Return to Home Page

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

Newsletter Back Issues

Back issues are archived and links in them may not be current

 

 

 

San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter

September -- October 2004 -- Volume 17, Number 5


Index: click on your choice:
2004 NPCA Conference: Reports & More
For the Peace Corps Fallen by Dan Maclean
Marjory Clyne ...•Frank Yates ...•Ellen Shively ...•Carol Wahlen

Growing Up Peace Corps

Fundraising Corner

Board Minutes-July & Aug '04

SDPCA at the Padres SDPCA at the Races

Newsbytes

Potpourri

New Members

Recruiter's Corner


Return to top of page

Panorama of Country Flags Parade at Buckingham Fountain with Chicago skyline. [Photos and panorama assembled by Frank Yates]

2004 NPCA Conference: Reports and More
August 5-7, Chicago

• From Marjory Clyne, W. Samoa (72-76)

Four SDPCA members traveled to Chicago for the 25th Anniversary Conference of the National Peace Corps Association. And what a conference it was. I will do my best in this article to cover the event but it will not come close to being there in person; you know what it was like trying to explain your Peace Corps experience to family and friends when you got home. We stayed in the majestic landmark Palmer House Hilton. The Opening Ceremony was held in a huge rotunda- shaped ballroom hung with the flags of all countries Peace Corps volunteers have served in.

There was so much jubilance as people reconnected with old friends and for me a joy to meet two volunteers who had served in Samoa. The guest speakers that morning captured the sentiment of everyone in the room: they are concerned and troubled by the world’s opinion of the U.S. today and called on us to take action, particularly this November, to improve our image, build consensus and re-establish respect in the global community. I felt so much pride to be a RPCV, to be associated with so many people who care about our brothers and sisters around the world. Those speakers were Ohio Governor Bob Taft (Tanzania 63-65), Wisconsin Governor Jim and wife Jessica Doyle (Tunisia 67-69), and US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.


Robert Klein gave a workshop on the RPCV Archival Project.[Photo by Marjory Clyne]

We were kept busy each day with a plethora of great workshops to choose from. I am interested in the advocacy work that the NPCA is doing so I attended “Global Leadership on Global Warming” and “Mobililizing for Advocacy-An Open Forum.” I have rededicated myself to the Archival Project after attending Bob Klein’s workshop on “The RPCV Archival Project.” (Be prepared. I may be calling on you next to record your Peace Corps story.) There was a large attendance at the very timely “Understanding Islam” workshop. And a sad commentary on our times from the presenters of “Safety & Security of US Humanitarian Aid Workers.” But there were 33 other workshops I didn’t get to!

Country of Service events were held informally on Saturday afternoon. All the Pacific Island RPCV’s met together and shared a sip of kava made by a Fiji volunteer. We also got a detailed account of the evacuation of the Solomon Islands in 2000 from the then Country Director Ken Isagawa.

I was honored to accept the first place 2004 Website Award. Congratulations Don Beck. I also accepted the 3rd place Newsletter Award. Our thanks to Cindy Ballard, last year’s newsletter editor of Pacific Waves.

The Closing Ceremony was particularly moving. We gathered in Grants Park, flags aloft, to honor all Peace Corps volunteers who died in service. Bagpipes played, white doves were released and Don Maclean, an RPCV (Sierra Leone,1979-83), read his poem (below).

 

For the Peace Corps Fallen
by Don Maclean

We who left you
Before our time
May return if you reach back

And carry a world
With us
Within you.

Let our monument
Be the mark you make
In the life you lead of peace and purpose.

Do, so that we may do
Act, so that we may act
Live, so that we may live

Again, through you.

 

Return to top of page

Then Vice President of Afghanistan, Hedayat Amin Arsala, spoke of his admiration for the American people, their concern for others, and their willingness to help. He said the world community has pledged lots of money to help rebuild Afghanistan though they have seen little of it yet. He knows what will have the biggest impact on the redevelopment of his country will be done at the grassroots level; his hope is that Peace Corps volunteers will soon be in Afghanistan doing that work.

We closed with remarks by Chris Matthews (Swaziland 68-70), of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews (he is a pretty funny guy), and music and words by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. No one really wanted it to end so we will continue the party in 2006 in Washington DC when we gather to celebrate the 45th Anniversay of Peace Corps. I plan to be there, won’t you join me? Peace!
Return to top of page

• From Frank Yates, Ghana (73-76)

Opening Ceremonies
The Conference opened on Friday morning with speeches by the Governor of Ohio, Bob Taft, the Governor of Wisconsin, Jim Doyle and his wife Jessica, the Foreign Minister of Thailand, and entertainment from the African and Indian dance troupes. The Shriver and Ruppe awards were presented.

Workshops were held on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Country-of-service updates were held on Saturday afternoon. The Founders’ Day Gala Dinner and Silent Auction were held on Saturday evening. The auction raised $13,000 for the NPCA.

President’s Forum
The members of the Presidents’ Forum agreed to change their name to Group Leaders’ Forum. They also endorsed the proposed bylaws changes reducing the number of elected Board Members to 9 representing regions, plus the Group Leaders’ Forum Coordinator. There will also be 9 appointed Board Members (no change). The regions have also been redrawn, with five geographical regions in the U.S. and four country-of-service regions covering the countries with Peace Corps service. If approved by the members of NPCA in the fall of 2004, the bylaws changes will take effect in August 2005, at the Group Leaders’ Forum and Annual General Meeting.

Closing Ceremonies
Following the Parade of Flags, the closing ceremonies were held at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Vice President of Afghanistan, Bobby Muller, Chris Matthews, and Peter Yarrow spoke, and we were entertained by Romanian and Latin dance troupes.

There were over 100 exhibitors in the Bazaar and about 950 people were registered for the conference.

Quite a crowd onstage with Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary, closing the conference. [Photo by Frank Yates]

Return to top of page

• From Ellen Shively, Eritrea (68-70)

With the theme, “Celebrating a Legacy of Service”, the 25th Anniversary RPCV Conference thrilled our hearts, rekindled our determination and invigorated the idealism which led us into the Peace Corps these many years past. If only reality could be as envisioned during these four days, what a great world this could be!

Meeting new people and seeing old friends was only one benefit. Marion at 77 still relates the details of her chicken farm project in Brazil some 35 years ago. “I couldn’t leave after two years, because the chickens hadn’t proven their longevity yet”. So she stayed six years.

Ellen out of Boston found her way to Harvard Divinity School and works for social services. Curt made an easy transition after four years in Eritrea into teaching Cultural Anthropology. “They gave me college credit for my PC Service,” he said proudly.

During the opening ceremony, the two ministers set the tone: the Rabbi conveyed the image of our commonality, stating that he learned from his Rabbi grandfather that he was both black and white, Jewish and Christian, straight and gay. The protestant minister, while admitting that the inspiration for his message came from the song, On This Rock, affirmed for us that in the midst of the storm, there is an inner calm to be found.

A staff member conducted a workshop on “Mobilizing For Advocacy” in which one of the attendees questioned the purpose of the NPCA. Is it a social organization to meet the needs of the members, he asked, or should we take meaningful, progressive stands on current world issues. One action could be to draft a purposeful statement speaking out against the war in Iraq.

He passed out an action-gram for us to write our senators to support the McCain/Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, which would begin to control the amount of global warming gases produced by the U.S. If you’d like to view the suggested Letter to the Editor content, contact the NPCA at advocacy@rpcv.org.


Heydayat Amin-Arsala, Vice President of Afghanistan spoke to the group. [Photo by Frank Yates]

Of the many interesting topics, I attended one on healing the tortured places of Iraq and Afghanistan. The panel consisted of the wife of the Vice President of Afghanistan, a professor of Islamic Studies and an Imam. The trauma of war leads to a state where no one is able to feel attachments or empathy for one another. After 25 years of three offensives most people have no memory of peaceful lives prior to 1978, so can’t frame a meaningful vision of the future.

On a sustainable economy note, another RPCV couple began an import-export business from Chile by developing marketing strategies for one of the native grains, quinoa, which is a more nutritious, less hydrophilic plant than rice. The crop needs less land rotation and therefore forest land doesn’t have to be sacrificed for its production.

One topic of great interest, but given at conflicting times (for me) covered the RPCV Archival Project to save Peace Corps history. Both Marjory Clyne and I have some training in this interview technique, so if you are interested, contact either one of us.

Chicago was the perfect location as it is a central hub of the country. Palmer House is elegant with its nineteenth century golden crowned opulence and easy access to the shoreline. The new Millennium Park and museum complexes were all right there.

The next reunion will be in Washington, D.C. in two years....
Return to top of page

• From Carol Wahlen, Romania (95-97)

None of the Peace Corps volunteers I served with in Romania from 1995 to 1997 attended the National Peace Corps Association Conference in Chicago, August 5-8. I was so disappointed when I registered at the conference that I wondered if the four-day affair would be that meaningful for me. The main reason I decided to attend the conference was to see my old compatriots and relive our Peace Corps experience.

What a disappointment to find none of them there. We, who had been so supportive of each other, so filled with undying friendship while in Romania. How sad to fully realize that I had totally lost contact with all of them in the last seven years. That loss is no doubt due to my wanderlust.

In addition to many overseas excursions, I change addresses twice a year, living in San Diego for six or seven months, then returning to my former hometown of Milwaukee for three or four months each summer.

I looked forward to bunking with San Diego Returned Peace Corps volunteers Marjory Clyne and Ellen Shively (if one can call staying the at the Hilton Palmer House bunking). However, I soon learned that people they had served with in their host countries, Samoa and Eritrea, were attending the conference. Would anything that memorable happen for me?

After four days of activities, I concluded that the conference was far better than I could have imagined. In fact, I now wonder if the organizers had me personally in mind when they planned the conference.

One of many high points for me was to hear Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and his wife, Jessica, talk about their Peace Corps experience in Tunisia (1967- ‘69). As a former newspaper reporter, I am pretty jaded when it comes to politicians. What a pleasant surprise to learn that the governor of my former home state was a caring LIBERAL. Sharing the stage and the microphone, the Doyles told how they married 30 plus years ago and went to Tunisia to teach English. They talked about the warmth of the Tunisian people and their appreciation of Peace Corps. They said what most of us realize, Peace Corps is life changing and emotionally rewarding.

Several workshops and speakers provided up-to-date information on Islam, Iraq and how the Peace Corps in doing in these troubled times. We even got to hear Hedayar Amin-Arsala, the Vice President of Afghanistan, give a view of his country and Peace Corps’ contribution to understanding in the world. Amin-Arsala’s wife, Betsy, is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Afghanistan 1965-’67).

Another high point for me was stopping at the Alterra Coffee booth in the conference’s International Marketplace. It was there I learned that the coffee I have been drinking this summer at the Alterra Cafe on the shore of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee is a fair trade item and that coffee growers receive decent pay for their product.

I didn’t go to the Founder’s Day dinner (too expensive at $150). I decided that I could see the featured speaker, newsman Chris Matthews on his cable show Hardball, when I returned to Milwaukee after the conference. I saw Matthews a lot closer and sooner than that, however. On Sunday, there was a huge procession through Grant Park, with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers accompanying flags of their host countries ranging from Albania to Zambia.


Chris Matthews of MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," spoke at closing of his experiences as a PCV in Swaziland, 1969-71.[Photo by Frank Yates]

As I walked near the Romania flag, I noticed a man in a red baseball hat next to me. “Chris Matthews,” I said, shaking his hand. “I was a reporter with the
Milwaukee Journal for 20 years before I joined the Peace Corps in 1995.” Instead of having a Peace Corps conversation, Matthews and I discussed the news business and people we both knew. He was a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner before going into TV cable.

Matthews later spoke at the closing ceremony, recounting his Peace Corps experience in Swaziland (1969-’71). He too told how appreciative the people were and how respected the United States had been. He also told how easy and safe it had been to travel from one country to another.

Mioritza, a Romanian folk dance group from Chicago performed several Romanian dances. [Photo by Frank Yates]

The closing ceremony offered two more high points for me. Mioritza, Romanian folk dance group from Chicago, performed several Romanian dances. Their native dress and whirling steps took me back to Romania and the many dance competitions I had enjoyed while there. Later, as I hurried out of the auditorium for a noon checkout at the hotel, I met some of the dancers. Drawing on my nearly nonexistent Romanian, I said: “Bona Ziua.”

“You speak Romanian so well,” a Romanian immigrant said.

That compliment reminded me of the many kindnesses I had experienced in Romania. Whether it was the way I ruined their language or did not quite get their customs, the Romanians showed warmth and a generous spirit, something that is not as easily found in the good old US of A or Statele Unitas, as the Romanians would say.


Return to top of page

Andrew Krishna Ranson, son of Ron Ranson, Nepal IV(1964-66), responds below to the request for pre-reunion updates for the Nepal IV Dalbhat Digest, an irregular publication of the Nepal IV group, edited and published by Ron.  For this issue there was a special request for children and grandchildren to write memoirs.  –Brenda Terry-Hahn (Nepal 1964-66)

Growing up Peace Corps

by Andrew Krishna Ranson

I suspected my father was different from most other fathers about the time I started hanging out more frequently with friends in elementary school. During sleep-overs or rides to basketball games it became clear how manifestly dull these people were. None of these older men had any of style, any pizzaz that my dad possessed–with the exception of one classmate’s father who would make farting noises with his armpits, much to the delight of a rowdy group of nine-year-olds.

There were special reasons for why my dad was so different. The most obvious was his work in theatre at the university. His job was such that when I had a rare holiday from school, I could go to work with my dad, bicycle in tow, and once on campus I could ride around for hours–from one video arcade to another and back again. It was fifth-grade heaven. The more subtle differences between my dad and my friends’ fathers were apparent in the kitchen and in how they communicated.

The blandness of my friends’ diets was alarming sometimes (yes, my father cooked, unlike the other dads); no salads with Cheeto-croutons, no Mexican toast, no preponderance of other-worldly spices, curry and the like, but the most glaring difference was perhaps that they didn’t have any stories. My father’s stories knew no end. Strung together they represented Odyssean adventures. My life, it seems, became a collection of stories–some his, some my own, some from other sources. My imagination grew with each inconceivable tale of tigers in the jungle, elephants outside the kitchen window, and crocodiles in the river. Like Aesop’s fables, these stories shaped my approach to my young life.

Upon reflection, I can rarely remember a time when my dad issued directions, commands, or edicts–with the exception of when to take out the garbage and when to do the dishes (I have since found out that while in Nepal he had a cook who did both for him!); instead the threads of wisdom that sons learn from their fathers came to me from him through a gentle weaving of tales. Whether they are wholly true or not is unimportant, for it was the idea of another way of living that I understood to be the moral. These stories and the spirit that accompanied them have hence become my own. I have many times found myself retelling one of these whoppers to acquaintances who often have not met my father, nor heard of Nepal. Their responses range from incredulity to confusion as to why I am telling a story about something that happened to my dad. It never occurred to me that someone else couldn’t learn something from a story, even a second-hand one at that. I had always thought that this was just my dad’s own unique way to tell romantic tales of helplessness or acceptance or humility, and to invent strange culinary combinations with relative regularity. I thought this for twenty years–up until I went to my first PeaceCorps reunion.

I had met some of the others–Mike, Brenda, Eleanor–but either I was too young, too tired (when I was 8, Mike took me on a 10 mile bikeride, then wanted to run around Sea World all day), or not intuitiveenough during those meetings to see what I saw in Vermont [Nepal IV’sthird reunion]: not only does everyone eat exotic foods and have thesame penchant for story-telling, but the stories are essentiallyidentical. The monsoons. The wild animals on the trail/in the market/onthe bus. The electricity on alternating days (Hey! You hadelectricity?). I was in Vermont for the first time, hearing about Nepalfor the millionth time, and it was like I had been there, too.

One of my great surprises since the reunion in Vermont has been befriending Justin and Wilson Skinner [also Nepal IV children] who arearchetypal Peace Corps offspring. They tell the same stories, the same jokes, were raised on the same PC lore as we were (my brother Tim andI) and are destined to be doing the abnormal in normal circumstances.In 2001, I visited Justin in Costa Rica, and it was there at another expatriate’s apartment that I first comprehended the bizarro world that we live in. Another American was asking Justin how we knew each other (the other guests had been college roommates or fraternity brothers or something).

As Justin explained that our fathers had been in the Peace Corps together thirty-five years earlier, I realized that Justin and I had only known each other for five years and in that time probably only seen one another for a total of one week, yet we shared a much stronger bond than many of the other people we met that night who had lived together and known each other much longer. It was clear that we were raised in the same environment, despite growing up on opposite sides of the continent, one which was infused with the same stories and themes which in turn imprinted on us an awareness of the “bigger” picture.
In 2002, my dad and I went to the Peace Corps’ 40th Anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C. At a Nepal break-out session I was able to witness the overwhelming gratitude that poured out of the now middle-aged Nepalis who had PCVs in their villages when they were children. Each proclaimed his or her life changed by the visiting of the volunteers, and were living examples of the difference the PeaceCorps made.

I cannot relate to living in the poverty of a so-called Third World Country, and my travels have demonstrated to me that I have access to opportunities in every-day situations of which many in this world can only dream. What I do have in common is the indefatigable appreciation and gratitude that my dad was a PCV. Like those in Narayan Ghat, my life was changed because of it, and not just because of the Cheeto salads.

I am very sorry that my sparkling wife of three weeks and I cannot attend the reunion in Haley. We were both looking forward to seeing everyone and eating until the Yaks come home.
Namaste, –AKR


Return to top of page

To bind all human beings together in a common cause to assure peace and survival for all. –Sargent Shriver, Nov 10, 2001

Letter to the Editor

I came across A Terrible Mess [below], an article that summed up much of what I was thinking, connecting what I had unconnected. I think it worthy of sharing, particularly as we reflect deeply on the future of Peace Corps which still faces critical funding and re-structuring.

This article might seem harsh and political. Perhaps. But, it’s only as political as Peace Corps is–the politics of change in a harsh world. Fox calls for a collaborative change rather than one-sided, brute force approach which only created the terrible mess.

Ironic that there are now many plans to expand Peace Corps’ world presence. Yet, it makes sense to employ PCVs to help fix a terrible mess. PCVs have had success because of a collaborative, rather than domineering or arrogant approach. Jim Fox writes about working together globaly as the only way to clean up the terrible mess. PCVs building “pre-emptive peace”– not by spreading American ideals but sharing and learning more ways to work together world-wide.

Sargent Shriver in 2002 recommended a fourth goal to Peace Corps service, adding to the third goal (to bring it all home), “To bind all human beings together in a common cause to assure peace and survival for all.” Mutual collaboration would bring it home worldwide. Jim Fox calls for this as well, in less philosophical terms.

For these reasons, I ask that A Terrible Mess be printed for its relavance to each of us as we go beyond “bringing the world back home.” Also, read Shriver’s speech about a fourth goal, on SDPCA website under Articles.
–Don Beck, Bolivia (1967-69)


Return to top of page

In March 2002, Bangladesh/Iran RPCV James Fox wrote an op-ed for Peace Corps Online (PCOL) called “Using Peace Corps to Reach Out to the Islamic World” in which he predicted that the MidEast would become a quagmire, that we had no idea what we were getting into, and that we would have no plans for getting out. Now read his new op-ed for PCOL (April 2004) in which he looks at the situation as it has developed in Iraq and how we can reach out, re-joining the rest of the world to help reduce the human problems that waste and destroy so much and that it can be done; it must be done, but it won’t be easy.

A Terrible Mess

by Bangladesh RPCV Jim Fox
An op-ed piece in PCOnline, April 2004

It’s a terrible mess we’ve allowed ourselves into. I haven’t seen the pictures of mutilated soldiers; I probably don’t need to. War is Hell, they say; I would presume so.

That’s what so annoys me about the first presentation of these new “wars” -- the precision bombing, Shock and Awe displays, routing the “army” -- that wasn’t a war; that was a charade, made for television.
Remote control missiles and dumping tons of bombs from high above, in airspace essentially controlled for a decade; that’s not war. Neither are thousands of tons of tanks, rolling over entrenched rag-tag remnants of an army vanquished a decade before. Thousands of civilian victims injured and killed, of no importance, their numbers unknown and unreported. And thousands of our own injured and killed, returned home in secret - “it’s not really a war, not like the good old days, when soldiers hacked each other with swords.”

Well now, we begin to learn once again what ugly war is really about. The rules of civil engagement don’t apply when the chips are down. It doesn’t take much; just use what you can. And, the rebels know.

While arrogant chicken-hawks strut and posture, confident that their “machine” -- ten times more expensive than any other, or all the rest combined, is without any doubt, invincible. Armed with tons and tons of high-tech sensors, systems and munitions, backed up with enough nuclear power to incinerate the planet, they stand self-assured that they are immune and in total control. But, the rebels know.

The US has become over-weight, spoiled and lazy. Reality is provided through hundreds of pre-packaged channels, via cable onto our flat-screen, surround-sound TV’s. It’s instant gratification, with a two-week attention span at most. There’s no staying power, programs and projects must be quick and show early payback, or we’re really not interested.

Years ago, we claimed rights to the abandoned old colonial empires. We tried to claim Indo-china, after the French left. We’ve now re-ignited the never forgotten memories of the European Crusades.

Wars of conquest fought centuries before our founding, measured not in days and months, but decades and centuries. Repeating the same pattern, we embarked on an invasion of economic conquest, with religious overtones. So what else is new?

We’ve allowed ourselves into a terrible mess. And the Rebels know. Drag a few bodies through the streets, and the Americans will turn tail and run, withdrawing their troops, leaving tons and tons and tons of their marvelous military toys behind. The folks back home have no stomach for real conquest and domination. Especially, when they were lied to, mislead, and barely saw the need. They’re over-weight, spoiled and lazy. What’s in it for them? They can’t admit that without others oil, their lights go out.

We’ve allowed ourselves into a terrible mess. And we begin to know it. Our self-serving Leaders, to their own gain have lied, exploited and misused our precious resources: our name, our wealth, our economic might, our respect, our honor, our empathy and even our fears. They have encouraged, exploited and enflamed, hostile righteous indignation to our arrogant meddling around the world.

Extremist fundamentalists on all sides of the spectrum feed and support each other in a spiraling dance of atrocities and death. Each side growing stronger, as the other reacts worse. And the bills are sent home for us to pay. We’ve allowed ourselves into a terrible mess.

We’re in too deep; we can’t easily get out. There’s no simple way to cut our losses, declare a Nixon-victory and get the hell out. It simply can’t happen; we’re in too deep. We’re trapped in a quagmire, almost beyond us. We can not simply retreat or turn back the clock. We must move on.

I hate what the Bush Gang has done to us; how they’ve squandered the sacred trust. On every front, they’ve run wild with their self-serving extremist neo-conservative plan. They knew exactly what they were doing. Elected with the barest mandate, if any; they should have proceeded with a moderate hand. But no, they’ve run, totally out of control, stifling any debate, with a sweep of their commandeered theft of our patriotic flag, under God of course.

No more; the emperor is wearing no clothes.

Decades of treaties, programs, and diplomatic negotiations tossed into the trash. Social programs gutted and set aside to wither and die. Entire segments of society abandoned and hung out to dry. An economic surplus, our safety reserve, squandered while ranting about others proclivity for excess. Their friends, cohorts and supporters raiding the public coffers, via every portal, hauling truckloads of wealth to their offshore havens; “a great ROI, on their campaign contributions,” they laugh, all the way to the bank. It’s so transparent.

Fostering social disruption, pandering to the most bigoted, divisive social issues, they feed on our worst insecurities. First, they create economic stress and then they exploit resulting uncertainties and fears. Precious constitutional protections and rights are eroded and repealed by administrative edict. It’s so transparent.

By exploiting an attack from without, these scoundrels have destroyed and pillaged our precious heritage from within. With no sense of shame or conscience, they lie to our face, struggling to find the latest spin, or plausible justification. It’s so transparent.

But enough. We’ve allowed ourselves into a terrible mess. And, now we’ve got to get ourselves out.

It won’t be easy; too much damage has been done. We’re over extended; our economy has been ruined. Our respect and leadership in the world has been squandered. Extrication and cleanup, poses a problem we’ve not faced since World War Two. And no, indiscriminately dumping more Shock and Awe bombs will not make it all well.

The original world challenges were very real, and cannot be naively wished away. It was then, and now more so, still a dangerous world. The root problems remain, acerbated by exploitation and mismanagement. First, our own damage must be reined in and controlled. Terrorists must be countered and contained (not by throwing fuel on the fire). Then slowly, underlying festering problems must be addressed. Rather than Neanderthalic brute force, it will take the highest intelligent skills we can muster, and the cooperation of all.

There are fundamental world problems to solve: population, health, environmental, economic and social. These challenges demand our participation, contributing the best, rather than the worst we can offer.

We’re not the only dogs on the block, nor do we alone have The Answer. The old ways of domination and exploitation are out of date. It is embarrassing to see our national might turned to these outdated ends. We must move on, with new solutions to the new world, as it now is.

We must first, put our own house in order. We must all work together: Liberals, Progressives and Conservatives; all segments of poly-dimensional societies. We can no longer afford to fight amongst ourselves–or let others exploit our differences to their ends. Those who profit from division must be reined in.

We need the remaining strength of the military for stability. We need the energy of a robust economy to fuel the clean up and recovery, and to pave a secure path into the future. We need the brightest and best minds from every sector of society, to develop programs that work. And we will need the consensual support of everyone to make it happen.

We must have an open free public debate, without manipulation by vested political, corporate, economic or religious self-interests. Most people on all sides are “patriotic” -- we must stop the flow of vitriol. We need to initially stabilize the disaster and tone down the arrogance, while mending our worldwide political fences.

We need, through national debate, a working definition of the real problems, quickly reaching a general consensus, and a Plan for the Future. Only then, with the support of many good folks in this country, can we reach out, re-joining the rest of this small world, helping to reduce the human problems that waste and destroy so much. It can be done; it must be done, but it won’t be easy.

We’ve allowed ourselves into a terrible mess. And now, we’ve got to get ourselves out.

–From: Peace Corps Online, April 2004
http://PeaceCorpsOnline.org/messages/messages/2629/2020569.html

About the Author
James Fox served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) from 1964-65 and was evacuated during the war and transferred for Iran where he worked in Village Development from 1965 to 66. He served on Peace Corps Staff in Iran from 1966 to 68 and in 1969 traveled through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, and worked in Nepal. In 1995 he returned for a 1-month visit to India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. For the past 30 years he has been a Professional Civil Engineer and is now retired.


Return to top of page

Fundraising Corner

Books by Victor Villaseñor
Many of you were fortunate to hear Victor Villasenor speak at our Annual Meeting in May when he accepted the first annual Global Awareness Award. Victor has written at least 12 books, including a best seller, Rain of Gold. He was kind enough to give us a few of his books towards our fundraising efforts.

I have copies of Wild Steps of Heaven, Thirteen Senses, Walking Stars and Rain of Gold in my ‘book store,’ prices ranging from $14-$18. Don’t miss this opportunity to have an autographed book by one of San Diego’s best authors and contribute to the International Support Fund!

Calendars & SD Entertainment Books
We are selling the 2005 International Calendars and Entertainment books again this year to support our Global Awards program. Last year because of your generosity, and that of the San Diego community at large, we were able to fund 15 worthly projects for current volunteers from San Diego.

We gave them money for garden fences, garbage collection bins, books and other resource materials for schools and libraries, a latrine building, a girls soccer tournament and seed money for 3 small business startups. We have received many heartfelt thank you’s from these volunteers for helping their communities. For a full list of projects funded over the years, see: http://edweb.sdsu.edu/sdpca/programs.html#tonner

2005 International Calendars
The 2005 International Calendars sell for $8.00 each to members, $10.00 to non members. Add $2.00 if you want them mailed to you. I have 300 calendars sitting in my garage so I am ready to fill any order. They make great gifts for family, friends and co-workers. In fact, take some on consignment to sell in your office. See Potpourri about making the Calendar.

2005 San Diego Entertainment Books
Entertainment books as usual will be available at many Postal Annex stores (see list online at our website) in San Diego County or on a limited basis from me starting in September. The price remains $40. What a great deal for discounts on just about everything!

We’d like to raise at least $3000 this year. Please support us in our goal. Email me at fundraising@sdpca.org THANKS!
–Marjory Clyne, Western Samoa (1972-74)


Return to top of page

Board Meetings 6/29 & 8/3

Minutes

Jesse Santos and Marjory Clyne attended both meetings. Dave Fogelson, Paul Mullins, Gregg Pancoast, and Frank Yates attended in July. Liz Brown, Lynn Jarrett, Nikol Shaw, and Kristen Slanina attended in August.

Minutes were approved as amended.

President’s Report: Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez plans to visit San Diego at the end of August and SDPCA has been asked to host a short reception for him. Marjory will coordinate with Kristen’s help.

Four SDPCA members are attending the 2004 National Peace Corps Conference in Chicago. A motion was made for Marjory to be SDPCA’s official representative at the conference; the motion carried. Marjory plans to connect with Jill Andrews and Gaddi Vasquez about the upcoming visit and Cori Bassett of The People Speak Project about hosting a “The People Speak” forum in the San Diego area.

The Board accepts with regret Paul Mullins’ resignation as a voting Board Member. He will, however, retain duties as database manager.
A motion was made to accept Liz Brown as a Board Member; the motion carried.

Financial Report: Frank reported balances and provided a detailed statement of income and expenses.

Membership: Frank reported via email that the SDPCA membership is at 100 current, 62 past due, totaling 162. NPCA membership is at 60 current, 47 past due, totaling 107. There are currently 26 free members.

Community Action: Past and present activities are covered in newsletter stories.

Fundraising: Marjory has 300 calendars available for sale. Calendars may be checked out on consignment.

Marjory will be receiving 100 Entertainment Books the week of August 8th. Entertainment Books may also be checked out on consignment. Notices about the sale of calendars and Entertainment Books will be placed in the upcoming newsletter.

There are still eight autographed books from Victor Villaseñor for sale.

Global Awards: No report.

Communications: Our next newsletter deadline is 10/10/04.

Social: Past and present activities are covered in newsletter stories.

Speaker’s Bureau: No report.

Old Business: None.

New Business: None.

Next Meetings: The September meeting will take place 6:30 PM, 9/7/04, at the home of Jesse Santos. All RPCVs are welcome to attend.

–Nikol Shaw, Mauritania (1999-2001)


Return to top of page

SDPCA at the Padres

Padres vs. Dodgers

On Friday, July 30, 2004 a hearty group of San Diego Peace Corps Association members (below) and guests met at PETCO park to watch the Padres take on the LA Dodgers. Unfortunately the Padres lost 3 to 12, but fun was had by all! Fiesta con los Padres Fireworks completed the evening's game.


[Photo by Rudy Sovinee]


Return to top of page

Day at the Del Mar Races

Rudy treated SDPCA members, guests and appointees to a wonderful day at the Del Mar Races. Returned volunteers had a great opportunity to talk to many potential volunteers as well as confirmed appointees.

For the start of race 7 all those in attendance with the San Diego Peace Corps Association got to head to the starting gates (at right) and watch the horses start. A lucky few got to even stand in the gates for the start!

Thanks again Rudy!


[Photo by Rudy Sovinee]


Return to top of page

Newsbytes

June 21, 2004:
Critical Flaw in Proposed PC Safety & Security Bill

My name is Hugh Pickens, I served in the Peace Corps in Peru from 1970 to 1973, I publish a Web Site and News Forum that is read by 100,000 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Friends of the Peace Corps every month, and I am here to point out a critical fault in the proposed “Peace Corps Safety and Security Bill of 2003” that needs to be corrected before this bill passes the Senate.

The Five Year Rule
The Peace Corps is unique among federal agencies because employees receive time-limited appointments and most employees are limited to a maximum of five years of employment with the agency. The five-year rule has been a cornerstone of Peace Corps’ organizational structure and has kept the Peace Corps institutionally young and innovative over the past 40 years...

Read the full article and reader responses (add your own as well) at Peace Corps Online:
http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/2629/2022024.html

Election time draws near

By the time you get the next issue of this newsletter, the election will be upon us. Various congressional bills and departments are pending or in the process of calling for change for Peace Corps. More than ever we need to know where candidates stand to be able to vote in a way to preserve Peace Corps idealism as each of us sees it.

One tool to review what candidates have said and done about Peace Corps is on Peace Corps Online. There are several sections about each candicate’s statements and a myriad of responses by RPCVs pro and con.

Please share with us articles and sites that you feel are relevant to the election and beyond. These can appear in the Newsletter or online.

Check it out and add your own comments.

AND
However you choose to vote,
Be registered and VOTE!


Return to top of page

“It’s better to be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right. –Unknown

Dear RPCV’s: We need your help with our Peace Corps Cookbook.

Many of you have already heard of the efforts to establish a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience in Portland, Oregon. The Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience (CMPCE) is involved in these efforts and is currently seeking funding to proceed with the project. One of our ways to do this is to develop a cookbook made up of recipes from countries of service sent in by RPCV’s. Once we prepare this cookbook we will sell it and use any profits for the museum. Please help us with this goal.

If you are not familiar with our work please look at our website for further information: http://www.peacecorpsmuseum.org

Part of what made your service in your host country special was the food you encountered. Share recipes for some of those special dishes with the rest of us so we can get a glimpse of your experience and share a bit of the culture of a different part of the world. We plan to compile a cookbook that will enable thousands of Americans to experience some of what you encountered; along with your stories telling about the role this food played in your experience of the host country. This cookbook, tentatively entitled A World of Food: the Peace Corps Experience, will then be published, and as mentioned above, the proceeds will benefit CMPCE’s efforts to establish a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience.

Along with each recipe, please:

  • Share some background information so the reader will gain better understanding of the food item and its place in your experience.
  • Please explain any uncommon ingredients and suggest how to obtain them.
  • Be sure to give us your name, country and years of service.
  • Classify each dish as to type, e.g. appetizer, beverage, dessert, soup, main dish, main starch, vegetable, or side dish.
  • Be clear about amounts, times and temperatures.
  • Advise on how you substitute or omit a certain ingredient if it is very difficult to obtain.

By sending us this recipe you agree to permit us to use the information you send for the Museum cookbook at no charge. No personal information will be divulged to others for any other purpose.

Send your recipe and accompanying information to:  pcmuseum@comcast.net
Thanks!

RPCV from Mozambique needs help

My name is Blake H. Schmidt and I am a RPCV from Mozambique. I was a volunteer from 2001-2003 and taught English at a secondary school. Near the end of my service Iput in place a project known as The World Through My Eyes ( http://www.theworldthroughmyeyes.org ).

After my COS in December returned to Mozambique to lead this project. I taught photography to 13-18 year olds for 4 months and it was an enjoyable learning experience for all involved.

Please visit The World Through My Eyes to find out more about the work we did and hope to continue early next year.

Forward this to any friends, RPCVs, etc. to tell them about this wonderful project. We need your help to get the word out on this worthwhile project to see that it doesn’t stop in mid-stream. Also photographs taken by the kids are available for sale on the site in our “sales gallery.”

Thanks for your time and help,
–Blake H. Schmidt, RPCV, Mozambique 2001-2003 & Project Leader for The World Through My Eyes, Member of the Columbia River PC Assoc.

Making the 2005 International Calendars

These calendars are produced yearly by the RPCVs of Wisconsin-Madison. The International Calendar Project began in 1987 to share Peace Corps experiences with our home communities and to raise money for grassroots projects in the countries where we served. [In turn, other groups like SDPCA use the Calendars as a fundraiser as well. They are ALWAYS awesome!]

“The Calendar always features countries in which the Peace Corps is currently active or has been hosted in the past. Calendar pictures are windows into our memories and introduce you to the people who welcomed us so warmly into their communities.  Plus, nearly every day lists important festivals, birthdays, and holidays from around the world.
“It is also designed as a teaching aid, introducing varied life styles, terrain, foods, occupations, and crafts from around the world. Our group donated over seven thousand 2002 Calendars to schools and other educational institutions.”

Check inside the back cover of your Calendar for more information on projects sponsored. As well, see their website.

“Submit your own photography for the 2006 International Calendar!

"We’re looking for the best slides of countries which have hosted Peace Corps Volunteers. Send up to five slides postmarked by December 31, 2004.

"If one of your slides is selected for the 2006 International Calendar, you will receive 25 complimentary calendars!”

Check the website for details...http://www.rpcvmadison.org/Calendar.htm
–adapted from website of the RPCVs of Wisconsin-Madison

Whose Idea Was the Peace Corps?
Q:
It’s often reported that President John Kennedy established the Peace Corps. Wasn’t Hubert Humphrey also instrumental in its creation? Also, didn’t Kennedy borrow the statement “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” from someone else? – Anne Young, Stone Mountain
A: The idea of establishing an “army” of Americans to work for peace dates to 1904, when the American philosopher William James proposed it in a speech. In 1910, he developed the idea of a youth peace army morefully in a pamphlet. After World War II, many groups set up international work camps modeled on the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization.

In January 1960, Sen. Richard Neuberger (D-Ore.) and Rep. Henry Reuss (D-Wis.) asked Congress to study the possibilities of a youth corps program. Later that year, Senator Humphrey (D-Minn.) proposed that Congress create a peace corps. Then Senator Kennedy (D-Mass.) picked up the proposal, using it in his 1960 presidential campaign.

About the famous “ask not” quotation, it’s similar in spirit to a remark Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. made May 30, 1884, in Keene, N.H.: “We pause to . . . recall what our country has done for each of us and to ask ourselves what we can do for our country in return.”

–taken from: “Q&A ON THE NEWS,” by Colin Bessonette - Staff, q&a@ajc.com, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sunday, April 30, 2000 [http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Cabana/5736/pcq.html]

 

Website for the “Peace Corps Fallen”

The poem on the front page of this issue was written by Don Maclean. There is a website dedicated to the Peace Corps Fallen at http://www.fpcv.org/index.htm

Since the Peace Corps began in 1961, 257 have sacrificed not only their energies and time, but also their lives while pursuing the Peace Corps mission. Their lives and service are honored here. Their logo is the Picasso Dove shown on the poem in this newsletter.

Take a look!


Return to top of page

Recruiter’s Corner

This recruiter has been very busy learning the job. I’ve interviewed 3 people so far, and am pleased with the quality of people who are applying. Each has earned a nomination. (The one I met this evening had her first interaction with RPCVs by attending the event at Horton Plaza.

I’m continuing the pattern set by Dave Fogelson, with an hour Monday and Thursday at SDSU, and General Information Meetings regularly scheduled off campus too. There is an opening for a person to work half time at UCSD to recruit on that campus. Hopefully we’ll have figured out a way to announce this to the SDPCA before this newsletter reaches you.

I’ve attended a great panel discussion in LA - something we could do here. Basically pick a theme and select RPCVs to respond to questions about their service in a panel format. The one scheduled in LA for serving in muslim cultures has over 40 people who’ve said they will attend.

News for what is up, lectures, panels, GIMs, career fairs, etc. are posted at http://www.peacecorps.gov under the tab for local events.
–Rudy Sovinee, Ghana (1970-73), PC Regional Recruiter


Return to top of page

Welcome to New Members

SDPCA extends a warm welcome to our newest members. We’ve seen some of you at events already, and we want all of you to get involved in our activities. Let us hear from you! And contact us that we might help you as well.

Here are the new members since the last newsletter:

  • Sean Anderson , Romania (2002–2004), El Cajon, CA 92021 pcvdude@yahoo.com
  • Megan Galbreath, Togo (2002–2004), Del Mar, CA 92014 megangalbreath@yahoo.com
  • Shellie Norris , Thailand (2002–2004), Spring Valley, CA.


Return to top of page

Newsletter Credits

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

Contributions are encouraged: e-mailed text file on disk- Mac preferred, or typed copy.

Please send to Editor, SDPCA, P.O. Box 26565, San Diego, CA 92196 or e-mail: newseditor@sdpca.org

Editor
Liz Brown

Layout / Production
Don Beck

Contributors this issue are:

Marjory Clyne, Andrew Krishna Ranson, Brenda Terry-Hahn, Don Beck,
Nikol Shaw, Frank Yates, Ellen Shively, Carol Wahlen, Rudy Sovinee, Don Maclean, Jim Fox (PCOnline), Hugh Pickens (PCOnline)

Return to top of page

 

 

..........