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San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter

January-February 2003 -- Volume 16, Number 1

Bakra Canna Mek Daans

Update from Almitra

Recycling--An Act of Love

From the Editors: Questions for Our Time

Board Minutes

Beware... -Shakespeare


ISF Awards

SDPCA News Bytes

ISF Fundraisers: Support our Awards Program!

PC Newsbytes

Host Country Updates

Making Connections


New Members

Newsletter Credits

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Bakra Canna Mek Daans

This delightful account is in response to our request for COS Fesitvals of Light which, like all those of humanity, stand as testimonies of light, warmth, friendship, and love against the darkness, cold, and death of winter.

If you happen to be in Punta Gorda Town the week before Christmas, having had the mental fortitude to turn away from the televised reruns of Home Alone and Scrooge, while also tuning out the dulcet sounds of Blue Christmas and Jingle Bell Rock, you would experience Christmas celebrated in a somewhat different manner. Deep-throated drums, snapping firecrackers, children’s squeals, blurs of dancing feet, and ethereal shadows backlit by bonfire are some of the sounds and sights of a very Garifuna Christmas.

Punta Gorda Town, more commonly referred to as PG, is the capital of the Toledo District, the largest, least populated and poorest area in Belize. Its Garifuna population is made of the decedents of the original group that sprang up on St. Vincent’s Island, Western Caribbean, from the merging of the aboriginal Arawaks or "Island Caribs" and two shiploads of African slaves, stranded on the island in 1635 after the Spanish slavers carrying them were wrecked. Many years later, and after more than one attempt, the British eventually chased these descendants off St. Vincent’s Island.

A people most comfortable living with, by and from the sea, the Garifuna landed in Guatemala and spread out, establishing small coastal settlements to the east in Honduras and the west and north along the shores of Belize. Although the Spanish had possession of Belize at that time, British settlers were firmly entrenched and busy chopping down the forests, harvesting logwood and mahogany, and enslaving the Garifuna.

The Garifuna manner of celebrating Christmas was not always an established custom in Punta Gorda Town, at least not until a few years ago, when an ex-pastor down-emigrated from Dangriga, the Garifuna stronghold in Belize. Philip Gabrel was a full-fledged pastor with a deep and abiding love for the cultural roots of his Garifuna flock. In a moment of very human frailty, he briefly divested himself of his clerical garb and joined with his people to participate in the Garifuna dance called Wanaragua. That fall from structured and organized grace lost him the dog collar from about his neck, but set his spirit free - a spirit now residing in Punta Gorda Town actively teaching young men the dance.

Unlike world wars and basketball, which enjoy historic creditability because of the singularity of dates, places, and names, the origins of a cultural tradition are evolutionary, and therefore inexact; so too the origin of the Wanaragua with its distinctly African roots. This dance is also referred to as the John Canoe, from which comes the dance’s commonly used Belizean Kriol name, Jangkuna. The white masters, far from hearth and home, were intent on amusing themselves during the joyous Christmas season. Sadly, they suffered from a hereditary defect: WMCD or White Men Can’t Dance. Stated more simply, bakra canna mek daans.

As with most work, the responsibility devolved to the slaves to stage the entertainment, and from this came the Wanaragua. The costumes worn by the dancers tell the real story of who was using whom for amusement, and today’s modified version still depicts the essence of the symbolism. The dancers wear facemasks with elaborate headpieces. Painted on the whitish-pink masks are human faces depicting stylized Western European features, sensitive thin lips and aquiline beaked noses so very British. The costumes are uniform with manly white shirts, but worn with women’s skirts. Seen as an amusing bit of foolish nonsense to the master race, what they represented were Scottish kilts. The slaves found it no end ridiculous that the superior white masters dressed up as women.

The music combines the blurring tempo of drums carved from the solid sections of tree trunk, and covered with tanned animal hide, with an accompanying chorus of singers. The Jangkuna starts with each dancer doing a solo performance from the right side of the musicians, and progresses in a whirl-a-gig fashion to the far left. Shoulders are held immobile and arms held out rigidly parallel to the ground, with the palms of the hands facing outwards as if fending off. But the feet are moving in the triple-time beat of the drums, and all the while hips are doing things generally done behind closed bedroom doors. As the first dancer works his way across in front of the musicians, spinning and leaping as he goes, the next dancer enters and does his bit of fancy footwork.

Each dancer has developed personalized steps and movements so that no two are exactly alike. There is no competition or one-upmanship between the dancers, but there is a challenge going on all the while between the dancer and the drummers which produces some incredibly fast hand and foot movements. When all dancers have completed a turn, the leader of the group is on, and invariably his is the capping performance. Occasionally he will wear a crown remarkable in its similarity to that reposing upon the anointed head of the British monarch. A staff is also carried. The finale has all participants following the leader into a dancing ring and then an exit.

Punta Gorda Town lacks both snow and Christmas carolers muffled to their chins in wool and fur, sending out tiny puffs of frosted musical notes into the frigid night. But it does have a Christmas Jangkuna group going block-to-block, and willing to stop by for a bit of loose change and a drink. All along the way, the troupe has been collecting children until there is a veritable mob in train. You can always tell when you have missed out on a performance because there are dozens of crushed bottle caps scattered about the ground from where they had flown off of the knee bands worn by the dancers to accompany the drums and adding their tinkly little rhythms.

The Garifuna are a deeply spiritual people, and their ancestors, having been denied the practice of their traditional religions following their all-expense paid trip to the New World, adopted Christianity fervently as a socially acceptable replacement, with a few modifications here and there, of course. One important traditional practice stems from the need to prepare the way for Christ’s arrival on Christmas Day. To successfully achieve this Coming, it is first necessary to make the world pure by cleansing the earth of evil. In other words, Bon di Debl.

The process begins with drummers and dancers, doing another Garifuna dance (the Punta for this occasion), going door-to-door, rounding up the young and old alike. When a sufficient gathering is in place, di Debl, made from an old shirt and trousers, and then stuffed with flammables, is brought out from one house where he has been prepared in advance, and deposited in the middle of the crowd. This effigy of the Devil is enthusiastically assaulted with rocks, sticks, fists, and feet, and is generally meant to feel unloved and unwanted. After passions have moderated to the proper degree of fever pitch, di Debl is put to the fire and burned. The evil departs this earth in flame and smoke and small explosive eruptions (firecrackers have been stuffed into his guts as well...di Debl is definitely not a passive sort). This ceremony is also repeated just before the first of January to prepare the world for an evil-free New Year. Would that it were so...

Anywhere in the world where traditions are kept through celebrations, music and dance are always accompanied by food, and the Garifuna are certainly no exception. Several special dishes are prepared for the Christmas season. Since rice figures strongly in the daily diet, it is only natural that variations also make themselves present during the holiday season: Bime-Cacule is a sweet rice that has been cooked with sugar; Rias-Lab, is a second rice dish but cooked with coconut milk. Another staple to the Garifuna is plantain, and it is taken in its green, unripened state and then boiled and mashed to make Hu-Dut. Fish, rather than chicken, is the standard fare for these coastal dwellers.

Two of the more prominent dishes are Serre, which is fish cooked with flour, and Saley, a salted- and sun-dried fish preparation. Fish is also mixed with green bananas and coconut milk, to make Ta-Pow. But regardless of the occasion, it is not real down-home Garifuna cooking without Ere-Bai, the cassava bread that is the centerpiece of the traditional Garifuna diet.

Dance, music, song, food, good cheer, fun, and the continuity of family, faith, and community: it is indeed The Season. It’s worth the trip.

---Jeffrey Cleveland, Belize (1997-99)
Photos from author.

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Update from Almitra

Almitra Von-Willcox, a friend of Rudy Sovinee, a PC spirit we first published September/October 2001, walks the entire globe in the spirit of world friendship. Her aspiration is "to contribute to attitude changes by revealing the uniqueness of each culture and illustrate there are more similarities than differences which bind us together as one tribe on this planet." She has "survived teenagers, a twelve year battle with cancer, and a fifty-three foot fall in Nepal." She describes her current profession as "world walker" and refers us to her autobiography at She can be reached at the email she lists below. Here is her latest update.

By December I'll be officially finished walking in CHINA !!! But I still want to walk the complete Great Wall of China, someday. My next country is Tibet. I'm in China now, having walked nearly 10,000 km. After completing Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, I flew to Asia.

From South Vietnam I headed West across Cambodia, visited Angkor Wat, and headed for the Thai border, after which I headed northeast in Thailand, avoiding the sprawling city of Bangkok, crossed the Friendship Bridge into Laos and made my way northeast and entered North Vietnam in a rather unorthodox spot. I headed roughly northeast through Sapa and crossed into China at Lao Cai. For some time I've been in and out of China, as a 30-day visa does not give me much time to progress forward.

I walked 886 km north to Kunming, Yunnan Province, then made a left turn, headed west towards Myanmar, and before I reached the boarder, I've swung north again to Sichuan Providence and then across the grasslands in Gansu Providence until I reached the northern most ruins of the Great Wall Of China, in Gansu Province. Tibet is my next country. Then I'll follow a mostly westerly route to San Diego, California--and HOME.

In each country I've gotten a renewed faith in mankind. I've been welcomed without reservations, and invited to share home and meals. In China it is particularly difficult, as I have not gotten the hang of the difficult Chinese language, in which the dialect changes every few kilometers and there are very few who speak English outside of the universities.

Now there's also a problem with the internet service here in China. June 16th: a vandal fire in a Beijing Uni internet café caused 40 deaths, and inspired the Government to close down all internet cafés, even the government ones. Fortunately the illegal ones are beginning to be brave and reopen undercover. To add to the confusion, 18 of China’s provinces are underwater due to typhoon flooding. The end of June it was reported to have made 1.4 million plus 1 (me) homeless, and rising. I'm headed right into one of the areas hit worst, Sichuan Province. I've been walking slower, in hopes the floods would recede.

In my walk, one of my biggest surprises has been my attraction and affection for the Vietnamese people of Northern Vietnam. Particularly the street kids of Hanoi. I have found, without exception, that my dangers do not come from the people on this planet. So far the most dangerous element of my walk, besides losing my heart to the street kids of Hanoi, has proven to be sidewalks in the cities, towns and villages. I do not believe that the jungles of Vietnam have ever been as booby-trapped or dangerous as the sidewalks. Big gaping holes, tree roots, sharp rebar protruding upwards, and suddenly collapsing bits for the unsuspecting. Yes, I have fallen for a few of these booby traps.

By August 16, 2003, I will have been on the road for five years. The closest I've been to being homesick recently has been a great craving for huge beef ribs dripping with BBQ sauce and Mexican food washed down with huge, salted limed margaritas. Fried grubs, cock’s combs, bad ice, deep fried cockroaches, and rat-on-a-stick, have left a bit of a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach.

This is not my walk alone. I’ve had help every step of the way. I would not go very far without assistance from friends, family and many, many trusting strangers. My son Richard keeps my letters and parcels forwarded. After Danny's visit with me last February, an annual event since we met in Australia in 1998, he arranged for a new web host for the web site: Patrick Barmentlo in The Netherlands It's been activated as or The website was in limbo for some months, it's now up and running. Thanks to Danny in Holland, with the help of my past web editor, Alex Maraceau, now in London, for donating their time and generosity updating the photogypsy website. All the past archives have not been fully loaded as yet. Patience.

Good news: Brian, my 12 year old grandson, against all odds, has gotten the upper hand in the two-year battle with his brain tumor. After radiation and chemo therapy and months of stem-cell therapy, he has been gaining weight, if only minutely, and strength the past few months. He has become so accustomed being bald over the past few years, he actually does not like his new tufts of hair.

I've just waggled an extra 30 days on my Chinese visa extension from these.....bureaucrats, by waving money at these people, and saying "If I cannot stay in China, I'll just have to spend this money somewhere else." Money talks! If only they know how very little I am spending, I’d be barred from ever entering China again.

I've just finished walking in a lovely area of China. to the northeast of the eastern tip of Tibet, (central of total China, North East of Cheng Du or spelled Chengdu (Sichuan Prov.) which is North of Kumning (Yunnan Prov) so the majority of the people are Tibetan, and the terrain is 'high plains.'

I have finished Yunnan and Sichuan, and I'm in Gansu Province, an oddly shaped thing, north of Sichuan, with a long finger of land going northwest, all the way to Inner Mongolia. I'm headed for the small town of Wuwei, where my route intersects with broken bits of the Great Wall of China. (I do not think I'll walk all the way to Mongolia, although then I'd have walked the total land mass, south to north, of the country: no roads, no people.)

This area has the most beautiful people, gentle, friendly, hospitable. I’ve stayed in their yurts with them, ridden horses, milked goats (I'm 'udderly' hopeless) and play with their children .... and prayed I would not get any vermin in my hair. I'll never get used to rancid yak butter in salted hot weak tea, 10 times a day. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck! But good for their life style, and when it's cold, it's a necessity. You'd think with the cold they could keep the butter from going rancid. In some areas there's an almost permanent permafrost on the ground, but they do not take advantage of this (although underground is a perfect refrigerator).

The Chinese have the most irritating habit of saying, "mayo" at least the first three times a question is asked (which doesn’t mean "no," or "I do not know," as believed by foreigners; but "not now," "I do not want to deal with this, or with you now..." (or ever if they have their way). So when asking about anything from directions, tickets, food, this will be the immediate answer to any and all questions. But with perseverance, and if you can wear them down at their own game, eventually you'll get an answer to your question, one that they knew the whole time. This does not endear oneself to these people. The Tibetans do not play this game.

Please do not be discouraged if you do not hear from me for a while, as I am frequently in towns and villages where electricity is erratic or often not available at all and the internet is as yet unheard of.

---Almitra, The Photo Gypsy

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Recycling—An Act of Love

On my neighborhood walks, I often see trash cans laden with items which are decently clean and even reusable. One neighbor threw away a TV set when the new one arrived. Another, a perfectly good microwave. Clothing, paint cans, lamps and chairs are not unusual. The items don't just disappear, but are taken by truck to the city dump. Here, huge trucks run over the piles and fill up space after space. Searching for new "landfills" is big-time business, and often pristine locations are chosen for their distance from urban dwellings.

The breakdown process is not easy or without environmental impacts. Plastics may never decompose. Some items produce methane gas which destroys the ozone layer. The paper cycle can be devastating: cut the trees to produce the paper, use the paper for a single use, discard it with its ink coating and watch the resulting breakdown products contaminate the soils, killing the living microcosm balance of the soil.

Recycling and conservation are such easy ways to take responsibility for protecting our environment. I've learned to wipe out the greases from plates and pans before immersing them in wash water. A three minute shower is helpful. Wet, turn off the water, soap down, then rinse. We do it in the desert where water is in short supply. Why not at home? Is there a designated can for empty bottles and cans where you work? If not, institute it. Others will be jealous that they didn't act first.

For the Peace Corps activities, I'd like to see us adopt a tradition used by the Sierra Club. Potlucks are a great place to ask everyone to bring their own plate and silverware and mugs. It will cut down on the trash and slow down the rate of filling up those landfills.
There are many recycling centers in San Diego, and some areas have curbside recycling. I go to Miramar Recycling on Convoy just over I-15 and 52. They recycle natural plastic, colored plastic, soda bottles, tin cans, mixed paper, newspaper, aluminum and glass. They pay for some things, others are donations. Thrift stores welcome your discards and may employ people to prepare them for marketing. You can also call I LOVE A CLEAN SAN DIEGO, 619-467-0903 and ask them where to take half empty paint cans, and other chemicals.

Isn't our earth worth a little inconvenience? For her, please recycle. And at the next potluck, let's compare the designs on our own plates.

---Ellen Shively, Eritrea (1968-70)

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We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow-men; and along those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects. --Herman Melville

From the Editors

Questions for our Time

As we move into a new year, we face the possibility of global war, the impact of which---with technology and a shrinking planet---is more final than ever. Which makes us uneasy. It has always bewildered us that the world cannot seem to make a lasting state of peace---something we think all PCVs hope for. When we were volunteers, we felt we were laboring for peace. Our task was clear then; and since then, we have tried to live peace.

But we are bothered this season, more than ever before. We believe terrorism cannot be allowed...but the fear of it must not make us act in the same way. There has to be a way to learn to live in peace without going to war. We won't be bewitched into war. War is not peace. Peace is not war.

Volunteers have been fulfilling the PC mission to "learn peace, live peace and to labor for peace from the beginning of service to the end of their lives" since 3/1/61, some 40+ years now. By doing, we have learned that around the world, peace and friendship across cultures, linguistic and socioeconomic barriers can exist. We can live in peace and we must find a way to make a peace-full world.

We are disturbed by current events. We don't know the solutions and we fear the consequences. We think RPCVs [and others] are disturbed as well. What is to be done? What can we offer? If others are feeling this way, let us share and use our learning to build more ways to keep living peace. How do we do that?

Are we, the Pacific Waves Editor and Staff, alone in this concern? We don't think so. What is being done and how can we work with others? We know our work as PCVs made things happen. Together---working together.

So... we invite your thoughts---nationally and locally---to guide our SDPCA leadership and the New Peace Corps (as defined by that NPCA group) in their plans and work. Write us at: P.O Box 26565, San Diego 92196 or email us at:

---Editor and newsletter staff

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These minutes arrived as the newsletter was being mailed, so they did not get into the newsletter. We will have two subsequent months' minutes for the next issue

Combined Board Minutes 11/7/02 and 12/2/2002

Attendence:  Gregg Pancoast, Tony Starks, Brenda Terry-Hahn, Marjory Clyne, Frank Yates and guest Rudy Sovinee attended both meetings.  J. Lopez attended the first meeting while Justin Berger, Gail Souare, Catherine Reilly and guest Ted Finkle attended the second meeting.  

President's Report:  Greg Pancoast reported that during the Board of Directors' Retreat, the BOD resolved that there should be plans of action taken in the various committees.  Social committee organization and goal development is in progress.  Brenda Terry-Hahn had a meeting of the Communication Committee on November 18, 2002.  Therefore, we're on track.  Justin Berger has taken over membership development.  Frank Yates has committed to reviewing the SDPCA financial books. PC Archives Project was postponed, but is still pending.  Marjory Clyne agreed to help take on the project. Board recommended that a volunteer request to sit on an upcoming AmeriCorps panel be forwarded to the L.A. PC office. Ted Finkel and Rudy Sovine have both expressed interest in filling the upcoming board vacancy.  After discussion of ways to incorporate both, Tony Starks moved to appoint Ted Finkel Board Member (upon Catherine's departure) with the committee participation of Rudy Sovine.  Marjory Clyne seconded and the motion was approved unanimously. Gail and Tony volunteered to review SDPCA's by-laws and make recommendations to increase the flexibility of the Board structure.

Financial Report:  Frank Yates made his report and distributed year to date Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Statement.  All ISF-Restricted Donations have been spent, and any future ISF-Restricted Donations will probably be easily spent on upcoming ISF projects.  Will add a line on balance sheet indicating ISF-Restricted Donations.  In upcoming newsletter will announce search for an accountant to volunteer to audit SDPCA's books.

Membership:  Frank Yates reported that there were 214 Current SDPCA members, 69 SDPCA members past due, 175 Current NPCA members, and 56 NPCA members past due.
Fundraising:    Marjory Clyne reported she has Entertainment Books for sale in 22 Postal Annex stores vs 12 last year. She thus expects a good year for fundraising dollars. Many calendars have been sold and Frank will order more.  She also has a check for $410 coming to us for the tickets sold for the Dodger Game/Salute to Volunteerism event. Lots of calendars and Entertainment books out there being sold.

Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund:  Catherine Reilly reported that she had received two letters requesting funds - neither was from San Diego.  In September, she notified all the country desks and hoped that they, in turn, would send out the notices that we have funds to grant.  ISF received thirteen applications for funds from PCVs around the world.  The Board reviewed summaries of the projects.  Due to an unusually high number of quality proposals, after discussion the Board unanimously approved a 500 dollar increase in the funds to be distributed this cycle. The ISF Committee will likely fund five of the 13 proposals, two completely and three partially.

Newsletter:  Brenda Terry-Hahn reported that the November newsletter was mailed on November 7, 2002.  The November issue had major problems due to some members being out of the country throughout and a last minute article coming in that was substituted for the others that had been planned.  It took an additional 12 hours even with Don having set up a redundant system for her use while he was out of the country.  Brenda started the communications committee, which met on November 18, 2002.  Brenda corrected previous budget figures, which placed the newsletter over its annual budget.  The corrected figures show the newsletter to still be under budget, so long as we not issue a "color page" in upcoming months.  The problem of costs is due mostly to a significant increase in photocopying costs per page.  Don developed a Bulletin Board with Frank supporting the effort. The web site bulletin board page is fully operational.  Any announcements for the bulletin board will be screened by Brenda and posted by Don.  Based on the remaining budget we have enough money to produce only 12 page issues for the rest of the year, with no color. The Board encouraged the Newsletter and all other committees to begin thinking about their budgetary needs for the coming year. Don has done an excellent job on several new, very colorful pages on our web site.  

Web Site: No discussion.  Evite has been used to notify the membership of events and will continue to be used to notify the membership on upcoming events.

Social: Gail Souare was absent but Tony Starks stated that Gail Souare was doing a great job and had a committee of 4-5 people.  He stated that events had been planned for all months and reminded the BOD about the social mixer at Tio Leo's on November 14, 2002 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  We were also reminded that the holiday party will be at the Tierra Santa Rec Center on Sunday, December 8, 2002. Holiday party all set for this weekend despite typos in the mailing.  Board will bring ingredients for punch. Board approved $50 for Sudanese Singing group to perform at the Party. The Tony Starks-led social hour was a great success.

Communications Committee: Brenda Terry-Hahn and Marjory held first meeting of the new Communications Committee.  They discussed areas to be addressed and will be coming up with recommendations for SDPCA e-mail, Evite, membership development, and several other areas involving communication.

Speaker's Bureau:  Justin Berger reported that Ads for new members and speakers' bureau will be in upcoming issues of the San Diego Reader. Meeting with SD Board of Ed administrators was postponed again.

Unfinished Business: None

New Business: Our potential need was discussed to have postcards printed to notify our membership in case of an upcoming event where the newsletter wouldn't give sufficient notice.  Neither was there discussion resolution nor motion made.  A Christopher Sauer solicited funding, via a letter, for his Eagle project - building a picnic table out of lumber.  After some discussion it was disapproved by the BOD for not meeting the guidelines of our domestic grant program - as to purpose or type of recipient.  Frank Yates agreed to provide a breakdown of dedicated donations, and to compare that to subsequent grants - to determine how much, if any, of our funds are indeed pledged to ISF.  Rudy Sovine presented his nominations for the First Ever SDPCA Global Awareness Awards.  The Board tabled discussion of the nominations and the award until the next board meeting in order to review guidelines for the award.

Next Meeting:  6:30 PM; 01/06/02 at the home of Gail Soare.

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Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war
in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor,
for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword.
It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind...
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch
and the blood boils with hate
and the mind has closed,
the leader will have no need in seizing
the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry,
infused with fear and blinded with patriotism,
will offer up all of their rights unto theleader,
and gladly so. How do I know?
For this is what I have done.
And I am Caesar.
---from Julius Caesar,
written in 1623 by William Shakespeare

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From one SDPCA member to another: professional, skilled and free support

This is now incorporated into the Connections section of SDPCA Online.

SDPCA members can still become listed--following the instuctions below...

Do you have a special skill? Want to help out other members?
Please note these are FREE services members are offering.
To be listed here, e-mail to or call 619.491.1801

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SDPCA NewsBytes

Communications Committee

The new SDPCA Communications Committee is off to a very active start. Our original goal was to consolidate our multiple communications, which have grown quickly in the last few years, from only a newsletter and voice mail to include multiple email structures, Evite, and website. Our discussions have included these, as well as new membership development and support and the lack of a major membership focus. If you are interested in the future of SDPCA and increased participation of interest to all members, please join us!

Communicate your interests and/or ideas by email: at or phone: 619.491.1801.

SDPCA Global Thanksgiving 2002

Eight of us attended the Global Thanksgiving and one volunteered. It was an awesome, moving event, as usual, but this year especially so in view of world events. There was even more intercultural entertainment of myriad types, dancing, storytelling and crafts for children of all ages. Victor Villaseñor, who outdoes himself each year, closed the event with the traditional Meditation for Peace and heartfelt remarks which left some in tears. This event is highly recommended for all people who wish for peace.

Victor Villaseñor is the author of the best-selling novel "Rain of Gold" written over 16 years and chronicles his family’s history and immigration to America, including his grandmother’s story. He is an example of "the power of one" with his global leadership for peace. See also: http://

Welcome to Ted!

Stepping into the ISF Chair is Ted Finkel, Venezuela (1967-69), to pick up where Catherine Reilly, Panama (1994-96), left off to leave us and travel the world. Ted moved to San Diego about one year ago from NYC. He served in Venezuela in a Physical Education program, then taught ESL for a few years before doing a couple of Master Degrees in Psychology and International Relations. In order to go overseas, he went with Multinational Bank for five years in Brazil. He has continued in the financial industry working with and in South America. Currently he’s with Merrill Lynch downtown and volunteers with BIG PAL and Jewish Community Foundation. And he looks forward to retiring in sunny San Diego!


NPCA Dues Increase

Become a member of the National Peace Corps Association as well as SDPCA to receive World View magazine and Peace Corps alumni newsletter 3/1/61, to experience discounts on travel and merchandise, and to access members only benefits such as NPCA’s online directory. Take advantage of NPCA’s three-year membership ($135.00 individual/$180.00 couple) by joining or renewing online at or sending your check directly to NPCA. NPCA will automatically remit SDPCA dues each year.
--Frank Yates, Ghana (1973-76)

SDPCA Seeks Accounting Advisor

The SDPCA has been a nonprofit organization for nearly fifteen years, but has always relied on its volunteer elected Chief Financial Officer to keep the financial records and manage its financial affairs. SDPCA has also relied on other volunteer members to informally review the financial records as the CFOs have changed to assure the Board of Directors that its financial affairs were in order. It has been several years since the last financial review. If you are a professional accountant or bookkeeper, the SDPCA Board would welcome your assistance in completing the financial review and helping the Financial Committee to establish accounting procedures appropriate for an organization of our type and size. If you are interested in helping, please contact Gregg Pancoast, President, or Frank Yates, CFO.
--Frank Yates, Ghana (1973-76)

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Field Funding (ISF News)

This fall funding cycle for the International Support Fund just closed. We had a great response, receiving 13 applications from Kenya, Honduras, Guatemala, Romania, Cape Verde, Nicaragua, and Bulgaria. Overall we received requests for more than $5,000. Unfortunately we had only budgeted $1,500. The board decided that due to the number of good quality projects from people with strong local ties, we would dig into our savings to increase the funding amount to $2,000. This allowed us to fully fund two projects and partially fund three more, as follows:

  • Amy Lint, Kenya, $506.02: to help with a poultry project at a community-funded school.
  • Jude Wallway, Honduras, $620.39: to install a drainage system in a newly built low income Habitat for Humanity community.
  • Suzanne Mackzum, Guatemala, $350: to help construct a community-based library and provide some books to fill the facility.
  • Amy Reck, Romania, $230: to help support a local sports program that targets at-risk youth from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
  • Colleen Garrett, Cape Verde, $290: to help furnish a local high school library.

There are still several good quality projects that we were not able to fund, ranging from library projects to children's arts programs.

SO: We hereby invite members of the San Diego Peace Corps Association to donate additional money that can be used to help fund one or more of the other unfunded applications received this cycle (choose your favorite), or saved to help increase the amount available for the spring funding cycle since the level of interest in our program is growing.

AND: for those of you that would like to be involved on the next application selection committee, please contact us at:
---Catherine Reilly, Panama (1994-96), now on the Global Path

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PC NewsBytes

NPCA Offers Free Travel

As part of our Global Volunteer partnership, NPCA is seeking members as volunteer coordinators for the development of pilot projects. Each would recruit NPCA-member volunteers for service to PC countries. In exchange for recruiting the volunteers, the volunteer coordinator will receive a small stipend and will be able to participate in the service program at no cost: all meals, lodging, air and ground transportation, project materials, visa, etc. will be covered. Interested individuals should send contact information and a summary of qualifications to or visit:
---NPCA Listserv

PCV Support Needs Improvement

See an exclusive online report by a doctor from Johns Hopkins University that analyzes and offers recommendations on improvement in three critical areas: Volunteer Mental Health, Volunteer Security, and Premature Volunteer Attrition. It is hoped that the many RPCVs who have gone into medicine, psychology, and social work will review this report and offer their ideas and suggestions based on professional and PC experience. See the report at:

Congress Adjourns without Passing PC Bill

The good news is that the Homeland Security Bill that passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law included provisions to prohibit the implementation of the controversial Operation TIPS program. But unfortunately, the last chance to pass the Peace Corps bill (the Dodd compromise bill, S 2667) this session was the evening of November 14 before the House of Representatives adjourned this year as the lame duck session ended.

Many people including RPCVs, members of Congress, and staff worked hard on getting the bill onto the Unanimous Consent list offered by Majority Leader Armey. However, despite support from the Senate, RPCV Members of the House, the Bush Administration, and the Peace Corps, the Majority party objected to the bill which kept it from being included on the list.

RPCVs must now regroup. The House International Relations Committee staff is working on a draft bill for which hearings will give RPCVs an opportunity to express their views on what should be included. There is still concern among some RPCVs over the elimination of the phrase "...No Peace Corps personnel or volunteers should have any relationship with any United States intelligence agency..." from the above S2667, although Dave Hibbard has reported that the RPCV authors, Senator Chris Dodd and Representative Sam Farr are comfortable with the language.


RPCV Oral History Program

Bob Klein, Ghana I (1961-63), now in retirement, thought it worthwhile to tell the story of his group and began to travel, tracking down other members, staff, training faculty, and even those deselected. Whenever possible, he taped oral history interviews with each, focusing on their experiences in the Peace Corps. His oral history will be archived in the Kennedy Library in Boston for future historians.

Read about his RPCV Oral History Project and how you can start your own program to collect your group's oral history. Read the story at:

Bob Klein will be in San Diego to coordinate the beginning of an Oral History project for RPCVs here Thursday, Jan. 9 - 14. For questions or to participate, call Marjory Clyne, Western Samoa (1972-74), 858.579.9909 or

PC Cartoons (you mean we were funny?)

Last month PCOL put up our Peace Corps Cartoon called "Garden" and asked its readers to come up with the funniest caption. See what RPCVs wrote and compare it to the original caption. Then, take a look at the cartoon for this month--"Peace Corps Doctor"--and come up with your own caption for it at:

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International Support Fund

Help Support PCV Projects!!

Entertainment books and Peace Corps 2003 Calendars Still on Sale!!
Go to Entertainment Books & Calendars

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Host Country Updates


Exiled Tibetans lose liberties as Nepal nuzzles up to China (SFC)
Every September, Wangchuk Tsering celebrates "Tibet Democracy Day" with a public speech before thousands of enthusiastic supporters. But this year, he spent the day languishing in a police station. "Normally, we have a big pug (ceremony) and read statements from the government in exile," said Tsering, who represents the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet. "This year, we had it in a monastery since the police kept me all day drinking tea."

Nepal has more than 30,000 Tibetan refugees, many of whom arrived after the Chinese crushed an uprising by the youthful Dalai Lama and his supporters in 1959. As many as 2,500 more make the dangerous journey over the snow-capped Himalayas every year.

Most oppose China's rule over Tibet and support the Dalai Lama. But now the refugees are finding themselves increasingly unwelcome as Nepal's constitutional monarchy cozies up to China. The government is supporting Beijing's right to rule Tibet and has accepted the "One China" policy diplomatically freezing out Taiwan in exchange for millions of dollars in assistance.

The Chinese have rewarded the Nepalese by increasing economic aid from $3.4 million in 2000 to $9.4 million in 2001. "We sincerely thank Nepal for its long-standing support on issues like Tibet, Taiwan and human rights," China President Jiang Zemin said during a visit by Nepal's King Gyanendra in July. In return, Gyanendra assured Jiang that Nepal would never let its territory be used as "venues for any activity undermining China's interests." Since 1990, a "gentleman's agreement" with Nepal brokered by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu and administered by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has provided safe passage for Tibetan refugees from Nepal to neighboring India, where another 100,000 Tibetans live.

But in recent months, Nepalese officials have ordered Kathmandu's Radisson Hotel to stop a celebration to honor the Dalai Lama's birthday and sent police to end a press conference by Tsering to respond to allegations by a pro- Beijing group that the Dalai Lama had persecuted a rival religious sect. Most analysts agree that freedom of expression for Tibetans in exile has declined markedly as Nepal's relations with China have improved. "Nepal is in a pretty difficult geopolitical situation," said Suman Pradhad, news editor of the Kathmandu Post, referring to his nation's location between two nuclear powers. "It can't afford to antagonize China or India and has this policy of closing its eyes toward the influx of Tibetan refugees but arresting them whenever China makes some noise."

Although Nepal's government has long delivered Tibetan refugees to the High Commissioner for Refugees, it is increasingly forcing them back into Tibet, "where they many face detention, interrogation and torture," said a recent report by the Tibet Justice Center of Berkeley. And those allowed to stay often are asked to pay bribes to assure their arrival at a refugee camp in Kathmandu, the report added.

In September, eight Tibetan students and two monks were jailed after entering Nepal reportedly without proper travel documents as they were making their way back to Tibet after finishing studies in the Indian town of Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama lives. Those who do reach Kathmandu are typically taken by the High Commissioner for Refugees to the Tibetan Refugee Reception Center.

On a recent visit, a new arrival named Thdhudup Lama told a reporter that it had taken him two attempts to enter Nepal. On the first try, Chinese soldiers held him in one of 12 tiny cells with 200 other would-be refugees near the Tibetan city of Shigatze. He said he had repeatedly been beaten by guards with gun butts before being released four months later.

In Nepal, Tibetan refugees reside mainly in Kathmandu and Pokhara, the nation's two largest cities, where many Tibetan youths kill time at Internet cafes looking at Web photos of a homeland they have never seen. Even though many were born in Nepal, they are unable to work because their adopted country's immigration laws exclude them from most forms of employment and owning property.

"It is difficult for Tibetan people because of the citizenship laws," said Sherap Dorje, a teen who frequents Kathmandu's Cyberlink cafe and has a tattoo in English on his arm that says: "Save Tibet." In theory, each exiled Tibetan must have a "refugee card"---Nepal's equivalent of a green card---but Tibetan leaders say very few arrivals are given the document, leaving them open to police harassment. Three years ago, 11 refugees were jailed and ordered to pay fines ranging from $1,600 to $9,500 because they lacked proper documents. Because they couldn't pay, they are languishing in jail. "Even my children can't get a refugee card," Tsering said.

Meanwhile, envoys of the Dalai Lama and Chinese officials met in September for the first time in 20 years, raising hopes of warming relations between the exiled Tibetan community in India and their homeland and for China to introduce real autonomy in the region.

While the reestablishment of contact has evoked keen interest, some China watchers do not read much into it, arguing that the Chinese initiative on Tibet is aimed at improving relations with Washington, which links the resolution of the Tibet issue with "fuller political and economic engagement" between Beijing and the Bush administration. "There will be no immediate impact" on refugees in Nepal, Tsering said.
---Thomas Bell, San Francisco Chronicle, November 14, 2002


Larry Foley, an employee of the USAID mission in Jordan was shot and killed outside his home in Amman October 28. Foley, India (1965 - 68), was an Associate Peace Corps Director in the Philippines in the early ‘80s. The RPCV community grieves for Larry Foley and sends our sympathy to his family and friends. Later in November the Peace Corps announced it was suspending operations in Jordan.

The day following the announcement fighting broke out between residents and police in southern Jordan, leaving one person dead and three people wounded. Reportedly there is little open anti-Americanism but many Jordanians share an anger common in the Arab world over U.S. foreign policy, particularly U.S. support for Israel. Since Sept. 11, American embassies have sent notices to thousands of expatriate Americans worldwide, warning them to keep a low profile.

Is it becoming too dangerous for volunteers to work in some countries or would leaving just play into the hands of extremists? Read the stories on what is happening in Jordan and leave your opinion at:


Karla Campbell, a current PCV in Ecuador, is working in the Youth and Families at Risk Program. She is soliciting donations of money or books for a library project in her site. If you can help, please contact her at
---NPCA Listserv


With help from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a small but influential Kenyan women's group is helping researchers preserve bottle gourds, one of Africa's earliest domesticated plants and one of its most endangered. Located 160 kilometers west of Nairobi in the village of Kitui, the group has established a Gourd Museum that houses a growing community genebank, as well as an informal library of songs, stories, and indigenous knowledge.

Read more and see the video at


From: "Jayem Hammer"
Subject: Fwd: Bali - The good news!

I just spent three months in Bali, and co-hosted, with Melea Moir, a tour group designed to explore the spiritual depth of this rare and precious culture. We experienced the Bali bombing with our group at the end of our tour and just a few miles up the road. We stayed on in Bali for another three weeks, immersing ourselves,along with our Balinese friends, in the aftermath of the event. Neither of us experienced a single Balinese expressing any form of vehemence, or victimhood. While they were shocked and disturbed by this violent and insane incursion into their gentle and god-centered world, everywhere we went their response was concern for us, and apologizing that "we have let this happen while you are here."

We were blessed to attend temple ceremonies, and came across spontaneously, purification ceremonies, and, as always, we were warmly welcomed. Their response to this event was a profound and impactful spiritual teaching for us both, and the following statement reveals a fundamental and profoundly important difference between how a spiritually mature culture sees and responds to the vagaries of the world, and the (by contrast) reactionary, egocentric, and rather immature response so prevalent in America, and in Western culture in general. Of course, there are many westerners who can empathize with this view, but our collective voice is certainly not the majority, nor the philosophy of choice by those regrettably in key positions of power.

Please read this response by the Balinese thoughtfully, and send it on to your own network, for this statement is the heart and soul of all that is Bali.

Thank you. Jayem Hammer

Dear Friends,
The following is a message from Parum Samigita which is the 'Think Tank' for the Banjars (Village Councils) of the Kuta, Legian and Seminyak areas of Bali. It comes from the heart of the Balinese people at ground zero in Kuta. It is a message of love and brotherhood and expresses the message which they wish to send to the world. Please forward it to anyone you think would appreciate reading it.

The speech was delivered in English by Asana Viebeke L on Friday, October 25th at a press conference for the Indonesian media. It is being sent out with an audio copy and photographs to the world's press. Now We Move Forward!
Sekarang Kita Maju!

The Press Release (25th October 2002)

We Balinese have an essential concept of balance. It's the Tri Hita Karana; a concept of harmonious balance. The balance between god and humanity; humanity with itself and humanity with the environment. This places us all in a universe of common understanding. It is not only nuclear bombs which have fallout. It is our job to minimize this fallout for our people and our guests from around the world. Who did this? It's not such an important question for us to discuss. Why this happened - maybe this is more worthy of thought. What can we do to create beauty from this tragedy and come to an understanding where nobody feels the need to make such a statement again? This is important. This is the basis from which we can embrace everyone as a brother; everyone as a sister.

It is a period of uncertainty. It is a period of change. It is also an opportunity for us to move together into a better future. A future where we embrace all of humanity in the knowledge that we all look and smell the same when we are burnt. Victims of this tragedy are from all over the world.

The past is not significant. It is the future which is important. This is the time to bring our values, our empathy, to society and the world at large. To care. To love. The modern world brings to many of us the ability to rise above the core need for survival. Most people in the developed world no longer need to struggle to simply stay alive. It is our duty to strive to improve our quality of life.

We want to return to our lives. Please help us realize this wish. Why seek retribution from people who are acting as they see fit? These people are misguided from our point of view. Obviously, from theirs, they feel justified and angry enough to make such a brutal statement. We would like to send a message to the world - Embrace this misunderstanding between our brothers and lets seek a peaceful answer to the problems which bring us to such tragedy.

We embrace all the beliefs, hopes and dreams of all the people in the world with Love. Do not bring malice to our world. What has happened has happened. Stop talking about the theories of who did this and why. It does not serve the
spirit of our people. Words of hate will not rebuild our shops and houses. They will not heal damaged skin. They will not bring back our dead. Help us to create beauty out of this tragedy.

Our community is bruised and hurting. Our spirit can never be broken. Everybody in the world is of one principle brotherhood. Tat Wam Asi - You are me, and I am you. We have a concept in Bali, Ruwa Bhineda, a balance between good and bad.

Without bad there can be no good. The bad is the 'sibling' of the Good. Embrace this concept and we can move forward into a better world. There is Sekala / Nisikala - the underworld forever in darkness merging with our world in the light. You love your husband and wife but sometimes you fight. Fear arises and shows its opposition to love.

This is normal. This is a natural, essential part of life. These are the concepts by which we, as Balinese, live our lives. Please, we beg you, talk only of the good which can come of this. Talk of how we can reconcile our 'apparent' differences. Talk of how we can bring empathy and love into everybody's lives.

The overwhelming scenes of love and compassion at Sanglah Hospital show us the way forward into the future. If we hate our brothers and sisters we are lost in Kali Yuga. If we can love all of our brothers and sisters, we have already begun to move into Kertha Yuga. We have already won 'The War Against Terrorism'.

Thank you for all your compassion and love.
Asana Viebeke L,
Kuta Desa Adat

Afterword: Parum Samigita

Between the choices of Love or Fear, only Love is real. If, at any time, we are in Fear, where are we? --Jayem Hammer

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Making Connections

The New SDPCA Bulletin Board for Members!!

  • Want to have a potluck with all RPCVs who served in your COS?
  • Having a garage sale to which you’d like to invite the SDPCA community?
  • Seeking a dear lost PC friend who served with you?
  • Want to invite us all to a party?
  • Have an activist event you think we should know about?

Well, now there’s a way!! The SDPCA Website button Connections opens a page called "Making Connections." It’s up and running and ready for your announcements! Notices will be posted weekly so this is the way to communicate promptly, between newsletter deadlines.

Send your notices to, from which they will be posted. Be sure to include important details and dates, edit your material to approximately 45 words or less, and note that while we address the website material to RPCVs, we cannot control access to its information. We recommend use of email addresses only and with discretion.

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"War may sometimes be a necessary evil, but no matter how necessary, it is still evil, never a good. We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each other’s children." ---Former President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech 12/10/02

UN Security Council Resolution

...No. 1441 which recently approved the international UN inspection of Iraqi arms, can be viewed at
--- San Diego Peace Resource Center News

You Can Still Phone George W. let him know your views on the war. Phone the White House at 202-456-1111 between 9-5 EST. A machine will answer ("Please hold; your call is very important to the President") and then a pleasant live operator will thank you for saying "I oppose" or "I approve of" the proposed war against Iraq. They ask you what state you're from, and that's it. The president wants to know. Tell him. Time is running out.
---CA Community College Part Time Faculty Union listserv

Here is New York: A Democracy of Photos

This very moving exhibit is the San Diego section of a much larger collection, the birth of which occurred spontaneously in New York when people from all walks of life donated their photographs of 9-11 events. It’s another example of a sociological groundswell "happening" similar to Woodstock or perhaps the contemporary Burning Man. Locally sponsored by the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, it was on display in the Hilton Gaslamp September 10-November 10 of this year. If you missed it, visit and, key word "photography." Starting November 5 it will be archived by "Shutterbug Magazine Radio" with The Foto Guy.

Quick Legislative Communication

AARP now offers a quick way, through their website, http:// to email your senators and representatives regarding any issue. If you don’t have computer access, call 800.869.3150 and you will be connected to your senator’s office. The website also has Spanish-speaker access at

Vacations for Pennies

Through American Hiking Society
Volunteer vacations for one or two weeks are offered ($80 for AHS members, $100 non members, and may include accommodations, food, and transportation). With AHS, vacationers are off in the woods in year round programs rebuilding trails, preserving historic sites, and working at other maintenance projects, while daily free time is spent canoeing, hiking, biking, fishing, photographing, or just hanging out. Check the website, or call 301.565.6704 x206.

Through Passport in Time, the archeological website of the National Forest Service
This offers volunteers a nationwide year-round opportunity to choose a site and project which preserves our national heritage. Projects are always historic, often (but not always) archeological; may involve preservation of documents, creation of educational exhibits, photographing artifacts, and other wonderful stuff as well as specialized digging and bagging artifacts.

Get online and search for Passport in Time; projects listed are searchable by state as well as date. Fees vary but are always reasonable; volunteers provide their own transportation to the locality; accommodations and site transportation vary from comfortable bunkhouses to bring your own tent.

Children/families/seniors/disabled are welcome, depending on site conditions and project guidelines and requirements. Camaraderie is so good that several weddings have been reported and publicized!

Namaste from St. Louis, Missouri!

In the mid 1990’s I was a volunteer hill country school teachera two-day walk northeast of Kathmandu. I later "adopted" the area and with family and friends started the OUEST nonprofit corporation here in USA, a small grassroots community development program in Nepal since 1998. We launched programs in education, health care, agroforestry and women’s issues in the 11-village area of Nuwakot-Sindhupalchowk districts.

Now in its fifth year, QUEST is also partnering with selected Nepali NGOs in our target support areas. Recently, QUEST collaborated with University of Missouri-St. Louis to develop and publish a 2003 calendar (8 by 18 inch wall calendar with wood dowel and jute string hanger, two-tone photos and background information of basic living conditions and village life) on village life in Nepal and QUEST’s programs there. Funds for its sale will support our development programs and raise awareness on basic living conditions in Nepal. It’s $12 by mail order to: QUEST 2200 Pestalozzi St. St. Louis, MO 63118.

Calendars will be mailed back promptly. Leah Schulte, QUEST’s Nepal Program Director,
---submitted by Jean Meadowcroft, Bolivia (1966-68)

MA in Intercultural Relations now offered through a partnership between the Intercultural Communication Institute in Portland, OR and the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. This distance ed program offers RPCVs a 2.5&endash;3 year core program at home while maintaining employment, plus three two-week residential stints in Portland. RPCVs receive special consideration for admission. Contact Greg Walker, by phone: 503.297.4622 or email: or at the website:
---WSPCA Newsletter

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Welcome, New Members!

We of SDPCA 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 want all of you to get involved in our activities. Let us hear from you!! You can reach us by the contact information listed on page 2. .

New members are listed by name, country and years of service, area of residence.

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Newsletter Credits

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

Contributions 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:

Brenda Terry-Hahn

Layout / Production
Don Beck, Jeff Cleveland

Contributors this issue are:
Gail Souare, Almitra, Rudy Sovinee, Frank Yates, Ellen Shively, Anthony Starks, Jeff Cleveland, Peace Corps Online, NPCA Listserv authors.

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