Return to Home Page

About SDPCAProgramsCalendar of EventsMembership InformationContact SDPCALinks to Related SitesSDPCA NewsletterInformation, News and Commentary



Newsletter - Pacific Waves
San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter

September-October 2000 Volume 13, Number 5

The Cossacks Ride Again From the President
Board Minutes Welcome, New Members!
PC News Bites Host Country Updates
Potpourri Newsletter Credits


The Cossacks Ride Again!

Residing in Carlsbad, Laura Means Pope describes her current occupation as "word wizard and coach" to other writers and people making life changes, as well as writing newsletters, grant proposals, and other documents. Before joining the Peace Corps in 1994, she had worked as a lawyer in Connecticut, executive director of a school boards association, and Assistant Professor of Education at UCLA. After completing her M.S. degree in Human/Environment Relations at Cornell University in 1992, she served 27 months in Kazakhstan as one of the first eight Peace Corps environmental advisors sent to the former Soviet Union. In 1996, she returned to her family of four children and seven grandchildren in the U.S.. Finding employment closed to 72 year old grandmothers, she invested in up-to-date computer equipment and set up her own thriving business in Carlsbad. You can contact Laura at (760) 730-3148.

May 4, 1994

Ah-dear family and friends-

It's Friday night and still light at 8 p.m., though scattered rain clouds hastened the dusk. What a long day! But before I tell you about it, I want to bring you up-to-date about one of the more interesting adventures I've had in this saga of Ust'-Kamenogorsk and the Peace Corps volunteers.

Much to my surprise, Sergei told me without explanation that he and Irina, one of the interpreters, would pick me up at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. They did, and Sergei drove us through the city, across the Irtysh River and into a large field. The Cossacks (read that as old-fashioned Russian-style Cossacks) were gathering there for a ceremony and celebration. For two years they have been petitioning to become a registered non-governmental organization, so that they could congregate legally. The officials stalled a long time, probably because Cossacks are renowned fighters, but finally consented.

When we arrived, a soccer game was in progress nearby, as the nearly 400 Cossacks assembled on that crisp, sunny morning. They were a rather motley crew in the sense that few of their uniforms matched. Most of the men wore dark khaki pants with a red or blue stripe down the side and a jacket with a leather strap halter, one strap across the shoulder for non-commissioned men and two straps forming a "T " in the back fastened to the belt for officers. By law, they can no longer carry their swords.

Some men had tall white sheep's wool hats. Others wore military type hats with a visor and jaunty crown. Still others sported tall black hats. About 200 men exuberantly greeted each other with a standard routine. They shook hands with their right hands and hugged each other with their left hands and arms. Some kissed each other on the cheek. They were all ages, some so old that they were provided benches. Those of my generation were laden with medals won in "the Great Patriotic War," their name for World War Two.

Many of the men sported moustaches and some had trim beards. The leader was very tall, lean and handsome. He was clearly elated that they were having the celebration. One of his young lieutenants was a past master at working the crowd. He hugged every one of his "brothers."

When the ceremony began, the men formed a long line, three deep. A white van shaped something like a Volkswagen van without windows, roared on to the field and came to an abrupt stop in front of them. Out jumped three Russian priests in black robes. One had a full beard and wore a green velvet hat. Four young girls and a woman, all in long skirts and lace shawls, followed on their heels. The men set up a portable alter with candles and two icons flanking a gold cross. The priests donned heavily embroidered, silver-colored vestments and the acolytes or helpers lit the candles.

The women sang a counterpoint to the priests' singing or chant. Prayers, hymns, incense, and chanting filled the air as birds circled on the updrafts and soccer players kicked the ball and chattered among themselves. The blessing of the whole group was accompanied by a lot of crossing one's self and bowing plus answering the chants. I couldn't help thinking about how men have always called on God's blessing, as they plotted the most efficient way to kill the "enemy."

The most touching part of the ceremony involved inducting new members. The fathers of seven-year-old sons marched forward with their sons, one at a time. Each hoisted his son onto a horse, which was led in a circle around the altar three times. When the boy dismounted (none could reach the stirrups), the priest cut snippets of hair from the top of his head in the shape of a cross and embedded the locks into a baseball-size hunk of candle wax. I generally felt that photographing any part of the ceremony was intrusive, but couldn't resist a picture of a child being initiated.

The admiring crowd of wives, children, and other family members solemnly observed from the side of the field opposite the line of men. The robust women were dressed in their Sunday- best shawls. Bright red hair twisted into a knot on top of the head was the favorite coiffure. At the end of the ceremony, we all shared hunks of white bread torn from very large loaves and dipped in a platter of salt.

The experience was a blend of comedy- the white van's entry reminded me of the circus act car full of midgets, sadness-so many war medals, decrepit men, and worn uniforms blending into a litany of bygone days, and poignancy-as the proud papas presented their sons for membership. The children were so elated to take their ride around the altar! I wondered how many of them had any idea of how to ride a horse.

Of course, the women watched and admired. One standing near me rescued the ceremony, when her heavily decorated husband asked her if she had some scissors. She dug out a pair from deep in her big black bag, and he gave them to the priest for the haircutting.

One portly woman was especially energetic and pleased to greet everyone. She had hennaed her hair, which formed a thick and lustrous red "crown" rising above her head almost as high as some of the men's wool hats. Many gold-tooth smiles added sparkle. A man behind me commented that he liked everything except "the church." He didn't believe in such "nonsense."

It is interesting to watch reactions to religious ceremonies. On the one hand, the rituals reach back into a Russian history full of religion that almost no one alive here today has known. For many of the young, the communists' atheist philosophy is all they have seen. They are puzzled by Christian beliefs and confused by various sects. There seems to be more Russian orthodox Christianity in Ust'-Kamenogorsk than the Muslim religion so prevalent in southern Kazakhstan.

After the ceremony, the crowd gathered around a truck for a sort of picnic with vodka, bread, and shish kabob fueling their dancing to accordion music and raucous singing. Sergei, Irina, and I returned to his car where we slowly discussed the business of the new Center. Irina was generous to give up her Sunday to interpret for Sergei and me, despite her heavy coursework load at the Institute. Sergei's shifting views make life interesting, but I will save that story for the next letter.

Much love to all of you,

Return to top of page

From the President
Thank you!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all of those who make things possible in the SDPCA. Did you know that producing the newsletter is a three-person job (not including contributors) that takes well over 60 combined hours to produce? Also, we have RPCVs who are willing to donate their time and energy into producing and maintaining the SDPCA web site, another time-consuming activity.

If you want to get involved in the SDPCA but aren't much of a " joiner," there are lots of different avenues: You can volunteer to speak at a local school or community groups. You could also write an article for the newsletter about your Peace Corps experience. You could also volunteer for the myriad administrative tasks that are always coming up. Some RPCVs serve as a resource for other volunteers; would you mind if someone called to pick your brain on a certain topic? If you want to help, call me with your individual requirements and we'll find a place just for you!

All of this does not have to be a big time commitment on your part. So if you would like to contribute, please let us know. The bottom line is it's up to you. This organization is not about "them," it's about "US." Together we can make our group a place for RPCVs to come together to support one another in their endeavors to continue serving. You are an important part of that vision.

Patti Eger, Papua New Guinea (1996-97)

Return to top of page

Board Minutes
7/10/00 and 8/7/00

In Attendance: Patti Eger, Hank Davenport, Rudy Sovinee, Lisa Frankel, Brenda Hahn, Sharon Kennedy, & Julie Schwab attended both. Jean Meadowcroft participated 7/10 by phone, and Frank Yates e-mailed his August report from Shawnee, PA, representing the SDPCA at NPCA President's meeting. Alex Noce and Tamiza Teja of the LA PC Office were guests in July.

President's Report:
The LA recruiting office is looking to work closely with the SDPCA, hence their presence. Alex will be hosting recruiting each month at Borders Bookstores in Mission Valley. The SDPCA website is now It will have linked files hosted for free on two servers. RPCV Mike Cheney, designer of the current SDPCA site, will webmaster the SDSU site working with the Newseditor. Our San Diego Insider site is geared toward communications to the community at large. RPCV Joseph White, who designed the SDPCA logo a decade ago, will be its webmaster, working with social chair.

Financial & Membership Reports:
Frank provided a detailed e-mail report of balances, income and expenses. Frank also reported that SDPCA membership is at: 138 current, 58 past due, totaling 196. NPCA membership is at 96 current, 40 past due, totaling 136.

Community Outreach:
Hank proposed the AIDS Walk October 1; membership could assist at tables or walk. Hank recommends we provide community building and continuity to such activities. One possibility is working with the Peace Resource Center to build a physical plant. Hank announced his work hours have changed. He must resign, leaving the board with a vacancy.

Both Calendar and Entertainment Book campaigns are gearing up. MMSP in July for Frank to obtain 150 calendars. Sharon explained the process from past years with two additions: not all Postal Annex stores will be approached since we lack enough display sets (we committed to sell 210 books). The calendars are being advertised via materials from RPCVs of Madison, WI. MMSP to include these as a newsletter insert. with a special Pizza Party to encourage volunteer support in preparing the newsletters.

Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund:
Despite assurances of support from the Peace Corps LA staff, Julie is still awaiting addresses to send the proposal requests. The plan includes an e-mail letter to all in-country offices for posting. These letters will specify our requirements and guidelines. (An email from PCLA mid-August still maintains the unavailability of the addresses.)

Newsletter deadline is moved to the tenth of each production month. Analysis shows 70 to 81 hours of production time per issue. Two new features for the newsletter are: "Volunteers in Motion" to recognize a volunteer each issue and "Member To Member," listing free services by members for members.

Lisa still has 8 tickets for Saturday's Day at Del Mar Races. The Ethnic dinner and Padre Game plans are underway, but she is hesitant to pre-buy group tickets for the latter. A fun, event for November will be the annual "Snow Goose" potluck Celebration in Oceanside.

Speakers Bureau:
Jean has been discussing ideas with the World Affairs Council, including bringing PC Director, Mark Schneider to speak in San Diego. Her plan is to supplement our classroom visits by hosting the community-at-large with recognized leaders.

Old Business:
From July: MMSP to table consideration of SDPCA grants to any domestic program until after a committee proposal and the Board-approved guidelines for such proposals. Jean, Hank and Julie (chairs of action committees) volunteered for said committee. From Aug.: the committee "defining guidelines for SDPCA support to domestic programs in SD" presented initial ideas. In outline, approach is to target support towards other 501(c)3 groups based here in San Diego, specifically those which excell at building the PC Community and/or at "bringing the world home" i.e. at teaching San Diegans about peoples and issues of developing nations of the world. Timing of support would be in the fall-to allow priority of SDPCA funds to ISF activities. With limited annual budget, a suggestion is to change this from RFP approach to nomination, selection and ceremonial presentation of cash awards typically of $100 to $500. More details coming.

New Business:
Early in the August meeting, Sharon and Lisa co-led an activity of group building and personal sharing of ideas that matter to us. From July: the e-vite invitation system used by was exciting for its many abilities. Rudy had opened an account and will proceed to develop that ability. Tamiza recommended using regular happy hour gatherings as a low effort way to socialize. Rudy also reminded the group that picking the same date for ethnic dinner gatherings every even numbered month had helped provide consistency.

Next Meeting:
6:30 PM 9/11/00 at the home of Patti Eger

Return to top of page

Welcome, New Members!

We SDPCA members and board members extend a warm welcome to our newest members. (If we received your membership late because you joined us through NPCA, this is beyond our control but we apologize anyway.) We've seen some of you at our events already and we hope all of you get involved in our activities. Let us hear from you!! You can reach us by the contact information listed on the Contact Page of this site.

Sandy Johnson, India 1966-68
Judith McCassy, Bulgaria 1997-99
Julie Mello, Burundi 1990-92
Betty Spencer, Zambia 1997-99
Monica Whalen,1997-99
Royal Wilkinson, Honduras 1997-99

Return to top of page

PC News Bites

Pacific Waves Garners 2 National Awards!
Frank Yates, our SDPCA representative to NPCA and a NPCA charter board member, called 8/11 to report that Pacific Waves won TWO awards this year in the national NPCA newsletter competition review. Competing as a publiction of Geographical Area Groups, Pacific Waves won Third Place for Design and Layout; it won Second Place for Editorial Content!

This is the first year Pacific Waves has won TWO awards simultaneously. Many, many thanks to our volunteer newsletter corps, our board members who write articles, and our contributing writers - all of whose skill, creativity and willingness to share their stories make this success possible!

Brenda Terry-Hahn, Pacific Waves Editor

PCVs Fight AIDS in Africa
Peace Corps volunteers will expand the fight against AIDS in Africa, where the epidemic now kills 10 times more people annually than does war. Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider announced Tuesday that the 2,400 Peace Corps volunteers in Africa will be trained in AIDS prevention. A "crisis corps" of 200 former Peace Corps volunteers will also be organized to join the Americans there now. "With specialties that cut across every sector of society...Peace Corps volunteers are in a unique position to impact AIDS from every angle," Schneider said.

Extra funding for the effort comes from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The new effort to combat AIDS will also include countries outside Africa.

Announcement of the expansion follows a Clinton administration declaration in April that the global epidemic of the sexually transmitted disease is a threat to U.S. national security. The AIDS crisis will increase the likelihood of revolutionary wars, ethnic conflicts, genocide and failure of partial democracies, according to U.S. intelligence projections.

"There is a general recognition now that this crisis is undermining development efforts broadly throughout the region," Schneider said.

CNN; submitted by Patti Eger, SDPCA

Hot news from the SDPCA Board!
SDPCA HAS ITS OWN CYBER DOMAIN! Did you notice those addresses on the board listing? The board has decided to improve our cyber presence by obtaining our group's domain name, complete with e-mail addresses that will forward to the correct officer/ committee chair. Two members will be helping to develop our websites ... so look for easier two-way communication as we develop the sites.

Rudy Sovinee, SDPCA Board Member

Tell your Stories to Potential PCVs!
Tell about your Peace Corps experience at local recruiting events. Usually there are recruiting events at local bookstores and college campuses a few times a month. If so, email Tamiza Teja at and let her know that you would be willing to share your experience with potential PCVs.

Patti Eger, President, SDPCA

SDPCA Fundraising News
Beautiful Peace Corps Calendars: $8.00 ea or $10.00, if mailed. Take a moment to read the insert in our newsletter. They make great gifts. Starting in September, calendars will be available at each SDPCA event. Buy from me in person for $8.00 each. Order them over the internet or by phone and have them mailed to you, for $10.00 each. Buy/order early. Order them by e-mailing me at or calling at 619 281-3191.

Entertainment Books: San Diego's premier discount coupon book will be used as a fundraiser again. Books are $40 each, available at SDPCA events in September and in local Postal Annex stores. Support the SDPCA and our projects!

Thank you, Sharon Kennedy, SDPCA Fundraising Chair

The AIDS WALK SAN DIEGO needs you!
This is a non-profit, 99% volunteer-based organization that raises funds for HIV/AIDS organizations right here in San Diego. Last year over $540,000 was raised. This year's walk is going to be the biggest and best walk ever. Your help is needed.

There are many fun and exciting volunteer opportunities- such as- Help in pre-event office work. Or, assist in setup on Sept 30 for the actual walk. On Walk Day, October 1, work at Vollie Central, Communications, the Information Booth, Shuttles, Merchandise, Registration, Water Stations, Medical, Safety, Time Keepers, The Fun Zone, Vendor Booths, Finish Line, AIDS Memorial Quilt, Path of Remembrance, Display and Clean Up assignments

Incentives include T-shirts, meals on that day, a Sea World appreciation party, and the best: the AIDS WALK San Diego is a great cause. Make a difference, spend a day with people just like you who care about those with HIV/AIDS.

This is a perfect match for the enthusiasm we RPCVs, our family and friends have for participating in a community event that will truly make a difference! For this true COMMUNITY OUTREACH event, contact me ASAP leaving your name, telephone number and/or e-mail address at : 858-565-1060 or and indicate which activity you'd like. Thanks!!

Hank Davenport Barberis, Chair, SDPCA Community Outreach

PC Recruiters Needed
If you are aware of any RPCV that would be willing to move to LA and join our staff as a recruiter, we would be very pleased with any referrals. (We love "minorities").

John Hartley, PCLA

Return to top of page

Host Country Updates

Nepalese police have arrested 26 Tibetans who crossed over to Nepal via a treacherous route across the Himalayas, saying their passage was illegal. The Tibetans were arrested late Saturday when police raided several hotels at Dhunge Bazaar in Jiri, 70 kilometers east of here, in the Himalayan foothills.

After trekking down from the high passes in the Everest region, they were spending the night at Jiri, a roadhead traditionally used by mountaineers. Nepalese police said the latest detention brings the number of Tibetans arrested this year to 203.The figure is considerably higher than last year when 125 Tibetans were arrested for the illegal entry.Most Tibetans who come to Nepal head for Dharamshala in India where the Tibetan exiled leader Dalai Lama is based. Nepal hands over the detainees to the UN High Commission for Refugees.

AFP, New York Times

In Iran, due to religious and cultural preclusions, all women must remain at home, regardless of their professional or personal needs. "Many trained and skilled women and girls must stay at home because of social and traditional obstacles from their families. Many men in our society don't want their wives working outside the home. But this is going to change. The process is unstoppable."

Elaheh Koulai, dean at Teheran University and a member of Iran's Parliament, quoted in the New York Times

Sri Lanka
This war-haunted nation's president, blinded in her right eye by a suicide bomber's attack, still talks of peace. But ordinary Sri Lankans are convinced that no end to the 17-year conflict with the Tamil rebels is near. Buddhist monks of the majority Sinhalese ethnic group demonstrated against a plan to grant more autonomy to the minority Tamils.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga hoped that a new constitution she proposed Aug. 3 would preserve Sri Lanka as a unified nation while satisfying demands of the Tamils for greater authority for self-rule in the north and east, which they regard as a traditional homelands.

That effort has collapsed for now, though Mrs. Kumaratunga has vowed to revive it after national elections this fall. Meanwhile, a feeling of menace hovers over the capital, even though there has been a lull in the fierce battles between the rebel group, known as the Tamil Tigers, and the government in recent months.

Celia W. Dugger, The Associated Press , New York Times

Sierra Leone
The Security Council agreed today to set up a war crimes tribunal for Sierra Leone, where brutal rebel armies have tortured civilians, amputated their hands and destroyed villages to intimidate innocent civilians. The measure stopped short, however, of actually establishing the court or deciding its composition and functions. There are questions about how the authority should be shared between Sierra Leone's judicial system and neutral international legal experts.

Instead, the Council asked Secretary General Kofi Annan to address these and other questions and to produce a detailed blueprint for the court within 30 days. Richard C. Holbrooke, the American ambassador, said that the secretary general would be bound by a Council consensus that the court has to have international input, even if Council members were not all in agreement on details. "He does not have the option of saying, ĆPut it all under Sierra Leone,' " Mr. Holbrooke said.

Ambassador Ibrahim Kamara from Sierra Leone to the United Nations called the council's action "a very, very bold step" forward for his country.

Barbara Crossette, New York Times

The "Hang Suharto!" protesters were out in the streets, as always. But so was a small rally demanding clean air, another involving a local land dispute and another promoting breast- feeding. Otherwise, the streets of Jakarta were mostly quiet as Parliament met this last weekčan indication, perhaps, that despite Indonesia's daunting problems, there is hope here for a more ordered and cohesive future. "The popular vote is out there on the streets. The popular vote is, give this government a chance. People are speaking by not speaking," said a diplomat.

The crucial Parliament session has been as passionate as the demonstrations of the past. The session was to focus on the country's patchwork 1945 Constitution, but "we're watching a power struggle in Parliament," said Dennis Heffernan, a director of a political consulting firm. "It's very primitive, but it's being done without gunpowder or even fisticuffs. And if that ain't a giant step toward democracy . . ."

One thing that has changed is that the opposition now has a voice, he said. "The streets are quiet because the politicians have some constituency, some basis among average people," he said. Last year, for the first time in half a century, the Indonesian people voted in a free election, choosing among candidates for Parliament who had not been vetoed by the party in power. But the winners were elected to an institution that had little experience in democratic give-and-take.

Seth Mydans, New York Times

Return to top of page


More Websites for you Surfers - Institute for Global Communications, an impressive site which promotes global peace and also hosts like-minded group sites. - Hunger Notes is published by WHES, whose mission includes informing people interested in issues of hunger and poverty, about the causes, extent, and efforts to end hunger and poverty in the United States and the world. - United Nations Calendar of Peace 2000 is here, Using this website: "Teach and learn global issues! Commemorate special days such as the Human Rights Day, Peace Day, Environment Day and more..." Click on Events. - Suggested from a Global Ed-L subscriber: "CultureGrams are the print resource about countries of the world. I always read the CultureGram when I am going to another country... they have a good map included... are four-page briefings with timely, clear, concise information about each nation's history, society, and customs. Each school library should have a set! "

Some sites about International Education Policies in the U.S.: - Memorandum For The Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies - U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, Washington, DC on the Growing Importance of International Education - Departments of State and Education Lead Support of President's Directive on U.S. International Education Policy - NAFSA: Association for International Educators: Toward an International Education Policy for the U.S.

Hey, you websurfers!

SDPCA, courtesy of the webskills of Mike Cheney and Joseph White, is redesigning and updating our two websites. We'd like your suggestions!

Get on the NPCA website ( Go to local groups' sites ("online community/affiliate groups/local groups/geographical groups") and check out websites for things you like and think we should or should'nt include in our SDPCA sites. One site, for example, even invites PC visitors to submit their favorite "Bowel Story." It's really very interesting to see what different groups offer and how their sites are developed. The Los Angeles group in particular has a very interactive site with lots going on and invitations to add one's own information.

Please email your specific ideas and the site/group name or URL to President Patti Eger ( ASAP. We appreciate your input!

SDPCA Board Members and Website Developers

How Race is Lived in America

The New York Times recently ran a thought-provoking, in-depth series of articles entitled "How Race is Lived in America" (front page, June 4, 5, 7 and 11, 2000) detailing with personal interviews across the country and among extremely diverse individuals/relationships/groups where our great democratic experiment stands in its challenge to successfully produce a truly integrated, peaceful, high-functioning society that is culturally and linguistically mixed. It produced much comment and discussion from readers. I found it relevant because the SDPCA board has recently been discussing what our focus as a group should be in this arena.

I found the series so moving and well-done I wrote a rare-for-me letter to the editors and saved some of the discussion. There was a LOT for my professional multicultural library. If you are interested, it is on their website: - NY Times Magazine with whatever current letters and articles are posted. - A search for series title How Race is Lived in America returns links to the original articles and letters in response. - Link to original articles.

Hurry - I don't know how long the paper will keep the material up on their site. It is truly book-worthy and hopefully it will be produced in book form sometime in the future.


101 Tools for Tolerance: SimpleIdeas for Promoting Equity and Celebrating Diversity

Some ideas from the bookklet 101 Tools for Tolerance from a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center:

1- Attend a play, listen to music, or go to a performance by artists whose race or ethnicity is different/new to your own.

8 - Learn sign language.

14 - Do a Civil Rights history vacation. Tour key sites/museums.

17 - Think about how you appear to others. List personality traits that are compatible with tolerance (e.g., compassion, curiosity, openness). List those that seem incompatible with tolerance (e.g., jealousy, bossiness, perfectionism).

National Campaign for Tolerance,

Travel in Mexico

There is important legal information for those of us who wish to travel in Mexico (problematical due to the recent accidents, arrests, and deaths) on the San Diego County Website. It can be printed out for future reference. If you like, you can go to and check the regulations and assistance Mexico offers.

Return to top of page

Newsletter Credits

Pacific Waves is published bimonthly 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 are encouraged: (1) e-mailed (2) text file on disk- Mac preferred, or (3) typed copy. Please send to Editor, SDPCA, P.O. Box 26565, San Diego, CA 92196 or e-mail:

Brenda Terry-Hahn

Layout / Production
Don Beck, Brenda Terry-Hahn, Frank Yates, Patti Eger Jeff Cleveland

Contributors this issue are
Frank Yates, Patti Eger, Hank Davenport, Lisa Frankel, Rudy Sovinee, Jean Meadowcraft, NPCA Listserv authors.

Return to top of page