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Newsletter - Pacific Waves
San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter

January-February 2001 Volume 14, Number 1


Reflections of an Outsider Maylasian Journal
From the President Board Minutes
Snow Goose PC News Bites
Welcome, New Members! Pacific Waves: Bigger and Better!
Host Country Updates Ecuador & Oaxaca Trip
Potpourri Newsletter Credits

Editor newseditor@sdpca.org

Third Reunion of Nepal IV (1964-66)
Reflections of an Outsider

Nicola Broad shares with us her personal perspective as a "outsider" (read: non-RPCV) participating in the PCV group reunion of Nepal IV. Born in England, she grew up in Montreal. and graduated from Bristol University, England, having trained as a psychiatric social worker. She is currently a parttime psychiatric analyst in the emergency room at Kaiser Permanente (Zion), the Marketing Director/Writer for the Theatre Arts Video Library and an Adjunct Professor in Counseling Techniques at National University. She also writes for Stage Directions Magazine as well as other publications and is currently developing a book about the new blended family structures in America with emphasis on the roles of ethnic backgrounds of the family members. She can be reached at: NicolaBroad@compuserve.com

July 16, 1999, Lake Tahoe:
Journal thoughts after attending my first Peace Corps reunion with RPCV Ron Ranson, my special friend of [then] one year: I am sitting under the tall pines watching the prayer flags fluttering outside "Hamro Ghar", the "Our House" where the group gathering is taking place. I want a little distance from so many people screaming joyfully at the excitement of re-meeting one another. I've been dreading meeting 60-plus of Ron's closest friends who have been reuning since 1986. In his attempts to reassure me he keeps saying, "These people are easy, fun, open" and in all other ways so generally sublime that I only feel more intimidated.

July 19, 1999. I hate to admit it, but he was right. The general criteria that I have for friends--warmth, humour, love of travel and openness--have been well met, with a few bonuses such as good cooking and fine thinking. Actually some of the openness to adventure, flexibility, groundedness and sound values that drew me to Ron are generalized throughout the group: a cohort who chose to live in Nepal in the spirit of giving and have spent the rest of their lives in appreciation for what was received.

These are Americans open enough to live with foreign partners (Nepalis, Brits, Spanish, Swiss), to represent the U.S. in diplomacy, or to remain at home and tend the planet with awareness and care: a caring that has brought the group together, pooling resources so that those financially modest can attend these festivities, because without each flavour of personality the group--and the world--would be incomplete.

Anyhow, I like a group that does not immediately categorize people by what they do. Being is much more de riguer and the versatile doings of designers and judges and cooks and parents are simply the occupations of a group of friends.

They are a grounded bunch. Dealing with poverty and diarrhea does that for you (don't ask how I know!). And creative thinking to circumvent bureaucracy and make do with whatever is: what assets in the currency of coping skills!

Several of these qualities were put to the test on the summit at Squaw Valley. A modest climb for the wannabe Everest ascenders, but taxing to this beach girl, especially in an icy wind. Pat [software manager] slipped on the shingles and slashed her face, and alarmingly abundant quantities of blood teemed down her sensible wind-breaker. No fuss, no panic. Calm and immediate reflexes as Beth [software manager] and Jack [CIA analyst] ran up for the first aid kit (which had gone not-so-sensibly with the upper limits party). Ron [drama faculty] ran down the mountain to get help and Polly [nursing supervisor] and I stayed to keep Pat warm, apply pressure and search for her hair barrettes (Pat's primary concern).

This was after it slowly dawned on us that this was not Nepal in the 60s, and one of the three cellular phones around us could possibly reach the ski lift area before Ron did. Jack dialed, (perhaps his employers provide the best equipment?) Larry's research experience [Kennedy family biographer] sent him scurrying up to read the Placer Monument so we could give the Emergency Medical Technician the exact locale. All this technology plus Ron's perseverance--showing the EMT our location through the viewfinder on the video camera (see, it is practical to carry it everywhere) brought a medic on a four-wheel bike in just 45 minutes. Luckily Polly had staunched the wounds which Fran [teacher], summoned from the advance party, had wrapped in gauze and tape, smiling throughout (he then went on to approach the peak---again). Sorry for the bruises and stitches, Pat. But I did get the benefit of no longer feeling an outsider after sharing all that blood and wind.

fun and adventurous. And isn't that the spirit that brings people together to celebrate again and again? (Photo: from Brenda Terry-Hahn)

The lake was magnificent. The air so clear and splendid. Conifers simply everywhere. We were spread out in an opulent heaven. Condos for the masses and the Big House so luxurious it was decadent. (Do small nuclear families really need an elevator?) But the size and kitchen were perfect for this family of 60 or more.

JFK, Jr.'s plane disappeared Friday evening and early Saturday morning Larry was summoned away for TV commentary and interviews. The world events and tragedies strangely interwoven into our communal holiday.

We were spread out in an opulent heaven. (Photo: from Brenda Terry-Hahn)

Go-getters such as Kitty [career diplomat] climbed another mountaintop next to the one honouring her brother and later piloted several of us in a small plane over Tahoe and the Sierras. Exhausted Californians lounged by the pool and others rafted down the Truckee, some spouses (who shall remain nameless) gleefully becoming glowering pirate-metamorphoses.

Some Nepali friends, surprise visitors to the reunion, gave generous and authentic assistance to Brenda and Vishnu Maya and those of us who had volunteered to cook by taking over the kitchen and preparing a real Nepali goat feast. As well as practice for all in remembering how to speak Nepali. "What is it like watching these Americans remembering how they made Nepali food?" I asked B. "I like it very much," she replied. "It moves me."

Seeing these same people in their innocence and 60's hairstyles and glasses, I could see why Nepal had made such an impact… (Photo: from Brenda Terry-Hahn)

I was moved, as were many of the children, by the slide show, resurrected like a family album from many collections. Seeing these same people in their innocence and 60's hairstyles and glasses, I could see why Nepal had made such an impact Whatever else the Peace Corps had been, it had been fun and adventurous. And isn't that the spirit that brings people together to celebrate again and again?

Lessons in English had been exchanged for lessons in life. A nation rich in time and beauty had traded on a basis of equality and respect for the labor of these well-meaning adventurers. The threads of that exchange are still unwinding, multiplying, connecting these people, their children and even now their grandchildren. The threads wind around the globe, as through the Tibetan prayer flags outside, waving in the wind.

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Malaysian Journal

SDPCA member Judy Carr recently spent some time working in Malaysia. Her lovely tropical images may be most welcome as we huddle by our fireplaces and her sociological reflections are interesting, given the recent political unrest in East Timor. Judy was a community health volunteer in the Dominican Republic (1985-87) and has lived in the San Diego area since then, currently in Carmel Valley. She works as an independent contractor developing web sites and educational software for children. She was called to Malaysia as advisor to the country's Ministry of Education on a software project in which they had decided to make their own public school ESL software for their public schools rather than buy a commercial piece, believing their efforts would be more culturally sensitive to Malaysia's particular ethnic and religious circumstance. Judy is single with no kids which allows her to travel a LOT, both for work and for pleasure. "The wanderlust never seems to dissipate…" AND--since readers will doubtless notice her excellent writing--her first novel is in press as you read this. She may be contacted at: jcarr4@san.rr.com

I guess the most surprising thing for me, so far, is Malaysia's standard of living. The tropical setting of Malaysia belies the very modern reality of life here. Nobody is laid back or lives with mañana about to roll off their tongue. I have been working in Kuala Lumpur, which is set up to be a hub of high tech manufacturing, international commerce, international sports, and international negotiation. They've got it all. I thought I was coming to a third world environment and I could not have been more mistaken. Homes--all homes--are modern in every way: potable water, air conditioning, security systems, washers and driers. All people drive cars. There have been very few people on the subways (which are immaculate), and certainly nobody is riding a bicycle as we commonly associate with Southeast Asia.

When I was in Denmark I remember asking, "Where are all the poor people?" and being told that there really were none. Same circumstance here. There are shopping malls on every corner, sporting stores like IKEA, Macy's, Starbucks, and TGI Friday. I went to see "The Patriot" last night. You see kids dragging around copies of Harry Potter. I've been listening to a radio station that I swear is the exact same format as 94.5 in San Diego!

I have no reason to believe that Indian, Chinese, and British cultures aren't represented equally with the American culture in the flurry of consumer items. I'm just not adept at identifying them and I see that on television anyway. I asked the other day why British MTV was available and not American: "Because it is more innocent…American MTV is so immoral." Hmmm, something to think over. This is all to say that the Malaysians are a very international people, picking and choosing what they want from the world, and the choice is a fascinating mix.

Beyond all of the physical amenities available here, I have encountered such nice people. Friendly, easy to laugh, helpful, pleasant people. Somebody from the office takes me to lunch each afternoon at a nearby cafeteria to help me choose Malay food that isn't too hot for my very boring palate! They've helped me arrange weekend trips. They've been open and patient in explaining local and religious customs. These are a people who have spent generations learning to get along while enmeshed in diversity, and it shows.

Virtually everybody I have encountered at the technology park where I'm working has been educated in either Australia, Great Britain, or the U.S. And their language skills are formidable. These folks all speak, read, and write three languages: their mother tongue (Tamil, Mandarin Chinese, or Cantonese), the local language Bahasa, and English. I'm here to create an ESL program for their public schools, but unlike other ESL programs I've been involved with, this one is not content to teach vocabulary or language fluency; this one is teaching literacy. Malaysian seven-year-olds will be able to identify the main idea in a reading passage (in their third language), will know how to sequence items in a task, and know how to glean conclusions from a listening passage. Incredible.

Although everything I've mentioned thus far reflects a very up-to-date country, local culture is very conservative. It was front-page news yesterday that women were given the right to sign their names on legal documents (such as school registration) as the guardians of their children; previously only men were able to claim ownership of children. Hmmm… Every single time I've had a meal with a man, the man is served first--truly, his meal arrives a good five minutes before the meal of any woman at the table.

Malaysia is governed by Muslim monarchs, I guess emulating the British form of government, but I think their kings are derived from a pool of sultans. Anyway, Muslim religious practices thus rule supreme. There are prayer rooms in every office suite, at the grocery store, and at the gym. The calls to prayer ring throughout the city several times a day. Some Muslims attend some sort of religious service on Friday afternoons, so everybody in the country works on Saturday mornings instead. No dogs or pigs will appear in our multimedia programs out of deference to Muslim religious beliefs.

The Muslim women are such a study in contradictions. There are obviously degrees of dedication to Islam. I've seen women shrouded in flowing black with their head coverings masking everything but their eyes. Then, I see women in gowns made of beautiful floral prints with fuchsia pink head scarves-with a cell phone to their ear. Certainly in the office I find their conservative clothing and demure, subservient personalities in direct conflict with the fact that they're at the forefront of the future, planning multimedia programs programmed in Java Script.

At the office things are great. The writers and designers I'm mentioning are smart, efficient, and hard-working. They've not made multimedia before, so they've hit some bumps in the road, but each day things are more and more under control. Problems have surfaced merely from a lack of experience and we're able to make suggestions that they have embraced. It's very gratifying work. They come to me with ideas (or a lack thereof) and we talk over the viability and practicality of their designs.

We had been lamenting the lack of educational software as samples at the office, so one of the designers took me out to look for some. What an experience! We went to a part of town noted as being "economical." Ha! Everything was a knock off: the Don Henley CD for which I paid $12 in the U.S. only two weeks ago, selling here for $1… There was software, computer hardware, Louis Vitton bags, Rolex watches, etc. etc. etc. I was stunned!

Author Judy Carr at Hindu ceremonial site. (photo from author)

I've done a couple of short weekend trips. The first weekend I went to a Hindu ceremonial site that I enjoyed very much. It was good to spend some time in the countryside and have some coconut water to drink. That day I also tried Durian, a fruit common to this part of the world that really smells! And while at that same Hindu site, I was peed on by a monkey, and I'm sure it was intentional! As my nephew Riley would say, "Stupid, idiot monkey!"

And while I'm on the topic of wildlife, I have seen a lot of monitor lizards. They are big and they are everywhere! I was eating at a restaurant today where three of them were literally patrolling the outside of the restaurant, waiting for the cook to throw table scraps into the river--which apparently happens every hour or so. And they claim that sharks have feeding frenzies. Ha! Three monitor lizards, each with a body length of two to three feet, are fierce when doing battle over a chicken carcass. What a spectacle!

When I'm away from Kuala Lumpur, it's evident that not every Malaysian lives in a high rise. Outside of the city there are a lot more single family homes. But while on my way to spend a quaint weekend in "Old Malaysia" I was traveling on a 4-line interstate surrounded by Hondas and BMWs.

there. I will be going to Borneo, but I'm swapping orangu tans for a dive trip. I'm going to go into the rainforest for a couple of days. Maybe I'll be able to come out here again in October or November and I'll try to plan for a dive trip then.

That's the round-up from here and I need to get back to work. This is software development after all, and I'm expected to work 12-hour days like everybody else!

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Some people strengthen the society just by being the kind of people they are. --John W. Gardner

From the President:
Happy 2001!

Happy New Millennium (yes, now is the new Millennium, technically speaking)

We thank everyone deeply for all of their support in the past year! SDPCA is growing and evolving in ways that are challenging our identity and expanding our role as a non-profit. For example, through the Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund we will now be able to support local groups in the San Diego area as well as the traditional PCV projects in the field.

Additionally, constructing our new website has been a great challenge for us. Currently we are actively seeking pictures- from either your PC experience or from SDPCA events here in San Diego to represent us as SDPCA. The web-site is very important for those RPCVs that come to San Diego and are looking for other PCVs with whom to connect. (After all, would you know to look under "SDPCA" in the white pages if you wanted to find other volunteers that were in Eritrea? I think not.)

Also, soon we will need you to speak to local school classrooms and civic groups on Peace Corps Day. I can still remember when I was in sixth grade and I saw a presentation from two PCVs. At the time I remember thinking, "They have to stand outside all day in the sun digging holes for wells… I never want to do that." Even almost 18 years later I can still recall some of the pictures of their working in the sweltering sun of Africa. If you have never done any public speaking before we have lots of ideas for activities and presentations.

Please contact us to make your similar statement for peace in San Diego classrooms and meetings! Don't underestimate the power of your presence and experience!

Patti Eger, President

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Board Minutes: November -- December 2000

In Attendance 11/6 were Patti Eger, Frank Yates, Rudy Sovinee, Lisa Frankel, Brenda Terry-Hahn, Sharon Kennedy, Jean Meadowcroft and Julie Schwab; 12/4 Patti Eger, Frank Yates, Rudy Sovinee, Lisa Frankel, and Brenda Terry-Hahn. Minutes of previous meetings were approved as written.

President's Report: A poll of board members showed only Frank will attend the regional conference. MMSP to have Frank be our official representative, and to cover his registration fee and gasoline costs. Patti wants to encourage SDPCA membership to attend PCLA recruitment events. She shared that the recent event was much fun and that she met many RPCVs she had not previously known.

Financial Report: Frank reported balances on the checking account and the savings account, the CD, and smaller amounts in our two postal impounds. A detailed statement of income and expenses was also provided.

Membership: Frank reported membership totals at each meeting, with latest figures of SDPCA membership at 127 current, 43 past due, totaling 170; NPCA membership at 81 current, 30 past due, totaling 111. We sorely miss the help Marjory Clyne provided in past years by reminding RPCVs to renew.

Community Outreach: No report provided.

Fundraising: Calendar sales are proceeding slowly, while the Postal Annex sales of Entertainment books is on-track. Sharon did not provide a December report, but Frank reports money is coming in from the Entertainment Book Program.

Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund: 1) Continual problems obtaining PCV addresses for RFPs: Vic at PC Washington has not responded with the details requested as to contacting current PCVs. Thomas Tighe, the former Deputy Director of PC promised to supply an e-mail to PCW, copied to Rudy--but that too has never appeared. Text of a letter to e-mail directly to country directors' desks was approved by SDPCA, and Rudy will distribute it online. 2) The Domestic Program Guidelines for this award fund were approved with the sole amendment being that item 3B becomes the "Global Understanding Award." MMSP that it is to be awarded annually to a single organization, so as to magnify its significance, and to facilitate the amount of publicity it can generate in the community.

Newsletter: MMSP to acknowledge Jeff as the current production/ distribution coordinator by including him in the masthead of the newsletter. Our current newsletter deadline is 12/10. Patti will supply an article about the Snow Goose Festival, and the board list had changes noted. MMSP to publish a 12 page newsletter, so long as the quality of material submitted is maintained and sufficient.

Website: The site is nearly ready to post. Frank prefers that the membership form be a format that requires RPCVs to mail their data and check. An idea to post the ISF letter and the new domestic program guidelines was encouraged for San Diego area PCVs to apply for ISF grants. Joseph White requested board members supply text appropriate to their committee assignments.

Social: The Tijuana tour was a success, and November featured the great guided hike of Torrey Pines by Ellen Shively, and the Snow Goose Peace Festival, the latter especially good for families! The December Potluck was planned for the Clabby's, and Rudy will host a January Super Bowl Party. February Ethnic Dinner will be at the Golden City Restaurant on Convoy Street. Rock Bottom in January will be the first Happy Hour gathering spot. Details to follow.

Speaker's Bureau: The SDSU event went well, but was more of a community/PC recruiting project than one to draw members to SDPCA. Doug requests photos for the poster he is doing. In December Jean did not supply a specific report, although she sent out an e-mail of the completed Domestic Program Guidelines as approved last meeting. It was suggested that Patti consider realigning the committee responsibilities, so that one board position can be dedicated to implementing the first year of this program.

New Business: Frank gave a brief report of the Regional Conference: an NPCA proposal to double regional groups' annual affiliation fees, with half of this reserved for assisting the next NPCA regional board representative with travel to meetings.

Next Meeting: 6:30 PM 1/8/01 at the home of Julie Schwab.

The meetings adjourned at 8:49 PM and 9:09 PM respectively.

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Follow-up to Intermational Event

What the Heck is Snow Goose Global Thanksgiving?

When I first heard about the Snow Goose Global Thanksgiving it sounded somewhat sentimental and hokey to me. I couldn't get a sense of the event but decided to go anyway. When Brenda and I arrived there were about eight long tables filled with all kinds of homemade foods from all the local cultures--mesclun salads, savory side dishes, roasted turkey, grilled chicken, hearty stews, and a plethora of tantalizing desserts. (The Oreo-Almond layer Cake was my favorite!)

There was also a table set up with hundreds of miniture clay pots, paintbrushes and paints. Everyone was to paint a pot and then give it away at the event to a total stranger. A beautiful sandy-blond, wide- brown eyed cutie gave me his lovingly made pot. I was smitten! Unfortunately, we discovered that there was quite an age difference between us (he was seven years old).

Various multicultural speakers and entertainers presented on a variety of peace-related topics which emphazised general goodwill towards humankind. There were a variety of colorful, lively cultural/dance performances: by a group from the Mexican State of Jalisco, and by an Native American group who was dressed in their representative regalia. While they danced, burnt sage permeated the air.

At sunset there was a candle ceremony in which we made a heartfelt communal meditation/prayer, with our hands over our hearts, for peace in our communities, our country and our world. I left the event feeling very connected to humanity-a very rare thing in these hectic times.

SDPCA members and guests at the Snow Goose Global Thanksgiving included: [Back Row,L to R] Doug Gwynn, Hank Davenport, Mona Melanson, Patti Eger and [Front Row L to R] Brenda Terry-Hahn, Michele Lagoy, Pat and Ken Hacker (high school friends of the Lagoys living in Oceanside), Bill & Maryann Lagoy. (photo: Eunice Gwynn)

After the event I reflected: although we are RPCVs volunteers few of our events have the altruistic purpose of solely promoting peace and goodwill towards total strangers, and Thanksgiving has taken on a different context today. Often it is dreaded: overcrowded freeways and flights, seeing relatives who annoy us and eating until we need to punch another hole in our belts.

This event stayed with the original spirit of Thankgiving-- coming together with total strangers in order to promote peace and harmony. I think our forefathers/mothers would have been proud.

Patti Eger, President

Next year we strongly urge all of you to join SDPCA in attending this event, even though it's a bit of a drive. It's a great place to bring kids since there are arts and crafts, performances and lots of farm animals around.

We were also disappointed to see only TWO north county RPCVs in attendance, in spite of the fact that this is in their backyard, and that we had considered it an event specially designated for them. So much for locating events near them to ease their drive!!

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PC News Bites

New PCV-SDPCA News from Nicaragua
Kathy Sepponen is an SDPCA member who has just received her first PCV posting to Nicaragua and offers to correspond with us.

Hey, SDPCA! I happen to have a little extra time here in Managua and wanted to drop a quick note to my hometown. I just swore-in last Thursday and am heading up to my site today. After three months of pretty rigorous training that involved sticking needles through chicken's wings, palpating cows, building terraces, digging zanjas, and identifying plagas on crops I'm feeling pretty ready to hit the campo. I will be spending the next two years in a small pueblo called San Antonio de las Nubes located in eastern Madriz. It is a community of about 250 people with no running water or electricity - it's pretty much textbook Peace Corps. I will be the first foreigner (let alone volunteer) to be living there and I absolutely love it. It's situated on top of a mountain so I feel more like I'm in Brazil than in Nicaragua. My time here has been a constant joy and I can't believe what a wonderful experience this has been. I hope all is going well! Kathy Sepponen: kathysepponen@hotmail.com

Maimed War Victims rescued by Friends of Sierra Leone, Others
In a collaborative effort of the Staten Island Rotary Club's Gift of Limbs, Staten Island University Hospital and Firends of Sierra Leone, a number of child victims of the civil war in Sierra Leone were flown to New York and into temporary foster care with new Americans from Sierra Leone.

All of these children had their limbs chopped off in order to terrorize them into supporting the Revolutionary United Front. In their current welcome foster care, they are receiving medical treatment, being fitted for prostheses, and learning to feel safe again. Many, understandably, do not want to return to Sierra Leone, and officials involved are rethinking the situation.

Because the arrangement was temporary and based on medical need, the children plan to be returned to their families (many of which have been fractured by the war) in Sierra Leone; but concerns for their safety once they return (with relatively expensive prostheses and clothing) has raised the question now whether this is the best plan. No one involved expected this development. Etta Toure, a program officer at FOSL, said that FOSL immediately said "Count us in" when approached by other groups for assistance in the effort.

Diane Cardwell, New York Times

Celebrate Peace Corps 40th Anniversary with a School or Community Group
Let's get involved in bringing our Peace Corps countries back home during the first week of March 2001. The Peace Corps website has a wealth of new resources to make speaking easy. You can find these at http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws (world wise schools). The site has lessons and materials for elementary, middle, and high school levels, for geography, language arts and science. There are also scripts of interviews with current volunteers and a variety of plans for map reading, environmental education, or teenagers daily lives. The main countries featured are Honduras, Paraguay, Lesotho, Senegal, Kyrgystan, and Nepal. Many of these lessons can be adapted or give ideas for a lesson tabout your country of service. Especially for those whose service was some years ago, the Peace Corps site also has Country Information and links to other websites. You can also register with Peace Corps to receive a presentation kit, through the website or by calling 800-424-8580 (press 2, then ext. 1961).

You may already know a school or community group with whom you would like to share your Peace Corps experience; please let us know to what group you will be speaking. Or you might like to speak with students at one of the schools requesting a speaker. A number of SDPCA members have already volunteered to be available to requesting schools. Please e-mail speakers@sdpca.org to volunteer as available for speaking or call Jean at 760-747-1778. I also have a few of the remaining lesson booklets, which I can mail to volunteers who will be speaking at schools.

SDPCA's New Funds for Domestic Programs
After several months of discussion and work, the SDPCA board has agreed on guidelines for annual grants for programs in the San Diego area. SDPCA has been successful at fund raising for the last several years, but has not found sufficient international projects to fund. The Mark J. Tonner International Support fund will have first priority for funding each year. Then, beginning in each August, proposals from SDPCA members for grants up to $500 may be made on behalf of organizations for small projects that fit within SDPCA's goals of bringing the world back home and building a network of RPCV's in the San Diego area. These may be non profit organizations or a smaller group that is part of a formal organization such as a school or church. SDPCA members may also nominate an organization for a Global Understanding Award to be given each year. This Award will be made to honor an organization which carries out work consistent with SDPCA's goals. The grants and the Award will be given in the Fall of each year, beginning in 2001. The board is working out whether to assign the new domestic fund to a current board position or whether to create a new position. We will post the Guidelines on the new website, and will also keep you all posted through the newsletter on the announcement of the request for proposals for the new domestic funding program.

Jean Meadowcroft, Chair, Speakers Bureau

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Welcome, New Members!

SDPCA extends a warm welcome to our newest members. We've seen some of you at our events already and we hope all of you get involved in our activities. You can reach us by the contact information listed on page 2.

Jaime Jarvis, San Diego; Uzbekistan (1998-00)
Tracy Lane, Escondido; Lesotho (1995- 97)
George Loh, Encinitas; Slovakia (1997- 98), Small Business Development
Lily Loh, Encinitas; Slovakia (1997- 98); Small Business Development
Yolanda Lopez, San Diego; Honduras (1996-98), Health Educator; Comprehensive Health Center
Lisa Mason, San Diego; Guinea (1988-2000)
Bonnie McCassy, Cardiff; Bulgaria (1997- 99), Economic Development Consultant
Todd Muderlak, San Diego; Guatemala (1995-97), Small Business Development; Content Integration Manager

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Pacific Waves: Bigger and Better!

You may have noticed that this Pacific Waves is now twelve pages instead of eight. This is due to the wonderful personal travel journal writing and PC experience stories we've received from SDPCA members and others, and some still anxiously awaiting their own page space.

The board has approved unanimously this expansion of our newsletter to 12 pages--as long as articles of substance and quality keep coming--so keep your great writing and photos coming!!

Many thanks to those of you who have written for us--your articles and stories are the ones most mentioned, asked about and appreciated in conversations with other members.

Besides our mutual commitment to peace, this interest in each other's personal paths around our planet reflects the single thing all of our (very) diverse RPCV/PCV group have in common: a deep personal-level interest in other cultures, other countries, and the wonderful people who live in them (especially from the eyes of one of "us"). May it ever be so.

And remember, all SDPCA awaits your story. Submit it to newseditor@sdpca.org or to SDPCA, P. O. Box 26565, San Diego 92196-0565. Gentle editing and grammar corrections provided, gratis.

Brenda Terry-Hahn, Editor, Pacific Waves

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Host Country Updates

Ethiopia and Eritrea
Ethiopians and Eritreans gave a low key welcome to a peace deal signed by their two governments, but said the bitterness left by a brutal two-year border war would take a long time to heal. There were no celebrations on the streets of either capital after the accord was signed in Algiers late on Tuesday to end a war which has cost tens of thousands of lives.

People from all walks of life said they were happy and relieved the conflict between the Horn of Africa neighbours was finally over. But after two years of being bombarded with vitriolic propaganda vilifying the other side and losing so many of their compatriots, Ethiopians and Eritreans remain bitter about a war each side blames on the other.

CNN/Reuters

India
In a rare, hopeful step toward ending more than a decade of violence in Kashmir, the Indian government announced Nov. 19 that it would unilaterally stop military operations in the troubled region of Kashmir during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins later in November.

"I hope that our gesture will be fully appreciated and all violence and infiltration across the Line of Control and the international border will cease and peace prevail," said a statement by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The Line of Control, a cease-fire line, was drawn in 1972 after a war between India and Pakistan over the disputed Himalayan region.

For more than a decade, this fighting has raged in the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir. Some rebels are Kashmiris whose purpose is a separatist insurrection; others are Pakistanis and other foreigners who are waging a holy war to wrench the largely Muslim territory from predominantly Hindu India. Some 30,000 people have died in the violence since 1989, according to India; others put the toll at 80,000.

Barry Bearak, New York Times

China
In Kashgar, a far western outpost, where a Muslim majority lives restively under Chinese rule, you can tell a lot about a man's politics by how he sets his clock. For the last half-century, China's Communist leaders have required the entire country to mark the hours by Beijing time, even though this far- flung city of veiled women, spice markets and donkey carts should be two, probably three, time zones behind. In Kashgar, in Xinjiang Province, really living by Beijing time would mean getting up in total darkness nearly 365 days a year.

So many local Muslims, defiant and increasingly disaffected, set their watches two hours behind Beijing, a nod both to nature and their separate identity. "The Chinese want us to follow Beijing time, but most of us are unwilling," said a young soda vender named Abduljim, whose timepiece on a recent morning read 7:45, when the official time was 9:45. "We are Uighurs--Muslims--we should follow Xinjiang time, our time, here."

Time, like almost everything else here in Kashgar, has become suffused with questions of power, control and ethnic divisions--between the dominant Chinese and the native Muslims, Uighurs who speak a Turkic language and are culturally related to the peoples of nearby Central Asia. And in recent years, those divisions have intensified greatly, as more Chinese move into the region and local Uighurs have fallen on economic hard times.

Elisabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times

Haiti
A Haitian court has sentenced a former coup leader, Raoul Cédras, and 36 other high-ranking military officers and their associates to life in prison for their roles in a massacre of slum-dwellers during a brutal period of military rule in the early 1990s. The court, in handing down the sentences on Thursday, also awarded the victims $43 million in civil damages against the defendants, who were sentenced in absentia.

"All 37 defendants were in fact convicted," said Brian Concannon, an American lawyer who helped Haitian prosecutors prepare the case with the Bureau of International Lawyers. "They were convicted of premeditated, voluntary homicide," he said. The trial was a landmark for Haiti, a step in bringing to justice an elite tier of military and paramilitary officers and their cohorts for human rights abuses committed during a period of violent military rule after the overthrow of the former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 1991.

The 1994 massacre for which the men were convicted was apparently an attempt by military and paramilitary groups to quell growing unrest in Gonaives, which had become a rallying point for calls for Mr. Aristide's return from exile.

Reuters, New York Times

Panama
The police detained four people on the opening day of an Ibero-American summit meeting here after the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, charged that a United States-based Cuban exile group was plotting to kill him. Mr. Castro's charge overshadowed the start of the summit meeting, where 19 Latin American countries and Spain and Portugal were to set out concrete steps to combat the poverty that affects almost two-thirds of the region's children.

At a news conference held at the hotel where he is staying, Mr. Castro said the Miami-based Cuban-American National Foundation "has sent people to Panama with the purpose of eliminating me physically. They are already in Panama and they have introduced weapons and explosives," he said. Among those detained was the Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, an aging veteran of Central Intelligence Agency crusades against the Cuban leader, whom Mr. Castro accused of directing the plot and called "a cowardly man, totally without scruples."

The Cuban-American National Foundation denied it had any link to Mr. Posada.

Associated Press, New York Times

Nepal
One man was shot and wounded trying to stop police arresting 13 Tibetans who had illegally crossed into Nepal, police said.

Police said the Tibetans were arrested near the Balephi police post in Chautara, as they tried to make their way to Kathmandu after crossing the border near Jiri. A local middleman who was assisting the Tibetans was shot and wounded after he tried to prevent the police from detaining the illegal immigrants. He was arrested for further questioning, police said.

The Tibetans were handed over to the immigration department for processing. Tibetans illegal immigrants are then usually handed over to the United Nations for High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). More than 170 Tibetans have been arrested so far this year for crossing into Nepal illegally.

Most of the Tibetans come to Nepal on their way to the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh where their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, lives.

World Tibet News Editors, Associated Press

Central America
World Neighbors-promoted farming methods helped families avoid the worst of the damage caused by Hurricane Mitch on thousands of Central American farms in 1998, according to a recent study conducted by World Neighbors.

Called Central America's worst natural disaster, Hurricane Mitch killed thousands, destroyed half a million homes, and washed entire farms down mountainsides. But not all the losses were natural or unavoidable--the flooding was caused by man-made erosion up in the mountains.

The study, funded by the Ford, Rockefeller and Summit foundations, shows that environmentally-destructive land uses in Central America amplified the storm's damage and that alternative farming methods can cut erosion by more than half!... For complete text of story read: http://www.wn.org/newsevents.asp

World Neighbors

Tibet
Britain's strategy of dialogue with China on human rights has failed to produce any results, according to a parliamentary report Wednesday which urged ministers to toughen their line. The cross-party committee of Members of Parliament said that over the past two years, while the government had been following a "constructive" approach, it had produced no "meaningful results."

In fact, the report said, there had been a "serious deterioration" in the human rights situation in China. In a strongly worded report, the Members of Parliament said the worsening abuses should be a "matter of great common concern" to ministers.

Agence France Presse, via World Tibet News online

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World Neighbors trip to…
Ecuador & Oaxaca

There's still time to check your schedule, pack your bags and join us on a World Neighbors trip to Ecuador, Feb. 18-24, or Oaxaca, Mexico, September 12-17.

You will experience the sights, sounds and culture of some of the most breath-taking places on this planet and meet some of the people who call these places home.

For more information on these and other World Neighbors trips call: 1-800-242-6387.

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Potpourri

Quote
Let no man say, then, 'why don't "they" do something?' There is no 'they'. There is just us - you and me - free men and women, responsible individuals.

Dr. John Peters (1907 - 1992), founder of World Neighbors

Advancing?
A heartwarming story of the advances of women in achieving equality throughout the world ... Barbara Walters did a story on gender roles in Kuwait several years before the Gulf War. She noted then that women customarily walked about 10 feet behind their husbands. She returned to Kuwait recently and observed that the men now walked several yards behind their wives. Ms. Walters approached one of the women and said, "This is marvelous. Can you tell the free world just what enabled women here to achieve his reversal of roles?"

"Land mines," said the Kuwaiti woman.

Survivors of Torture Need Translators
Cheri Attix at attriv@inetworld.net writes: I'm an RPCV (Thailand 90-91) who now works as an immigration attorney here in San Diego. I sit on the board of directors of a non-profit organization called Survivors of Torture, International which provides psychological counseling and evaluation for persons who have suffered torture in their home countries. We have a strong and growing need for interpreters who could volunteer their time to translate for those who cannot speak English. Our main language needs are French, Arabic and Spanish. Any RPCV with these language skills is encouraged to call us.

I'm cc-ing this to Kathi Anderson, our Executive Director. She can best answer any questions you may have.

Cheri Attix, Esq., 619-230-1804 964 Fifth Ave., Suite 506, San Diego, Ca 92101

Entertainer Steve Allen remembered
Long-time friend and World Neighbors' supporter, Steve Allen passed away at the home of his son Monday, October 30, 2000. Steve's great respect for World Neighbors began in 1984 when he visited several World Neighbors programs in Honduras. His devotion and volunteer activities on behalf of World Neighbors continued up until his death. Steve was scheduled to be the guest of honor at World Neighbors' 50th anniversary celebrations in April 2001.

"I'm sure you've heard the old adage 'give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he will be able to eat for a lifetime.' This is the embodiment of World Neighbors--they teach people how to fish. Their programs promote self-reliance rather than dependence on temporary aid." --Steve Allen (1922-2000)

Allen is survived by his wife, Jayne Meadows, four sons, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

World Neighbors

Global News Website
http://www.ipl.org/reading/news/ Check out the world's news here. In my area's major newspaper I only see scanty news from other countries. And mostly it seems to be about floods, fighting, bombings, or AIDs epidemics. This is a great web site of local newspaper web sites in most countries of the world. Check out the world's news.

Please pass this on any friend or relative who cares about another country and people. And to those living overseas, it also contains web sites of the major papers in each state.

Neil Ross, President, Friends of the Dominican Republic

Prayers for Peace Requested for Middle East
Go to http://www.EmissaryofLight.com and write your own one-line prayer. (There will be a counter there to let you know what number your prayer is.) When we have one million prayers of peace, James Twyman, Emissary of Light and Praying Peace, and Peace Troubadour, will travel to Israel with a scroll containing all the prayers to be presented to President Arafat and President Barak.

Twyman was recently in Jerusalem to help focus a worldwide prayer vigil for peace in the Middle East. Thousands of people joined the vigil, many of them linking live to Jerusalem via http://worldpuja.org/ Days later, Twyman read in a newspaper an offhand remark made by Yasser Arafat that peace will not come to the Middle East without a million strong prayers. Through the Internet we have the ability to supply him with these prayers within days or weeks. Go to http://EmissaryofLight.com and you will find a box to write your prayer. When the counter reads one million a copy of every prayer will be produced on an enormous scroll and will then be brought to Israel.

Twyman comments, "If we can gather one million prayers of peace for the Middle East I believe we will have achieved something truly remarkable. I believe that prayer is the most powerful force in the universe, and I invite you to feel that power for yourself by adding your prayer to the list. Don't wait, but act now. This is your chance to let your voice be heard."

Imagine: Foreign Reflections on our Recent Presidential Election
A history professor from Uppsala Universitet in Sweden, called to tell me about an article she had read in which a Zimbabwe politician was quoted as saying that children should study this event closely for it shows that election fraud is not only a third world phenomena.

  1. Imagine that we read of an election occurring anywhere in the third world in which the self-declared winner was the son of the former prime minister and that former prime minister was himself the former head of that nation's secret police (CIA).
  2. Imagine that the self-declared winner lost the popular vote but won based on some old colonial holdover (electoral college) from the nation's pre-democracy past.
  3. Imagine that the self-declared winner's 'victory' turned on disputed votes cast in a province governed by his brother!
  4. Imagine that the poorly drafted ballots of one district, a district heavily favoring the self-declared winner's opponent, led thousands of voters to vote for the wrong candidate.
  5. Imagine that members of that nation's most despised caste, fearing for their lives/livelihoods, turned out in record numbers to vote in near-universal opposition to the self- declared winner's candidacy.
  6. Imagine that hundreds of members of that most-despised caste were intercepted on their way to the polls by state police operating under the authority of the self-declared winner's brother.
  7. Imagine that six million people voted in the disputed province and that the self-declared winner's "lead" was only 327 votes. Fewer, certainly, than the vote counting machines' margin of error.
  8. Imagine that the self-declared winner and his political party opposed a more careful by-hand inspection and recounting of the ballots in the disputed province or in its most hotly disputed district.
  9. Imagine that the self-declared winner, himself a governor of a major province, had the worst human rights record of any province in his nation and actually led the nation in executions.
  10. Imagine that a major campaign promise of the self-declared winner was to appoint like-minded human rights violators to lifetime positions on the high court of that nation.

None of us would deem such an election to be representative of anything other than the self-declared winner's will-to-power. All of us, I imagine, would wearily turn the page thinking that it was another sad tale of pitiful pre- or anti-democracy peoples in some strange elsewhere.

Edifice et Incendire received online by Patti Eger, President

Computer Haiku
Imagine if, instead of cryptic, geeky text strings, your computer produced error messages in haiku. They would read like these:

A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

The Web site you seek
Cannot be located but
Endless others exist
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
ABORTED effort:
Close all that you have.
You ask far too much.

to be continued; received online by Editor

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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: newseditor@sdpca.org

Editor
Brenda Terry-Hahn

Layout / Production
Don Beck, Jeff Cleveland

Contributors this issue are
Frank Yates, Rudy Sovinee, Patti Eger, Lisa Frankel, NPCA Listserv authors, New York Times Reporters

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