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January - February 2007— Volume 20, Number 1

Index: click on your choice...

NPCA Advocacy

Director Tschetter Visits Volunteers' Sites
First Overseas Visit .............Director Visits Jordan

RPCV Returns to Ravaged Congo

Letter to the Editor: Statement of Conscience

See What You Missed?

Pres Msg: The Simplest Things

Board Minutes--Nov/Dec06


Got a Punga?

San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter
NOTE: SDCA email addresses here are no longer clickable to prevent roaming spam servers reading them. Sorry for the inconvenience- 9/05


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Holiday Card to SDPCA...

Hello to all. We are marking two months for Noah today and wanted to wish you all the best in 2007. Noah is doing well, just visited the doctor and we were told he is close to 12 pounds and 23 inches in length. Clearly growing fast with those Tongan genes

I cannot believe that only a month remains until I return to work. Soni is excited that his month off is only a month away. We are looking forward to our bay area visit January 22-29th.

Noah is cooing, smiling and doing his best to control his head. Here is a photo from two months exactly. It is also a photo of the family in front of our first Molimoli family Christmas tree.

Love to you all.
Elizabeth, Soni and Noah

[Elizabeth Brown (Tonga 2001-2003) was editor of Pacific Waves 2004 - 2006. Happy New Year to you three too! You remind us of the best in all of us!! -ed]

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NPCA Advocacy

Results Require your Continued Support

In recent years, generous grants and other support allowed the National Peace Corps Association to revive its advocacy program. Not long ago, Dave Hibbard, a past member of NPCA Board and long-time advocacy leader sent us this message:

“Never in my memory have we had such a sustained advocacy effort as what you have put together.”

This sustained advocacy effort produced these accomplishments:

  • Legislative Victories - Chief among them our successful removal of Peace Corps references in a military recruitment program
  • Support for Peace Corps Funding - Including a three-fold jump in Representatives and Senators signing letters supporting a higher level of funding
  • Expanded Advocacy Options - Including resources and action opportunities on trade justice, climate change, HIV/AIDS and international development
  • Capitol Hill Advocacy Day 2006 - Nearly 100 RPCVs held 90 meetings with lawmakers on Peace Corps funding and trade justice
  • Reaching Out to You - Advocacy staff visited 19 states and conducted more than 50 trainings and meetings with the Peace Corps community

We want to continue building on these accomplishments. But we need your support to make sure that our program continues without interruption.

If you are pleased with the accomplishments of the NPCA advocacy program, please give generously.Visit their website at

Equally important, we welcome your comments on how to further strengthen NPCA advocacy program. Please contact and share your thoughts.

With best wishes and appreciation for your support,

Kevin F. F. Quigley
President, National Peace Corps Association

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New PC Director Welcomed
by Moroccans and Volunteers

First Overseas Visit

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2006 – Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter traveled to the Kingdom of Morocco from November 9-13—his first official trip—to meet with Peace Corps Volunteers and government officials. Tschetter, the 17th director of the Peace Corps, was a Peace Corps Volunteer in India from 1966-68 with his wife, Nancy, who accompanied him in Morocco.

Shortly after his arrival in Morocco, Director Tschetter met with Peace Corps Volunteers serving in a variety of programs in the four sectors of environment, youth development, health, and small business development.

His first visit was to Lindsay Kurlak, of Pittsburgh, who is working with a women’s artisan association in a village near Marrakech, helping them to develop more marketable textile products, a computer training program, and better business skills.

Volunteer Lindsay Kurlak and Director Tschetter
stand in front of an embroidered cloth hanging, representing the work of the women’s textile association.

In a meeting with Director Tschetter, Atika Ait Nejjar, the president of the women’s artisan association, and Kurlak’s local counterpart, said, “I want to thank the Peace Corps for its help with the artisan community. Lindsay has touched our lives and expanded our opportunities.”

Director Tschetter also visited second year environment Volunteer Carly Edwards, of Fenton, Mich., at her site. Edwards is serving as a liaison between the park staff and the local people to assist with sustainable natural resource-based economic development projects. During a nature walk around the lake, Edwards showed Director Tschetter how she monitors regional bird species and works to promote eco-tourism and environmental education practices. Edwards also is involved with numerous secondary projects focusing on empowering girls and women in Morocco.

Director Tschetter visited another small business development Volunteer, Nam LaMore, who has over 15 years of Silicon Valley, Calif., marketing experience.

LaMore is providing training to woodworking artisans to improve their sales profit and explore new markets for their cedar wood goods

Volunteer Nam LaMore and a local artisan show a carving from the wood working cooperative.

“Nam is a great example of how relevant Peace Corps’ three goals remain after 45 years,” said Director Tschetter. “Nam has brought his training and unique background to the woodworkers and has integrated into the community. Not only is Nam creating a better understanding of Americans here in Morocco, but he has a deep appreciation of Moroccans that he will bring back to the United States to share.”

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Riley, a strong supporter of the Peace Corps, hosted Director Tschetter at a reception honoring the Peace Corps, attended by many of Morocco’s government officials, including the Minister of Health.

“I am very impressed and pleased with the warm welcome of the Moroccan people, and the tremendous work of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco. The Peace Corps Volunteers are all serving at the grassroots level, providing valuable skills and forming strong friendships with the Moroccan people,” said Director Tschetter.

Later, Director Tschetter visited Tia Tucker, a youth development Volunteer from Sulfur, La. Tucker is teaching English and developing youth programs in a mid-Atlas Mountain community vocational school for girls.
Tucker observed how eager the young women in her community are to learn English and experience American culture through her creative instruction of film, handicraft projects, and the choreography of hip-hop dance.

Director Tschetter participates in Volunteer Tia Tucker’s English class

In addition to meeting current Volunteers, Director Tschetter met many of the 54 Peace Corps trainees in Morocco, who will be sworn-in shortly. The trainees include several married couples, including one couple who will bring significant experience to their work as Peace Corps small business development Volunteers.

Since 1963, more than 3,800 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Morocco, one of the three Muslim Arab countries in which Peace Corps operates. Today, there are 139 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Morocco. Currently, 20 percent of all Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in predominately Muslim countries.

–story and photos from eace Corps Website:

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Director Tschetter discusses the Peace Corps program in Jordan with His Majesty King Abdullah II and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah.

Director Visits Jordan

As part of his first overseas trip, Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter arrived in Amman on a five-day official visit to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and met His Majesty King Abdullah II and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. Director Tschetter also met U.S. Ambassador David Hale, and spent much of his time in Jordan meeting with government officials, and visiting with Peace Corps Volunteers around the country.

The Jordanian government and communities are strong supporters of the service that Peace Corps Volunteers provide for their country.
In his meeting with King Abdullah, Director Tschetter said, “I am here to thank you and the Jordanian people for the strong support of Peace Corps Volunteers. The Peace Corps looks forward to continuing our friendship with your country and expanding the program in Jordan in the near future.”

More than 300 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Jordan, since the Hashemite Kingdom invited the Peace Corps in 1997. Currently 53 Peace Corps Volunteers are living and working in Jordan’s rural communities, in the areas of youth development, teaching English as a foreign language, and participating in special education programs designed for the physically and mentally challenged.

–Text and photo taken from Peace Corps Website:

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RPCV Returns to Ravaged Congo

By Beth Duff-Brown
25 Nov 2006

Stiff and weary from 100 miles down a rutted dirt road, I was grateful when signs of the village finally appeared: the sour smell of manioc root, smoke from brush fires set to scatter the snakes, thatched roofs backlit by the setting salmon sun.

Beth Duff-Brown and her former Peace Corps cook, Tshinyama Mwananzoi, left, share lunch with other family members and friends in Kamponde, Congo.

I waved at barefoot children; some of their faces froze in fear at seeing their first white woman. Women in soiled sarongs, buckets of water or bundles of sweet-potato leaves on their heads, bolted into the bush when the grinding gears of the 4x4 frightened them.

I saw no familiar faces. I was not surprised. The average life span here is 50 years, and I had been gone a long time. Would anyone know that I had kept my promise to return?

Since my last visit, civil war had devastated the Congo. It wasn’t a war over ideology or religion or tribal hatreds. It was a war over which warlord would get to exploit the country’s vast mineral wealth. It was about power and greed.

Kamponde had escaped the fighting, but there was no escaping the disease and privation that it caused. Nearly 4 million had died, making it the deadliest conflict since World War II.

Even today, 1,200 Congolese die daily from the indirect effects of the war. How many, I wondered, have been from this village of 5,000 — from my village?

I first arrived on their mud-hut doorsteps in 1979, a freckle-faced Peace Corps volunteer come to teach their children English. It was here in Kamponde that I first felt the heady rushes of teaching a class and of dancing around a fire. It was here that I prayed for rain so I could wash my long hair. I discovered the simple pleasure of sitting alone, and walked behind mothers carrying babies to their graves.

In 1981, when my two-year tour was over, the Peace Corps shut down the post in Kamponde because of spreading corruption and chaos.
The Peace Corps never came back, but in 1996 I did, renewing ties with the people who’d looked after me when I was just a girl.

They were amazed to see me then, but sad to learn I had no children of my own. Children are a symbol of hope and the measure of prosperity here. As we said our goodbyes, the people of Kamponde promised to call on their gods to bless me with child.

Now I was back again, fearing the worst but hoping to find a few familiar faces—hoping there was someone who once knew me left to look at pictures of Caitlin, my blue-eyed little girl. Someone I could thank for the prayers.

The face I most longed for was that of Tshinyama Mwananzoi, the sweet man who cooked for the Peace Corps volunteers. I could still picture him wiping his hands on an apron fashioned from an old flour sack, his amber eyes red-rimmed from the hot coals that boiled his pili-pili pepper sauce and baked his sweet banana bread. But he would have been well past the average life span by now.

Moments after I arrived, the village priest gazed into the darkening sky and said the cook who had worked for the foreigners had passed.
Then where was his grave, I demanded to know, with a bitterness that caught both of us by surprise.

“Miss Elizabeth?” villagers murmured wonderingly. They were gathering about me by the wooden doors of the red brick church as the moon rose above the mango trees. There is no electricity here and few can afford kerosene for their lamps, so the stars shone brighter than any I had seen in many years.

Joseph, barefoot and trembling in his threadbare white shirt, was the first familiar face to emerge from the shadows. And there was Joseph’s neighbor, Placide, and their elderly wives, too.

“I thank God for inspiring you to come back, remembering the place where you once taught our children,” Joseph said.

Years ago, Joseph’s and Placide’s children had peppered me with questions, letting me practice my Tshiluba, the Bantu dialect spoken here: How does the sun stay up in the sky? Is it true Americans have magic boxes that carry them from one floor to the next? Was your president really just a peanut farmer like ours?

Those children were grown men and women now — those who had survived. One in five children here die before age 5.

Ten years ago, people had too much dignity to ask me flat out for money, for food, for the shoes on my feet. Now, such demands exhausted me by the end of each day.

Nearby, the classrooms where I once taught were a deathly quiet. Later, I sat at one of the wooden desks where someone had carved sweetheart initials slashed by an arrow. A gentle breeze came off the savanna through windows that had not seen glass in years.

The school’s electrical power and running water are now just a memory. The cafeteria had burned down and the dormitories had been boarded up. But when I closed my eyes, I could still hear the wolfish laughter of my first class of rowdy 12th graders.

They had frightened and infuriated me by making smooching sounds when I turned to the board, but won me back by respectfully averting their eyes when a gust blew open my wraparound skirt.

Now, most of the students were out in the fields, their backs bent as they planted peanuts, corn, manioc and beans before the rainy season set in. The teachers, who had not been paid in two months, were on strike.

Yes, it was unfair, the headmaster shrugged, but sacks of government currency needed to pay them had not arrived. It couldn’t come by train because the railroad was on strike. It wasn’t coming by road because few commercial vehicles are moving now. Not with the country’s infrastructure in shambles after the long war. Not with the price of gasoline fluctuating as high as $15 a gallon. When the payroll comes, it probably will be by bicycle.

Marceline Kanyi Mushimbi, 43, and Kamulombo Mutongo, 46, lamented their status as unpaid teachers. Once, they had been among my favorite students. She was shy but determined to graduate as one of a handful of girls alongside hundreds of boys. He would jump off his bench with a radiant grin to pick the pronoun or fill in the verb. A married couple now, they work the fields to feed their eight children.

“We are intellectuals, but our hands are all torn up from machetes, hoes and working under the sun,” Kanyi said. “The villagers mock us: `Look at you, the smart ones who went to school.’”

Ten years ago, Marie Kabuanga Mutanga was a beautiful young woman who charmed me into giving her some clothes and lipstick.

Now 28, she lay on a rattan mat on the dirt floor of her hut, a tin cup with plastic rosary beads and a twig of bougainvillea beside her balding head. She was too weak to speak, but her hands plucked at the mat. Her bones poked painfully into the hard ground.

A parasite, insisted her mother, one of the village prostitutes; but Sister Kapinga Clementine, the Catholic nun who works in the village maternity clinic, said Marie was dying from the “four-letter word.”

It’s a word no one here likes to say out loud. And yet, AIDS is not Kamponde’s greatest killer. More die of malaria, of parasites, of tuberculosis, of colds that turn into pneumonia for lack of medicine.

With little moving by road or rail, there’s no way to hitch a ride to the nearest hospital, 100 miles away. “Sometimes we try to take them by bicycle,” Sister Clementine said, “and some of them just die on the way.”

Some medicines find their way here, but few can afford them. At the village’s small pharmacy, I saw a man pay 58 cents for a five-day supply of quinine for his malaria-infected 8-year-old daughter. That’s double the daily income for the average Congolese.

Marie’s eyes, made larger by her hollowed cheeks, pleaded silently. There was little I could do for her. It brought back the helplessness I have often experienced here -- the feeling of being useless, of raising hopes that will not be met.

At the village’s one small shop, I order a foam pad to make her last days a bit more comfortable. The shopkeeper dispatched a kid on a two-day bicycle journey to fetch it from another village 45 miles away.

Later, before I left Kamponde, another pretty young woman who cooks and cleans at the Catholic mission sweetly asked me for some lipstick.

The Hutu woman was stick-thin, with wild hair. She and her husband had fled into the bush when I first arrived in the village.

They were refugees from the genocide in neighboring Rwanda, where Hutus and Tutsis had slaughtered one another in vast numbers in the mid 1990s. Thousands of Hutus had fled to the Congo, pursued by Tutsis and a Congolese warlord allied with them. Many were killed along the way. This couple, somehow, had made it to Kamponde.

She ran from me, Anatazi Mukaluzita now told me, because she feared I had come to drag her back to Rwanda. Her husband was still hiding, she said, but “I told him, ‘We are already dead, so I might as well just talk to her.’”

She wept with relief when, through a Swahili-speaking interpreter, I told her I only wanted to hear her story. She wasn’t sure how she and her husband made it this far, she said. She didn’t know the fate of her six children. But she was grateful that the village had taken them in, allowing them to work the fields in exchange for food.

Later, some villagers told me the Hutu couple was forced to work like slaves.

Late one night, a man bicycled by moonlight for miles to catch me before bed. I could not see him in the dark, but heard others greet him as he approached. I tried not to cry as I listened to the elders asking him about his hunts, his grandchildren, the village where he now lives.

He came toward me from the shadows; we embraced awkwardly, a middle-aged American woman and an old African hunter with a dark beard -- two people who never thought they would see each other again.
“Ahh-ahh-ahh, Miss Elizabeth, I can’t believe it, you kept your promise,” Tshinyama said in his singsongy voice.

The village priest had confused him with another cook who had died several years ago. That made Tshinyama furious. It was bad luck, he said, to talk of his death.

After I left Kamponde in 1981, I had arranged for Tshinyama to move to Kananga and cook at the regional Peace Corps house there. The job lasted until 1991, when the Peace Corps abandoned the country altogether because of the rioting and violence.

Tshinyama walked home and intended to go back to his fields. But, he explained, other family members had taken over his crops. So he packed up his brood and, at age 45, moved to Mfuamba Kabang, some four miles southeast of Kamponde, to start a new life. By now, his Marie had given birth to 12 children, but had lost at least five.

Later, someone would tell me Tshinyama left Kamponde because he feared a spell had been cast against his family, causing their babies to die.

We asked each other many questions about friends and family, joked about who had put on the most weight, grown the most gray hair.

“Maybe you can never forget me,” Tshinyama said, “because your belly was always full.”

Men returned from the forest balancing jugs of palm wine on sticks across their shoulders. Cooks boiled manioc and corn flower to make hot mounds of sticky bread known as fou-fou. A fat black goat was led toward the big black cauldrons behind the church.

My party for the village cost $100 -- double what I spent on a similar affair 10 years ago. Everything costs more now, and people have less money. The per capita income in the Congo is lower today than it was when the country broke from Belgium colonialism 46 years ago.

As bamboo xylophones and goatskin drums warmed up the crowd, the men laughed and guzzled wine and corn whiskey. The women danced, and I got up to join them, provoking pursed smiles from the nuns and cheers from others.

The men are mostly uneducated farmers, but well-informed from hours of pressing their ears to transistor radios. They had just voted in the country’s first multiparty elections in 40 years, but were unconvinced that either candidate could rise above warlord status and bring the stability they all craved.

As the night wore on, I stood before the crowd -- a few hundred by now -- and thanked them for all they had given me. I told them I would return again, if I could, and bring Caitlin with me.

The women sashayed to the words of a new song: An Elizabeth tree grew deep roots in their village. Its seed, little Caitlin, had fallen far from this ground but remains the fruit of Kamponde.

On my last day, I set off on foot through the savanna to the village of a few dozen square huts that Tshinyama now called home. I was apparently the first foreigner ever to visit there.

Tshinyama’s home was decorated with antelope antlers. A few yellowing magazine ads of Western food on gleaming plates were tacked to his whitewashed mud walls.

We sat inside, eating with our hands, as he showed off his homemade rifle. I gave Marie some Indian cloth. I didn’t know if she could see the bright paisley patterns through her glaucoma-clouded eyes. I left Tshinyama enough cash for a new bicycle and a cellular phone. There’s now a weak signal in Kamponde, and some clever types were making money selling phone calls.

We both knew that even if I make it back to Kamponde someday, it is unlikely we will ever meet again.

“Washala bimpe, tatu,” I choked, as we grasped hands to say goodbye. “Stay well, father.”

“Wayi bimpe, mamu” -- “Go well, mother.”


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RPCV Naturalist Leaves Corporate Job to Snap Photos of Falcons: He’s Taking His Shot

By Marcia Manna, San Diego Union-Tribune, November 8, 2006

Once he was a high-tech headhunter who wore designer suits and traveled the world.

Today, Will Sooter’s cell phone is at the bottom of the ocean, he almost never wears shoes, and he considers his office to be the stretch of sand that snakes between the Pacific Ocean and Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Sooter, 56, tracks and photographs peregrine falcons.

Photo by Sooter

Every day he’s on the beach, squinting into binoculars for hours at a time. Park rangers and lifeguards offer a familiar wave as he passes.
After four years, his constant presence has built a reputation, one that draws what he calls the “falcon paparazzi.” Locals know – if you find Sooter, chances are you’ll see a peregrine falcon.

When Sooter was 14 he was a falconer, and he worked with a hawk that taught him to appreciate the superior flying and hunting abilities of birds of prey.

Peregrine falcons are especially desirable in falconry. With large, yellow-rimmed eyes, a striped breast and slate plumage, the birds are among the world’s fastest creatures. They are capable of reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour when “stooping,” or divebombing, toward their prey. Falcons eat other birds, which they capture in mid-air with razor-sharp talons. Bridges and cliffs are a favorite nesting spot because of the vantage point to a food source.

Photo by KC Alfred/Union Tribune

In the 1960s, peregrine falcons were nearly extinct due to pesticide exposure. Restoration efforts by organizations such as The Peregrine Fund in Idaho and the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group helped to remove falcons from the federal endangered species list by 1999.

When Sooter spots the birds at Torrey Pines, he drops his binoculars and, with the dexterity of one who has repeated the motion hundreds of times, switches to a large black camera. Two peregrine falcons that Sooter has named Stretch and Xena live on the cliffs that loom above the coast, just past the reserve entrance.

“See all the scars on me?” Sooter asked, looking down at his tanned and weathered legs.

“That’s from chasing birds. I ran into those logs over there full speed. I landed, did a roll and kept running. I didn’t notice the blood and cuts until later, and that’s the way it is every day. I get beat up.”

But the thrill of photographing falcons, Sooter said, justifies leaving behind his corporate life of travel and excitement.

“I went from caviar and champagne to fava beans and beer,” Sooter said. “All for the pursuit of what I want to do.”

Sooter, a Solana Beach resident, hopes to increase awareness about preserving natural habitats by sharing his photographs, many of which are sold on his Web site,

For more than 20 years, though, picture-taking was a peripheral pleasure while Sooter withstood the highs and lows of working in two disparate industries.

With a degree in natural resources management from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Sooter joined the Peace Corps and served in the Philippines before becoming a marine technician for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Photo by KC Alfred/Union Tribune

Ambition drove him to graduate from school, and while studying data communications, Sooter worked for a telecommunications startup and then for Amp Inc., a Fortune 500 company.

“For the next 10 years, I ended up getting a very good education in all the latest technologies, from digital voice compression to fiber and electro-optics,” Sooter said.

“I had some great jobs. Then we went into the end of the Reagan era and a recession. I had a one-day notice and the job was gone.”

Luckily, Sooter’s sister had a cabin in Idaho, where he retreated, broke and stunned. He worked at a fish hatchery for Idaho Fish and Game before taking a job as a senior biologist at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Can you imagine being in high-tech and going back to working for the government? I stayed one year. I’m a risk-taker, and I moved back to Southern California in the early 1990s.”

Sooter borrowed against a credit card to launch W.J. Sooter Associates, an independent retained-executive search company for wireless communications companies.

By 2002, Sooter had earned enough to retire and spend his days pursuing and photographing birds of prey.

Scott Francis, a field research coordinator for the University of California Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, related to Sooter’s devotion to peregrine falcons.

Francis lives in Oceanside and met Sooter through mutual friends who had seen his images. Both men participated in the university’s 2006 peregrine falcon nesting survey. Francis said that working with falcons can mean countless hours of tracking and little reward.

One of those rewards, though, was the day Sooter discovered two baby falcons near Black’s Beach. He called Francis, who drove to the site and banded the fledglings.

“Will lives meagerly,” Francis said. “He’s a guy who has given up on corporations and the rat race and he’s done what he wants to do. In my opinion, his priorities are in the right place because he advocates for environmental awareness, and his photography is fabulous.”

-Text and pictures taken from an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune: "He’s Taking His Shot," by Marcia Manna, San Diego Union-Tribune, November 8, 2006. Article online at:

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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), described below, is appropriate to discuss and clarify issues about a topic that has currently been bantered about without the dignity and clear consideration it deserves.

I would invite all SDPCA members to consider supporting this position.

Don Beck, (Bolivia 1967-69)

Torture Is A Moral Issue

A Statement of Conscience of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions hold dear. It degrades everyone involved—policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation’s most cherished ideals. Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable.

Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed?

Let America abolish torture now -- without exceptions.

To endorse this statement, sign on at:

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WANTED: Board Member

POSITION: Global Awards Chair


  • Attend monthly Board Meeting on first Wednesday of each month from 6:30pm to 9:00pm.
  • Prepare Request for Proposal forms for two funding cycles each year and forward to Peace Corps Washington and Country Directors for distribution to PCVs.
  • Collect proposals from PCVs and distribute to committee for review.
  • Compile review scores and comments; make funding recommendation to Board of Directors.
  • Collaborate with Chief Financial Officer to distribute funds.

Most duties, with the exception of monthly Board Meeting attendance, are completed via email.

Please contact Nikol Shaw at if you are interested.


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Camping Trip in October...

See What You Missed?

In the fall our SDPCA group camped out together at Paso Picacho in the local mountains. A better campfire was never had!

Picture a huge circled blaze (kept going by our friendly alpha-male firebug), good tales of Peace Corps service, friendly blues jamming a la Dylan (good voices, too!), excellent conversations, and the fellowship of RPCVs and our tolerant family and friends. The day included energetic hiking with deer, sunset on the peaks, foot-long pine cones, stellar views, woodpeckers….

Photo by Kate McDevitt

And, of course, a feast: homemade escalloped potatoes, homemade banana cake, mac and cheese, pasta salad, rotisserie chicken, assiago cheese bread, roasted foot-long doggers with horseradish no less, fire-baked Yukons with all the trimmings, homemade chili, potato salad, coleslaw, and various drinks including Korbel, apricot beer, and real Texas German beer. Top that with bedtime s’mores and Kate’s darling rendition of professional personality typing (wish I had taped it!). We had such a great time together!

Many thanks to Caterer Kate for all the work to pull this off and provide the basics, and of course to each gourmand! See ya next time!

Tom, Kate, Mike, Dena, Rudy, Hank, Bev, Lisa R., Robin, Catherine, Jay, Lisa M., Brenda and Bear Angus MacDuff [List does not refer to picture above]

–Brenda Terry-Hahn (Nepal 1964-66)

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Fooky Jaay is Wolof for “sells for ten” or “Dime Store” - but it is actually a section of the open market where used clothing from America are piled onto tables, roughly by size. We found Chargers apparel, Kearny High shirts (Bill Clabby’s alma mater), and various inappropriate slogans being bought and worn by muslim women.
–Joan Clabby (Senegal 1985-87)

Gat! means “It serves you right!” –but it’s so much more satisfying to just spit out Gat! It is one Diola word my kids know well.
–Joan Clabby (Senegal 1985-87)

Ua ao le aoauli. Samoan has a lot of vowels. I always liked the sentence: Ua ao le aoauli which means “It’s a cloudy afternoon.”
–Jonathan Kahn (Samoa 1984)

¡A-ta-tau! (I’m not sure how it was spelled.) This was something said for a minor injury, an “Ow!” in English. Always thought it was more colorful than “Ow!” and I sometimes still use it. Not sure if this is Spanish or Quechua
–Don Beck (Bolivia 1967-69)

Send Us Your Pungas!

  • What was your favorite word in your host language?
  • What does it mean, and why is it your fave?
  • Is it the way the word sounds (there are some fun tongue-twizzlers and ear-ticklers out there), a common word you used all the time that just “brings you back”, or something that really represents the culture?
  • Or is it a word for which there is just no good English word?

Send answers to:

We’ll publish your best words each newsletter!
–Joan Clabby, Senegal (1985-87), Editor

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One act of beneficence, one act of real usefulness, is worth all the abstract sentiment in the world.
–Ann Radcliffe, Mysteries of Udolpho (c.1794)

From the President...
The Simplest Things

Dear Members,

As I write this, I have just returned home after spending a wonderful afternoon at the Annual Holiday Potluck with so many of you and our friends and family. The turnout this year was wonderful, and I enjoyed seeing many friendly faces from past events, as well as some new faces. We also welcomed a very nice group of Nominees and Invitees, and I was pleased to see so many of you having a delightful time answering their questions and sharing your experiences. I know it is sometimes rare to find those individuals whose eyes do not glaze over after five minutes of Peace Corps stories, so we RPCVs have to take advantage of the opportunity! Sharing stories and experiences is also a wonderful way to meet the Third Goal, as well as encourage others to think about the experiences they will have pursuing the First and Second Goals.

I also want to thank all of you who donated school supplies for children in Tijuana. The generosity was fabulous, and I hope that generosity and spirit of giving to others will continue throughout the New Year. Sometimes we forget that the simplest things have much larger impacts for not only individuals, but for our global community as well.

Many wishes for peace in the New Year,

–Nikol Shaw, Mauritania (1999-01)

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Board Meetings November-December 2006


Marjory Clyne, Lynn Jarrett, Gregg Pancoast, Sharon Darrough, Nikol Shaw, and Sira Perez in attendance. November minutes missing.

Social - Holiday Potluck - Sunday at 1 pm. Committee members are planning to be there early to help set up. Schedule: Greeting (Nikol) at 1:15 and invite everyone to eat. Then announcements. Lynne would like to bring up the membership costs at the event. Marjory will sell t-shirts. Nikol will introduce everyone. Lynn will make her announcements - then Sira, Kate, Lisa, Marjory, etc. Board members should plan to stay and help clean up. Lisa will bring photos from Rudy to display. Rudy will be there on Sunday and perhaps he can talk about 1WOW. Kate will bring her stereo and music.

Community Action - January 5th - Film about the PCV at UCSD.

Speaker’s Bureau - Sira - general information meeting today and Lennex Miller (Zambia) spoke and at the last one, Lisa and Sira spoke. There is a request for a male RPCV to speak at the Boy Scouts. Some names were given out.

Financial Report - Gregg handed out financial report. In November, calendar sales were $444, E-Books sales were near $2,000, and there were some t-shirts sales, too. Good job Marjory! YTD $600 profit. Still have more $ coming from various fundraising projects. $20 was received from the parents of Mark Tonner to the ISF fund.

Membership - Lynn - Current 116, 15 are free, 71 are NPCA, and past due for 6 months is 31. Regarding the new annual renewal system, we will never have everyone on the exact calendar year as there will always be people who are joining in the middle of the year. If someone is past due, SDPCA should ask the person to pay the past due amount but if the person is reluctant, let them start where they are. Don sent an e-mail saying that pro-rating is likely to be a mess. There was a short discussion about the transition from the current system to the new system. This will be the most painful part and then everyone will get used to it. Holiday party is a good chance for people to learn about the new system and start paying.

Communications - Sharon will continue to monitor the voice mail. Newsletter deadline 12/10/06.

Fundraising - Marjory - T-shirts, calendars, and Entertainment Books will be at the Holiday party. She doesn’t think we will sell as many E-Books as in the past year. They still have lots of discounts but not the high-end restaurants and they aren’t selling as well. Marjory will try to finish up asap to get the bonus by turning in the remaining books early. Have sold close 100 books so far. Last year we sold 200. The women’s T-shirts are selling well. We may have to find other methods to raise money. The raffle at events is a good way to raise some cash.

Global Awards - Nikol, Lisa, Sira, and Lynn will review. Nikol will send them out this Friday. Nikol has received two proposals - both from Honduras. The reviewers will try to read and comment on the proposals within one week. Next proposal deadline is for March.

Next Meeting - January 10th (NOTE: 2nd Monday this month), 6:30 pm, at Marjory’s House - 4969 Paguera Court, San Diego, CA 92124

–Sharon Kennedy-Darrough, Thailand (1989-91), Secretary

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Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind...War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” -- John F. Kennedy

From Fundraising...

SDPCA T-Shirts Available
What a great way to celebrate your years of service and your involvement with our local Peace Corps group!
I have ordered more T-shirts, this time in baby blue with a dark blue logo. And now we have a ladies fitted style too! They are nice!! Sizes are medium, large, & xlarge for men, and small, medium, large, and xlarge for women. The price is the same, $15 each. “Viewing” is by appointment. Email your order to . You’re going to love these, I guarantee it!!
–Marjory Clyne, Western Samoa (1972-74), Fundraising Chair

2007 International Calendars
Support current Peace Corps volunteers from San Diego by purchasing the 2007 Calendars. All profits from calendars and shirts go into our International Support Fund to help these volunteers with in-countryprojects.

International 2007 Calendars are available from Marjory at $10 each, or $12 if you want them mailed. Contact
––Marjory Clyne, Western Samoa, (1972-74) Fundraising Chair

From the PC Palate...

Lai Thai Restaurant
1430 E. Plaza Boulevard #E10,
National City, 619-474-5546.

Just west of 805 in the Big Lots shopping center. Open lunch and dinner daily (Tue-Sun 11:00 am-9:00 pm, Fri 11:00 am-9:30 pm, Sat11:00 am-9:00 pm). Inexpensive to moderate.

Lai Thai has gained a respected place in its neighborhood under the gracious Summawadee Bubpha. Prices are reasonable, yet the food comes on such beautiful platters and with gracious, attentive service. One excellent recommendation to observe is the ongoing patronage of the Thai community, regularly seen at tables large and small.

The soups, tom kah (spicy coconut), and tom yum (hot and sour), are especially good, as is the house Lai Thai Fish (usually tilapia) in delicious panang coconut-curry sauce. Other curries and the BBQ chicken are equally delicious, as is the large steak platter. Spiciness is adjustable from 1 to 10. Lunch deals are especially reasonable. Be sure to note the Thai art on the walls, some for sale, and the homages to the Royal Family.

If you spent your Peace Corps years in southeast Asia, and have the occasional whim of nostalgia, re-immerse yourself in the culture of Thailand in an area largely populated by Southeast Asians.
–Brenda Terry-Hahn (Nepal 1964-66) & Ellen Shively (Eritrea 1968-70)


Donate to a School or Group...
Recycling Your Computer

Ask around; someone you know may want your old computer. A charity can refurbish your machine and give it to someone in need.

Charities won’t take any old computer. The machine should be able to run modern software. If your machine is less than four years old, it will be usable. Working machines are obviously preferred.

To find the proper organization is key, contact the National Cristina Foundation which has affiliates in all 50 states. It accepts Macs and PCs alike.

Share the Technology allows you to list computers for donation, or find an organization in your area. lists companies that will recycle old computers and electronics.

-Ellen Shively (Eritrea 1968-70)

New Members: Welcome!
SDPCA extends a warm welcome to our newest members. 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!

  • David Andrew Threats, Jamaica (2004-2006); Associate Project Manager—ODPEM
  • Charmin Lindholm, Albania (2004-2006); TEFL,
  • Rowena Castillo, Paraguay (2004-2006); Educator
  • Robb Hill, Cameroon, (2004-2006); Agroforestry

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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:

Joan Clabby

Web Layout / Production
Don Beck, Lynn Jarrett

Contributors this issue are:
Nikol Shaw, Brenda Terry-Hahn, Marjory Clyne, Marcia Manna, Lisa Rivera, Elizabeth Brown, Don Beck, Sharon Kennedy Darrough, Kevin Quigley, Lisa Rivera, Sira Perez, Kate McDevitt, Ellen Shively, Joan Clabby, Lynn Jarrett, Jonathan Kahn

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