum directive that the English Department implemented to ensure that the Free Reading bookshelf was utilized.  Pupils in the upper forms (8-11) are required to choose a book from the bookshelf to read and summarize.  Their choices range from Beginning reading level to advanced reading level.  The majority of the books are Lower Intermediate books (or young adult fiction books).  The students must sign out books with Valentyna Ivanska as the bookshelves are in her classroom.

The Reference Bookshelf has a variety of grammar exercise books, dictionaries and thesauruses.  This includes a classroom set of English and French grammar exercise books.  These are frequently checked out by department teachers (with some overlap).  There is also a classroom set of hand dictionaries donated by a book organization.
In one of the classrooms we placed a computer with Internet access acquired through an earlier grant for our English newspaper.  I provided Internet lessons for the teachers so they could use the Internet in their lessons.  It is also used for the independent students studying languages not currently provided by the Lyceum.  In the long run, Olya Nozarko hopes to use the connection to promote international scholarship possibilities.

The English Department hallway is also an educational tool.  We placed posters of famous international monuments and flags so anyone walking into our corridor would realize they are walking into an international learning area. 

One bulletin board is comprised of posters and another features the department’s events such as the Halloween celebration and St. Patrick’s Day information.  As there is little availability of holiday decorations, I am still sending packages to assist their carousing.

The Valky Lyceum Foreign Language Department and myself want to thank the San Diego Peace Corps Association for providing us with the means to enrich our student’s education.  It is difficult to interest a student in a language they rarely use.  With all these materials, English, French and Spanish are more accessible to them.  They are able to use the languages for their own purposes and not just what a textbook tells them to do. 

Thank you.
–Julliane Dunn (photos from Julianne Dunn)

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“Too Many Innocents Abroad” Reverberates

Robert L. Strauss’ op-ed in the January 9th  New York Times, “Too Many Innocents Abroad,” continues to reverberate.  For two days it was among the Times’ most e-mailed articles.  It sparked lively discussion on numerous RPCV group listservs, on Facebook, etc. What do you think? Here is Mr. Stauss’s article:

The Peace Corps recently began a laudable initiative to increase the number of volunteers who are 50 and older. As the Peace Corps’ country director in Cameroon from 2002 until last February, I observed how many older volunteers brought something to their service that most young volunteers could not: extensive professional and life experience and the ability to mentor younger volunteers.

However, even if the Peace Corps reaches its goal of having 15 percent of its volunteers over 50, the overwhelming majority will remain recently minted college graduates. And too often these young volunteers lack the maturity and professional experience to be effective development workers in the 21st century.

This wasn’t the case in 1961 when the Peace Corps sent its first volunteers overseas. Back then, enthusiastic young Americans offered something that many newly independent nations counted in double and even single digits: college graduates. But today, those same nations have millions of well-educated citizens of their own desperately in need of work. So it’s much less clear what inexperienced Americans have to offer.

The Peace Corps has long shipped out well-meaning young people possessing little more than good intentions and a college diploma. What the agency should begin doing is recruiting only the best of recent graduates — as the top professional schools do — and only those older people whose skills and personal characteristics are a solid fit for the needs of the host country.

The Peace Corps has resisted doing this for fear that it would cause the number of volunteers to plummet. The name of the game has been getting volunteers into the field, qualified or not.

In Cameroon, we had many volunteers sent to serve in the agriculture program whose only experience was puttering around in their mom and dad’s backyard during high school. I wrote to our headquarters in Washington to ask if anyone had considered how an American farmer would feel if a fresh-out-of-college Cameroonian with a liberal arts degree who had occasionally visited Grandma’s cassava plot were sent to Iowa to consult on pig-raising techniques learned in a three-month crash course. I’m pretty sure the American farmer would see it as a publicity stunt and a bunch of hooey, but I never heard back from headquarters.

For the Peace Corps, the number of volunteers has always trumped the quality of their work, perhaps because the agency fears that an objective assessment of its impact would reveal that while volunteers generate good will for the United States, they do little or nothing to actually aid development in poor countries. The agency has no comprehensive system for self-evaluation, but rather relies heavily on personal anecdote to demonstrate its worth.

Every few years, the agency polls its volunteers, but in my experience it does not systematically ask the people it is supposedly helping what they think the volunteers have achieved. This is a clear indication of how the Peace Corps neglects its customers; as long as the volunteers are enjoying themselves, it doesn’t matter whether they improve the quality of life in the host countries. Any well-run organization must know what its customers want and then deliver the goods, but this is something the Peace Corps has never learned.

This lack of organizational introspection allows the agency to continue sending, for example, unqualified volunteers to teach English when nearly every developing country could easily find high-caliber English teachers among its own population. Even after Cameroonian teachers and education officials ranked English instruction as their lowest priority (after help with computer literacy, math and science, for example), headquarters in Washington continued to send trainees with little or no classroom experience to teach English in Cameroonian schools. One volunteer told me that the only possible reason he could think of for having been selected was that he was a native English speaker.

The Peace Corps was born during the glory days of the early Kennedy administration. Since then, its leaders and many of the more than 190,000 volunteers who have served have mythologized the agency into something that can never be questioned or improved. The result is an organization that finds itself less and less able to provide what the people of developing countries need — at a time when the United States has never had a greater need for their good will.

Robert L. Strauss has been a Peace Corps Volunteer, recruiter and country director. He now heads a management consulting company.

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Soon after the Times ran several letters to the editor in response to the Strauss piece, including one from current Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter, which follows:

To the Editor:
My wife and I were Peace Corps volunteers in India in the 1960s. Since becoming director, I have seen volunteers in action in more than 30 countries, including Cameroon. The quality of the volunteer experience has not changed, nor has the quality of the volunteers who serve. The Peace Corps remains true to President John F. Kennedy’s vision articulated in 1961.

The Peace Corps recruits the best and brightest, and only one out of every three applicants becomes a volunteer. Volunteers provide trained skills at the grass-roots level and promote a better understanding of Americans and our culture. Government officials throughout the world praise the work of volunteers, and the list of countries requesting new programs continues to grow.

The agency’s success is more than anecdotal. Ninety-one percent of volunteers say they feel integrated into their communities, and we have created evaluation plans to better quantify the volunteers’ impact.

We can all be proud of the volunteers serving today. I encourage Americans of all ages and backgrounds to consider serving.
–Ronald A. Tschetter, Peace Corps Director, Washington, DC, Jan. 9, 2008

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And then, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in the Dominican Republic, responded as well:

To The Editor:
Re: “Too Many Innocents Abroad,” by Robert L. Strauss (Jan. 9)

Yes, the Peace Corps should recruit more volunteers over 50, who bring experience that fresh-out-of-college volunteers can rarely match.

But, once upon a time, I was one of those inexperienced college recruits. For two years I served in the Dominican Republic, and nothing has shaped my life as powerfully.

And I disagree when Mr. Strauss says we could accept a smaller Peace Corps. Instead, we should double its size. I’ve written a bill that would help do just that, in part by encouraging older and more experienced volunteers to sign up.

Numbers matter. Every American of good will we send abroad is another chance to make America known to a world that often fears and suspects us. And every American who returns from that service is a gift: a citizen who strengthens us with firsthand knowledge of the world.

Within a few decades, President John F. Kennedy predicted, we’d have more than a million returned volunteers, adding immeasurably to our debates on foreign policy. Today, we have fewer than 200,000–and a lot of catching up to do.
–Chris Dodd, U.S. Senator from Connecticut

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Peace Corps/Kenya Program
Temporarily Suspended

Volunteers remain safe and hope to return to Kenya soon
from pressoffice@peacecorps.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 5, 2008 - Peace Corps operations in Kenya will be temporarily suspended to ensure the safety of the 58 remaining PCVs serving in Kenya. With growing instability in Kenya, and following the unrest associated with the recent elections on December 27, 2007, these Volunteers who remained working at their sites in the eastern, central and coastal regions of Kenya, will now be transitioning out of service.

PC Director Ron Tschetter said, “Our first priority is the safety and security of Volunteers. Over 5,000 PCVs have served in Kenya in 42 years, building deep friendships with the people there. The PC has become an integral and positive element of the U.S. partnership with Kenya and the Kenyan people.”

The 58 Volunteers from the eastern region of Kenya will be granted close of service in good standing, or offered an opportunity to transfer to another Peace Corps country. The ultimate goal of PC/Kenya is to return Volunteers to their communities in Kenya when the security situation improves. The PC staff will remain in Kenya and maintain the program during the temporary suspension.

PC/Kenya had a total of 144 Volunteers serving at the time of the recent elections. During the initial post-election unrest, Volunteers were consolidated in a variety of safe locations. On January 4, Volunteers in the western region of Kenya were moved from their sites and began transitioning out of the country, due to the growing security concerns. Some of the western Kenya PCVs were transferred to volunteer assignments in other PC countries; others ended their service in good standing and returned to the U.S.; and some have opted to temporarily suspend their service in hopes of returning to Kenya soon.

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Editor: August Konrad is a San Diego PCV who was in Kenya, but (see article above) has now transferred to Ghana. Here are his notes to us.

Kenya to Ghana
–August Konrad, PCV Kenya Ghana

January 12, 2008: Mwanda, Kenya
Over the past few weeks there have been a significant number of incidents as a result of a fraudulent election tally here in Kenya. The election itself went well but the vote tallies that were reported in the capitol by the election committee did not match the vote tallies at the polling stations. It seems the totals were adjusted to give the current president the victory by a narrow margin. The analysts observing the process also labeled it as fraud.

I did get to see the drama unfold on television and it continues as the actual winner of the majority votes makes efforts to resolve the obvious fraud without the continuation of violence. If you are interested in more details I wrote a brief account of what I observed shortly after my viewing of the live television broadcasts.

Peace Corps had us all on a stand fast and the volunteers in troubled areas were evacuated. As the country calms to a more normal pace those volunteers will be returned. There were no incidents in my immediate area.

February 24, 2008: Moving to Ghana
The story starts on Friday, 1 Feb ‘08, when I received a phone call at my School in Mwanda, Kenya, that the Peace Corps program in Kenya was closing. I was directed to inform only my counterpart that I had to leave the school and community for a meeting in Nairobi. We were required to bring our belongings to a pick up point on the main road to Nairobi by 9:00 am Monday. Our COS procedure was to begin on Tuesday 5 Feb. I was sad to leave my school and students in such a way but know there was good reason for concern. Within the few days before the directive, two parliament members of the opposition party were murdered–both under strange circumstances–and, also on Thursday, a German businessman and his wife were murdered in a resort cabin, a place considered safe. We were directed not to move around Nairobi, but to stay near the hotel.

During the COS procedure I chose to continue my assignment in Ghana. After a transfer to Pretoria for medical and administrative evaluations, four of the five of us who chose this option left for our new assignments. All the other volunteers either took a COS, are waiting for Kenya to reopen in 3 - 6 months or for re-assignment to another PC program from the beginning (retraining etc.).

In transit from South Africa there were some “complications” at the airport in Johannesburg and I had to leave almost half of my belongings at the baggage check in. South Africa has a terrible crime problem and especially with organized crime groups. I arrived in Ghana late Friday night 15 Feb. in Accra. President Bush was here the following Wednesday. I was invited to go along with the other volunteers to meet with him but it would have destroyed the schedule that was arranged for me to move to my new site. It took a day to move north to a town called Tamale (Tam-a-lay) then on Saturday Peace Corps transported me to Gowrie Secondary school near Bolgatanga, the district capitol of the North Eastern region. It is very hot a very dry here but I have only experienced the wonderful hospitality Ghana is know for. Tomorrow I will address the school and start my assignment teaching chemistry in the next few days. I am taking over for a volunteer who ended her assignment early for some personal / family reasons. If there are any questions general or specific please send them my way.

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Romania Reunion:
A Tale of Two Gatherings

–from Carol Wahlen, Romania (1995-97)

San Diego RPCV, Carol Wahlen, Romania (1995-97), attended the Group 5 Romania Reunion in New Orleans.

It was the best of times when Group 5 Romania held a reunion in New Orleans one October weekend to celebrate the 10 anniversary of our having completed our Peace Corps service in 1997.

It was the saddest of times to see much of New Orleans looking deserted and unrepaired, two years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Going to the reunion, I wondered if our group would still have that bond, the one we developed during 10 weeks of training in Bucharest; the bond that was there when we saw each other occasionally during our two years of service. I needn’t have worried. There was so much hugging and embracing when we arrived; it looked like we were again in Romania where even your boss hugs you and no one thinks sexual harassment.

Age had passed by all of us. Everyone looked the same, but better groomed. After all it had been hard to keep that neat appearance when washing clothes by hand. We had all been single in Romania. Now many were married and showed pictures of their children. Brian was a hit when he showed his “pride and joy” photo, a picture of bottles of furniture wax and dish soap. We had a great time reminiscing and sharing pictures of our life in Romania at a Friday night welcome party.

Most Group 5 members had remained do-gooders (a word I like to use to describe those who try to make the world a better place.) Lloyd had not returned to the United States after Peace Corps but was working in Africa providing low interest loans to would-be entrepreneurs. Lisa was working for World Vision traveling and occasionally living in Romania to oversee social programs in small towns. Many, who had taught conversational English in Romania, had become teachers and others were now social workers. Very few of the 16 at the reunion were working for corporations or big business, preferring to help make the work a better place. None had become disillusioned in these troubled times but agreed that Peace Corps was the best US foreign policy.

Us do-gooders did not go to New Orleans solely to party, however. Early Saturday morning found us headed out in the dark to help Habitat for Humanity volunteers build a house for a family of hurricane survivors. Some of us hammered siding on the house; others did the roofing.

The neighborhood was mostly composed of damaged deserted homes. The only thing that had changed -there was no trash strewn around. After a day in the hot sun, we headed back to our hotel and were startled to see what had not been visible before sun up.

New Orleans is still broken. For 10 miles, we saw hundreds of damaged houses and shops. Once in a while a building looked like someone was in the process of making repairs. But there were no people on the street and very few cars. We had all seen poverty in Romania, but no where had we seen a place that looked totally abandoned.

We felt sad, ashamed and angry. Sad that so many people had lost their homes, ashamed that we had nearly forgotten about New Orleans, now that the media has moved on and abandoned that story. And angry that so little has been done in the last two years.

On Sunday we had a farewell banquet at the Court of the Two Sisters restaurant and walked through the French Quarter. There are tourists there, but not as many as I used to see when I lived in New Orleans 50 years ago. And when we checked out of our hotel, there were no reservations for the rooms. When I got to the airport there was no line to get through security and my returned flight was less than half full.         (Photo from Carol Wahlen)

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January 26, 2008
Darrough’s Thai
Cuisine/ Cinema

Thai Cuisine and Cinema - Sanuk Mak! On Saturday, January 26, 9 RPCVs who served all around the world and over a span of time --- some recently returned as well as a few who returned before those who recently returned were born --- gathered together for a Thai style meal and a sassy Thai comedy in the home of Sharon and Joe Darrough.

It was a fun evening of sharing and laughing - a great way to get to know fellow SDPCA members. Consider hosting a similar evening yourself!

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February 5, 2008
Ranson’s Potluck Feast

You might have thought it was a typical American political caucus meeting at Nicola and Ron Ranson’s on Tuesday February 5th. There was a gathering of people by the large world map. A group sat by the fireplace. Others by the multitude of flags hung in the hallway. However no one seemed too interested in the election - yet. If you looked closer - it was a jolly and animated group of about 14 returned volunteers and friends meeting up on this cold and snowy night (well, not really snowy) to enjoy each others’ company and tend to the impressive array of delicious food from far and wide.

This North County satellite group of the SDPCA feasted on Jamaican beer & curry, gallo pinto, fresh fruits, Nepali curry, creative vegetables and an outstanding yogurt dessert - also with Nepal origins. The “flags from around the world contest” was won by Jean Meadowcroft. The door prize of the Ranson’s DVD “A Snowglobe Christmas” was won by Paul Mullins in a questionable hand picked selection by Katalina and Estefani Aguilar. (Rumor has it they actually grew up in Florida)

Thanks to all who battled late afternoon traffic and anxious voters lined up along the streets to attend the pot luck. A great time was eaten by all.
––Ron and Nicola Ranson, Nepal IV

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Book Review
Hungry Planet:
What the World Eats

by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio
Ten Speed Press -- ISBN: 1580088694
Paperback (2007 )- 227 pp

An e-mail received from a friend recently seemed more interesting than most. Investigating further, I found the pictures being sent around came from a most unusual and timely book: Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, published in 2005. 

Maybe you have gotten this email too - or - seen some of the pictures?   They were featured as a three part Time magazine photo essay in 2007:

What the World Eats, Part I, II, III -
Part 1: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1626519,00.html
Part 2: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1645016_1408103,00.html
Part 3: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1667690_1456194,00.html

“In 2000, they began research for this book on the world’s eating habits, visiting some 30 families in 24 countries. Each family was asked to purchase—at the authors’ expense—a typical week’s groceries, which were artfully arrayed—whether sacks of grain and potatoes and overripe bananas, or rows of packaged cereals, sodas and take-out pizzas—for a full-page family portrait. There is also a detailed listing of the goods, then a more general discussion of how the food is raised and used.

A sidebar of facts relevant to each country’s eating habits (e.g., the cost of Big Macs, average cigarette use, obesity rates) invites armchair theorizing. While the photos are extraordinary—fine enough for a stand-alone volume—it’s the questions these photos ask that make this volume so gripping.

(below) Darfur mother with 5 children living on $1.44 a week in a refugee camp in Chad.

After considering the Darfur mother with five children living on $1.44 a week in a refugee camp in Chad, then the German family of four spending $494.19, and a host of families in between, we may think about food in a whole new light. This is a beautiful, quietly provocative volume.” –Amazon.com.

--Don Beck, Bolivia (1967-69)

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Board Minutes --January & February 2008

Attendance (1/16): Kate McDevitt, Sharon Darrough,, Tracy Addis, and Marjory Clyne, Lisa Eckl,  Carl Sepponen, with special guest Jacob Hall (PC LA Regional Recruiter for San Diego County except UCSD)

Acting President   Marjory Clyne introduced Jacob Hall who discussed the following items:

  • Thank you – for hosting the holiday party and inviting nominees – many of them called Jacob and told him that they had a nice time
  • Peace Corps Week February 25-March 3Jacob will be in San Diego that week.  Tuesday Feb 26, the City Council of San Diego will be giving a proclamation. Wed. the 27 Jacob will be at SDSU. 
  • May Nominee/Invitee/Recently COS Reception in early May.  Jacob asked if SDPCA had any ideas for a location.
  • Speaker’s request Jacob will forward speaking opportunities to us for events that he cannot attend.  He will refer them to Tracy and she will try to find someone to fill the request.

Dena Lewerke  – has agreed to be the new Community Action Chair.

Earth Day is April 20Marjory will request from PCLA to pay the $175 fee for the spot.  Marjory will organize the event
Community ActionLisa reported that the Holiday Basket Program was thankful for the donations and for the help.  Five SDPCA members helped with the set up and distribution of the items.

Social – Kate discussed successful Holiday Party, and more than the dozen upcoming events

Potential Date for the Annual Board Meeting –  May 17, 2008.   Marjory will check with Lynn about this date to see if her space is available.

ISF-Gobal Awards Lisa reported that she has received 8 applications for the ISF awards by the deadline of December 1.  She will put together a committee to go over the applications and decide who should be funding.  The board came up with some names of people who might like to be on the committee.  Lisa has been in contact with everyone who submitted an application.

Attendance (2/20):  Kate McDevitt, Sharon Darrough,, Tracy Addis, Marjory Clyne, Lisa Eckl,  Carl Sepponen, Dena Lewerke,  Gregg Pancoast, & guest Hank Davenport

President–SDPCA paid $159 for booth at Earth Day event. The Seargent Shriver documentary aired on PBS at 2 am!  Marjory ordered a copy for us.  Working on NPCA Reaffiliation for the March 1st deadline.  Marjory may attend NPCA Regional Meeting on May 3rd and 4th in Seattle.

Finance Report–Fiscal year ends March’08.   Calendar revenue is down.  SDPCA now has $14,000.

Communication Report–Lynn is moving Feb 26 though she agreed to continue in her position through May.  Marjory will collect the mail from the PO Box. Current members: 101, past due 6 months: 41, past due 12 months: 60, free: 12, and new: 4.

Community Action–Dena reported that there is an event for March – Audubon Society trip (details on p.4 and online); April – possibly tutor at St. Luke’s Sudanese network.  Discussed idea of  Environmental Health Coalition – they are conducting voter education outreach in National City. Gregg suggested an ‘adopt a house’ program through Second Chance in May.

Social Report–Kate reported on past recent events: January 17 Thirsty Third Thursday in OB – 5 attendees had great time; January 26 Thai Cuisine and Cinema – 9 attendees; and February 5 North County Potluck had 14 attendees.  Discussed upcoming events (on page 4) and the May 7th Nominee Reception and the May 17th  Annual Celebration Meeting.

Speaker Bureau–Tracy has more requests than speakers coming forward.  Dena has stepped up to speak at 2 events. Next year, why don’t we plan ahead and do a community action event, social event, and speaking event during “Peace Corps week”. We could announce it at the holiday party in December and have a special issue of the newsletter. 

Global Awards–Lisa is meeting on Saturday with others to review the applications for the Global Awards. Global Award Nomination – Marjory wrote an article for the newsletter to request nominations for the Global Award.

Other Business–Hank Davenport – One World Our World (1WOW) is interested in partnering with SDPCA. Have a training video and curriculum already set up.  Discussion about feasibility of SDCPA taking this on. Kate– see if we can find a recently returned RPCV to serve asa board member with 1WOW responsibilities. Tabled until next meeting.

--Sharon Kennedy-Darrough, Thailand 1989-91

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War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.
–Thomas Mann (1875 - 1955)

from the Vice-President
Spring is Defintely Here!
We have had some pretty wild weather this winter. Now I appreciate why our northern neighbors stay at home and “hibernate”. But winter is over!!! This newsletter definitely proves it.

Have your calendar handy as you read through the newsletter and make a point to join us at our community action events, socialize with your fellow RPCV’s at happy hours, and consider how you can contribute to this organization. Make a difference in our community. Share your talents. Let your voice be heard.

–Marjory Clyne, Western Samoa (1972–74)

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I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.  –Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969)

Share Your Experience All Year Long:
SDPCA would like to have more RPCVs to be willing to share their experiences to small groups such as elementry school classes and girl/boy scouts.  Please contact Tracy at

For All & Every Sri Lanka RPCV
A reunion on Saturday, July 19th, 2008.  Enna, enna.  By the sea at beautiful Alderbrook Inn, two hours from Seattle, WA.  Spend the day connecting with old batch mates, Peace Corps staff, meeting other Sri Lanka RPCVs and exploring the stunning natural wonders of the Puget Sound.  Please sign the online Sri Lanka RPCV address book and get lodging, transportation and other details on the web at http://www.Serendipity2008.com

Teacherschoice Teacher Prep Program-- Early Completion Option  
Teacherschoice is a graduate school teacher program designed to reach a special group of professionals. It has been developed to connect wonderful people to teaching who have had life experiences that support and develop life skills and the passion than guide good teaching.
Over the past years Peace Corps members have worked in many of our LA and San Diego programs with children and education. Each and every one of them have been outstanding members. The Early Completion Program allow teachers to become credentialed teachers within nine months and NEVER lose their income.

Visit http://www.alliant.edu and look to Teacherschoice!
–Barbara Stein-Stover, EdD, Director ECO,  SD Campus, 10455 Pomerado Road, San Diego, CA 92131
Tel: 858.635.4624  bstein-stover@alliant.edu

Facilitators for Spr/Sum Programs Needed
Spend time this spring or summer helping young people discover how to make a difference in the world! The Civic Education Project, a leadership program at Northwestern University, is hiring staff for spring and summer service-learning programs.

Instructional, residential, and administrative positions are available: one-week to eight-week sessions in the spring or summer, in Chicago, Baltimore, Washington DC, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco.

To learn more or to apply, visit: http://ctd.northwestern.edu/cep/jobs. Spring and summer staff consideration has just begun.

Applications are reviewed as they are received at any time.
–Katrina Weimholt, Assistant Program DirectorCivic Education Project (CEP), 617 Dartmouth Place, Evanston IL 60208 (847)467-2572
email:  cep@northwestern.edu 
web: http://www.ctd.northwestern.edu/cep

“Peace-ing” Communities Together
When: Fri., March 7, 6pm to Sun., March 9 at noon
Where: House of Pacific Relations, Balboa Park
Registration: $35 (before Feb 7): $45 (after Feb 7)

The SD Council of Hostelling International is hosting the first HI-USA Peace Building Conference, March 7-9, 2008. Join young leaders (ages 18-29) to discuss ways to expand peace building efforts locally and globally

Registration includes: meals; workshop; discussions; Saturday banquet; contacts to local peace building efforts; creation of a collaborative mural with the UN Association Art Miles Project.
-contact Laura at: 619.338.9981 or programs@sandiegohostels.org;
Website: http://www.sandiegohostels.org/peace.shtm

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Recruiter’s Corner – March - April 2008

Just a brief message this time to thank all the RPCVs that have presented their stories at recent recruitment events! I think it says a lot to potential applicants that former volunteers are willing to share their personal time to convey their experiences abroad. Needless to say, it can be a more compelling message than my usual delivery! I thank you for your assistance.

And for all of you itching to share your experiences, keep an eye on the SDPCA website, as well as the “Find Local Events” section of the Peace Corps home page. We always have opportunities for RPCVs to connect with an audience.

I’d like to extend my appreciation to the SDPCA board for working with me to plan a recognition event in May, and for opening the doors of your events to future PCVs. I know it helps them stay motivated through the long application process, and I hope that when they become RPCVs in the future they can help SDPCA stay strong and active.

Enjoy the springtime, and may the annual rebirth of flora and fauna around us inspire you to rejuvenate peace.

--Jacob Hall, Regional Recruiter, SD County, 310-356-1114

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Welcome: New Members

SDPCA extends a warm welcome to our newest members, as of November 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!

  • Mary Dilligan, Community Economic Development, Azerbaijan (2005-2007)
  • Monica Berrera, Dominican Republic (2005-2007)
  • John Lee Evans, Community Development, Honduras (1975-1978)
  • Karen Lindquist, TEFL English Teacher, Romania (2004-2007)

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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:

Carl Sepponen

Web Layout / Production
Don Beck, Lisa Eckl

Contributors this issue are:
Marjory Clyne, Leslie Andrus, PCV, Lynn Jarrett, Julianne Dunn PCV. Tracy Addis, August Konrad, PCV, Carol Wahlen, Don Beck, Robert L. Strauss, Sharon Kennedy Darrough, Kate McDevitt, Jacob Hall,, Ron & Nicola Ranson.

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