8.11.08

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San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter
September-October 2008 — Volume 21, Number 5
 
Editor
 

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International
Peace Days

http://www.betterworldcalendar.com/
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 Da
y

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

"As they used to say 'What if they gave a war and nobody came?' How worthwhile if they declared a day of peace and everybody came."
~ Ed Asner

The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger and so on, are human-created problems which can be resolved through human effort, understanding and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share.
-- 14th Dalai Lama

"One of the greatest feelings in the world is knowing that we as individuals can make a difference. Ending hunger in America is a goal that is literally within our grasp."
-- Jeff Bridges

September 21 - Peace Day

October 16 - End Hunger Day


(above-Dali Lama)
from http://www.betterworldcalendar.com

September 21 - Peace Day:
Peace is more than the absence of war. It is a state of being in balance and harmony. Peace is about how we handle problems and how we get along with others. Peace is about community--about encouraging and helping each other to live better, more fulfilling lives. Most of all, peace is about respect -- respect for ourselves, each other, and the planet we share.

Peace is an ongoing process that requires our constant attention, but we begin to make our lives more peaceful the moment we decide to try to be peacemakers. When we convince the world to make peace on earth our priority, we will create a culture of peace, and living peacefully will become the most natural way to live.

The International Day of Peace, also known as Peace Day, is a celebration of our shared wish for peace on earth. It is an opportunity to look at the things that have been done over the year to help create a more peaceful, just and sustainable world, and to note the things that still need to be done. It's a time to rededicate our commitment to a more peaceful planet.

Peace Day is also an opportunity to spread hope for our wish to live in a world without war. All of the nations of the world agreed to the United Nations' call to create a global ceasefire on Peace Day. You can help create humanity's first day of peace. If we can live in peace for one day, we can learn to work together to create a peaceful world, one day at a time.

.

October 16 -- End Hunger Day:
More than 850 million people in the world are hungry, and as many as 35 million of them are Americans! Worldwide, some estimate that 40 million people die each year because of hunger and diseases related to malnutrition -- and many of them are children!

There is more than enough food in the world so that no one need ever go hungry. Those who wish for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world are helping to make ending world hunger a major priority. In fact, all of the world's leaders agreed to cut the number of starving people in half by the year 2015 as the first priority of the Millennium Development Goals.

World Food Day / End Hunger Day is an opportunity for the global community to unite in an effort to help raise awareness about the global problem of hunger. World Food Day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1980 to commemorate the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945 (resolution 35/70). The official goal of the day is to "heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty."


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From NPCA

NPCA Awards

NPCA has awarded SDPCA with 4th place in the 2008 NPCA Print Media Awards and 3rd place in the 2008 NPCA Electronic Awards. Congratulations go to Carl Sepponen and Don Beck. Carl was our newsletter editor last year, and Don has been webmaster since 2000 (website design by Joseph White).    Don’s commitment to SDPCA for the last eight years includes six years of near and far -- while living in Ireland half-time.

Thank you both for your dedication and talent!  For more info: http://www.rpcv.org/pages/sitepage.cfm?id=255  Here is a complete list of the awards winners:

Loret Miller Ruppe Award for Outstanding
Community Service

Friends of Malaysia,  “Wizard of the World” project

Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service
Joan Velasquez, co-founder of Mano a Mano, Bolivia

NPCA Print Media Awards (newsletters)
First place:   Amigos de Bolivia y Peru
Second place:  Friends of Nigeria
Third place:  Central Missouri RPCVs

Fourth place:  San Diego Peace Corps Association

NPCA Electronic Media Awards (websites)
First place:  Heart of Texas Peace Corps Association
Second place:  Minnesota RPCVs

Third place:  San Diego Peace Corps Association
 Fourth place:  Friends of Kyrgyzstan

Some PC Funding Facts

Current Fiscal Year 2008: funding for general PC operations totals nearly $331 million.

February 4th: President Bush submitted a Fiscal Year 2009 budget to Congress: This budget includes a request of $343.5 million for the PC, a less than 4% increase.

March - NPCA’s National Day of Action: 101 Senators and Representatives signed letters urging funding increases for PC.

August 1: nearly 60 Representatives co-sponsored legislation for PC funding increases to $400 Million for 2009.

July 16: House Appropriations Committee’s State/Foreign Operations Subcommittee recommended funding PC at $343.5 million.

July 17: the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $337 Million for the Peace Corps - a less than two percent increase.

NPCA support funding $400 million for PC Fiscal Year 2009 as part of the MorePeaceCorps Campaign: to double funding and PCV nmbers by 2011, PC’s 50th anniversary

Namaste!

My name is Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 01-03). As the National Coordinator of the MorePeaceCorps.org Campaign of NPCA, I am reaching out to members of the Peace Corps community across California to ask you host a MorePeaceCorps.org House Party!

With 84 parties confirmed in 30 states and 9 countries, including parties in Kabul, Micronesia, Jakarta, Taiwan, Barcelona, and Santiago, the MorePeaceCorps 100 House Parties effort is becoming a global phenomenon!

By registering today to host a September 6th House Party, you can put us over the top! It’s very easy and fun to do. You control whether your party is a private affair or a public event. If you would like, we can even help publicize to local RPCVs. Anyone inspired by the mission should feel welcome to host or attend these parties - not just former volunteers. The idea is to have fun, build awareness and increase support for the MorePeaceCorps.org Campaign!

To sign up for hosting a party or to learn more, kindly send an email to House Party Coordinator, May Wilkerson at
maywilkerson@morepeacecorps.org

To learn more about 100 House Parties and to download a handy toolkit for hosting,
http://www.morepeacecorps.org/newsevents/entry/100_house_
parties_september_6_2008

To those of you who have already signed up to host, thank you!

If you are curious as to whether or not a party has been scheduled in your area, May can let you know, thugh we urge people hosting public parties to sign up for our forum and post their parties there:
http://www.morepeacecorps.org/forums

If you haven’t done so already, please sign up for the campaign at http:/www.morepeacecorps.org, which will ensure that you receive breaking news and our monthly color, custom designed e-newsletter.

MorePeaceCorps is a grassroots campaign which means we rely on our supporters to take action and make a difference.

Thank you so much for your support!

Rajeev Goyal, Nepal 01-03 (at right)
National Coordinator,
MorePeaceCorps Campaign
917.438.4626 T,  
516.984.7138 C
rajeev@morepeacecorps.org

Pocantico Presentation Drafts give a sense of the discussions:
Keynote speech by John Hayes
   http://www.rpcv.org/JohnHayesPeaceCorpsSpeech61408.pdf
“Not Towering Task 2” by Bill Josephson 
   http://www.rpcv.org/BillJosephsonPocantico.pdf
“What Peace Corps Could Do for the United States
         and the World” by  Kevin F.F. Quigley and Lex Rieffel

   http://www.rpcv.org/PeaceCorpsBlueSky060408.pdf


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Night in the Park

Living in San Diego for 2 years I had heard about the free concerts in the park at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park but I had never been to one.  So when it was organized as a SDPCA Social Event I jumped at the chance to go.  I mean, I do only live about a mile away; the concerts are FREE. We live in America’s Finest City, who wouldn’t want to spend time outside?

So that evening with sandwiches, pasta salad, cherries, and chairs in hand, I headed to the park.  We were going to see Tinku, a Latin American band.  They had just started when we got there and found Jill, our SDPCA Social Chair all set up in the back row.  I promptly displayed my Peace Corps bag in case anyone was looking for us.

Shortly after I arrived, a few more SDPCA members arrived and we all enjoyed the concert together.  Not only was the concert fabulous the weather was just unbelievable.  The concert lasted for about an hour and towards the end, Future PCV, Christie Edwards, found us and she told us she had just had her interview with recruiter Jacob Hall, earlier that day.  It was great to hang out with other SDPCA members and enjoy our wonderful city. 

If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out the free concerts, they are really worth it and there is something for everyone.  For anyone who is interested here is the link 
http://www.balboapark.org/calendar/detail.php?EventID=1685
--Lisa Eckl, Communications Chair, East Timor (2005-2006)


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Happy Hour Memories

During the third week of every month, SDPCA members from throughout San Diego get out and enjoy food, drink and great conversation!  Yes, this is SDPCA’s own Happy Hour get-together, coming to a neighborhood near you!

July’s monthly happy hour was enjoyed by the beach at South Beach Bar and Grille in laid-back O.B.  An impressive group of former volunteers, future volunteers and friends enjoyed South Beach’s famous fish tacos and beer.  Happy hour is a great time to catch up on summer happenings and see some new faces.

August’s happy hour took place at The Whistlestop in South Park (see photos).  The Whistlestop is a South Park classic neighborhood bar, established in 1979.  
--Jill Dumbauld, Ecuador (2004-06) Social Chair


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RPCV Running for SD School Board

SDPCA member John Evans is running for a seat on the Board of Education.  He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras for three years. He also directed high school students on social service projects and taught leadership courses to community leaders. Read his statement below and more online at his site: http://www.evansforschoolboard.com/

“We cannot stand for hundreds of teachers being laid off, thousands of students dropping out and school board members who are too cautious to fight for funding our children’s education. The buck stops at the school board. We need leadership -- not excuses! We can do better. Our children deserve better.”
--John Lee Evans, Ph.D., (RPCV, Honduras) Board of Education Candidate, District A, San Diego Unified


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Harassment of Harbor Seals

from Ellen Shively, Eritrea (1968-70)
I’ve taken one of Peace Corps goals seriously and directed my volunteer time in environmental causes at home. One of my jaw dropping experiences has been in working with a coalition to preserve a seal rookery in La Jolla. Here’s an update: The continued abuse of a harbor seal colony in La Jolla, California is a dirty secret, mostly kept off the news pages outside of the region. Federal and state courts have ruled repeatedly against the presence of the marine mammals on this small beach in an urban setting.

While volunteer activists strive to protect the rookery of harbor seals against intentional and incidental disturbances, governmental officials turn their backs. City officials have decreed that “shared use” is sufficient, perhaps unaware that seals waste products may be harmful to swimmers and sun-bathers, or that the seals, while shy, may be a health and safety threat if continually disturbed from their haul out site.

Several months ago, one activist received death threats via the internet that were investigated by the FBI. The perpetrator is now serving jail time. Recently, a casual bystander was assaulted while trying to protect a baby seal. The following is a link to news story on this incident: http://www.10news.com/video_legacy/16687204/index.html.

Despite the incident occurring in the presence of several witnesses, the police did not charge the assailant, an individual who regularly harasses the seals in an effort to drive them from the beach.

In May, two unaffiliated sympathizers took it upon themselves to crawl along the beach in wet suits to clip a monofilament fishing line encircling a baby seals neck at 2 AM. Permits are authorized only by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for rescues, but they had stood by for more than 72 hours waiting for the pup to isolate itself from the colony. Had the line not been removed the pup would surely have drowned.

Although the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1973) is supposed to protect these animals, the NMFS office is mysteriously reluctant to enforce it. Indeed, a citation for “harassment of marine mammals” has not been made in years. Other beaches fare much better along the west coast.

The Seattle Seal Sitters ( http://www.sealsitters.org/seal_sitters/HOME__.html), in cooperation with NMFS, are given permission to rescue seals in distress, and may erect barriers to protect the seals from human harassment. There is signage about the MMPA at any area where the animals have been spotted. Casa Beach has two signs in obscure places, with open beach access permitted.

The only “barrier” allowed is a flimsy rope to suggest people keep a safe distance, and it is erected only during pupping season.Feel free to visit our web site at http://www.sdcoastalhabitat.net/

The fact is that these seals are important to the survival of the species. If an oil spill or other catastrophe were to happen aloneour shoreline, our pups are born earlier than the colonies above Santa Barbara, and could be remnant survivors.
--Ellen Shively, Eritrea (1968-70)
  San Diego Coastal Habitat Coalition,

  ellenshively@sbcglobal.net


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It Takes a Community

Volunteering Overseas & the More Peace Corps Campaign

by Kevin F. F. Quigley
Margaret Mead famously said that, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

This issue looks at a group of committed individuals who work together to make a difference. It focuses on volunteering overseas-the common experience that connects our very diverse and dynamic community.
Since many of us headed off to Peace Corps, the world has changed dramatically. One of those ways is that Americans have many more opportunities to serve overseas. In the early 1960s, there were only a few well established programs like the Experiment in International Living or American Field Service programs and a small number of study abroad programs-mainly in northern capitals like London, Paris, and Rome.


“Since many of us headed off to Peace Corps, the world has changed ... Americans have many more opportunities to serve overseas.”


These days, there is a dizzying array of opportunities. You can volunteer with your church or synagogue, participate in a short-term program with an organization like Habit for Humanity, volunteer for your corporation or do a service learning semester with your university. Americans also have a variety of options regarding tenure: they can go for a few weeks, a month, a year, or Peace Corps’s 27 months.

If you have had an overseas volunteer experience you understand that any opportunity that takes Americans overseas is important. There is also evidence that short-time volunteer experiences are on-ramps or off-ramps for the longer Peace Corps experience. An intense volunteer experience with your church or school often whets an individual’s appetite for the longer and more intensive Peace Corps experience.


“MorePeaceCorps ... individuals who are passionate about Peace Corps and ... providing more resources to Peace Corps so that more can serve ... ”


The shorter-term experience is a good predictor of whether an individual volunteer will succeed. For example, we know that a percentage of the participants in the Cross-Cultural Solutions short-term programs have become Peace Corps volunteers.

If you have a successful Peace Corps experience, you are often keen to have other overseas volunteer experiences, although perhaps of a much shorter duration-such as a few weeks or a month.

Given the impact that volunteer experience has on an individual’s skills and attitudes and knowing that these are good for communities at home and abroad, NPCA was one of the founders of the Building Bridges Coalition. This coalition of more 150 corporations, universities, and faith-based and non-governmental organizations seeks to increase the numbers of, the quality of, and the impact from Americans who volunteer overseas. The Coalition also has two clear and achievable goals: The first is to double the number of Americans who volunteer overseas, and the second is to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers.

This last goal is central to our MorePeaceCorps campaign-and like the volunteer programs that are discussed here, this campaign requires a community of individuals working together.

With the MorePeaceCorps campaign (http://www.morepeacecorps.org), we are building a community of individuals who are passionate about Peace Corps and see the importance of providing more resources to Peace Corps so that more can serve and Peace Corps can be part of a strategy of improving our country’s standing in the world. If you want to join us in this effort, please let me know.


“Peace Corps can be part of a strategy
of improving our country’s standing
in the world.”


We are very fortunate to have a new campaign coordinator in Rajeev Goyal, Nepal 2001-03. We are also lucky to have Donald Ross, Nigeria 1965-67, who is the co-founder of M + R Strategic Services, as our partner in this campaign. M + R works on many leading campaigns including the Save Darfur Coalition, Oxfam Trade Justice Campaign, and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Campaign.

Here at NPCA, Jonathan Pearson, Micronesia 1989-91, our Advocacy Coordinator, and Erica Burman, The Gambia 1987-89, our Director of Communications, also are playing central roles in the campaign. In the months ahead, you will be hearing lots more about this campaign.

I did not want to close without acknowledging that this is the last WorldView edited by David Arnold. He has served as editor for the past 14 years-more than two-thirds of the magazine’s history. David will have the final word in his column, but during this time he often inspired us by bringing stories about Peace Corps community members who are changing the world-just as Margaret Mead suggested.

Thank you and very best wishes, David.

The author is NPCA president and served in Thailand from 1976 to 1979.

from: Worldview Magazine Online, Vol.21 # 1  Spring 2008
http://www.worldviewmagazine.com/issues/article.cfm?id=234&issue=5
1


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PC to Pare Ranks of Volunteers

Despite Bush’s Goal of Doubling Program’s Size, Tight Budget Forces Cuts

by Christopher Lee, Washington Post Staff Writer,    
Friday, August 22, 2008; page A15

The Peace Corps, the popular service program that President Bush once promised to double in size, is preparing to cut back on new volunteers and consolidate recruiting offices as it pares other costs amid an increasingly tight budget, according to agency officials.

The program, which has a budget of $330.8 million, is facing an anticipated shortfall of about $18 million this fiscal year and next, officials say. Much of the gap can be attributed to the declining value of the dollar overseas and the rising cost of energy and other commodities, officials said. That inflates expenses for overseas leases, volunteer living costs and salaries for staff abroad, most of whom are paid in local currencies.

Those factors ‘have materially reduced our available resources and spending power,’ Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter wrote in a July 22 letter to Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the program. ‘Tough budgetary decisions must be made now in order to ensure a financially healthy agency next fiscal year,’ he added.

The agency estimates its foreign- currency-related losses at $9.2 million for fiscal 2008 alone, spokeswoman Amanda Beck said yesterday.

In part, the program is caught in the political standoff between lawmakers and the president over the federal budget. If, as seems likely, Democrats delay final passage of the spending bills that fund the government until after Bush leaves office next year, programs such as the Peace Corps could be forced to operate at current funding levels indefinitely, administration officials said.

Beck said the agency could experience another $9 million in losses in fiscal 2009 in a ‘worst-case scenario’ in which the agency has to operate under a year-long continuing resolution.

But that scenario is very unlikely, McCollum said yesterday, noting that her subcommittee has signed off on the agency’s $343.5 million budget request and its Senate counterpart has approved $337 million.

‘It’s only going to be a short amount of time before a new budget gets through, and the Congress is committed to moving Peace Corps in an upward direction,’ she said, adding that the agency should ask for short-term supplemental funding if it needs it.

Beck said the ‘best course of action’ would be for Congress to approve the president’s full budget request.

In a July 21 letter to Tschetter, McCollum wrote that she had ‘serious doubts’ about the agency’s plan to close regional recruiting offices in Minneapolis and Denver by Jan. 1.

‘It is my goal to see a growing number of highly qualified, diverse and determined Americans of all ages committing themselves to serve our country as Peace Corps volunteers,’ she wrote. ‘Achieving this goal will require . . . a strong nationwide recruiting presence.’

Tschetter described the closures as ‘mergers’ with other offices in Chicago and Dallas that are part of a move toward a ‘field-based recruiting model’ expected to save $1.5 million. Thirteen people will be reassigned to other jobs in the agency, officials said.

The tight fiscal climate also means an anticipated scaling back in new volunteers next year by 400, wiping out planned growth and leaving the overall number of volunteers at about 8,000, according to Tschetter. Volunteers serve for 27 months and are paid a stipend of about $2,500 annually.

Managers at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington have been asked to cut their budgets by 15.5 percent. The agency even plans to stop providing copies of Newsweek magazine to volunteers in the field, something it has done since the 1980s. (Newsweek is owned by The Washington Post Co., parent company of The Washington Post.)
‘It just seemed like an extravagance,’ Beck said. ‘Everything is under consideration, including the director’s travel.’

Kevin Quigley, president of the National Peace Corps Association, a nonprofit group of former volunteers, said, ‘I worry about what the [budgetary] implications are for the next president, who we anticipate will have plans to expand Peace Corps.’

Established in 1961 by President Kennedy, the Peace Corps provides skilled volunteers to other countries while promoting mutual understanding between Americans and people of other nations. About 190,000 volunteers have served in 139 countries since its inception.
The 8,079 volunteers today number the most in 37 years but are far fewer than the goal of 14,000 by fiscal 2007 that Bush set in his 2002 State of the Union speech.

Expanding the program remains a popular idea.

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has pledged to double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011.
Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), his Republican counterpart, has praised national service and said there should have been a stronger national push to encourage people to join the Peace Corps and other volunteer organizations after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.


--Submitted by Sharron Darrough, Thailand (1989-91)
   from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/21/AR2008082103384.html


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Tonner International Support Fund Grant Awards

from Kristen Slanina, Cameroon (1995-98)
On behalf of SDPCA, I would like to congratulate Chave Nurenberg in Niger, Emily LeCuyer in the Phillipines, Robert Alvarez in El Salvador, Angela Glenn and Koh Tanimoto in Zambia on receiving funding for their wonderful projects.

After receiving eight Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund Applications, three other SDPCA members and myself met to make the tough decision on which grants to fund.

We each scored them individually and then met together to discuss our scoring. The decisions were tough but five projects really stood out for their need, community involvement, sustainability, and impact on the community.

Make sure to look in future newsletters for exciting updates on these five projects!!!

• Women’s Sheep and Goat Microfinance, $485
Chave Nurenberg, PCV – Niger

The Women’s Sheep and Goat microfinance project is a collaboration between the mayor’s office and the local women’s groups in Tajaé, Niger.

Each year ten women will be selected to receive a sheep or goat to raise. At the end of the year the women sell the animal at an increased value, repay the original loan used to purchase the animals, and use proceeds to buy another animal. This will allow the women to make extra money to feed their families. At years end the loan money will be collected by a committee, which will choose an additional group of ten women to receive loans the following year. Thus, each year, ten new women will take part in the project.

• Santa Paula Elementary and Middle School Roofing Project, $504, Robert Alvarez, PCV – El Salvador

The Santa Paula School Roofing project involves the replacement of the roofing on one of the school’s seven classrooms. The roofing is so severely degraded and decrepit, even light is able to penetrate it during the day. Replacing the school’s roof will provide a safer learning environment and uninterruptible teaching in the rainy season. This project will have far reaching benefits as the school’s boundaries extend more than 30 kilometers in radius and many surrounding communities send students to the school.

• Lusungu Community School Project, $421
Angela Glenn, PCV – Zambia

The Lusungu Community School Project will provide much needed doors and chalk boards for classrooms recently constructed in support of an expanding student population. The doors will provide a secure structure for daily lessons and material(s) housing and the chalk boards will facilitate teachers classroom instruction.

• Mwala Basic School Dictionary Drive, $467
Koh Tanimoto, PCV – Zambia

English literacy is extremely low in Zambia despite English being the official language. The Mwala Basic School, located in the Chadiza district, has the second highest illiteracy rate in Zambia. The Dictionary Drive project will provide dictionaries as a teaching and reference source to Mwala Basic School in order to aid teachers and students in the English Language. In addition to holding primary and secondary classes the school also sponsors Adult Education Classes in English.

The dictionaries will be housed in the campus library and will be available to the students as well as all members of the greater Community.

• Community Environmental Resource Center, $400
Emily LeCuyer, PCV – The Philippines

The Community Environmental Resource Center will provide reference manuals on reef fishes, corals, conservation and marine surveying. These reference materials are presently being sought out by the local fishing community and the project aims to fill this community need.

The Environmental Resource Center also aims to capture budding environmentalists by providing educational CD’s about Environmental Conservation, Environmental books for Children, and the Coral Reef Imax Adventure.

In addition to providing resource materials the project will foster understanding of communities and their relationship to coastal and Marine resources so vital to these communities and to alleviate a small and over taxed staff who are not always available to handle the number and complexity of information requests.


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Hi Lisa and Gregg, et al.
Just to confirm that we were able to receive the funding through Afriland First Bank and it is all accounted for. Thank you again for your patience during the process. Enclosed are some photos...
 Admittedly, I will not be able to see the project through its entire course, but we have already begun a fair amount of the work and I expect the bulk of the work should be complete before I finish service August 1st. My replacement will likely have to only oversee that the landscaping is maintained when she/he arrives.
Thanks once again, Jon

An ISF Grant Update

Gardening Equipment, $300
   PCV Jonathon Fu, Cameroon

Jonathan received his grant money to partially fund a project to update the grounds of Mutuelle Communautiare de Croissance de Nguelemendouka (MC2N’KA), a local micro finance institution.  MC2N’KA helps entrepreneurs start and plan small business ventures.  Currently the grounds consist of a dirt lot.  With the partial funding of $300 Jonathan will be purchasing gardening equipment, seeds, and flowerbeds to beautify the facility.  In addition, the rest of his community can use the equipment because Jonathan is collaborating with PLAN to expand the project to the school and the hospital.  The youth involved in doing the labor for the project will be required to create a savings account.

(above) Bank grounds before work began.

(above-left) Collection and preparation of gravel for parking lot.
(above-right) Digging of trenches for hedge rows.

(above) Removal of weeds.

(above-left) Commencing the sowing of grass seed.
(above-right) Transport and placement of fertilizer for hedges.

(above) Marcel explaining the upcoming work to one of the youth and MC2 guardian.

(above) Treatment of grounds with weed killer.

 


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When PC evacuated a number of volunteers from Kenya earlier this year (see Pacific Waves, March-April ‘08),  August Konrad, from San Diego, was amongst them.  He chose to be reassigned to Ghana and sent us some news in July. --Ed.

Greetings from Ghana

from August Konrad, PVC Bolgantanga, Ghana
At the moment the school is Gowrie Secondary Tech in a rural area of the upper east province in Ghana. The projects I find myself involved with keep me occupied and I can even say are worth the time I spend on them.

I have two Chemistry classes that are in their last year. As is often the case here they have not learned very much over the years but need to prepare for an exam that will shape their futures. Since taking them on I have placed as an important goal the simple matter of following directions. As is the case with teens they want to do things in context with their sense of priorities and protocol. Since February I have been at them but finally I can say most have given up that adolescent reluctance to unfamiliar direction and just try to do what I ask of them.
The boarding schools in this region are in a struggle with the government over the funds for feeding the students. The government is behind in their payment to the schools. It has caused these schools to delay the beginning of the term by six weeks and now there is talk of ending the term three weeks early because the money sent by the government has been insufficient. The schools I am afraid are not without blame but the system itself has so many flaws and wasteful practices that these are the results. In California many schools are in a similar state of disorganization but it is easier to hold administrators and school boards accountable.

The school staff at Gowrie is a young staff with a high staff turnover. Rarely will a teacher stay for more than a few years. Many of the teachers are still in their training programs and go on to better jobs in more attractive communities. In general they are responsible in their duties but lack experience and the thorough training that teachers receive in the developed world. We do have a beautiful new building on the school campus for science and expect it to be complete sometime next year.

The extreme heat that I experienced when first coming to this place has decreased with the coming of the rainy season I still sweat every day but the high points of my day are in the classroom. Providing the lessons about the elements, ions, and how the compounds form and interact are the current topics. Soon I will instruct them on rates of reaction which is a bit more complex. I take the group in two parallel directions. At present I’m covering review topics in which they are very weak. Next I will cover a syllabus topic which will be part of their national exam that they will face in March’09. In January I plan to use past exam questions and related problem solving methods.

Some time in August I will get two additional classes of second year students. I have been working with these students only one evening a week at present but in August will have them for six lessons a week. I expect similar challenges that I now have with my second year students as these new ones are introduced to the required discipline for success in chemistry. Following directions is a big step for many teens.

I am still working on a grant for chemicals and a few lab supplies. I also have a science reading club on Wednesday evenings, the Red Cross club, and maybe a school choir. (I haven’t given up on this group but it is not progressing well)

Bye for now.

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Board Minutes -- July 2008

In attendance:  Sharon Darrough,   Marjory Clyne, Carl Sepponen,  Lisa Eckl,  Mona Melanson, Jennifer Arrowsmith, Jill Dumbauld.

President’s Report: SDPCA received two awards this month from NPCA: 3rd place for electronic media, 4th place for the print newsletter 2008. The award will be given on October 4th in San Francisco at the annual meeting of the NPCA.
Dena Lewerke is leaving for Jordan in early September so she will resign as Community Action Chair.  Jen Arrowsmith will become the new Chair.

NPCA is putting together an RPCV directory.  It is $80 for the book or $100 for the book and an interactive cd.  Discussion and decision to not purchase the the directory. The membership form will be revised to read more clearly as to how much people owe for renewals.

Financial Report: Total assets $8,226.76 as of June 30. Other assets: $4,679.26 (Calvert Fund). Largest outflow of money was to pay for the 2009 calendars:  $724.

Communications: Membership is at-- 119 current; past due 6 months: 8; past due: 12 months: 138; New:  0; Free:  13.  Marjory reported that Brenda Hahn has officially signed SDPCA up for the Peace Corps Returned Volunteer Services Mentor Program.

Community Action: Saturday July 26th, there is a beach clean up at Mission Beach.  Dena has planned another one for August and Jen will take over the planning of the next event.
Social: Jill reported that the last happy people had 15 people in attendance and every one had a great time.  The concert at the Organ Pavilion had 10 people.  Jill has the banner to bring to events so people can find the SDPCA group.

Fundraising: Carl reported that the calendars are in stock.  The UNA shop in Balboa Park will start with 12 calendars at $8.00.  They may take more later.   2009 SD Entertainment Books  are on the way.

-Sharon Kennedy Darrough, Thailand (1989-91)


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We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose. –Bishop Desmond Tutu

from the President
Change!
You know that saying “Nothing is certain in life except death & taxes”. We need to add “change” to that list.

Dena Lewerke, our Community Action Chair has taken a job in Jordan. She has done a great job in her short tenure and we will miss her. Luckily we have an enthusiastic replacement in Jennifer Arrowsmith (Samoa 1998-2000) Welcome aboard Jennifer!

Peace Corps will be 50 years old in 2011.  It seems fitting to discuss and envision changes this entity might need as it goes forward. I encourage you to read about MorePeaceCorps (see "it Takes a Community" and "PC to Pare Ranks.." in this issue) and the papers and speeches presented at the Pocantico Conference (or see last newsletter, under NPCA, July-Aug, p. 3).

Bill Josephson, general counsel for Peace Corps from 1961-1966 writes that PC, even if increased to 10,000 volunteers will not make much difference in the world today!  

All good reading, provocative, worth your time -- then, share your thoughts.

–Marjory Clyne, Western Samoa (1972–74)


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I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.  –Albert Schweitzer 

PC 50th Anniversary Approaches
The Peace Corps will officially celebrate its 50th anniversary on March 1, 2011.

The 50th Anniversary website https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.
cfm?shell=resources.former.fiftieth&
  highlights historical information about the Peace Corps’ long record of service. It also provides ways in which  participants can join in on the worldwide celebrations leading up to and throughout 2011. The site includes a listing of 50th Anniversary events planned in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere around the U.S.

The website also contains a list of in-country activities that are part of the  commemorative 50th Anniversary Partnership Program. Those interested in helping the Peace Corps remember and honor the past 50 years will have the opportunity to donate to the 50th Anniversary Fund in this section of the 50th Anniversary Website.

As the website is further developed, RPCVs will also have a venue to submit stories and photos from their service, or donate artifacts to the 50th Anniversary Archive through the website.

This year, Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served.Note: NPCA is also working on planning the 50th anniversary celebration. Check out their website:
http://www.rpcv.org/pages/sitepage.cfm?id=1765

Quotes to “Bring It All Home”
All quotes since 2000 from Pacific Waves  (in President’s message and Potpourri) are assembled on the SDPCA site under
Articles--Archives
: http://edweb.sdsu.edu/SDPCA/articles/NLQuotes.html 

Peace Corps after 47 Years
This year, Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served.

International Folk Art Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
The International Folk Art Market has in less then five years become an amazing success story.  This year some 16,000 people attended with $1.5 million in purchases during this two day event.  It is co-sponsored by the local world-class Folk Art Museum, other local non-profits, and is supported by UNESCO who has given Santa Fe the first USA “Creative City” designation and participates by sponsoring workshops, training and artist recognition.

110 Artists came from 34 countries to participate; the folk-art is of the highest quality, typically has very traditional roots and is often bought by museums and collectors.

Several years ago it became obvious that there was a natural connection between this event and the interests of RPCV’s.  Our New Mexico RPCV group has been active in the volunteer effort that makes this event a success, participating as artist assitstants, interpreters, hosts, meet & greet, regional coordinators, etc. The driving force and a Market originator was a PCV in Peru (are we surprised?).

 The Market, July, 2009 application deadline is Nov. 1, 2008.
--John Turnbull, NMPC Assoc. jat123@cybermesa.com
   Intn’l Folk Art Market site:   http://www.folkartmarket.org/index.php

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Recruiter’s Corner – Sept-Oct 2008

Hey SDPCA! The summer’s gone by quickly, and we’ve been very busy adjusting to changes overseas. Peace Corps re-entry into two countries (Liberia and Rwanda), the falling value of the dollar abroad, and recent emergency situations have caused a lot of flux in the placement process.
This fall we’ve got a busy slate of activities in the San Diego area, many of which are concentrated in October. Please let me know if you’d be willing to help me out at an on-campus career fair, as I can always use an extra set of stories. For some campuses I may be able to squeeze in a box lunch for your troubles!

Our community presentations -- generally at the various Borders bookstores -- have seen a surge in attendance over the summer. A few weeks ago there were over 40 people mobbing me in Mission Valley! As a result, we are increasing the frequency to two a month so we don’t wear out our welcome with our community partners. Of course, I always welcome RPCVs at these events, as they are an ideal way to share your slides and experiences with prospective volunteers.

I’m grateful that I receive so much support from you guys. I’m looking forward to Marjory’s help at the International Day of Peace celebration at USD on September 19th. I am also excited to attend your social hour in September, and our office’s recruitment coordinator, Michael Salazar, will be able to make it in October. Hopefully we can bring some future PCVs with us!

I love help from anyone, as I really get bored of my own stories and I often get swamped with 4-5 students at a time. Possible free food at the many of the fairs -- and pockets full of free pens and trinkets from other recruiters!

9/6 Community Presentation (11-1) – Borders, Gaslamp
9/17 SDSU Info Table (10-2)
9/18 SDSU Information meeting (4-6)
9/19 USD Peace Fair (11-2)


10/1 USD Table (11-2)
10/2 SDSU Fall Career Fair (11-2)*
10/4 Community Presentation – Location TBD (11-1)
10/13 CSUSM Career Fair (11-2)
10/14 USD Grad School Fair (11-2)
10/14 Community Presentation - Borders, Mission Valley (6-8)
10/15 UCSD Grad School Fair (10-3)
10/16 SDSU Grad School Fair (11-2)*
10/20 UCSD Study Abroad Fair (10-3)
10/21 SDSU Study Abroad Fair (11-2)*
10/29 USD Campus Presentation (4-6)
10/30 SDSU Engineering/Science Fair (11-2)*

Keep spreading the word about the countries you served in and about Peace Corps, and I look forward to seeing you at an SDPCA event this fall.
--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!

  • Jason Carmichael, Mali, 2001-2003, Cameroon 2003-2004,
  • Harinder Chahal, Gambia, 2006-2008
  • Christie Edwards, Future PCV
  • Lisa Hartman,  
  • Seth Revels, Peru, 2004-2006
  • Douglas La Rose, Ghana 2005-2007
  • Brett Alan Serwalt, Vanuatu, 2006-2008
  • Lisa Marie Taylor, Ecuador 2006-2008
  • Danila Toscano, El Salvador, 2006-2008
  • Shane Wetherbee, Environmental Sanitation Volunteer, Paraguay 2000-2002

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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:

Editor
Liz Brown

Web Layout / Production
Don Beck, Lisa Eckl

Contributors this issue are:
Marjory Clyne, August Konrad, PCV, Ellen Shively ,Jonathon Fu, PCV, Rajeev Goyal, Sharon Kennedy Darrough, Kevin Quigley, Jill Dumbauld, Jacob Hall, Lisa Eckl, Kristen Slanina, Christopher Lee, Wash. Post, John Turnbull

 

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