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San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter

March-April 2003 -- Volume 16, Number 2

Sojourn tp Costa Rica

On the Golbal Path

To the Shuttle Columbia Crew

Latters to the Editor

Board Minutes

In Commemoration

SDPCA Newsbytes

PC Newsbytes

Americans in Bad Company

Book Review

Peace-Promoting Events


PC Palate

New Members

Newsletter Credits



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Julie Schwab, Zaire (1987-89) and chef-husband Craig have relocated (bag and baggage and Swampdog) from San Diego to Costa Rica. Here are some of their experiences as expats on a global life-journey, starting in business there. Photos from the author. Online time is costly but Julie can be reached with really important stuff at [Photos from the Author)

Sojourn in Costa Rica

Just before leaving, Julie sent friends the following story:

The Irony of the Rat Race

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them. “Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“So why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.“But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs...I have a full life,” replied the Mexican.

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day and then sell the extra you catch. With extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one until you have an entire fleets. Then, instead of a middle man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants, maybe even open your own plant, then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise."

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” was the reply.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast. You can sleep late, fish a little, play with your children, take a siesta with your wife, and in the evenings go into the village to see your friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs!”

September 9.
Alajuela, Costa Rica
¡Hola Chicos! We're back in Alajuela (a suburb of San José) after a week on the Central Pacific coast. We're at a B&B called Vida Tropical owned by José (who is in town now), as Humberto & Carmen (who run it for him) are on a vacation. This is where you all will stay coming and going from our place if you decide to rent a car, travel about before or after visiting us, or if your connecting flight to Nosara is not until the day after you arrive. They pick you up and take you to the airport and pretty much help with anything you need.

Manuel Antonio
With the Spanish School out, last Monday we headed to Manuel Antonio where we spent a night at Hotel California. I had corresponded with the owner, Robbie, and we spent the evening with her. She gave us tips on business and told some crazy stories. She's quite a character, but very cool: she's started a foundation to help physically disabled children get wheelchairs and generally gain access to schooling.

We said good-bye to our new friends and headed further south to Dominical, a super popular surf town because of its consistent beach break. We had read about a bar-cabinas called Thrusters (surf videos and reggae) and decided to stay there the first night. The owner was Noel, an American in his 30's who’s been here for nine years.

Except for Robbie's deluxe hotel, most hot water in showers comes from an electric heater device that’s in the shower head-- are you surprised to hear that they are called “suicide showers?” I have a hard time getting them to warm up at all, but haven't been bothered at all by the lack of hot water as the cool water is refreshing.

Back to Thrusters, well, we've been up late nights for what seems like forever and we're finally ready for an early night. We head to bed at 8 p.m. just as the rap music began; then it turned to Techno Pop until about 4:30 a.m. Needless to say, we found another place for the remaining days. A seasonal local American had a good laugh at us. Locals know better; they only go there for drinks, pool, and great pizza.

It continued to rain a lot. It was hot and humid. I thought people were nuts to lie on the beach, as I preferred the hammock! Craig got some good surf and I played on a board in the white water. There we met another great couple, Niall and Nicole from Switzerland. Niall is a tico, but has lived all over the world and is also a Chef!

View from our porch (in Dominical, where we are currently settled)

All in all we were glad we made the trip to Dominical. We had heard great things about and it was in the back of our minds whether that would be a better place for us. Before leaving we finally found Dennis. Kenny, the best man at our wedding, had driven from California to Costa Rica with Dennis a couple years ago and told us to look him up. He has a rental house in Dominical and a ranch in the next town, Hatillo. So on our way out of town, we stopped at his ranch.

Another character! He's been in town about 10 years, lives in a nice, if small, cabina with his girlfriend and their two darling children. He built that and is working on larger house, has a rental cabina below, with cows and goats. He knows everything about construction. He has everything growing on his land including Ylang Ylang trees! He's up the hill and has incredible ocean views. He has about a half acre for sale for about $45,000 where one could build an awesome house, if anyone is interested. He gave us some pipas and ylang ylang flowers and we were off.

Agua de pipa comes from unripe coconuts and apparently is very good for keeping the intestinal track healthy. Sylvia, who makes the breakfast and cleans at the B&B, also told me it’s good with cacique (or guarro as it’s generically called: sugar cane liquor). Since we didn't get to go to the Spanish School for a refresher course, I'm winging it.

Comprehension on the basics and just a bit more is not bad and I can manage to ask for what I need. Ticos are fabulous about being patient and helping with the language!

We're here in Alajuela now until the 18th, Swampdog flies in on the 17th and then we will head to Nosara. We are missing him terribly! Well, I think I've given you enough for now. Basically, I just can't believe how easy everything has been--touch wood that it stays that way for us! Stay tuned for more news once we reach Nosara! Thanks to everyone sending the personal emails - its great to hear from you! So until the next time...Pura Vida, Jules & Craig

September 30

¡Hola All!
I had written a nice long newsy update which I saved to floppy but it turns out it's not formatted for the computers here. We're back in Dominical! Nosara just didn't have the sparkle of our first visit, rents were high and the only cheap place we found had a lunatic living next door. Also, we saw it was, indeed, very American, too American for us. It seemed like the ticos and the Americans didn't mix much.

Then we remembered about Dennis’ place in Hatillo, six kilometers north of Domincal. I hadn't thought I'd want to explore Dominical but did start thinking about the locals I had met there. The business owners were friendly: some ticos, some ex-pats, and most are friendly with one another. People told us how Dominical could use a another really good restaurant as they had just lost one. So some of the tourist crowd might be a bit rowdy, but in high season we hear there are plenty of every type to go around. We are still exploring/researching the area so no location as yet.

Our house is a small two-bedroom a short distance up a private drive! It has an A-frame ceiling (which helps keep it cool), and the doors and window frames are done in beautiful laurel wood from the property. We do have a suicide shower, but really this one is not bad: I get the hottest water with the best pressure yet! We have a yard with all kinds of trees and plants and if you stand on your tiptoes you can see the ocean. One large old tree is the hang out for a crowd of Tucanettes--like Tucans but not quite as colorful.

Today we drove south down the coast. It hadn't rained much in the last couple of days and the sun was out. Without the rain the river mouths haven't washed so much mud into the ocean and it was a beautiful blue! We stopped at several beaches. Playas Ventanas is a secluded cove with mountains rising up so high just behind it that they get lost in fog, and the jungle comes to the edge of the beach. It's stunning!

The Swampdog arrived just fine and seemed quite happy when he realized it was us. He's adapting rather well and enjoying the freedom to romp on the beach and come into restaurants. Still have no photos to send, the USB card I bought for my computer doesn't fit-aargh, technology! I'll get it figured out one of these days. I'm sure there's a ton more I could say, but I'll let it go for now. Having been away from access for a while I've got lots of details stacked up to attend to just now.

January 18
The only location we could find in Dominical was a former bakery. We bought the equipment from another couple from San Diego who were wanting to leave Costa Rica (they were a bit loco) and took over renting the space. After the fact we found out that the landlord wouldn’t let us serve dinner (there was already a restaurant in the complex and he had this no-competition clause). We were already keeping the bakery part as they had a Tico baker and we wanted him to keep his job, so we decided we would just have the most rockin’ breakfast/sandwich shop in town.

We had bagels ‘n’ lox, homemade meatball subs, real deli smoked turkey, foccacia bread, biscotti–things folks had not seen in Dominical before! We were jamming, people liked the food and told their friends. A local businessman told us what we did was “explosive!” The location was nice, too--we had a little wood deck overlooking the river and down to the ocean. It felt like one was in the jungle with lots of trees, toucans and other birds and bunches of lizards running around.

A bit of our patio and view, in Domenical.

Then at the end of our fifth week, Hal, the owner of the Dominical and San Jose Century here came in for lunch. He started talking to us about this restaurant he owned. It was a great location, but he was having trouble finding the right people to run it, maybe we’d be interested? We spent time talking with him, other staff, a former manager, and checking the place out for several days. The following Thursday we sealed the deal and January 1, 2003 Craig became the Executive Chef and I, the General Manager.

We’ll have the website constructed soon (, but for now to get a feel for where we come to work everyday go to [Still under construction...] It’s a large open air restaurant on the point with amazing ocean views on both sides. There's no place else like it! It’s everything we could have dreamed of--location, great staff, a partner willing to front some improvement costs. Craig’s creating a new menu and I am working with Hal’s marketing guy in San Jose to create some really nice new advertisements. And because in the last three months we’ve made so many friends and a good reputation from the sandwich shop, folks who wouldn’t have come back here before (due to inconsistency or a bad meal) are now willing to come.

As we say here, it’s all good! Costa Rica is treating us right. Yesterday we finished moving into our new rental house. The road to Hatillo was just too dusty and far to endure. And the cute little house turned out to be a rather falling apart house. Our new place is in an area called Escaleras. It’s three miles south of La Parcela and about three minutes up the mountain. The house itself is just okay, although big with two stories, three bedrooms, but it’s the large covered patio and gorgeous ocean view with Cano Island right in front of us that we took it for. Oh, and the fact the owner is putting in real hot water and a new fridge, all of this for--guess? incl. electricity: $350/mo.

Our patio from the outside.

Yes, we are working really long hours and don’t have that much time to enjoy our beautiful new homeland, but it will all come time. We are happy to work hard, knowing we are working for ourselves and a great future. And... Swampdog is loving life. He’s dropped a bunch of weight from running around the finca. Today, his first day alone. We left him on a leash, but soon he will be running around the jungle, maybe making friends with the howler monkeys that hang out nearby.

Some days I’m amazed at how much my Spanish has improved (like when I get a credit card authorization over the phone!) and others I feel like I can’t speak a word. My wait staff doesn’t speak much English so it is really good for me.

The Ticos have been everything we imagined and more. They are kind, helpful, patient and genuine. They are humbly proud of their country and their people. We have made some great friends here in Dominical and have also met some fabulous folks visiting the area from all around the world. Add in the sheer physical beauty surrounding us everyday, and you really can't ask for more.
Craig and I wish you all a happy and successful year in 2003. Come visit! Pura vida, Julie

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Catherine Reilly, Panama (1994-96), former ISF Chair, resigned the board to travel “the global path” in December. She sends us this diary of her adventures.

On the Global Path

I'm off to Buenos Aires tonight for a cruise Jan 5 with my mom. We'll be stopping at Montevideo, Uruguay; the Falklands; bits of Chile; I'll travel on to Panama for Carnavales and be back in California before I head off to Tonga. From Tonga I go to New Zealand on March 21, on to Australia on April 10, to Thailand May 2, finally to Turkey on May 22. Between then and my flight home on August 12, I would like to see Turkey and Iran, depending on the current climate. Other ideas include Tunisia, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. And I’ll be landing on my friends in the UK before flying out of London. I'm going to go the hostel-and-cheaper route. Mom is along the first couple weeks, and 13 other friends and family want to join in at various itinerary points. So, between them, this may be the most accompanied “solo” tour around the world!

1/6/2003 Argentina
Buenos Aires was great. Friend Loli was a great tour guide, and we managed to cover most of the central area. One weird visit was to the cemetery where Evita is buried: rows upon rows of family tombs, each one unique but abutting neighboring tombs, giving the appearance of a short but very fancy town where everyone is dead and stacked on each other. One can look in the windows at caskets shelved in stacks and staircases going below ground, say seven meters, to store more of the family. I was a bit worried the open tombs would smell– maybe the living thought the inhabitants wanted to enjoy the nice day?

Argentineans are very pleasant but they win as the worst drivers. Lanes are painted on the roads but seem to be optional at best, definitely not the rule. I didn’t see accidents, so someone understands it. The hours Argentineans keep are also very late. I can see why my US Argentine neighbor Jorge finds San Diego so odd. We didn’t need to adjust to the time change since we got home from eating the first night at midnight. The second night we left the restaurant at midnight to drive to a park where people showed no plans to leave at 1 a.m., and finally went to eat ice cream (like gelato, very good). When we left, the ice cream store was still completely crowded at 2 a.m. My mom did say there weren’t many young people at the early mass the next day (I guess they sleep sometime).

Argentina is really hurting from the economic devaluation and mom can see a major difference since her visit last year. Everyone has lost at least two-thirds of their resources. It’s great for tourists (3.5 pesos per dollar--formerly one-to-one). With everything so reasonable it was hard to pass up good buys. Among the Argentinean women, I feel extremely plain, and it makes trying to buy a one piece bathing suit a little difficult since they appear to enjoy very small bikinis, which, of course, they can pull off!

Montevideo, smaller than Buenos Aires, is not as well maintained. Both have great European-style buildings, much more than, say, Panama. It is a holiday so much is closed, but it is a very easy city to walk around in the central part where we are. I am among the youngest of our international cruise group, by a lot. There are singles functions, so maybe I´ll check them out for a Sugar-Daddy (sorry, Dave, $10 isn´t enough)

1/13/03 Argentina
After we left Montevideo we did a day trip to Puerto Madryn where the ocean was a bit rough. Once I got some Bonine (spelling incorrect) in my system and moved to the middle of the ship I felt much better. The big waves are like a roller coaster and make the Tango class more interesting and also gave us a good excuse for dancing horribly.
From Puerto Madryn, on the south coast of Argentina, we took a bus tour to the Valdez Peninsula, where we saw Magellan penguins, sea lions and elephants, and some small emu-like bird. The dry landscape is like some of the deserts in the US southwest. From Puerto Madryn we continued to Stanley in the Falklands, a very small British town other than the new prefab houses. More penguins and nesting cormorants and herons, as well as some old battlements. The Falklands win for the best portable toilet, with nice wood-paneled decoration and classical music playing to lull one.

After the Falklands we continued south to Cape Horn in windy, fairly clear days with little rain. We saw the Cape Horn Island and its monument. Then we headed north away from the Cape and ended the day with a rainbow: can’t get much better than that. Yesterday we were in Ushusaia, the southern most Argentina town, went through the Tierra de Fuego National Park, saw great lakes and tall, glacier-covered mountains. Had a great taxi driver that showed us around with great narration. It definitely helps to speak Spanish. Ushusaia’s architecture is European, more specifically Alpine, pretty wooden bits on the houses, all the flowers out. On leaving Argentina we cruised through the Beagle Channel passing several great, beautiful glaciers coming down to the channel. Alaskan travelers said it was even more impressive than the Northwest Passage. Tomorrow we continue through the Strait of Magellan and Chilean Fjords.

Today we’re in Punta Arena, Chile, seeing the penguins and getting nice and wet. (I guess we can take an hour or two of bad weather. Don’t want those little birdies melting.) We watched a mom and dad wander off to the water and leave their poor little baby stuck behind on a cliff. He finally got down, but they had already gotten to the beach, not very impressive parents.

In town there are a bunch of Chilean navy ships docked next to us and we asked if we could have a tour on a cute little patrol ship (crew of 27) that isn’t designated for military but rather civilian use, such as accompanying the president around. A very nice, cute sub-lieutenant Exo was kind enough to show us around, including the engine room and storage areas, and served us coffee in the officers’ mess and a refresher on recent military issues facing Chile.

Off to some nice fjords. The captain had warned us that the weather might get rough (winds of around 34 knots). Around 1 a.m. this morning we got them. The ship is around 50k tons and 750 feet, but the captain said the wind had maxed-out the ship’s instruments at over 80 knots with waves averaging around 15 to 20 meters. We can only move two to four knots, just enough to have some control, but our average speed is usually around 19 knots. All I can say is, “Thank god for Bonine.” We also won’t get to Puerto Chacabuco because we are too behind-time.

Hello, Viña del Mar and Valpariso. Our cruise finished today. It was time, since my little belly was definitely not helped by multiple course dinners each night. My mother actually asked someone if their son was single. Since I like my mother, it would have been unfortunate to have to kill her if she tried that again (in her defense she said she was joking).

Overall the cruise was very nice. Got to see things out of the typical tourist route: Cape Horn, the Falklands, the Malvinas. And meet some nice people. One couple will have traveled to 95 countries by this May. Another man is a retired steel worker whose wife will only eat: potatoes (baked/roasted), corn, plain green beans, no meat/fish, hearts of iceberg lettuce, spaghetti with plain tomato sauce, and a few other bits and bobs. They both had a very good sense of humor. A professor at London College received $100 for providing the address of a previous occupant to a sales group. He figured if the company were going to get paid, why not him.

Our favorite person to watch was a five-foot Latina-Texan who was never seen in the same outfit during the trip. Outfits seen on her include a short, red sequined dress for tango lesson, a full length red dress for eating out, a short wispy pink dress, a cowboy outfit with yellow leather fringed jacket, leopard pants for casual wear, and several other fancy get-ups. The question was where the hell it all fit since our rooms weren’t that big. Also, how old was she really, because the face and hands didn´t match (this was our one catty bit at gossip).

Then there were also those poor travelers that did not make it to the end of the trip including the woman left in a Falklands hospital and the mystery person who did not survive (literally) the first couple of days of the trip. We and our friends tried to guess where that passenger had been moved (i.e. stored) and how “it” was removed from the ship (we were a little curious about those large laundry bags that kept moving around.)

But, enough. Our last stop was Puerto Montt where we were happy to debark. My mom arranged a very nice tour through the beautiful countryside and around a large lake, several smaller towns with very strong German influence. Reminded the Germans of home. The lakes and waterfalls all have that glacier blue-green color and the beaches are black sand from the volcanoes. Chile has great pastries, a result of the strong German influence. Not sure if the tummy will be going away while in Chile.

Now in Valpariso, a really amazing city, and Viña del Mar area. The country’s major harbor, the town is built mainly in the hills with early 1900s lifts, one an actual elevator, the others funiculars. Some of the streets make San Francisco look like an easy hike. The buildings are of varied older architecture, i.e. Britain Street reflects more traditional British building styles.

The navy training colleges are based here (Ben ,I promise to find someone else to flirt with since the navy seems off limits, though I did move my wedding ring to the left side today since I received my first Latino comment. They do seem much less likely to make comments here than in Panama, either that or I am finally getting too old (sniff, sniff). Viña del Mar is adjacent to Valpariso, but is more upscale with some very impressive architecture here as well. Tomorrow mom leaves early in the morning. We’ve actually managed to get along for three weeks, the biggest problem having been my getting grumpy at her taking pictures of everything. At least she quit asking me to be in them after the fiasco at Cape Horn where I had to have cold sea water poured on me (three times while all three cameras would not work)--not too impressed, was I! I think I will head north to check out the Altiplano for flamingos, check out the largest open pit copper mines, get a trip to Iguazu Falls in Argentina, feed piranhas there (anyone want a pet?).

1/22/03 Chile
What can I say about Santiago.... a pretty impressive cathedral, good lighting and some very nice buildings scattered around. Yesterday I found the Iguazu Falls trip in Argentina was too expensive. I’m now waiting to catch a 24-hour bus to San Pedro de Atacama in the northern Altiplano. It is said to be very cool with ruins, archaeology, flamingos, salt lakes, and geysers. Comments on Santiago and Chile: The street dogs in Chile seem to have a lot of German Shepherd heritage: larger than Panama and more hair. The people here show more of the indigenous influence, less pure European, than Argentina. Very few blonds, still little/no African influence (I’ve seen one Black person so far). Not many tourists, especially Americans. Viña del Mar turned out to be nice if you like the beach, a few nice buildings, but overall a lot of high rises and higher-end places to support the beach,more like a small, nice Honolulu.

For those of you that have requested photos, I do not have a digital camera, still clinging on to the old methods of film. My mother does have two so I should be able to send out some of those photos, or maybe get someone to load them on a website so as to avoid overloading emails. I am also going to have a CD made when I develop my photos.

1/24/03 San Pedro de Atacama
The following is for those who have expressed jealousy: as I was taking off for a 25-hour bus trip from Santiago north, the landscape was desert, drying out as we proceeded north with some small scale, low tech farming along the way, farmers with horse-drawn plows. By the outskirts of La Serena, it had become clear that one of our passengers did not feel well, had food poisoning and was taken off to the hospital. We were also told that something was wrong with the bus and that we would be getting a new one.

So, everyone off and we waited for 15-20 minutes. Then our original bus showed up again and we all got back on to take a short trip to the main terminal. At the La Serena terminal where we all got off again (of course, we all had to get all of our luggage each time). On to bus two and off we went. It didn't take too long after this to realize that something was wrong with bus two since it would start to beep annoyingly and we’d pull over. This, on top of pulling over at all road check points. Throughout the night we stopped at least every 10-15 minutes.

During this time the two women behind us talked constantly and also managed throughout the night to drop a jacket, bag, and cup on my head. (The man who finally replaced them after they got off immediately dropped a pencil on my head). Around 10 a.m. the bus driver finally gave up and we all unloaded at a mysterious, unknown spot. They told us we'd get another bus. Then bus one showed up and most people got on it, though it wasn't going as far as San Pedro. Bus three showed up soon after, but we had to wait around over an hour to get lunch. (They serve food as part of these long trips, which isn't too bad, but we would have all forgone meals to save an hour.)

Bus three was old and smelled of chemical toilet, but it did keep moving. We originally were going to be dropped off at Antafagasta for bus four. That plan changed to our getting off at Calama, but I think there were enough of us on the bus that they decided to just keep going up to San Pedro. In all the trip took 31 hours, the last through the most tedious brown dirt hills with no vegetation. The only breaks were mining activities and a few small towns, both active and abandoned. And the very common roadside shrines. This gave me the idea to do a coffee table book on roadside shrines along the Pan American Highway from the south to the north. If anyone is interested in driving the whole way and taking photos let me know.

It was dark when I got in so I haven’t seen much of the small adobe village. One good thing is I met some nice tourists: a Dutch woman, two German women, and a nice Irish couple. The place I am staying is really nice: rooms are basic, beds are comfortable, with a central courtyard, plants and a restaurant. It is almost like camping in cabins. I'll let you know how town is. Take care.

1/29/03: Bolivia
Well, the last bus wasn’t enough, I took the return from San Pedro by bus again. It didn’t break down, but the air conditioning did and once it was over 90 F inside.

The very nice Irish couple I met on the first bus ride told me about a trip into Bolivia from San Pedro de Atacama. I would have to make it back for my flight, which only gave one day in San Pedro, but the four day trip let me see a lot of the same things and was cheap: $100, food and housing included. So I got tickets, looked around San Pedro (which I recommend), and took off for Bolivia. The trip was cool and I’m really glad I did it. It had a good vibe (that was before the return bus ride). We headed over the border check (a small house in the middle of nowhere--literally); a few minutes from the last pavement we were to see for sometime. The passport stamper for Bolivia slept in the same room as his desk--one of the shortest commutes ever--and only gets to go home every 30 days.

After clearing passport control, we drove through the Bolivian Andes Altiplano, listening to Andean music with our guide, Carmello. My German compadres were really fun and I’m glad I was in their group. I was voted the official translator from Spanish, so I’m not sure what final information they received English to German. I think that I drank more beer in the few days with them then I have for a while. After the first day we also had a Brit added to our group. Poor guy had been robbed of his passport, money, credit cards, and camera after arriving Bolivia.

lus, he found not having Spanish difficult. So we adopted him as he had a pretty good attitude, especially after what he had gone through.
The first day we drove all day to reach Uyuni, Bolivia, through several small Andean towns, very clean and neat, with mud brick homes, and weirdly, almost empty. Two towns we passed through were affected by a big silver mine going in. accepting refugees from a town scheduled for demolition or being rehabbed into a tourist destination. It looks nice, but the people didn’t seem too impressed and all of us uncomfortable.

In Uyuni that night, a larger town then I thought, the main street paved with hexagonal stones; the next morning we saw the biweekly market. Some stalls were really beautiful, with pastas, vegetables, spices, etc. laid out.

We also had a great trip through the Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Lake). It’s huge, partially flooded and sometimes we were driving with no ability to see a horizon since the water reflected the sky. Someone described it as flying. A neat experience, but I’m afraid the photos won’t capture it. All the 4x4s were literally covered with salt, all over. I don’t think cars have a very long life there.

We visited the Isla de Pescado (Fish Island) in the middle of the lake. I think it used to be a coral reef/underwater volcano within the sea. It’s covered with large cacti and just sits, with the horizon merging into the sky. One nice thing: I wasn’t as affected by the altitude tromping around the island. We were over 3,500 meters for much of the trip, going over 4,000 a lot. Driving back we passed nice rock formations, Andes lagunas, geysers, and hot springs. We got to the geysers at sunrise and it was beautiful. The air escapes up through mud in some places making a really cool ‘glub-glub’ sound.

In addition to lovely landscapes, we got to see flamingos; vicuñas (relatives of the llama); llamas with cute tassels on their ears; some relative of the chinchilla that sat on the rocks and let us come right up to it--we all thought of the rabbit from The Holy Grail with the big teeth; and various birds that I couldn’t identify. Overall I highly recommend the trip, though portions are roughing it and you get to know the others in your group very well, which could be good or bad.

Now back in Santiago with a few more hours until I go to Panama. I splurged and got a hotel room for only a few hours. Nice to get a real shower since we went the last two days without and with a 23-hour bus ride. I don’t want to scare the Panamanians or friend Nelly as a rank American sitting nearby.

2/10/03: Panama
Hello everyone, had a nice week doing pretty much nothing. Too nice sitting in a hammock or on someone’s front porch talking **** about the neighbors. I did go to a dance (baile) Saturday night, music by Jonathan Chavez. For those who have not attended a baile, the following is a brief description. (FYI, I have earned a reputation as a partier here since I love to go. It makes up for my fairly boring life back in the States.)

The baile was in Parita, a nearby town. We got there early, 7 p.m.(no other transportation), though the dance was much later. There was a Cantadero and Tamborito before so we listened into them. Cantadero is two guys doing a traditional Panamanian music form, almost like a rap. Tamborito is a group of women in a circle clapping, with a leader singing and the others adding the refrain. Very traditional for Panama. Often there will be a couple, or sometimes several, dancing. They do not touch, but there is definitely a strong flirtation.

During this, we were outside the fenced dance area where they were charging $1 for women and $2 for men. I went in with my group. The odd thing here is that often, the women and men prefer to go to dances without their spouse. They don’t feel comfortable dancing with other people with the significant other around. I think in some cases it is to meet other significant others, but I think also they get bored of dancing with the other person and it is nice to have a night out.

I love the whole atmosphere of the dance. We stood there for several hours basically checking out the men as they did likewise the other way. In some cases there was a car full of guys passing with their heads hanging out oogling the women. Mostly just looking, unless there is a drunk, then he may say something. As Eliza says, we need to know who is there to see if there are any good dance partners since we didn’t bring any. I’ve learned that if you don’t like someone who asks you to dance, you just shake them off and ignore them without eye contact until they finally go away--no need to feel too polite.

The dance finally started at 11 p.m. Since there were enough people to make a good dance, we entered. For the first dances, no one asked me to dance. Roxysnelly didn´t have that problem. From a scrawny girl of 12 when we first met, she has definitely turned into a really pretty woman. With an attitude. I heard once a guy ask her to dance, and she responded with “Do you know how to dance?” and “We are NOT going to dance really close.”

For the first dance the guys are usually polite (if not they don’t get a second chance). On a second dance, you start talking (are you married, why not, where are you staying, can I come visit, etc.). My new rule is to cap the maximum number of dances with someone I don’t know at two. I still prefer to bring my own dance partner, less problems, but at least the ones I danced with knew how to dance. After arriving home at 3 a.m., we took a bus at 7 a.m. to visit Cristian who is training at the officers school for the National Police (they don´t have a standing army here).

Bus much nicer than Chile. We were driving along before reaching the Pan American Highway when the bus driver pulled over and ran across the street to the shoulder. We were all looking out to see what was up, and he was bent over in the grass looking at nothing we could see. Then he started to slowly inch forward and then sprint ahead. We were figured out that he had seen an iguana cross the road and went to catch it. Lookouts in the bus shouted directions. Two guys ran out to help, but Mr. Iguana escaped. Unfortunately for the endangered iguanas the people in this area love to eat them.

We finally arrived in Panama City and found our way to the former base being used for the officer training school. It seems well maintained, but no one was there, a waste to have all of it vacant. Some American soldiers are also on base. Not quite sure what they are doing there. Brought their own helicopters. Cristian seems to be doing well with basic training, sounds as though it is similar to basic in the States. Early rising, lots of exercise, cleaning stuff, etc. I feel bad since the one guy says that everyone cries at sometime. They all live for weekend family visits. At least if they really decide they hate it, they can leave.

So much for this installment of Life in Panama. No, I have not been attacked by any jealous women and I think generally things have been resolved for the good or bad. I will be traveling and away from the computer from the 17 to 27 of February so if I do not answer at that time, you know why.

Take care --Cat

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SDPCA salutes the crew of the shuttle Columbia, now on the Greatest Journey of all. Their work and lives embody the goals for which Peace Corps stands: collaborative unity among cultural, religious and gender diversity, and unity for the greater good of all. May their walk among the stars be blessed.

“When you're finally up on the moon, looking back at the earth, all these differences and nationalistic traits are pretty well going to blend and you're going to get a concept that maybe this is really one world and why the hell can't we learn to live together like decent people?”
---Frank Borman

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Some responses to our editorial in the Jan/Feb 2003 issue:

Letters to the Editor...

To the Editorial Staff:
I admire and acknowledge your sense of value, courage and rightfulness. Good for you to start a dialogue process that will lead to, who knows?

My thoughts are that based on the irrefutable historical perspective, those who above all else lived Peace did indeed end up being silenced by the aggressors. Perhaps it might be more helpful to look at what it is that the aggressors want/need instead of asking ourselves what we can do. Will the resultant of the latter change the way of peacemakers throughout history? I think not. Yes, there have been those whose message has lasted over the course of time.

I know I don't have to recite the names. However, and unfortunately, even through their impact, there are some in this world who are in position of power who don't want to hear of Peace, as we contend. it should be. So, it isn't us that need to examine or reexamine our efforts. We are THERE. I believe that "WE" have to look at ways in which to change the thinking and actions of those in power, ie. those that have the decision making capability to wreck havoc on the vast majority who don't... US!

In summary, I think it much more useful for the forum that you have created to not ask us what more can we do (of ourselves) but to ask for suggestions on how those in a position of power, ie. control, can be presented with other than violent alternatives that would benefit the whole human race... and, take care of their wants/needs. Great start... don't let up...I understand where you are coming from.
--Hank Davenport B. Peru, (1965-67)

To the Editor:
I believe conflict is natural, but the way of resolving it is what is being refined. Politics (and the UN) are the last stage of resolving conflict before use of violence. Our world exists as an evolving state.

t is in motion, and acts somewhat like a pendulum. We use force when enough people have forgotten the horror of war. Then we create plans to prevent that path again. Hitler and others use the instability to amass power, and the UN is ill equipped to exercise control over the sovereignty of member nations.

f course, even if this were fixed, the alternative might be an Orwellian world with power too centralized. Ultimately, civilization only has a chance to be a healthy democracy if its members are educated and informed. Such a world was promised by TV, and now the Internet-- but is still far from being achieved.

While I don’t trust the purity of Bush’s motives (oil/ domestic power)--I trust Hussein’s motives and impulses far less.
--Rudy Sovinee, Ghana (1970-73)

If it's natural to kill, how come men have to go into training to learn how? --Joan Baez

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Combined Board Minutes
from: 1/6/03 and 2/3/03

Attendance: Gregg Pancoast, Tony Starks, Marjory Clyne, Frank Yates, Ted Finkel and J. Lopez attended both meetings. Gail Souare attended 1/6/03 while Justin Berger and Brenda Terry-Hahn attended 2/3/03.

President's Report: Marjory Clyne was thanked for chairing the five RPCV Archival Project meetings. Discussed permitting other groups to present to the Board. It was felt more appropriate to do this in committees and/or have them make presentations at Social Events. Discussed possibility of long-term community project. The date for annual meeting set as Sunday, May 18, 2003 in the afternoon. The May/June newsletter will have the location. The re-affiliation application, which cost $1.00 per active member, including membership up to six months past due, has been sent in. Awards Applications are available: the Shriver-Ruppee Award for outstanding group project, Newsletter, and Web-Site Awards. Greg feels that we should nominate our Newsletter and our Web-Site for an Award. Peace Corps day is on February 28, 2003; he will send the information to Justin Berger. Next year we should bring this event up six months prior to the day in order to plan the event.

Financial Report: Frank Yates made his report and distributed year to date Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Statement. Frank Yates has not paid the affiliation fee.

Membership: Frank Yates reported: SDPCA members are 160 current & 45 past due; 124 Current NPCA members are 124 current & 38 past due. One hundred fifty one of the 160 have E-mail and 78 of these are free members.

Fundraising: Marjory Clyne reported that the net proceeds of Calendar and Entertainment Book sales would be restricted to Grant making. The effort for this year is mostly finished. As of January 3, there were 40 calendars left for sale and a net $2,000.00 profit on Entertainment Books. Most stores will stop selling on January 30, 2003.

Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund: Ted Finkel reported that four applications had been received for our second annual funding. He has again sent out information requesting applications, to be due by March. Checks have been sent to the prior five winners, one of which has cleared. Frank Yates provided J. Lopez, secretary, a copy of each letter sent with the checks. There will be another $1,500.00 available to send out in March.

Newsletter: Brenda Terry-Hahn reported. We’ll be getting stories as they happen from a photographer on the USS Stennis, who was a volunteer in the Philippines. Don sent a $100 donation check to SDPCA for extra newsletter pages (enough for five pages: two for last issue and 3 more to come).[He says hello from Ireland] From the RPCV Archival Project, the Kennedy Library makes RPCV documents, newsletters and files available for anyone to view and use. So, for anything provided to the Project, include a signed letter of release accepting those terms. Every newsletter will ask for members' and other interested party’s email addresses for quick email notices. Jeff reported costs for the last newsletter were well below budget: Printing, $168.09; Postage (domestic), $51.15; Postage (O'seas), $1.55; Total, $220.79.

Web Site: No discussion. We use E-vite to notify the membership of social events and will continue to use it.

Social: Tony Starks reported that the Quail Gardens is set for February. Subsequent to the Board meeting, Happy Hour was switched from April to March 13. The community action committee is dormant.

Communications Committee: Brenda Terry-Hahn reported that the committee had met and prepared a record of the system used to communicate to members with statistics of percentage of members who could be successfully contacted by each. She then discussed the list. Gregg Pancoast expressed his appreciation and that of the rest of the Board for their efforts. The committee is asked to recommend specific actions (motions with supporting details).

You can use to get up-to-date info on SDPCA news and events as well as to contacting other persons. Gail Souare will call everyone to update her or his e-mail address.

Speaker's Bureau: Justin Berger reported that he has sent six (6) letters to: Kiwanis Clubs and Girl Scouts. To date, he has received one request for a speaker. He has placed ads in the Reader and will continue to do so weekly.

Unfinished Business: Marjory Clyne received a letter from the Peace Corps concerning the Rupee and Sergeant Shriver awards. She recommends Ellen Shively and the paperwork is in process.
New Business: Earth Day - 4/27/03 Rock and Roll Marathon - Ron Ranson offered to help Marjory Clyne put together a presentation board for Earth Day. Marjory mentioned a water station at the Marathon as one example of how our group volunteered in the past. She'll note this in the newsletter.

Next Meeting: 6:30 PM; 3/3/02 at the home of Justin Berger.

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In Commemoration

It is with profound sadness that we report the sudden death of SDPCA member Sandor Johnson, India (1966-68) on December 3. 2002. After his retirement from the US Foreign Service, Sandy lived in the North County area with his wife and children. He volunteered with SDPCA (in Member to Member) and to the Foreign Service Association of Southern California. In both positions, he served as an advisor to those who sought to pass the Foreign Service Exam or wished career information on serving abroad. Sandy was an enthusiastic supporter of SDPCA activities, of international friendships and of peacemaking.

He had spoken October 21 at Thomas Jefferson School of Law on employment opportunities with the US Foreign Service. He was also a very willing and capable speaker about Peace Corps for SDPCA, once driving to Ramona by 7:30 am for middle school students who enjoyed learning about his Peace Corps service in India, and another time to a retirement group in South San Diego to talk about Peace Corps and other positive efforts overseas. We are all saddened by the loss of this man of gentle nature and unfailing courtesy, and we will miss him!

Condolences may be sent to his widow, Carole, and the family at 1815 Willowhaven Road, Encinitas CA 92024.

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SDPCA News Bytes

From the President...

Even though I am writing this in February, we are already planning the annual business meeting in May. Please hold the afternoon of Sunday, May 18, for the SDPCA Annual Shindig–to share food, discuss the past year’s accomplishments, solicit ideas for the coming year, and elect the new Board of Directors.

The Filipino dinner in National City was fun, and what a pleasure to see familiar faces and several recently RPCVs. We also met and visited with a new PCV, off to her placement in El Salvador–and filled her head with all sorts of nonsense. On another note, check Potpourri section for information on The SD Latino Film Festival ( March 13-23. See you there!!

It was a busy year with an ever-active Social Committee and much energy refining a committee structure, with the Board concentrating on policy issues and future strategies. We also get together, have fun and eat good food–what a great way to run an organization!

It has been a pleasure to work with the current Board members who have shown interest and dedication to the many tasks at hand.
I invite your attendance at the annual meeting and your participation in activities. More details in the next newsletter and on the website. See you there!!


--Gregg Pancoast, Costa Rica (1985-87)

We Need Your Email Address!!

Members, please send your email address to and in order to receive Board-approved immediate news flashes from us. We have an active email notification of alerts that occur between the newsletter mailings and Evite reminder invitations of social events. In addition, in some point in the near future we may be totally electronic in communications (including the newsletter). You will ONLY be notified of important things and your email will NOT be shared with other groups.


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 Connections button (here on the website) opens a page ready for your announcements! Notices will be posted weekly to communicate promptly, between newsletter deadlines. Send your notices to, to be posted. Be sure to include important details and dates, edit your text to about 45 words or less. Because access is public, we recommend use of email addresses only and with discretion.

SDPCA Seeks Accounting Advisor

SDPCA has been a nonprofit organization for some15 years, but has always relied on its volunteer elected Chief Financial Officer to keep the financial records and manage its financial affairs. It also relies on other volunteer members to informally review the financial records as the CFOs have changed to assure the Board 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 to complete a financial review and help 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)

Welcome, Kris!

Kris Kohler is our new UCSD PC recruiter at the Programs Abroad Office, International Center. He will be working about 15 hours per week here in a new strategic contract with Peace Corps whereby we hire the recruiter and provide an office for them, and they reimburse us for the expenses.

Kris has worked directly for PC for over a year at UCSD, following his service in Zambia (1999-2001) as a Community Heath Project organizer. He earned his B.A. at UCSB, in Black Studies and Political Science. He’s now working on a Ph.D. in Sociology at UCSD. Kris also has extensive experience in student and statewide government as UC Student Association Chair (1995-96), External Vice President, Statewide Affairs at UCSB (1994-96), Students for Social Justice (1995-96), Student Action Coalition (1993-96) and many more. We will keep you posted on coming events he’ll be hosting. He can be reached at (858) 822-5725 or
--Bill Clabby, Senegal (1985-87), Coordinator, Opportunities Abroad Program/ EAP Japan advisor, UCSD. 858.534.1123,

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 to or 619.491.1801.

Oral History Project Update

SDPCA learned about this project in a meeting with Bob Klein, Ghana I (1961-63). In subsequent area meetings we had a great response from all who attended. We have decided to participate by interviewing RPCVs here in San Diego. The documents and tapes from these oral histories tapes will be part of the RPCV Volunteer Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. So get ready. We may be calling you soon for an interview. If you would like to help--plan, organize, strategize--or be one of the first interviewed, call Marjory Clyne at 858.576.9909 or

RPCVs Unite to Protest War

Thanks to Rachel Cook, Moldova (1998-2000) and SDPCA member, we learned that RPCVs nationally are uniting to run ads in the New York Times (the first to appear sometime before March 1) voicing opposition to war with Iraq. Over 300 have signed on and donated, at our press date, and due to the response more ads will be run with YOUR support.

his important and timely effort states: “We call upon our fellow Americans to join with us in supporting a peaceful resolution of the current situation--one that is respectful of the UN, the Iraqi people, and international law.” To learn more and donate, see:

[The response was tremendous... more than $46,000 collected, from more than 1,400 persons...another ad planned in March.--Ed] Read more at...

Know a SD-based PCV with a Project?

SDPCA raises funds each year to support small San Diego-based PCV field projects overseas through our Mark J. Tonner International Support Fund. We review proposals and grant funding to PCVs whom we feel propose valuable projects for their community, but lack adequate funding in-country. The typical project is for $250 to $350 (rarely more than $700) and either enables a community to implement a micro-enterprise, helping many, or supports needed educational, environmental or health related projects.

Like all PC projects we strongly encourage local shared funding or in-kind contributions. If you know any current San Diego-based volunteers that may need our support, please contact them and inform them that their country director has applications for the March 1, 2003 grant period.
---Ted Finkel, Venezuela (1967-69)

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PC News Bytes

John Dellenback: A Giant Passes

Former PC Director John Dellenback (1975-77) passed away in December. John Dellenback embraced the spirit of the Peace Corps as wholly as anyone ever has, saying, "The Peace Corps comes as close as a government agency can to living out genuine concern for others. It conducts the United States' most effective foreign relations. It [gives] our brightest and best the opportunity to put their lives on the line in meaningful service to others." Read tributes and remembrances at:

A Message from Dane Smith

I have informed the NPCA Board that I will leave my position as NPCA President in 2003....I am proud to be associated with the advances we have made in advocacy, peace-building, global education, WorldView, the Microenterprise Program, and the expansion of our affiliate groups, and to have been deeply involved with our wonderful 40+1 Anniversary Conference of last June. I have been inspired and energized by the innumerable RPCVs and former staff I have met during my tenure and by the 80 NPCA affiliate groups I have visited in 44 states.

I have given it my very best effort. I can not continue, however, to devote as much time and energy to this work as I have in the past...I have informed the Board that am prepared to stay at least until the ending of the February 2003 Board meeting but not longer than the August 2003 Board meeting. That should give the Search Committee adequate time to find a replacement. ...It has been a great pleasure and privilege to work with all of you.
--Dane Smith, President, NPCA

Bush PC Agenda Lags

Check this story on the status of President Bush's compassionate agenda including his proposal to double the size of the Peace Corps. "I've seen no push for legislation from the White House," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who sought Bush's help with national service legislation. After an early expression of support, "we never heard from them again," he said, adding he would use parliamentary tactics to pass the bill.Aides say Bush will redouble efforts and now he will have the leadership of one of his closest allies on these issues, incoming Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

Aides expect larger proposals--expanding AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps--still await action. Last year RPCVs proved they have the political muscle to move Congress when the Senate passed the Dodd Peace Corps Bill by unanimous consent on October 15.

However the bill stalled in the House without passing. This year the bill must be passed by both houses of Congress to become law. We will be reporting every month on the status and what RPCVs need to be doing to move the bill through Congress. Complete story at:

PCVs Ask Longer Career Center Access

RPCV Kelly Moon and forty recent RPCVs ask Director Vasquez to reconsider the rule limiting the usage of PC Career Centers to only one year after Completion of Service. They say the expansion plan is good, but the one-year time cap excludes RPCVs. For most, it takes more than a year to find the right career. To restrict benefits and resources of the Center to one year deprives RPCVs of needed support and information. To support this effort, see:

Poirier Family Requests RPCV Info

In this PCOL exclusive about disappeared volunteer Walter Poirier, a Peace Corps Volunteer last seen in Bolivia in January 2001, his family wants any RPCV who served with their son in Bolivia to contact them. The Poirier Family recently received a letter from Director Vasquez stating that the Peace Corps was renewing on 12/1/2002 the public affairs campaign to locate their son and that the reward would remain at $25,000. The Poirier Family hopes this will generate some new leads and that there has never been a sustained effort involving their son's disappearance due to the overwhelming caseloads assigned to these Authorities. The Poiriers would like the US to assign this case to a qualified Bolivian detective as a sole responsibility. For more,

International Resources and the UN

It is extremely difficult to stay current as to how the UN is confronting the major international problems ranging from combating terrorism, to containing the Iraqi situation, to battling global warming, to encouraging international trade. Fortunately, there are several free informational sources available. Following FYI are two of those sources.

  1. To sign up to receive a complimentary, daily email update about various international issues, sign up for “UN Wire” at
  2. Go to the UN website homepage at and register your self by hitting "Welcome", scrolling down on the left side and hitting "United Nations News Centre". Enroll for the "E-mail News Updates and Alerts."
--Bill Miller, Friends of the Dominican Republic,

Crisis Corps Opportunities

Crisis Corps sends RPCVs overseas for three-to-six month assignments working on areas including Natural Disaster Reconstruction, HIV/AIDS, and Post-Conflict Country Assistance. Current Assignments include:

  1. Three-to-six month assignment as HIV/AIDS pre-and-post counseling volunteer for Meru Red Cross Society and Kenya Methodist University (counseling & training experience & a degree in counseling or clinical social work or MPH req.).
  2. Three-to-six month assignment as voluntary counseling and testing and home-based care trainer for the Foundation Agency for Rural Development (counseling degree, monitoring and evaluation experience, and knowledge and experience in home-based care activities required).
For more information see or 1-800-424-8580, option 2, extension 2250, or
--Emily O’Rourke, NPCA Membership

Project Harmony

Chris J. Cassell, Armenia (1997-99) notes that “there is a great way to connect secondary classrooms to Central Asia via week-long online exchanges in user-friendly projects. Students and teachers from Armenia and/or Azerbaijan hook up with Americans in a guided forum to exchange ideas and perspectives. Our projects have been rated A+ by the teachers from Education World:

Note our upcoming deadline: March 23: ‘Social Justice and Change for the Future:’ choose Armenian or Azeri students.

Curriculum packets are easily downloaded and were designed using the global learning methodology, consisting of exploration, responding and action. Students will explore topics, form opinions and respond along with students from either Armenian or Azerbaijan.

They also analyze opinions of their fellow students and exercise practical actions through in-class activities that help shape decision-making in their everyday lives. For general information about the programs please see: or

Thank you for helping to sow the seeds of peace through greater understanding!
--Chris J. Cassell, Armenia (1997-99)

NPCA Annual Meeting/Pres’s Forum

Come to Portland, Oregon for NPCA’s Annual events August 1-3 and turn it into a Northwest vacation! Activities include workshops, an international bazaar, a career fair, and a visit to the Celebrations Exhibit presented by the Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience.

Or go to the coast,the mountains or down to Ashland for the Shakespeare Festival. The following weekend, travel to Silver Creek Falls State Park (the Eugene RPCVs have reserved group campsites) for the annual Regional RPCV Campout. It’s 90 minutes from Portland with a series of waterfalls and trails through lush forest, RV hook-ups and cabins.

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Americans in Bad Company

Once again the US has decided to give a thumbs down to an international agreement... a resolution by the UN Security Council on the inspection of prisons and prison camps in order to insure that no torture is taking place. It must be a little embarrassing for the Americans to end up in the company of other countries like Cuba, Iran, China and Libya....

The US blames the problem on states’ rights, but it’s not unreasonable to believe that the Afghan prisoners in Guantanamo base in Cuba have something to do with the case. Furthermore, the majority of broadcasts from American police stations and prisons suggest that conditions don't exactly have the individuals’ well-being as a primary goal.

In addition, resistance to international agreements has been a strong and clear position in George W. Bush's politics....he threatened to pull American forces out of Bosnia with the establishment of an International Criminal Court that could bring war criminals to trial. The temporary solution: Americans have been given a one-year period of amnesty from any prosecution.

There are several possible explanations for Bush's political views in this area....he simply doesn't like international agreements. He only wants the rest of the world to cooperate with the US in hunting terrorists on American terms. Otherwise, the rest of the world can do what they want so long has they don't bother the US.

One also can't discard the idea that Bush and many other Americans consider themselves people in a special class. They think in fact that they are the best in the world at most things; a really unbelievable misunderstanding. The third possibility is that it simply is a matter of good old fashioned arrogance of power. After the fall of the Soviet Union the US is the only superpower. It's not unreasonable to believe that this has some influence on the President's actions.

What this will mean for international cooperation, which is not initiated by, or in the best interest of, the US during the rest of the Bush Administration is, unfortunately, very clear.
--Submitted by Joan Clabby, Senegal (1985-87),
from Dagensnaringsliv (Norwegian Daily Financial Times, July 2002)

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Book Review:
The Hospital by the River
by Catherine Hamlin, M.D.

The Hospital by the River: A Story of Hope by Catherine Hamlin, M.D. with John Little is a story of hope for the thousands of girls and women suffering the catastrophic effects of obstructed childbirth, a problem easily managed in the developed world by assisted delivery or caesarean section, but disastrous without medical intervention.
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Australian gynecologists Catherine and Reg Hamlin arrived in the late fifties to set up a school for midwives. What evolved was a specialty for treating a severe complication of prolonged labor called a fistula. In the resulting incontinence, young women are shunned socially and live out lives of isolation and recurrent health problems.

The book is biographical as the doctors’ lives and work parallel the political and social upheaval spanning the reign of HM Haile Salassie; through the dark Dergue, the civil war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and into the present. Many patients, impoverished and abandoned by husbands and families, travel on foot for hundreds of kilometers for assistance.

Dr. Hamlin exemplifies the need for social change and attitude and urges the Orthodox Church to rethink its policy: the requirement of physically immature girls to marry and raise large families. Most importantly, adequate public health and medical facilities are still scarce and largely unavailable in rural places.

You will also find the book fascinating and utterly compelling from the perspective of the aging, widowed physician whose genuine love of country, compassion and perseverance with the "fistula pilgrims" continues four decades-plus.

Check the website:
--Ellen Shively, Eritrea (1968-70), Nurse Education

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Peace begins when the hungry are fed.

Peace-Promoting Events

Food for Bombs:
An Idea for Creating Peace instead of War

Place 1/2 c. uncooked rice in a small plastic bag (a snack-sized bag or sandwich bag work fine). Squeeze out excess air and seal the bag. Wrap it in a piece of paper on which you have written:"

If your enemies are hungry, feed them. -Romans 12:20.
Please send this rice to the people of Iraq; do not attack them.

Place the note and bag of rice in an envelope (either a letter-sized or small padded mailing envelope--both are the same cost to mail) and address them to:

President George Bush,White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW,
Washington, DC 20500.

Attach $1.06 in postage. (Three 37 cent stamps equal $1.11.) Drop this in the mail TODAY. It is important to act NOW so that President Bush gets the letters as soon as possible. In order for this protest to be effective, there must be hundreds of thousands of such rice deliveries to the White House. We can do this if we all forward this message to our friends and family. Quakers, Mennonites and Churches of the Brethren are involved in the campaign and it is spreading beyond.

There is a positive history of this protest:
"In the mid 1950s, the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation, learning of a famine in the Chinese mainland, launched a 'Feed Thine Enemy' campaign. Members and friends mailed thousands of little bags of rice to the White House with a tag quoting the Bible, 'If thine enemy hunger, feed him.' As far as anyone knew for more than ten years, the campaign was an abject failure. The President did not acknowledge receipt of the bags publicly; certainly no rice was ever sent to China.

“What the activists learned a decade later was that the campaign played a significant, perhaps even determining role in preventing nuclear war. Twice while the campaign was on, President Eisenhower met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to consider US options in the conflict with China over two islands, Quemoy and Matsu. The generals twice recommended the use of nuclear weapons. President Eisenhower each time turned to his aide and asked how many little bags of rice had come in. When told they numbered in the tens of thousands, Eisenhower told the generals that as long as so many Americans were expressing active interest in having the US feed the Chinese, he certainly wasn’t going to consider using nuclear weapons against them.”
[from People Power: Applying Nonviolence Theory by David H. Albert, p.43]
--received via Storymakers, a group of sister-writers of the Editor

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever does."

--Margaret Mead

Some of our readers have asked about local peace-promoting events. There are many groups that have been active, among them:

  • San Diego Veterans for Peace
  • United for Peace and Justice,
  • North County Coalition Against the War
  • Operation SOS
  • Mothers Acting Up
  • Old Women for Peace
  • Bearing Witness
  • Psychologists for Social Responsibility
  • Community Coalition for Environmental Justice
  • San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice.

Get on the web, do a search, review the group’s purpose and principles, and choose one you like. For the computer challenged, all public libraries now have internet access and librarians to help the timid.

SD Coalition for Peace and Justice ( is a good place to start as they list other groups’ events as well as their own.

Try also San Diego Insider website (although lately it has been undergoing renovation, and when I tried at press time my system froze).

“We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.”
--General Omar Bradley

See also the notice in Peace Corps News Bytes column, about the RPCV national effort that places ads in the New York Times. Below is another grassroots effort received in our email and reminiscent of the 1960s for those of you who experienced them.

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“Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.” —Jane Addams

Unlocking the Mysteries of Dieting

  • The Chinese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  • The French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  • The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  • The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  • Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. It’s speaking English that kills you.

--SOJOMAIL, via Tropical Currents, RPCV of South Florida

Where There is No Doctor

I am an RPCV and now volunteer with the Hesperian Foundation, a small nonprofit publisher that writes and distributes community-based healthcare books for rural villages worldwide where access to health services in limited. My work is in the small Gratis Book Program. Our most well-known book, Where There is No Doctor, has been identified as the most widely used health manual in the world, and the Peace Corps now gives a copy to all volunteers when they go in-country.

Last year we shipped through Gratis over 1500 books to 55 countries. We rely on individual donations; each book costs about $15 to send.

For more information, contact me, Lee Gallery, or The Hesperian Foundation Home, 631 Spruce St., San Francisco, CA 94118, 415.221.1288.
--Lee Gallery, Ethiopia, (1964-66)

Discounted Software

Leading technology providers have donated their products to help create Discountech, a discount tech store for nonprofits. It carries most popular software packages; visit them at

Repatriate Distress Research

Maren Wolfe, Tonga (1994-96), is completing a dissertation in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, focusing on repatriate distress (reverse culture shock). She would like to reach RPCVs who might be interested in participating in the study. She can be reached at

Updated PC Fellows News

For the latest Peace Corps Fellows/USA newsletter and listing of programs, see:
--Gina L. Wynn, PC Washington

PC Workshop/Career Fair

Members of the PC Community are invited to share their knowledge and expertise with RPCVs by presenting at the Workshops/Career Fair during the 2003 NPCA Annual General Meeting in Portland, OR, on August 1-3, 2003. The conference brings together RPCVs and group leaders from around the United States. Presentations must fit into one of three themes: RPCV Career Development (Friday, August 1), Regional and Country of Service Group Organizing, and Sharing Your Peace Corps Experience (both Saturday/Sunday August 2-3). All submissions should reflect this orientation toward Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. The allotted time is 60 minutes. For an application form, please email . The application deadline is March 15, 2003.
--NPCA Group Leaders Digest

Latin American Film Festival

The Tenth San Diego Latino Film Festival ( is being held March 13-23 at Madstone Theaters, Hazard Center, Mission Valley. The Festival has gained momentum and support over the years and it’s great to see Latin American films (with/without subtitles--practice your Spanish!!) and gain insight into our multicultural Southern Californian.
--Gregg Pancoast, Costa Rica (1985-86)

Our Website....

...needs news articles for the information page that are relevant to the Peace Corps interests and values. Please send any such articles about your host country, political issues relevant to our service, international service/crises/needs to We will post your relevant article on the website and putlish a notice in the newsletter to attract attention of members.

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The PC Palate

Chilies Thai Gourmet
3904 Convoy St. Suite 105
San Diego, 858.565.8816

Just south of and across from Home Depot Expo in Kearny Mesa. In this tiny, tasteful corner of this stripmall, delightful traditional Thai cuisine is served to your choice of heat with prompt courteous attention.

Beautiful decor of Lao and Thai sites and art. It’s also VERY reasonable. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Share the wealth!! Submit YOUR favorite PC Palate Restaurant to!

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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, Rudy Sovinee, Frank Yates, Bill Clabby, Joan Clabby, Ellen Shively, Tony Starks, Rachel Cook, Jeff Cleveland, Marjory Clyne, Ted Finke,l Jay Lopez, Greg Panacoast, Julie Schwab,
Dan Taylor, Peace Corps Online

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