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San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter
July - August 2008 — Volume 21, Number 4

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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 5
–August 6

–September 21
–October 16

–November 16
--December 5
–December 10

"In an age where community involvement and partnerships with civil society are increasingly being recognized as indispensable, there is clearly a growing potential for cooperative development and renewal worldwide." -- Kofi Annan

"Co-operative enterprises provide the organisational means whereby a significant proportion of humanity is able to take into its own hands the tasks of creating productive employment, overcoming poverty and achieving social integration."
-- Boutros Boutros-Ghali

"We cannot and must not allow ourselves to have the message of Hiroshima and Nagasaki fade completely from our minds, and we cannot allow our vision or ideals to fade, either. For if we do, we have but one course left for us. And that flash of light will not only rob us of our vision, but it will rob us of our lives, our progeny, and our very existence." -- Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba

July 5 - CoOp Day

August 6 - No Nukes Day

(above-Kofi Annan) from http://www.betterworldcalendar.com

July 5 - CoOp Day:
For most people "CoOp" brings to mind a local health food store which is owned and run by its members. This is only one example of a cooperative. Cooperatives - community or employee owned businesses or groups - can be formed for businesses of any kind, including cooperative banks (called credit unions), insurance and health care companies, day care, agricultural distribution and housing co-ops. Cooperatives are much more popular than most people realize -- almost a third of American farmers' products are marketed through cooperatives, half of the electricity in rural areas comes from rural electric cooperatives and more than 70 million Americans use credit unions!

As mistrust of corporations grows in America, the cooperative core values of honesty, openness, democracy, social responsibility, and putting people before profits, is attracting more to consider the CoOp model. More than half a million American workers have chosen to take control of their lives and economic choices by being part of employee-owned businesses. Welch's, Sunkist, ACE Hardware and the Associated Press are just some of the many employee-owned companies.

The cooperative movement is growing throughout the world. The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) was formed in 1895 - today it has more than 200 participating organizations with over 800 million members in nearly 100 countries! In 1994, the ICA and International Labor Organization (ILO) launched a global co-operative campaign against poverty, Co-operating Out Of Poverty, urging the worldwide cooperative movement to work together to fight poverty by helping the poor to form cooperatives.

CoOp Day has been celebrated on the first Saturday in July since 1927 to help promote the cooperative movement and the concept of cooperatives as an important community-building and economic model. Since 1930, October has been observed in America as National Co-Op Month to further promote the importance of cooperatives.

August 6 -- No Nukes Day:
On August 6, 1945 the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, and three days later another one on Nagasaki. More than 100,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed instantly and for years afterwards, from horrible burns and radiation sickness.

Fortunately, nuclear weapons have not been used again on civilians, but they continue to remain a constant threat. Thousands of nuclear weapons remain on alert, ready to be fired at a moment's notice. These bombs could go off at any time by accident or at the hands of terrorists.

Recognizing that there are enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet, most nations signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), agreeing to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to work towards eliminating them. The NPT went into effect in 1970, but the number of nations with nukes has nearly doubled and there is still no timetable to eliminate nuclear weapons. A people's movement has grown to convince governments to rid the world of the nuclear threat. 5 regions, covering most of the Southern hemisphere and more than 250 municipalities around the world have declared themselves as Nuclear Free Zones.

Many are also concerned about the growing use of nuclear energy around the world. After over 30 years of building nuclear power plants, there is still no safe way of disposing the contaminated nuclear materials that are produced. These contaminated wastes endanger our environment and the lives of countless generations to come.

No Nukes Day, often called Hiroshima Day, is an opportunity to raise awareness about the threat of nuclear weapons and the dangers of nuclear energy. It's the perfect time to urge your Mayor to declare your city a Nuclear Free Zone.

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Mentoring Program
The RPCV Mentoring Program is really taking off.  This online system allows groups to match PCVs just returning from service (“mentees”) with those who have been back a while (“mentors”) for assistance with readjustment, career options and engagement in Third Goal activities. 

We already have 90 mentors and 67 mentees signed up that need to be matched!  This is a great way to find those newly returned PCVs and get them engaged in your group right away!  You may also find some more established RPCVs you didn’t even know were in your area.  To learn more (and to register as a mentor or mentee), visit the website at http://www.rpcvmentoring.org

Many thanks to the NPCA Afilliate groups that are already using the system! Contact: Brenda Terry-Hahn (SDPCA locally) and Molly Doyle (NPCA membintern@rpcv.org)

MorePeaceCorps Campaign
The MorePeaceCorps campaign is a broad and deep public awareness and legislative campaign to tap the energy of Americans who will provide public support for a rejuvenated Peace Corps doubled in size and budget. The campaign was launched in 2008 by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), a non-profit network comprised of 90,000 Peace Corps alumni supporters.

Check out the website to find out and help shape what MorePeaceCorps means:  http://www.morepeacecorps.org

Pocantico Conference
June 13-15, 2008, New York
The National Peace Corps Association convened a meeting at the Pocantico Conference Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to Re-envision the Peace Corps for its next 50 years. Participants included some of the initial architects of the Peace Corps, such as Harris Wofford and Bill Josephson, former Peace Corps Directors Kevin O’Donnell and Carol Bellamy, current deputy director Jody Olsen, leaders of exchange and development organizations and numerous returned PC volunteers.
This meeting examined the nearly 50-year model for the Peace Corps and considered various options for making the Peace Corps bigger, better and bolder as part of an overall “smart power” effort to restore U.S. standing in the world to better help address pressing global problems. The Conference helped developed ideas for doing this which will be discussed with the broader Peace Corps community through a variety of electronic means. Then, these ideas will be distilled into a policy paper that will be shared with the Presidential candidates and, more importantly, the next President’s transition team.

Pocantico Presentation Drafts give a sense of the discussions:
Keynote speech by John Hayes
“Not Towering Task 2” by Bill Josephson 
“What Peace Corps Could Do for the United States
         and the World” by  Kevin F.F. Quigley and Lex Rieffel


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Meet the 2008-09 Board

Marjory Clyne, President
Marjory Clyne (Samoa 1972-1974):  Last year I was Vice President so I was required to take over the President’s duties these last 6 months. I am looking forward to being the “duly appointed” President this year.  I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines, I have always raised my hand, spoken up, volunteered, stood at the front of the line. I need to know what’s going on and the best way to do that is get involved. So I suppose you will find me most years volunteering on the board of the SDPCA!!

Mona Melanson, Vice-President
Mona Melanson was a Peace Corps Volunteer English Teacher (TEFL) in Thailand from 1969-71. Subsequently, she earned her M.A. on a full scholarship in a program like the current Peace Corps Fellows. Mona began her Human Resources management career with property-casualty insurance companies at offices in New York City, Denver, and Campbell, CA. Mona then moved to Bank of America’s World Banking Division followed with international assignments in Hong Kong, Manila, and Jakarta. Mona served on the Board of the NORCAL RPCV group when she returned to San Francisco. From1992-95, she was the Director of Returned Volunteer Career Services at the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. Mona went on to diversify her industry experience and when she returned to California, she worked for a San Diego division of a global high tech electronics manufacturing company. Mona was also selected for two short-term Organizational Development and management training projects in Honduras and Ethiopia by the NGO, ACDI/VOCA that strengthens cooperatives in developing countries. Most recently, Mona started Aviso HR Associates, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in providing talent management and organizational change management services that are tailored to the critical business needs of its clients. Previously, Mona was Co-Director of Social Activities for the SDPCA and now wants to work on other programs as needed as Vice President. Mona will also be glad to help review any SDPCA member’s resume or give them pointers about how to interview or conduct a job search.

Gregg Pancoast, CFO
Greetings. I have been involved with the RPCV group for several years and enjoy the get togethers and supporting current volunteers through the Int’l Support Fund grants.

I served in Costa Rica during the mid-80s in Small Enterprise Development---and ended up spending about 7 years in-country. My most treasured momento is my 13-year old daughter who has dual nationality----and sprinkles her Spanish with Mexican slang, which dismays her Costa Rican family. Oh well...

Sharon Darrough, Secretary
I’m Sharon Darrough and I’m the Secretary of the group. I’ve been on and off the board since returning from my Peace Corps service.  I was an agriculture volunteer in Thailand from 1989 - 1991 (wow, coming up on 20 years since I went to training).   I now work at the International Rescue Committee in San Diego and very occasionally, I get to use my Thai language skills. I love those days.  SDPCA is important to me - I met my husband (Joe Darrough, Jamaica) through this group!   I’m looking forward to another great year for SDPCA - hope to see you at the events.

Lisa Eckl, Communications Chair & Membership
Hello SDPCA Members, I am your new Communications Chair. I am filling in the large shoes of Lynn Jarrett and hope I can serve everyone as well as she did.  This will be my second year on the board but my first year in this position. 

Last year I served as the Global Awards Chair which was a lot of fun but this year I hope to be able to help our SDPCA Community stay connected by handling all the communication duties of the group.  I enjoy being on the board because it helps keep my Peace Corps experience fresh and alive.  It is a wonderful way to connect with other volunteers on a personal level and share our experiences.

I served in East Timor from 2005-2006 as a Rural Health Promotion Volunteer.  My time in Timor was cut short because of civil unrest in the country but even though it was short I still learned more than I could have ever imagined during my time in East Timor.  Aside from the serving on the board, I am kept busy by being a full time graduate student getting my Masters in Public Health at SDSU, working part-time at the San Diego Humane Society, and spending time with my boyfriend and two crazy cats.

Carl Sepponen, Chair Fundraising
As the new fund raising board member I’ll be working with Marjory who has been doing a great job in this position for many years.  I want to help the SDPCA succeed and continue to offer the local RPCVs a place to get together and support eachother.   

I am a civil engineer working as a consultant in the water/wastewater field.  I have worked in the private sector for 30 years and enjoy my work.  I got married in 1977 when I was PCV in Ecuador and we have 3 daughters.  They are now out of college and spread across the US.  My eldest daughter was a PCV in Nicaragua (without any encouragement from us!); we didn’t know about her application until she told us she was going to Nicaragua. 

Tracy Addis, Speaker’s Bureau
Life is good. I currently help supervise a construction office for the Point Loma Navy Base for their facilities projects. I recently passed multiple tests to become a California Registered Architect and am now pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accreditation. I am a happy California Condo homeowner and look forward to starting some renovation work on my kitchen and bathroom soon. I served in Tanzania, East Africa 1998-2000 teaching Math and Geography, and loved it. As second year Speaker’s Bureau Chair, I hope to continue coordinating speaking engagements to promote the Peace Corps Third Goal as well as increasing my outreach into the community to arrange speaking presentations. Please let me know if you’d like to present! I have informational presentation training DVD’s available.Contact me: .

Kris Slanina, ISF/Global Awards
I was a volunteer in Cameroon from 1995  to 1998) I recently returned to San Diego after 2 1/2 years in. Atlanta, GA. It is exciting to rejoin the board as Global Awards Chair.  I previously served as Social Chair for the SDPCA as well as CFO for the Atlanta Area Returned Peace Corps Association. I am looking forward to a great year!

Jill Dumbauld, Social Chair
My name is Jill Dumbauld, and I’m excited to be the new SDPCA Social Chair!  This year, I plan to keep up some of the successful SDPCA traditions, and maybe start some new ones.  This year I’d like to organize fun events throughout the county, while also keeping our group’s “footprint” on the small-ish side.  I’ll try to provide public transit information on event postings, and take advantage of Evite’s carpool service.  As I’m a newbie at this position, I’m open to any feedback/ideas you may have.   Thanks and see you at some events!

Dena Lewerke, Community Action
My name is Dena Lewerke and I just started as the Community Action Chair this Spring.  I am excited to serve as the chair because working in the non-profit field and volunteerism is something I enjoy and I hope to involve each of you in some enjoyable projects this year.  I want to allow the SDPCA to give back to the community and learn more about the activities of non-profits and other groups here in San Diego in the process.  This Spring up to now we have assisted the Audubon Society with clearing a wildlife refugee of invasive plants for the Lease Tern, as well as painting and restoring a sober living home with Second Chance, and assisting at a water station at the recent San Diego Rock in Roll Marathon (which I also ran in)!  I hope to see you all at the next community action event June 28th back at the Friend’s Center to help with the community gardening project and also hope to receive suggestions from all of you regarding what kind of volunteer projects you might enjoy.  I served in Armenia from 2003 to 2005 as a business development volunteer.  I am active in assisting the San Diego refugee community in my free time and am also a member of the San Diego Refugee Forum Advocacy committee.  I just graduated with my MBA from San Diego State and enjoy reading and traveling.  You may contact me with questions or suggestions at .   

Liz Brown, Newsletter Editor
Liz Brown (Kingdom of Tonga 2001-2003).  I like to say that I brought back the best souvenir of my service, my husband, Soni.  And, the next best thing that I brought back with me from my days as a rural youth development worker are all the memories.  While in Tonga I was lucky enough to view the South Pacific daily, interact with my neighbors and support a very active youth group in my village with projects.  Now back in San Diego I am a mother to Noah (20 months), wife to Soni, and associate attorney for the Law Offices of Michele Lowenstein.  I served on the SDPCA board previously as the newsletter editor and am happy to be back in the same shoes again this year.  Please feel free to submit any articles or current events to me at

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An Update from Rudy

by Rudy Sovinee, Ghana 1970-73
We live away from the city, in a quiet valley near the top of a river’s source waters, and crime is near zero. All that is required of me is to learn a language to get by. My Thai lacks in grammar, yet people now usually understand me beyond the simple situations. Progress is slow since the local dialect isn’t written. Boon and I do well in most conversations, but get stuck when it gets complicated.

In the vacuum of details, I learn by experience. Over the recent Thai New Years (it is now 2551) each day had a ritual. One day people gathered at the plaza to give food packs to the monks and novices. On other days we visited family elders, then community elders – again bringing small gifts. There was a ceremony to cart buckets of sand from the river to the temple. Throughout it all people got drenched by well wishers who poured or tossed water at passers-by.

The rains have begun, especially during the week of the typhoon that hit Burma. Those rains brought strong swirling winds necessitating closing the “windows” (shutters) despite meter wide eaves. Our property is at the outer edge of the inner flood basin. There is a levy along the river, but who knows what climate change will cause. I sold my scooter to pay for landfill, my way of insurance against the river possibly flooding to our doorstep.

I sit on the floor for most meals and need to learn to eat things I never imagined. It must be good, I’m learning things daily and have lost 40 lbs from natural opportunities in building our home like shoveling sand, digging a ditch or bike rides for supplies. I say generally because for several days I’ve struggled with a pinched nerve where the spine leads to my left leg. A chiropracter would fix it, but I don’t see a word for it in my Thai dictionary, and likely the closest one is in Chiang Mai. That is at least 2 hours away. (Any Thai RPCV readers, suggestions welcomed) So there are pluses and minuses, and I basically have far more pluses.

(left) With work mostly done on the inside of the house, work continues outside.

We’ve planted mango and jackfruit trees, beans, hot peppers, cherry size tomatoes, lemon grass and various greens. Boon regularly goes to the mountain slopes east of here and collects mushrooms. There are at least four types that seem to have their own seasons too. I’m convinced that the low stress, organic, exercise filled lifestyle here is still only part of the answer as to the health here. I think the green fermented leaves and numerous bugs that they eat also add to their immune systems. Many critters are seasonal delicacies. Seriously, Bo was like a kid at Christmas, hopping around to say there were large swarms of “flies.” Boon and her friend quickly went out and gathered hundreds of swarming termites to have for snack treats. I’ve gone along with trying a few of such treats, but there are just too many varieties for me to regularly accept as sources of protein. The main health problem is alcohol. It leads to driving accidents. Also, because the hard water is more calcium than iron laden it causes kidney stones, especially for the many alcoholic males.

Some ask when we’ll get internet in our home. We have electricity but not phone lines. Our electric lines are at risk by a bamboo stand on the corner of our neighbor’s property. The rains weighed down the upper reaches and the stalks began lying upon the wires. I tried talking to the neighbor, but it wasn’t viewed as urgent. The utility company said they would come out, but didn’t. (I anticipated that one.) The mutual solution was me stringing heavy rope high-up around the stand, cinching it tight like one might a load on a truck. Four weeks later and the bamboo stand as a whole is now leaning over.

All of this tells you a little about our different cultures. Americans see situations and attempt to affect the future string of events. Thai in general seem much more at ease letting things unfold, not taking action until the last moment. This difference is the one I most struggle to handle. Often I’ve worried for naught and Boon tries to help me understand their ways. In general, the warmth, hospitality and humor of Thai far outweigh my views about Thai safety. I am delighted to have chosen here for me to make a new home.

Photos from author. More Pictures from Rudy are online at:

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Costa Rica Trip

from Ellen Shively, Eritrea, (1968-70)
Visiting Costa Rica for two weeks under the auspices of the Sierra Club and visiting a working Peace Corps site proved to be a rewarding experience recently. Two weeks in a country does not an authority make. But I came away with a feeling that this small nation has a heart for the planet, and has had some success in halting run away expansion and depletion to a remarkable extent.  Costa Rica could be an example for environmental leadership in neighboring Latin American countries 
The government divested itself of its military in order to funnel tax revenue and gross product profits into preservation and conservation of natural resources. That is not to say that pressures have not stopped all growth and development. Far from it. You can see miles and miles (kilometers is the local measure) of Del Monte banana plantations, Dole’s pineapples, coffee trees and  trucks loaded with hard timber. On the other hand, we learned that coffee can be grown more sustainably in the shade of the forest, eliminating the need to cut trees. By buying the beans from a near-by Youth Hostel with the “Fair Trade – Grown in harmony with the Cloud Forest label” I felt I was contributing in a small way to the country’s conservation efforts. (email: cafemonteverde@hotmail.com).

Our early instructions were to pack lightly with three changes of clothing, binoculars, bug repellant, rain gear) and a camera.  We used everything we brought (several times) and came back loaded with rosewood salad bowls, carved exotic animal replicas,  bags of coffee, tee-shirts blazoned with a photo of Buttercup, a three fingered sloth we visited, post cards written with the country’s motto: Pura Vida (the good life) and more fresh fruit, rice and beans swirling in our bloodstream than most of us had ever consumed in our entire lives.

(above) Ellen Shively (second from left) with compadres. Photo from Ellen Shively.

We also came back with phenomenal mental and visual snapshots of exotic plants and animals we may or may not have known existed. One memory is of a rhinoceros beetle as large as a western belt buckle perched on a cane segment. The man selling coconuts which he deftly opened with his machete assured us that the beetles were easily captured in the cane fields.

Every day brought a different experience. Early in the trip, we were staying near the Arenal Volcano and were given the option of touring community enterprises or rappelling down three waterfalls, followed by caving nearby. You’re sure to see bats and albino bugs we were assured. It was a hard decision, but I chose the community tour. I’m glad I did. One can repel down a waterfall and walk miles into a cave any day.
Our first stop was to a woman‘s paper making enterprise. Four years ago, ten women decided they could boost their family incomes after learning to make paper from one of their children. They secured a contract for shredded paper from the local hospital and other businesses. A bucket of this is soaked for several hours, mixed with coconut fibers and manually pressed in a thin metal screen to the desired size. After it dries, it can be made into picture frames, scrapbooks, or stationery  The women have bought a store with a workroom, sell brewed coffee and sweets and provide the women in the vicinity a place to come and socialize and receive group counseling.

Our next stop was an ecological reserve, Proyecto Asis. With a nice array of animals we had never seen before-caymans, spider monkeys, resplendent Quetzels, and toucans.  They accept donations, but also sponsor foreign language immersion programs for families, engaging students with local people in cultural and environmental immersion experiences. They say, “learn, serve and share in harmony with nature.”  Our last stop was at an organic farm where we were served a delicious organic, vegan lunch The tour guide was an ex-pat American who had come to Costa Rica thirty years ago and stayed. He and his partners are cultivating an organic farm and produce many plants used in herbal medicines exported worldwide.

We arrived in Tortuguero looking for the elusive leatherback turtle egg laying beaches. Sure enough, beginning at 9 pm we walked down the relatively isolated beach and found turtle body markings in the sand. Once you see the pattern, it is unmistakable. We were lucky. It is too early for depositing her eggs in the sand, but we did see one very large green turtle on the beach. We seemed to disturb her, as she turned her big body around and headed seaward when our guide pointed his red light on her. We hope the mothers are not disturbed by these tours when it is actual egg laying season. Like so many animals, turtles are constantly pressured by human disruptions.

I had only one visitor in the two years I was in Eritrea as a Peace Corps Volunteer(PCV). All forty-two of us trooped over to the Collegio Tortuguero (High School) to meet four Peace Corps volunteers. Jenny and Dustin Stucky are leaving, and are “orienting” their replacements, Guillermo Mazier and Noelle Robertson.  Guill’s mother was a PCV in Honduras and married a Honduran. He was raised in Phoenix. I could see the excitement in the new couple as they are making plans to not only help in the schools curriculum, but also working in the community. The RPCV couple on our tour, Philip and Lara Clarke, (Kenya, 71-73) and I particularly enjoyed meeting the volunteers.

“Was re-entry back into life in the U.S. difficult, asked Dustin?  We assured them it is easier than adjusting to life at your assignment. I told the couple about our funding program for our San Diego volunteers who applied for special projects in their communities, and how they could institute such a program once they found a RPCV group in their region. They seemed happy that they could continue ties to the place they had served.

For any of you planning a trip to Costa Rica, I would be happy to advise you on a wardrobe and national parks we visited. Bring a good camera and lots of stamina. And stop at Tortuguero. The turtles will be laying their eggs soon.

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(above) Irwin Herman, “The Bookman, ” (in center, front row) holding his Global Awareness trophy, surrounded by SDPCA members at the Annual May celebraton/meeting. [Photo from Carl Seppanon.]

5th Annual
2008 Global Awareness Award:
The Bookman

At our annual meeting on May 17th I had the privilege of awarding a very deserving man and his organization the Global Awareness Award, SDPCA’s award for local organizations that follow Peace Corps’ goals at home.  Irwin Herman, The Bookman, was our honorary guest and attended the party with his lovely wife.  The Bookman‘s mission is to get books into the hands of any person that wants them.  He uses a donated warehouse full of books (they estimate 50,000!!!) located at 37th and El Cajon that is run totally by dedicated volunteers.  The Bookman and its volunteers is kept busy by distributing books around San Diego County, receiving donated books and keeping the warehouse organized with 2-3,000 books being handled every day.  Since the Bookman started in 1990 he has put over 8,000,000 books into the hands of people around the world!!!

The Bookman wants SDPCA to spread the word what his organization has to offer to all our members and he wants all of you to know that if you ever need books to just contact him and he will be more than willing to help. 

To find out more about The Bookman visit his website at http://www.thebookman.org
--Lisa Eckl, Communications Chair

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Oh What a Night!
The May 17th SDPCA Annual Meeting

by Mona Melanson (RPCV Thailand 1969-71)
You probably have heard the ancient Chinese saying about how each journey begins with the first step. My first step to the SDPCA’s annual meeting this year was taken over 30 years ago. At the risk of sounding like someone at the Academy Awards, first, I’d like to thank the Peace Corps for helping me find San Diego. The Peace Corps flew me across the United States to San Diego for the first ten days of my Peace Corps training. More precisely, those first days of training were held in a remote site in the hills overlooking Escondido. That experience left a lasting impression on me and I vowed that someday I would come back here to live. I made good on that promise to myself in late 1999. Okay, so it took me over 30 years to find my way back here. Next, once here, it took me a few months to find the San Diego Peace Corps Association or SDPCA. Internet search capabilities and the World Wide Web were not as good back then as they are now.

A lot has changed since then here in San Diego and the San Diego Peace Corps Association or so I thought the night of the SDPCA’s Annual Meeting. It was one of those absolutely magnificent evenings that continues to remind me how lucky I am to be living here. Thank you San Diego Chamber of Commerce! It had been a perfect weather day, not the more typical “May Gray” and chilly kind. The evening was simply one of the best so far this year.

Another change I noticed that evening was the actual location of the Annual Meeting. It was held at the San Diego Humane Society, a new meeting place for us and one I thought I knew how to find. I’d seen the building in my many previous trips to a nearby printing place I use for all the photocopies I need for training programs I conduct or professional association meetings I help arrange. Not being a pet owner, I hadn’t realized that the San Diego Humane Society had moved about a mile away to a larger brand new facility on the San Diego Campus for Animal Care near the County Animal Shelter. Thankfully, there was a small sign by the old building with a map on it that directed me to the new building, or so I thought it would. Instead, I wound up having another one of those experiences of getting lost in San Diego. These were more common in my early days here. So, maybe I still have a ways to go in my quest to become a real San Diegan. Alternatively, maybe I need to better check out the address and directions given on the SDPCA’s website or in those wonderful Evites we get. I love the Intranet even if Al Gore didn’t really invent it.

By the time I finally found the new San Diego Humane Society facility near the University of San Diego, the Annual Meeting was already in progress. Marjory Clyne was already starting to make an announcement. I was glad to recognize Marjory, Sharon and Joe Darrough, Brenda Hahn, and Carol Whelan and see that quite a few of the others in attendance were mostly new to me. Seeing so many new people is a good change I thought, more new friends to make. Sharon and I often seem to be the rare two that served in Thailand, although years apart. I began looking around for those who may have served in Krygystan where my youngest sister, Leslie Reed and her husband Scott served in 2005-2006. They make Peace Corps run in my family and bring serving more up-to-date for us. Some aspects of Peace Corps have certainly changed over the years, but based on their emails, there seem to be more things in common then there are differences. Seeing all the people new to me also reminded me that it’s been a while since I’ve been able to come to an SDPCA event. No matter, I sat down where there was a seat with some people I’d never met before and soon felt like I’d known them for a long time. SDPCA events always seem like this to me, warm gatherings of people who don’t remain strangers for very long. Most of the participants were sitting at the tables outside in the area known as Rocky’s Doggie Café. After a little while there was a break, so I was able to get some of the delicious food people had brought for the Pot Luck while there was still some left. (One of these days we should create a cookbook of dishes from our countries of service as a fund raiser, now there’s an idea looking for a bunch of volunteers to make it happen!)
Unfortunately, I had missed the earlier tour of the San Diego Humane Society. I think the tour might have been led by SDPCA’s own Lisa Eckl, (RPCV East Timor 2005-06) who told me after the event that she works at the SD Humane Society. Thank you Lisa for arranging it so the SDPCA could hold its Annual Meeting at such a great place!
Later in the evening, an RPCV Mom showed me around a little on the inside of the building. I met her inside as she was walking her little girl around to see if they could still see one of the dogs featured in a special little room with a big window for observation purposes by prospective animal adopters. The three of us peered through the glass at the darkened room and could make out a fairly big dog blissfully sleeping on a doggie bed in a corner.

I think children and adults of all sizes and ages must love coming to this place to drop off animals, adopt a pet, or get training for one. That RPCV mother and child told me that it is not a place only for dogs and cats but for rabbits, gerbils, birds and perhaps other types of animals too. When I returned home, I checked out the SD Humane Society’s website and it states that it started in 1880 and is one of the County’s first non-profit organizations. Among the many services it provides, I found it particularly interesting that it shares animals though Pet-Assisted Therapy and provides rescue animals in emergency situations.

And The Award Goes To…
For five years, the Annual Meeting is the event where the SDPCA presents its Global Award to a person or organization in San Diego that embodies the ideals and goals of Peace Corps. This year the Global Award was presented to a very deserving guy in San Diego that started with a good idea and a garage. This kind of story has almost become a cliché in California. However, what this San Diego resident has done is just as impactful as what the legendary men with good ideas and garages in Northern California have accomplished, perhaps just not as widely known. According to California corporate lore, Silicon Valley started when two men with a good idea and a garage started what became Hewlett Packard. Later, in the 1980s, another guy in the San Jose area had a good idea and used his parent’s garage as a worksite. His effort gave birth to Apple Computer.

Here in San Diego in 1990, a retiree who moved here from Chicago had a different kind of good idea. Luckily for us and others elsewhere in the world, he also had a garage. This guy was Irwin Herman, a seemingly unassuming yet energetic former appliance repairman. Although Herman liked living here, he didn’t take to retirement very well and soon began doing volunteer work. One thing led to another for Irwin Herman as a volunteer just as it has for many current and former PCVs. In Irwin’s case, he started by giving away used books to people with little or no access to them such as people in prisons and hospitals. Soon, he was using his own garage to temporarily store books until he could give them away to someone. Then Herman spread out to the garages of neighbors until he ran out of garages to use. Luckily, Jack Grace heard about Irwin Herman who by then was already becoming known as “The Bookman.”  Jack owns a large building on El Cajon Boulevard in City Heights that had been a Bekins storage facility. Initially, Jack let Irwin use a floor of that building. Now The Bookman organization operates out of a 5,000 foot warehouse at 4275 37th Street and El Cajon Boulevard.

Today, The Bookman organization gives away about half a million books a year. The Bookman doesn’t judge books by their covers and Irwin told us that they accept virtually all types of books including textbooks of all types of genres and languages, hard backs and paper backs. The books come from individuals like you and me and from all sorts of different sources. A couple of publishing houses and COSTCO regularly sell Herman their surplus new books at very, very low rates. Irwin said he winds up having to buy most of the books that are in Spanish as so few of these get donated. About one third of the warehouse holds children books. The organization still donates books to prisons and hospitals and has expanded over the years to giving books away to many different schools here and overseas, and to other charities or public services for the homeless, senior citizen centers, mental health services, and so forth. The warehouse has another special section for “Teachers’ Supplies.” The bookman raises money through contributions and sales of donated antiques and new remaindered books at reasonable prices. The website explained that on a weekly basis, The Bookman also gives away books for free at the San Diego City College bookstore.

The SDPCA gave Irwin Herman, known as “The Bookman” of San Diego its Global Award this year for all the great work he and his organization does for our community, country and the rest of the world. The Bookman has collected and distributed over 8 million books to all types of organizations in all 50 states and over 80 countries. All the labor is performed on a volunteer basis and Herman explained to us that he has many volunteer helper “elves.” In fact, the main person in charge of children’s books is Kenny “the Elf” Pearlman and another key volunteer or elf is Don Schultz.

On The Bookman’s website there is only one condition to this book donation program and that is that a person or persons must pick up the books or arrange to have someone else or some agency handle that for them. The Bookman accepts donations of books and money at its site. A lot more information about the organization is available on its website. Irwin Herman told us at the Annual Meeting that if someone was interested in sending books from The Bookman organization to a foreign country that they would have to donate or raise the money to cover the shipping costs. A professor at Pt. Loma Nazarene University was able to arrange for a book shipment to his native Ghana by finding someone able to contribute the funds for the shipping expenses.

Today Irwin Herman is a vibrant 75 year old non-retiree who said that he still goes to work at the warehouse five days a week and goes around on Saturdays collecting books. He quipped that “staying out of the house” is probably the key to the success of his marriage of many years to his wife Shirley. She was there that evening alaso. He is truly one person who is making a difference in San Diego and beyond. One person can make a difference. Thank you to The Bookman of San Diego!

And Now A Word From Your Sponsor
The San Diego Peace Corps Association nominates and elects its new Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting. You did not have to be present to win and depending on who you are, you may have been nominated to the Board or a committee. There is more information elsewhere in this newsletter about who the new Board members are. If you’ve been a member for at least a few years like I have, you may have noticed that there has been a significant increase in the number and array of events and activities that the SDPCA offers. If you are a brand new member, we hope you are already impressed with the quantity and quality of the programs that we sponsor and arrange. The truth is that we cannot continue to do all of these without more help from our members. Yes, this means you. We need all the help you can give, whenever you can give it, even you can only help every now and then.

If you missed the SDPCA’s annual meeting and want to learn or do more with the featured organizations then please first go to their websites to learn more about how.

The SD Humane Society http://www.sdhumane.org
The Bookman’s website is at: http://www.thebookman.org 

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from Marti and Ronn Kilby, parents of a PCV who is an ISF Grantee from San Diego now serving in Namibia.

Update about Nambia

When I spoke to our daughter Ali West (PCV, Namibia) on Sunday, she told me that the raffle tickets for the goat are selling well, and the students are doing a good job of collecting donations.  And, she has negotiated free labor from the fence materials supply company and organized volunteers in the village to assist in the build. 

Thus far, total funds collected are enough to build about 130 meters so we still need to raise fund to cover an additional 300 meters.  Every $10 helps!   If you are able to contribute, please take a moment right now to write a check payable to Ali West and send to:  Marti and Ronn Kilby, 28640 Myers Country Lane, Valley Center, CA 92082

We hope to meet our goal by July 15, so again, please don’t hesitate to get the word out to your family, friends, and co-workers.  If there are any organizations that need a copy of the documentary DVD, please let me know and I’ll be happy to send as many copies as needed.

Also, I am sending a thank you note to everyone who contributes.  If you have sent a check and not received a thank you note please let me know via email or phone.  In the past we’ve had some issues with our mail delivery and I just want to make sure that checks aren’t missing.
--Marti and Ronn Kilby, 619-846-9249, marti@kilby.com

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SDPCA Volunteered at: Water Station #14 at Mile 19.8

Rock'n'Roll Marathon


We were blessed to work with the Flood Church and USC Alumni again this year. Boy were we organized, enthusiastic, and worked well together.

So all cups were filled before the first runners sped by, and all those thousands of cups were picked up soon after the last participants past our tables. So many of the runners thank us for being there, for all the work we do. I laugh since it is nothing like running 26 miles.

Until I get home. Eyes close and sleep is so sweet. Thanks to this year’s volunteers: Sharon Darrough, Vicki and Laura Fields, John Fulton, Mike Peloquin Congratulations to our own Dena Lewerke on completing the marathon. Join us next year for all the fun at Water Station 19!!
 --Marjory Clyne, Western Samoa (1972-72)

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Rekindling Challenges

from Don Beck (Bolivia 67-69) &  Brenda Terry-Hahn (Nepal 64-66)
Quotes have been useful to us over the years in teaching. Sometimes they can be nibblets of wisdom – only a few words but saying so much to so many. A few catch our interest and become a label for a time. One favorite comes from John Kennedy’s inaugrual speech–it challenged a generation:

“...And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man....” --John F. Kennedy

Always interested in finding more such quotes, an election year brings many speeches and possibilities of a new phrase or quote to refocus us on things to come, that we can help make happen. We heard one such already and look for more. Barack Obama, replaced Ted Kennedy to speak at Wesleyan University graduation. His speech rekindled fresh challenges. He spoke of Peace Corps at length [hear entire speech at YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiYQNEtU0F4 ] and a generaton that was caught up in idealism, of making changes for the better.

“At a time of war, we need you to work for peace. At a time of inequality, we need you to work for opportunity. At a time of so much cynicism and so much doubt,  we need you to make us believe again. That’s your task, class of 2008.”
--Barack Obama 

Listen for more “quotes” to share here!


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Board Minutes --May - June, 2008

May 28, 2008
Present: Present: Marjory Clyne, Sharon Darrough, Gregg Pancoast, Carl Sepponen, Kristen Slanina, Liz Brown, Jill Dumbauld, Mona Melanson
New Business: Discussion of the duties of positions. Selection of Board Officers was made

June 26, 2008
Present: Sharon Darrough, Gregg Pancoast,  Lisa Eckl,  Liz Brown, Jennifer Arrowsmith, Kristen Slanina,  Jill Dumbauld
President’s Report: Marjory has 150 of the 2009 calendars, will go to Carl.  Marjory has asked Brenda Hahn to respond NPCA re: mentor program.
ISF – Global Awards: Kris reported that the committee suggested 5 out of 9 applications for a total of $2,277 representing Zambia (2), Niger, El Salvador, and the Philippines.  All were approved though they need to get more information from one applicant about his San Diego connection.
Membership: 113 current; 9 past due for 6 months; 42 past due for 12 months; 5 new members; 13 free members. Discussed changing database to something more user friendly.  Lisa & Jennifer will look into this.  Discussed about the annual payment system. 
Community Action: Dena not present, next event: Friends Center 6/31; then  Beach Clean Up 7/26
Social:  Jill reported the happy hour this month went well – 7 people showed up. Next event is the Blue Sky hike 7/5. Free concerts 7/10 in Balboa Park and 7/11 in Carlsbad. 3rd Thirsty Thursday 7/11 in OB.  Del Mar Races  8/9.  Happy Hour 8/21. Idea: attend a Padres Game.
Finance Report: May Balance Sheet – we have $13,000. $4,600 of the money is in the Calvert Foundation.   Restricted: $8,000 for the ISF.   FY to date – we have a small surplus   Gregg filed 990N to IRS and annual state renewal. Motion made moved and seconded to eliminate the voice mail number and save $13.95 per month.
Fundraising: Carl not present; no report
New Business Suggestion that we try to be sure that digital photos are taken at all events!
Next Meeting: Thurs., July 24, 6:30pm. at Sharon’s.

-Sharon Kennedy Darrough, Thailand (1989-91)

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I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government
and report the facts. -Will Rogers

from the President
Welcome to a New Year !
A warm welcome to a new and exciting year with The San Diego Peace Corps Association. We have elected and installed a new board and I am glad to see some new faces sitting at the table. We have lost a valued, dedicated board member, Lynn Jarrett, who moved to Orange County a few months ago. Her responsibilities were many. Most importantly, keeping track of our membership, collecting your dues, updating files, etc.

Don’t worry, Lisa Eckl has taken on those duties as the new communication chair and will also do a good job of notifying us when it’s time to pay those dues!!! I look forward to working with all the board members to create a rewarding year of participation for SDPCA members both here at home and in supporting San Diegans serving as volunteers abroad. Feel free to share your ideas on how we might better engage in our community to make a difference.

–Marjory Clyne, Western Samoa (1972–74)

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The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite
at one end and no responsibility at the other. -Ronald Reagan

AYUSA Host Family
AYUSA is a non-profit, educational exchange organization designated by the US Department of State and approved for listing by CSIET. By linking foreign high school students with American host families and communities, AYUSA promotes the idea of world peace through international friendships.

Peace Corps alumni are excellent people to participate in student exchange hosting as they have a broad global view and commitment to cultural awareness.

As a local coordinator I supervise and monitor the students for the duration of their stay (5 or 10 month program). You can learn more about our program here: http://profiles.ayusa.org/ayu/mos/home.cfm
Thank you very much for any support you can provide. Your role in facilitating such wonderful opportunities for international students brings us a step closer to world understanding and is very much appreciated!
For more information contact: Ami Adkins, San Diego Community Rep, AYUSA Global Youth Exchange PH: 619-504-9768, FAX: 619-562-0333 http://ayusa.org/

Check out National Parks this Summer!
The National Park Foundation, chartered by Congress in 1967, strengthens the enduring connection between the American people and their National Parks. For more information, please visit http://www.nationalparks.org.

Cabrillo National Monument, located on Point Loma at the south end of Catalina Blvd., is open daily from 9a.m. until 5p.m. Public transportation (#84 bus) is available to the visitor center. For additional information call 619-557-5450 or TTY 619-222-8211, or visit the Cabrillo NM web site at http://www.nps.gov/cabr/

The RPCV Archival Project
The Project acts in cooperation with the John F. Kennedy Library to afford the greatest number of former Peace Corps Volunteers the opportunity to include their stories in the National Archives and to assure that related memorabilia are preserved as part of the public record.  The Project organizes the taping of oral history interviews.  The Archival Project is endorsed by the National Peace Corps Association and operates primarily through its Affiliates.
You can visit the project online at

Mentoring: SDPCA Ahead of the Pack
Update from Brenda Hahn
The mentor exercise for newly returned RPCV’s (which Anne Baker of NPCA recently announced -- see NPCA above) we at SDPCA have had in operation for three to four years.

The Welcome Packet (which every recently returned RPCV new SDPCA member receives) has an entire page devoted to listing SDPCA members (about 45) who have agreed to be career resource mentors for the new RPCV’s and offer their contact info.

The mentors are listed by their career fields, since the new RPCV’s told us this is what they wanted.In addition, the SDPCA satellite coordinator/buddy of the new RPCV’s residence area is given their contact information (and vice versa) and the coordinator is asked to contact and welcome the new RPCV.

If you are a member who is not yet part of the mentor program and interested in participating, please contact Brenda Hahn, our New Member Chair.

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Recruiter’s Corner – July - August 2008

Hello RPCVs! I hope you are enjoying the San Diego summer and keeping your plates full of fun activities. I just got back from a trip to Peru and Ecuador, where the natural beauty and humble cultures gave me a renewed energy to find future PCVs. I really want to get one of my applicants to the Amazon basin so I can arrange a long-term visit to the jungle!

This fall, for our recruitment in the region we are going to make a heavy push to get into university classrooms. Among our most successful outreach tactics is to give short 3-5 minute presentations to students, usually at the end of a class. You’d be surprised at the number of students that have never heard of Peace Corps, or didn’t know that we had job assignments directly related to their interests (like it or not, we need business majors).

Getting into classrooms is the tough part. Most professors are pressured to “get through all the material,” and aren’t willing to sacrifice class time. Luckily, we have some wonderful RPCV professors at the San Diego schools that help us out. Of course, there’s plenty of need to find more Peace Corps friends on campus!

Do you know of any professors at area schools that may be willing to share a few minutes of their class time so that we can inform their students about the opportunity of Peace Corps? Still keep in touch with any of your college professors? If so, please email me their contact info: jhall@peacecorps.gov

Class talks are going to be especially important for us to keep our number of volunteers growing. The declining dollar overseas is making our budget very thin, so we need to maximize opportunities to reach students at no cost.

Thanks for your help, and your continued service to Peace Corps!
--Saludos, Jacob Hall, Regional Recruiter, Nicaragua, ’00-‘02,
Regional Recruiter, SD County jhall@peacecorps.gov

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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!

  • Danielle Kehm, Early Education, Paraguay (2004-2006)
  • Alicia Criado, Honduras (2006-2008)
  • Mary Dilligan, Azerbaijan (2005-2007)
  • James Garrett, Guatemala (2003-2005)

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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

Web Layout / Production
Don Beck, Lisa Eckl

Contributors this issue are:
Marjory Clyne, Marti & Ron Kilby, parents of PCV, Ellen Shively, Rudy Sovinee, Tracy Addis, Sharon Kennedy Darrough, Kate McDevitt, Jacob Hall, Lisa Eckl, Brenda Terry-Hahn


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