Return to Home Page

About SDPCACalendar of EventsProgramsMembership InformationContact SDPCAMaking ConnectionsLinks to Related SitesSDPCA NewsletterInformation, News and CommentaryNewsletter Back Issues

Back issues are archived and links in them may not be current




San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter
March - April
2012 — Volume 25, Number 2

P O Box 26565, San Diego, CA 92196-0565

International Peace Days:
March - April 2012

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

Energy Day -
Women's Day -
Earth Day -
End Racism Day -
Water Day -

Tell The Truth Day -
Reconciliation Day -
World Health Day -
Hope Day -
Creativity Day -
Earth Day -

March 1
March 8
March 20
March 21
March 22

April 2
April 2
April 7
April 7
April 21
April 22

March 8 -- International Women's Day

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

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

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

“How important it is to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.”
-- Maya Angelou

"women themselves have the right to live in dignity, in freedom from want and freedom from fear. On this International Women's Day, let us rededicate ourselves to making that a reality.
-- Kofi Annan

April 22 -- Earth Day

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

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

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

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

The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials.
~ Rachel Carson

Quotes, Pictures and Descriptions from

Return to top of page

from NPCA

NPCA E-news - Jan 2012, Vol 8 No 1

We Have Moved!

Our lease was up, but we didn’t move far. On January 24 we moved upstairs in our current building. Our new address will be: National Peace Corps Association, 1900 L Street N.W., Suite 610, Washington, DC  20036.

The only thing that is changing is our suite number; our phone numbers and email addresses remain the same.

March 1 & on:
National Day of Action

For the eighth consecutive year, the NPCA will mark Peace Corps Week with a National Day of Action in Support of the Peace Corps on Thursday, March 1st.

Follow this link to read more about participating in the Day of Action. Join us on Capitol Hill if you can. If you can’t be in DC, plan on taking action from the comfort of your home.

NPCA Advocacy Coordinator Jonathan Pearson will participate in a January 27th Twitter Chat (#RPCVChat) to discuss the Day of Action and other advocacy activities. Follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/pcorpsconnect) and make plans to join the conversation.

Read more about the Day of Action

E-News Mini-Survey: Volunteering

In December we asked you about “green” products.  We learned that our readers (92% RPCV) usually buy “green” and that cost is the determining factor with “green” purchases. 
This month, we’d like to know how you feel about volunteering. Take our mini-survey to help us know you better!

Take the Mini-Survey

Save the Date: 2012 Annual Gathering in Minneapolis

Join us for the National Peace Corps Association’s first annual “Annual Gathering.” We are inviting you all to Minneapolis, Minnesota on the weekend of June 29-July 1, 2012 for an event that will inspire you to continue “bringing the world back home” while visiting with friends and having fun. Specific event details will be coming soon.

We want to give this event a Peace Corps inspired name - enter the contest to name the annual event! The winner will receive free conference registration. Visit our website for the Official Rules and Contest Entry Form.

Read More about  the Annual Gathering

from Global Ed News Jan 2012

Great Decisions 2012 classroom materials now available  

The Foreign Policy Association’s  (FPA) Great Decisions 2012 classroom materials - used by educators nationwide to stimulate thought-provoking debate on key global challenges of concern to U.S. policymakers and voters - are now available.  
The 2012 topics are:    
1. Middle East realignment
2. Promoting democracy
3. Mexico 
4. Cybersecurity 
5. Exit from Afghanistan & Iraq 
6. State of the oceans
7. Indonesia
8. Energy geopolitics

Learn more about the Great Decisions 2012 materials – including the briefing book, DVD and Teacher’s Guide – online at http://www.greatdecisions.org.

Starting in January, you can also access free materials and resources related to each of the Great Decisions 2012 topics at  http://www.greatdecisions.org.

Return to top of page

NOTE: NPCA has initiated Project 250K to find RPCVs whose whereabouts are currently unknown. More than 200,000 have served since Peace Corps was established. Efforts under the 50th PC Anniversary added almost 4,000 more; and NPCA asks all members, affiliates, etc., to continue the search. You can find more information at the NPCA page listed at the end of this article. –Ed

NPCA Searching for former PCVs: Project 256k seeks to update entire database

By Maria Saint, February 22, 2012 Ventura County Star.
Source Story: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/feb/22/

The National Peace Corps Association, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., is searching for former Peace Corps volunteers and staff members.

About 200,000 volunteers have joined the Peace Corps since its start in 1961, but the full list is missing.

The association says it added more than 3,900 to its listings in 2011. It hopes to identify 10,000 more in 2012 and finish the database by 2016.

The association, http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org, launched the Project 250K campaign Jan. 1 to search for volunteers and staff members issing from databases. The organization was inspired by how many people came forward during PC’s 50th anniversary and how groups successfully tracked down many more, according to NPCA President Kevin Quigley.

The association’s mission is to connect and support the Peace Corps community, and reaching and engaging more individuals “increases our ability to succeed at this goal,” Quigley said.

Among the returned Peace Corps volunteers are Linda Goetzinger in Camarillo, Clarice Hammett in Oak Park, and Kristofer and Jo Young in Ojai.

Goetzinger volunteered with her husband, Don, from 1966 to 1968 and worked at a community heath center in India. Now retired teachers, they are active in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Association in Ventura County.

For the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, celebrated in September in Washington, Goetzinger helped search for members from their group.

“That was an experience because we hadn’t seen many of them for 45 years, and so we had to find people again,” she said. “We had 38 people go to the 50th anniversary in D.C. for a reunion.”

The four-day event included a service day on which Goetzinger’s group helped at a soup kitchen and an advocacy day on which the returned volunteers met with legislators and talked about the importance of Peace Corps funding.

Goetzinger also attended a panel with journalist Bill Moyers and leaders from foreign countries.

“It was just amazing to hear them and how they all wanted the Peace Corps in their country,” Goetzinger said.

Like the Goetzingers, the Youngs were married when they volunteered for the Peace Corps. The couple, who have been married for 40 years, volunteered when Kristofer was 23 and Jo was 22. Kristofer, 60, is now a chiropractor and Jo, 59, is a massage therapist. They own Ventura Chiropractic & Massage.

They volunteered in Micronesia from 1974 to 1976. Couples were especially sought in that region because the Peace Corps had a lot of failed placements in Micronesia, Kristofer Young said.

“They would send single people out, but they would find themselves feeling very lonely, very isolated, and they would come back before their tour was up. They decided it might be smarter to try having couples go out, so we went as a group of couples,” he said.
The Youngs volunteered to be the only couple to go to an area that then had a population of 68.

“No stores, no doctors, no running water, which makes it sound kind of tough, but it was actually incredibly beautiful and wonderful, but pretty much everything you would think of as a customary, sort of convenience of our life here did not exist at all,” he said.

They lived on an island that was 2 miles wide and 3 miles long, the majority of it uninhabitable. Kristofer Young said his primary memory of his experience was when he and Jo were getting ready to leave to go back home and they received an offer from one of the villagers.

“He offered to give us some of his family’s land if we would stay. To me, I don’t know, he might as well have offered us one of his children — although we had that experience, too,” he said. “That kind of welcoming and thanks — to me, that says it all.”

Hammett, 27, works at the Study Abroad Center at California Lutheran University. She volunteered for the Peace Corps from 2006 to 2008 in Mauritania.

“I first heard about the Peace Corps from two friends of our family who served in Malawi, I think, in the ‘70s, and so I kind of grew up hearing about it. When I was an undergrad at Cal Lutheran, I heard a returned Peace Corps volunteer speak, who also was an alum of CLU, so that’s kind of when I started thinking about it more,” said Hammett, who majored in French and international studies.

She said one of her favorite things about being in Mauritania was having that contact with people.

“That was where I kind of realized that people are very different, but we all share things that are very similar: We all have families, we all have work, we’re all trying to make a living. And I just really enjoyed that connection I got to have with the people I met there,” she said.

The living conditions may not always be ideal, and homesickness is likely, but Goetzinger, the Youngs and Hammett encourage others to serve in the Peace Corps.

“I think it gives people an appreciation for what we have here in this country and also it tells you how most of the world lives, which is so different from most Americans,” Jo Young said.

Goetzinger said: “It was like a life-changing experience that in a sense defines who you are because it gives you a sense of service, a lifelong sense of service.”

NPCA site: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/findthe250k

Albany Times Union about Capitol region alumni searching...

National Journal about Quigley announcing ongoing search...

Return to top of page

NOTE: SDPCA Member Tina Silva recently started her encore service in Peru after serving in Tanzania from 2005 to 2007.  She has worked at the Fresno Zoo and the San Diego Zoo.  She gave SDPCA permission to print some excerpts from her e-mails, gathered by Sharon Kennedy. -ed.

Report from the Field

Tina Silva, Tanzania, 2005-07; Encore Volunteer, Peru 2012

About Tina’s assignment/site:  
It’s official now, I’ll be living in the department of Lambayeque which is in the north coast area of Peru. I will be in the NE area of Lambayeque near the district town of Olmos. My community is called Las Pampas and is only 12 kilometers north of Olmos. And the most amazing part is that I will be working with a ZOO!!!!!!! My zoo experience was the reason I was placed there and my counterpart who is assigned to work with me is one of the two employees at the zoo. It’s actually a zoo, breeding facility for cracids, and a rescue center that takes in animals confiscated by the government or police. I am so, so pumped and excited that I get to blend my Peace Corps experience with zoo experience. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect job. Now that’s the exciting part. 

The down side is that this is a small zoo in Peru. That means no funding, poor animal care, sometimes not enough food, always not enough water, and definitely not enough space or enrichment for the animals. This place is really about the birds.There is a bit of funding through a group in Germany for the birds specifically and because of that, the birds aren’t in too bad of a shape. They’ve got the basics, no enrichment, but decent space for most of them and usually enough food. 

The mammals on the other hand have it pretty bad. There is a kinkaju that was a confiscation, around 20 or so monkeys, a fox, a coati, some peccaries, peruvian dogs, and I’m sure I’m missing a couple from the list. There are also a couple boas and caiman. Standing in front of the monkeys, I must admit I cried a little bit. They’re super nervous and they act wierd and threaten you as you walk by and just seem so stressed and not right in the head. 

The two guys that work there have been working there for 20 years at least and have a lot of bird experience. My counterpart, Antonio, admits that the animals need better care, especially the mammals, but they just don’t know how to care for them. He said he’s never had any training with mammals. There’s no one around to train them and because its only two guys and so many animals, taking any time out of the day is difficult to do. So I like that he’s willing to admit there could be better care and is willing to learn. And I’m so happy that they’ve got the birds covered because I don’t know much about birds but feel like I can help make some great improvements with the mammals.

So there is a ton of work ahead of me but I feel like I can really make some positive changes with the zoo and look forward to working with them. The place is called Crax 2000. if you’re interested, check out their website http://www.craxperu.org.

About New Year Traditions:
Here are some other Peruvian New Years traditions. One is that you have to wear yellow underwear which I did. Some people even say you have to wear it inside out. Another is to wear yellow on New Years Day. You can eat 12 grapes for good luck. You can run around the block with a suitcase which is said to help you travel more in the year to come. Those are all the ones I can think of right now.

About her Radio Show:
Anita (another PCV) and I had the radio show to ourselves again yesterday. Anita talked about world news again and I talked about my animal for the week, the South American Coati. Then the rest of the show was devoted to trash. We talked about ways people get rid of trash here, the pros and cons of those ways, and we had a list of items and how long they take to decompose. The fact that 2 MILLION plastic beverage bottles are used every 5 minutes in the U.S alone and that it could take up to 400 years for each bottle to decompose. Yeah crazy, outragious numbers like that.

Although we did have a moment of complete unprofessionalism when Annie reread a word funny and we both had laughing fits. Like we had to excuse ourselves for like 10 seconds to just laugh and get under control. Ridiculous. We’re gonna get kicked off the air one of these days. It still boggles my mind that I’m doing a one hour talk radio show in Spanish here. Can you believe what they let us get away with here? What radio program in the states would give foreigners with little knowledge of English and no experience in radio a one hour spot without question to talk about the environment as if they’re experts? Pretty sure none.

Return to top of page

Tonner Int'l Support Fund (ISF) Grant Report

Rope-Pump, $312
PCV James Romine
Tola, Nicaragua

Greetings from Nicaragua!

Thanks to support from the San Diego Peace Corps Association, a new rope-pump has been installed by community members of La Cruz de España, Tola, Nicaragua.

Located in Southwest Nicaragua on an isthmus wedged between the Pacific Ocean and Lake Cocibolca, La Cruz de España consists of 80 inhabitants living primarily off subsistence farming of beans, rice, and corn. The terrain surrounding the community is hilly and relatively impassable. Vehicles must traverse a steep and unkempt dirt road that becomes muddy during the rainy season.

Due to inaccessibility, La Cruz de España has received little attention from local infrastructure initiatives, typically funded by the nearby mayor’s office. The community has no electricity, and prior to this project, drinking water had to be hauled via rope-and-bucket from a 30-meter well. The well was untopped and exposed to the open-air,   therefore mud, manure, and other detritus material were contaminating the water.

“What the heck is a rope-pump?” you might be asking. The concept is simple: a person rotates a wheel that pulls a long rope through a pvc pipe that extends to the bottom of the well. As the rope is pulled through the pvc pipe, suction is created that lifts water to the top of the well where users can collect it. It’s fast too! The pump can fill a 5 gallon bucket in about 40 seconds. This provides a huge improvement over arduously drawing water by hand, with only a rope and bucket.

Since 1983, rope-pumps have been professionally evaluated and promoted in Nicaragua as an effective water-supply technology-- due to their easy operation and maintenance. Because rope-pumps lack pistons, valves, pump rods, or other breakable parts, locals can easily repair the system.

Although La Cruz de España residents initially proposed a more complex pump design involving solar-panels, electric motor, and a water tank, consulting-engineers concluded that technical and maintenance requirements would compromise the system’s longevity. Community members therefore decided that a traditional “bomba de mecate” or rope-pump would provide the best solution.

So how’d everything go on installation day? After engineers delivered the parts, provided basic technical assistance, and gave instructions on maintaining the pump, community members were left to design their own cement and re-bar top for the well. This required an impressive degree of masonry and carpentry skills, as well as general creativity involving numerous resources from the community. Perhaps the most successful aspect of this project was the overall use of community resources and participation, providing reassurance that the pump will be fully operational for many years to come.

Juan Rafael Villareal Noguera, a local high-school teacher and community leader insists: ¡Este bomba es suavesisimo! Es mucho, mucho, mas fácil que lo que tuvimos antes. - “This pump is very smooth! It’s much, much easier than what we had before.”

Many thanks to supporters of the San Diego Peace Corps Association for allowing this small-funds project to make a huge difference for the community of La Cruz de España, Tola, Nicaragua.

–James Romine, PCV 2010-12, Tola, Nicaragua
Community Health Promoter
Photos from James Romine, PCV

Return to top of page

In Developing World, Solar Is Cheaper than Fossil Fuels

Advances are opening solar to the 1.3 billion people who don’t have access to grid electricity.

By Kevin Bullis, January 27, 2012

The falling cost of LED lighting, batteries, and solar panels, together with innovative business plans, are allowing millions of households in Africa and elsewhere to switch from crude kerosene lamps to cleaner and safer electric lighting. For many, this offers a means to charge their mobile phones, which are becoming ubiquitous in Africa, instead of having to rent a charger.

Technology advances are opening up a huge new market for solar power: the approximately 1.3 billion people around the world who don’t have access to grid electricity. Even though they are typically very poor, these people have to pay far more for lighting than people in rich countries because they use inefficient kerosene lamps. While in most parts of the world solar power typically costs far more than electricity from conventional power plants--especially when including battery costs--for some people, solar power makes economic sense because it costs half as much as lighting with kerosene.  

Hundreds of companies are swooping in to grab a piece of this market.

“This sector has exploded,” says Richenda Van Leeuwen, senior director for the Energy and Climate team at the United Nations Foundation. “There’s been a sea change in the last five years.”

The sudden interest is fueled by the advent of relatively low-cost LEDs, she says. Not long ago, powering lightbulbs required a solar panel that could generate 20 to 30 watts, since only incandescent lightbulbs were affordable. LEDs are far more efficient. Now people can have bright lighting using a panel that only generates a couple of watts of power, Van Leeuwen says.

But such technological improvements aren’t quite enough to open up the market. High-quality LED systems, with a pair of lamps and enough battery storage for several hours of lighting, cost less than $50. The systems can pay for themselves in less than two years, but the upfront cost is still too steep for many people. 

Eight19, a company based in Cambridge, U.K., is one of several companies offering some type of payment plan to make the systems affordable. Customers pay $10 for the solar lighting system, which includes a 2.5-watt solar panel, two LED overhead lamps, and a lithium-iron phosphate battery pack. Then they pay a weekly fee for the power it generates.

Each week, users buy a scratch card for about $1 from a local vendor. It gives them a number that they text to Eight19 for verification. The company sends them a verification code that they enter into a keypad on the battery pack. The code electronically unlocks the device for a week, allowing the battery to supply power to the LEDs or to a phone charger.

Several other companies, including major telecoms, are trying variants on this pay-as-you-go approach. One thing that sets Eight19 apart is that after a customer has covered the cost of the device—typically in about 18 months—he or she can trade up for a bigger one with a larger solar panel, a bigger battery, and more lights, and the capacity to power a small radio. In this way, using only the money they would have been spending on kerosene or for renting phone chargers, they can gradually get to the point where they have enough power for, say, a refrigerator, or a money-making appliance such as a sewing machine, says Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Eight19.

Eight19 has tested the system with several hundred customers, and it is starting a project to sell 4,000 systems in cooperation with the NGO Solar Aid, which will help with distribution.

But Eight19 is a relatively small player so far. More established companies such as D.light have sold over one million solar lighting systems. Bransfield-Garth sees a lot of room for growth. “The poorest people are paying disproportionately high prices for their needs,” he says. “Solar power works well in this market.” 

–from MIT Technology Review March/April 2012.
  Eight19 Website: http://www.eight19.com/

Return to top of page

12 Reasons to Date a Returned
Peace Corps Volunteer

By Erica Burman
Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Valentine’s Day!  A day when we celebrate friendship, love, and romance.  Through the years here at the NPCA, we’ve heard countless stories of Peace Corps romance.  The couples that met  on the way to training or while serving. The PCVs that fell in love with a host country national.  And the RPCVs that connected in the States, discovering that the shared bond of Peace Corps service was the spark that led to a relationship.

Peace Corps is a life-changing experience that develops a unique set of skills and attributes, which leads to:  Returned Peace Corps Volunteers make GREAT dates.  To prove it, we’ve started a list.

  1. We can woo you in multiple languages. Who else is going to whisper sweet nothings to you in everything from Albanian to Hausa to Quechua to Xhosa? That’s right. Only a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.

  2. We’re pretty good dancers. Yeah, we don’t like to brag, but after 27 months in Latin America or Africa we know how to move it.

  3. We’ll eat anything. Seriously. No matter how bad your cooking, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have had worse and will eat it with nary a blink. Sheep’s eyeball? Water buffalo gall bladder? Grasshoppers? Bush rat? Bring it.

  4. We know all about safe sex, thanks to our very thorough Peace Corps health training. In fact, there’s a chance that we’ve stood unblushingly in front of hundreds of villagers and demonstrated good condom technique with a large wooden phallus.

  5. We’ll kill spiders for you. Well, actually, we’ll nonchalantly scoop them up and put them out of sight. Same goes for mice, geckos, frogs, snakes. Critters don’t faze Returned Volunteers.

  6. We have great date ideas: wandering a street market, checking out a foreign film, taking in a world music concert, volunteering…. Romantic getaway? Our passport is updated and our suitcase is packed. With us, life is always an adventure.

  7. We like you for “you”… not your paycheck. Especially if we are freshly back from service, a local joint with “character” will win out over a pretentious eatery. Living in a group house? No problem. Does it have running hot water? What luxury!

  8. You won’t get lost when you’re with a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Navigating local markets on four continents, we’ve honed an uncanny sense of direction. Or else we’ll ask for directions. We’re not afraid to talk to “strangers.”

  9. Waiting for a late train or bus with us? Don’t worry. Been there, done that. We can share lots of funny stories about “the bus ride from hell” that will make the time go quickly and put it all into perspective.

  10. Our low-maintenance fashion style. Returned Peace Corps Volunteer guys are secure in their manhood and don’t mind rocking a sarong. Women often prefer flip flops to high heels. We don’t spend hours in front of a mirror getting ready to go out.

  11. Marry us, and you won’t just get one family — you’ll get two! When we refer to our “brother” or “mom,” you’ll want to be certain we’re talking about our American one or our Peace Corps one. You might even get two wedding ceremonies, one in the U.S. and one back in our Peace Corps country.

  12. And last but not least, we aren’t afraid to get dirty.

Do you have a story of a Peace Corps romance?  Other reasons to add?
–submitted by several members for the newsletter.

Return to top of page

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. –Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

President's Message

Sharing Experiences

At a recent SDPCA event, I met two young women who had COSed from their Peace Corps service in the past few months. Talking with them evoked strong memories of my own experience returning home over 20 years ago.   I was excited to share with my family and friends all that had happened over the previous two years. Of course, they were only minimally interested in the details though every one seemed to appreciate the story about eating lizards.

In those first few months back,  it was evident that two years in rural Thailand brought about changes in me.  I became an early riser. Funny, I had a hard time making it to 8am classes during college but in Thailand, I learned to rise with the sun, something I still do.   My sister-in-law told me I was so much calmer; I like to think she meant so much more mature but I’m pretty sure she meant I was OK with doing nothing for hours on end (many nights without electricity and 10 hour long bus rides taught me how to pass the time without becoming bored). I remember my mom imploring me to wear some makeup (“even just some lipstick”).  After two years of cold bucket baths, jeans and flip flops, and life in a small village where no one wore make up, I had lost all sense of vanity, at least the kind that was expected in Orange County in the early 90s.  I remember reconnecting with some college friends to find that they were still going out to the same bars we frequented two years earlier.  That was a reassuring moment–I will be forever grateful that I spent those two years having the adventure of a lifetime rather than extending my college ways.

In recent months, I have also spent time with people who began their Peace Corps service in the 1960s – over twenty years before I started my service.  Those conversations also evoked memories of my own experience.  I think that is what connects us all, no matter when or where we served.  We may not be able to relate to the specifics of each other’s service but surely we can all relate to the experience of leaving what you know, immersing into another culture, trying to do some good, and then returning home to get reacquainted with our own culture all over again.  

I hope to see you at some SDPCA events soon.

–Sharon Kennedy, SDPCA President, Thailand (1989-91)

Return to top of page

Board Minutes

Board Meetings, September and October, 2011

Jan 10, 2012
Attendance: Sharon Kennedy, Ashley Smallwood, Courtney Baltiyskyy, Sarah Furhmann, Carl Sepponen, Celeste Colman, Gregg Pancoast.   Not present: Lynne Graham, Kris Slanina

President:  Please send stories from events that you are responsible for to Don Beck to put in Newsletter.

CFO:  Everything looks good.

International Support Fund:  (1) School Painting and plaster, Albania, $325.00. More information needed--application was abandoned.  (2) Women’s group in the DR: showed interest; application coming.

Membership: 57 people are currently paid members.

Fundraising: Calendar: There are 15 Calendars left.  Entertainment books: $20 for every book you sold.  A raffle will be held for the remaining items from the silent auction.

Recent Events:
International dinner- November 17th- 20 people showed up to the dinner. SDPCA raised approximately $50 at the event. The food was excellent—consider venue for next year.

Holiday Party:  Sherman Heights community center--spacious and accommodating. The band was quite loud—perhaps amplification is not needed. Decorations: all very festive. Healthy amount of food, but lacking beverages: consider providing beverages next year.  Silent Auction Carl: Book sale: many books not in shape to sell. Next year we could specify good quality donations. A total of $950 was raised. We should emphasize that the auction is a fundraiser. More set-up time is needed for an event; one hour is not enough.  Ideas for next year: A dessert auction. Inviting local businesses selling international merchandise.  

Tentative 2012 Events:
Jan 14 River Clean-Up Celeste –Lunch will be held at California Pizza Kitchen in Mission valley to follow.
Feb 16 - Happy Hour  Ashley. Village Pizzeria: Coronado 6:30pm. Evite to go out February 1st.
Mar 15 – Happy Hour  Gregg. Send in venue by February 15th for the Newsletter.
Mar 24 – Walking Tour of TJ  Sharon. Jerry would like this to be a big event. Meet at the border at 11am at the last trolley stop.
Apr19 – Happy Hour  Lynne. Perhaps change the date so that it is not so close to Earth Day. Decision needs to be made by February 15th.
Apr 22 – Earth Day Marjory. We need a new pop-up canopy: the board approves this cost.
May 12 – Annual Meeting  Everyone. The venue should be inside: Santa Clara Point Recreation center in Mission Bay will most likely be our venue.

Adjourn:  8:11pm
Next Meeting: February 7th at 6:30pm: at Gregg´s

February 7th, 2012
7:32 pm Open meeting
Attendance: Ashley Smallwood, Courtney Baltiyskyy , Sarah Furhmann, Carl Sepponen, Celeste Colman, Gregg Pancoast, Lynne Graham, Kris Slanina.  Not present: Sharon Kennedy.

President   We must submit annual NPCA renewal by February 29. Sharon will do it. They ask for $20.

CFO   Balance Sheet is at $12,301.55. Calvert Foundation terms are 1 year at .5% the rest goes to the microenterprise foundation.

International Support Fund  (1) A new letter will be drafted to country directors, a new application will be drafted for the ISF.  (2) Burkina Faso inquiry re: an ISF grant in nutritional education program/microenterprise for equipment needed to make/ sell soy milk, tofu and liquid soap.   Proposal needs revising. (3) Books in Cameroon were delivered to Tobel rather than to the original site. (4) Looking for more ways to advertise program.

Membership  69 current paid members.

Fundraising  Entertainment books made $600 this year. Opportunity drawing will be held in May with the extra items that did not sell in the silent auction at the Holiday Party. Books will be donated in May for donation by members.

Recent Events January 14 River Clean-Up/Lunch 11 SDPCA members participated.

Tentative 2012 Events:
Feb 16 - Pizza at Village Pizzeria in Coronado at 6:30pm
March 15 – Happy Hour at Monkey Paw Downtown Greg. 6:30pm.
March 24 – Walking Tour of TJ.  Sharon. Meet at border 11:45 Lunch at 1pm. $22 per person.  50% deposit. RSVPs  REQUIRED - (no E-vite.
April 19 – Dinner or Happy Hour  Details to be announced by Lynne.
April 22 – Earth Day Marjory. We do have a booth. Voluntters needed.
May 12 – Annual Meeting  Sarah/Carl  Santa Clara Rec Ctr.. Award to a local group that emphasizes the 3rd goal of Peace Corps.   

Adjourn:  8:30pm.   Next Meeting: March 13th, 6:30pm at Ashley´s
–Ashley Smallwood, SDPCA Secretary, Ecuador 2004-07.

Return to top of page

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint - and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you. 
–Oprah Winfrey (1954-), O Magazine, September 2002

Return to top of page

Welcome New Members!

SDPCA extends a warm welcome to our newest members. It’s great to have you here. Join in the activities -- we can always use more help! We’ve seen some of you at events already.

Brenda Terry-Hahn will contact you to connect you to a section of our site with tips useful in readjusting to the USA, and specifically in relocating / returning to San Diego. This Survival Guide has been designed from our own local RPCV experiences. You can contact Brenda at: newmembers@sdpca.org

Monica Johnson, Romania,  2008-11
• Margaret Goll, Mozambique, 2009 - 11
Esther Gweon, Mozambique, 2009 - 11
Justin Hitchcock, Dominican Republic,2009 - 11
Maya Redfield, PCV in South Africa, COS 2012
Renee Bell, Zambia, 2009 -11

India is on the verge of a polio-free future
On Friday, India will reach the one-year mark of registering not a single polio case, dealing a significant blow to a disease that remains endemic in only three other countries -- Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan. Indian authorities, with the help of domestic and international aid agencies, have pursued a massive, sustained battle to raise awareness and vaccinate Indian children against polio. Hamid Jafari of the World Health Organization said, “The importance of India can’t be overstated. This establishes beyond doubt that ... it is possible to stop transmission even in extremely challenging conditions.” (Washington Post. Jan 11)
–UN Wire Jan 12, 2012

Solar power affordability drives development
The falling prices of technology associated with solar power are opening up the possibility of shifting away from fossil fuels for millions across the developing world. About 1.3 billion people worldwide are without steady access to an affordable power source. Richenda Van Leeuwen, senior director for Energy and Climate at the United Nations Foundation, said, “This sector has exploded. There’s been a sea change in the last five years.” MIT Technology See article above.
–UN Wire Jan 27, 2012

President Obama Proposes Level Funding for Peace Corps in Fiscal Year 2013 
President Obama released full details of his Fiscal Year 2013 budget to Congress this morning.
Included in his request is an allocation of $375 Million for the Peace Corps.  This represents level funding in relation to the current fiscal year.  The request remains just over six percent below the $400 Million appropriation Peace Corps received during the 2010 fiscal year.

Peace Corps funding will be one of the issues we will be acting on during March 1st.

Online - more details:
– NPCA Advocacy, Feb 13, 2012

Hire an RPCV: NPCA’s Online Job Site
The National Peace Corps Association has just launched a public job site -- jobs.peacecorpsconnect.org -- specifically for the Peace Corps community and those looking to recruit Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for positions.  For a limited time, employers can post their jobs to the site for free.

RPCVs can also post their resumes so that they will be seen by employers looking for the unique skills that RPCVs possess. Tell your friends! Tell your employers! Hire RPCVs!
–NPCA enews February 2012, Vol. 8 No. 2  


Madécasse makes world-class, award-winning “bean-to-bar” chocolate in Madagascar -- where the RPCV company founders Tim McCollum and Brett Beach served. Each bar produces more than seven times the economic impact of conventional chocolate.  

Try one of their extraordinary products to benefit the National Peace Corps Association mission. Write “NPCA25” in the comment box at check out and NPCA will receive 25% of the proceeds of your purchase.
Purchase Madécasse Chocolate: http://www.madecasse.com/
–NPCA enews February 2012, Vol. 8 No. 2

Return to top of page

Annual Tijuana Tour/Luncheon – 3/24/12 – RSVP Required!

Join SDPCA’s annual walking tour and luncheon in Tijuana!  This is a great way to see Tijuana, get to know other SDPCA members and just have fun.  

SDCPA member Jerry Sodomka has arranged for a wonderful meal (including vegetarian options) in our own banquet room at the Real de Potosi Restaurant (above).  The meal will be $22 – beer/wine extra.  

  • We’ll meet at the north end of the last trolley stop at 11:45am
  • Bring your passport
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes
  • $22 cash for lunch --
    (plus extra if you want to purchase beer or wine) 
  • If time permits, we’ll visit the Tijuana Cultural Center.

We need to give an exact head count to the restaurant, so please RSVP to Sharon Kennedy at president@SDPCA.org by March 15th.

Return to top of page

Clean-Up San Diego River Fashion Valley - Luncheon After 1/14/12

On Saturday, January 14, nine RPCV adults and two kids joined in with the larger effort at the San Diego River behind Fashion Valley Mall to clean up trash. I Love a Clean San Diego members gave us a safety talk and issued each person gloves, long handled grippers, and two plastics bags - one for trash and one for recycling. We spent the morning cleaning up trash along the river.

What a treasure the river is - such a beautiful place, especially now that 5,100 pounds of trash were removed! After all of our hard work, we adjourned to the nearby California Pizza Kitchen for a pizza lunch.

Special thanks for SDPCA board member Celeste Coleman for coordinating this event!

-Sharon Kennedy, Thailand 1989-91

Return to top of page

Village Pizzeria in Coronado 2/16/12

Return to top of page

Cachupa Recipe: Cape Verde’s National Dish


    • 1 lb. hominy corn
    • 1/2 lb large lima beans
    • 1 lb. pork or fish
    • 4 large potatoes
    • 2 large sweet potatoes
    • 2 handfuls of baby carrots
    • 1 to 2 cups butternut squash
    • 1 to 2 cups collard greens
    • olive oil
    • chicken bullion cubes
    • seasoning salt
    • garlic powder
    • black pepper
    • dried red pepper
    • 1 green pepper
    • 1 large onion
    • 4 plum tomatoes
      1-2 Tbsp garlic


  1. Pre-soak corn in water and let sit overnight.
  2. Drain water and wash thoroughly before cooking.
  3. In a large pan marinate meat in olive oil, seasoning salt, garlic powder, red & black pepper, garlic, green pepper, onion and tomatoes.
  4. Set aside for at least 45 minutes.
  5. In a very large pan heat corn, lima beans and water to a full boil. Let boil until corn is soft, approximately 1-1/2 hrs.
  6. Periodically stir and add water to keep corn from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Heat meat over medium heat stirring frequently until browned.
  8. Add water and chicken bullion cubes, simmering meat until tender.
  9. When corn and limas are both soft and meat is tender, drain limas and corn and combine with meat and broth.
  10. Add additional water and seasoning to taste.
  11. Bring to boil and add vegetables.
  12. Cook until veggies are soft (20-30 minutes).

Serves a large Cape Verdean family. Cachupa is especially delicious the next day. Refry it in margarine until relatively dry then top with a fried egg and chourico (Portugese sausage).

¡Que saboroso!

Contributed by Ashley Brooks, RPCV, Cape Verde, 1993-96

–submitted by Brenda Terry-Hahn, Nepal, 1964-66

Return to top of page

Newsletter Credits

Pacific Waves is published six times a year by the San Diego Peace Corps Association which is fully responsible for its content. Except for copyrighted material, articles may be reprinted without permission with credit to the SDPCA.

Contributions (articles, letters, photos, etc.) welcomed! Easiest if already a text or Word file on disk, Mac or PC -- BUT typed copy is fine too. Photos: 300-600 dpi best, Mac or PC formats welcomed.

Please send to NewsEditor, SDPCA, P.O.Box 26565, San Diego, CA 92196 or email to:

Don Beck, Interim Editor

Web Layout / Production
Don Beck

Contributors this issue are:
Celeste Coleman,  Brenda Terry-Hahn, Sharon Kennedy, Sarah Fuhrmann, Erica Berman, NPCA, Maria Saint, Tina Silva, Encore PC, James Romaine, PCV, Courtney Taylor, Carl Sepponen, Ashley Smallwood, Kevin Bulli

Return to top of page