Back issues are archived and links in them may not be current
July – August 2005 — Volume 18, Number 4
Peace Corps - FIJI
Letter from a PCV newly arrived in Fiji - Pictures from PC,Washington
Remember when you were new in country, at the beginning of training? Here is a note from a local San Diegan who arrived in Fiji last week!
Bula! Everyone! Sa Vacathava Tiko? I miss you all very much. Sorry but I have to make this short and very jumbled. I’m going to rattle off everything that comes to mind. I am at an internet cafe in Nasuri Town. It can be a bit expensive and there is a line of Indo Fijians (Indians) glaring at my group to get off. It is my first time coming out of my little village with all the Peace Corps Volunteers. It is amazingly beautiful here.
We live in a compound of 15 or so Bures. It’s on top of a hill overlooking many trees. It’s thick and green. Lush. Like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life. A river runs through the bush. We overlook the river and all the gorgeous trees.
The animals and bugs run around like crazy. We have mongoose. Exotic plants and birds all different colors. At night there are frogs everywhere and when the electricity goes out due to the wind and rain its kind of scary to go outside to the bathroom. I’m afraid of a frog jumping up from the inside of the toilet. LOL It’s like we’re in the thick of a jungle.
Our compound....It’s like living in dorms. Our bures have 2 rooms and we have two bunk beds in each so all together there are 8 of us to a Bure. The other bures are a boys technical school. The Fijians are the sweetest people. They laugh at just about everything. We are all having a lot of fun.
There are 35 of us and its half boys and 1/2 girls. All week we have been very busy studying the language. We wake up at 6 am to the sound of drums beating. We go down the hill to breakfast then up the hill again to the big conference room. It rains a lot here but it never gets too cold. Everything feels damp. I’ll get used to it though. Last night was very fun.
We had a Informal Kavah ceremony. Our LCF’s (Language/Culture Facilitators, Teachers) played traditional Indo Fijian (Indian) and Fijian Songs for us on the guitar and showed us how to dance and they served Grog (Kavah) It makes your tongue numb and you feel like sleeping but that’s about it. I am one of the only people who are like Bring It On! I love my LCF’s and Training Director and My Dr. They are sooooo nice and sweet. I am praying I get put in an Indo Fijian Community b/c I want to learn how to speak Hindi. Only 6-8 out of the 35 of us are going to be in that group. I don’t mind where I get put. Its soooo cool here, no matter what, I feel like I’m embarking on the adventure of my life. All the smells, sounds, colors, people fascinate me. When our bus is driving by, all the kids wave at us. There are stray dogs everywhere.
People love to sit around the kava bowl and tell the same story over and over again. I know the language will be a challenge but I have learned a few sentences already and I can’t wait to learn more. I am soooo blessed to have this experience. I will share more soon to come. I love all of you.
–Hila Raen, PCV Fiji
We raised $647 from the raffle held at the Annual Meeting, May 22nd. Over $1000 worth of prizes were to be had, thanks to all of our donors. All monies raised will be used for our International Support Fund.
Thank you all for opening your pocketbooks! We could not have done it at all without the generous support of so many wonderful San Diego businesses and individuals. Get ready for next year, our raffle will be an annual event. Next year there will be even more wonderful prizes to win!
A special thanks to this year’s donors.
– Marjory Clyne, Western Samoa (1972-74)
El Segundo, June 1, 2005 – Asian Americans are shattering stereotypes and myths about Americans. By serving as Peace Corps volunteers, Asian Americans demonstrate that Americans come from all backgrounds, cultures, and faiths. Currently, 333 Asian/Pacific Americans – 110 from California – serve in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS awareness and education, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture.
“People are surprised to see me,” says Shannon Hy, Vietnamese-American volunteer, “especially when they find out I’m American. Hy was born in Vietnam and immigrated with her family to Los Angeles. Although she lost the use of her legs to polio as a child, she now works with disabled youth in Paraguay to help them achieve their goals. She hosts self-esteem classes and teaches employable skills to people with disabilities.”
Volunteering often comes with cultural challenges, however. “My Ecuadorian-American mother was horrified,” says Tai Sunnanon, a recently returned volunteer to Palau. “She asked, ‘Why would a graduating senior choose Peace Corps over med school?’ My Thai-American father thought I was ‘copping’ out. Now three years later with my Palau Peace Corps experience on my résumé, I’m fortunate to have my pick of Ivy League graduate schools.
Obviously my parents are pleased and so am I. Instead of limiting my opportunities, my Peace Corps experience expanded them,” Tai Sunnanon told prospective Peace Corps volunteers.
Sunnanon was one of four returned Peace Corps volunteers participating in a recent Asia and Pacific Island panel discussion at the Peace Corps Los Angeles Regional Office. Moderated by recruiter Chiraphone Khamphouvong, Laotian-American, South Africa Peace Corps volunteer, 1998-2000, the event celebrated Asia/Pacific Heritage Month established by Congress in 1978.
Khamphouvong also shared the experience of initial resistance from her family. “As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a recruiter, I’ve learned that Asian families are reluctant to have their first offspring graduating from college then leave for two years with the Peace Corps. Many parents are first generation Americans from refugee or immigrant backgrounds and are not familiar with both the tangible and intangible benefits of Peace Corps service. Those benefits must be communicated. It’s a lesson for all of us that anyone considering the Peace Corps – regardless of ethnic or socio-economic background -- needs to effectively research facts about the Peace Corps and communicate them with their families.”
Neha Bhandari echoed the experience. “My family comes from North India and was also upset. They worked so hard to get us here and couldn’t understand why I would want to go back to a third-world country. But as a result of my experience, they gained a lot of respect for me. After a few months in Mozambique, concern changed to pride as they began telling our Indian-American friends what great work we volunteers were doing for the education of the youth of Mozambique.”
“Peace Corps allows we, the everyday Americans, to serve and learn alongside our everyday host counterparts around the world.” comments Khamphouvong. “It’s a remarkable and powerful process when people want to make a positive difference in our local and global communities. And it’s all the more effective when first and second generation Americans show their willingness to commit 27 months to that effort.
Hy adds that cultural differences have made for some challenging experiences, “but at the same time, these challenges have enriched me and the people around me.”
a Peace Corps news release]
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2005 – In response to one of the world’s worst natural disaster in Thailand & Sri Lanka, the U.S. Congress has passed, and President George W. Bush has signed into law, emergency legislation that will transfer $1 million to the Peace Corps’ Crisis Corps to help in the rebuilding efforts in Thailand and Sri Lanka.
The Peace Corps will receive $450,000 to continue to support the tsunami reconstruction efforts of its Crisis Corps volunteers in Thailand through January 2006. After 2006, Peace Corps volunteers will build on the Crisis Corps’ efforts by engaging in projects to restore the livelihoods of the tsunami survivors.
The Peace Corps will also receive $550,000 to support sending Crisis Corps volunteers to work in Sri Lanka on reconstruction efforts. Those endeavors will include capacity building projects and providing assistance such as housing, and rebuilding critical infrastructures, including water sanitation systems for tsunami survivors. The recovery and reconstruction funding is being provided to the Peace Corps via the Fiscal Year 2005 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations legislation.
Currently, the Peace Corps has two Crisis Corps teams in Thailand already working in database development, resource development, construction and carpentry, water systems, small business development, volunteer camp projects, and youth activities. This month, the Peace Corps will be sending the first group of Crisis Corps volunteers to Sri Lanka. The volunteers will work with the Christian Children’s Fund and World Vision to provide assistance, support, and training to local staff in the areas of disaster relief management, needs assessment, transition and permanent shelter, water and sanitation, and community development projects.
Full story at:
Experience is not what happens to you. It us what you do with what happens to you. —Aldous HuxleyFrom the President...
Another year has come and along with it a new Board for the organization. This Board is comprised of a wonderful mix of newcomers and alumni and I am excited about the ideas and enthusiasm that I see in store for SDPCA this year. Members are organizing an outing to the Summer Pops, fundraising dinners at local restaurants, and a community action event to help the Peace Resource Center with their new hay bale building. PeaceMatch.org has facilitated matching speakers with audiences, which means our Speaker’s Bureau will be looking into new ways to help members in their efforts to talk about and share their Peace Corps experiences.
The International Support Fund has received multiple excellent and creative proposals the past few funding rounds, so many that we sometimes cannot afford to fund all proposals---I anticipate the program will continue to expand. SDPCA’s partnership with the Los Angeles Recruiting Office also continues to grow, which can most recently be seen in the co-sponsored Panel Discussions.
can only be as strong as its membership; I encourage you to think about
how you would like to be a contributing member of SDPCA and enjoy the
satisfaction that comes with organizing and being a part of great things.
There are so many upcoming opportunities---I look forward to seeing you
–Nikol Shaw, President, Mauritania (1999-2001)
Board Meetings 5/05 & 6/05
Present: Gregg Pancoast, Rudy Sovinee, Nikol Shaw, Kristen Slanina, Frank Yates, Lynn Jarrett, Marjory Clyne, attended both meetings. Liz Brown, Jesse Santos, and Sigmund Penn attended in May. Lisa Rivera, Sean Anderson, Chris Powers, Kate McDeritt, Tom Ryan, and Sira Perez attended in June.
2005-06 Board & Committee Chairs are:
Nikol Shaw– President
Marjory Clyne– Vice President & Social
Sira Perez– Secretary
Gregg Pancoast– CFO
Lynn Jarrett– Communications & Membership Records
Rudy Sovinee– Global Awards
Sean Anderson– Fundraising
Chris Powers– Speaker’s Bureau
Lisa Rivera– Community Action
Brenda Terry-Hahn– Membership
Liz Brown– Newsletter Editor
Minutes were approved as amended.
President’s Report: See committee reports.
Financial Report: Frank reported balances and provided a detailed statement of income and expenses. Discussion on how to fundraise for additional money for the upcoming year. The new officers are to complete the signature cards. The NPCA website and the CA Secretary of State need the new list of officers.
Membership: Lynn reported that the SDPCA membership is at 129 current, 71 past due, totaling 200. NPCA membership is at 136 current, 29 past due, totaling 165. There are currently 24 free members. Membership dues were discussed. Lynn and Gregg will coordinate the lack of communication between SDPCA and NPCA to clarify which members are up to date. Marjory has the new member sign-up sheets that list committee interests. This info will be passed on to appropriate committees to establish contact.
Community Action: Jesse and Lisa participated with REI in a community action event during the month of April. Jesse recommends staying in touch with REI and doing more events with them. Board came forth with ideas for projects that could entice members and raise participation numbers. Any project to be considered for community action must be put forth to the Board at least a month in advance, to be announced in the newsletter.
Fundraising: An idea for a “perpetual plaque” was presented and agreed upon. The plaque will rotate each year to the Postal Annex store that sold the most Entertainment Books. Fundraising suggestions include new food and entertainment ideas for upcoming year.
Global Awards: Rudy reports that the LARO public affairs office will help publicize information about SDPCA’s local 2005 Global Award recipient. Question: how to send money so award recipients overseas can access it? We have our 1st nomination for the 2006 Global Award. A committee is to be formed to consider these and international proposals, and how to compare them.
Communications: Our next newsletter deadline is 06/10/05. The Board agrees the Phone Tree should stay with the Board rather than being transferred to the satellite coordinators. Lynn will talk to Brenda about designing and publishing an ISF brochure. Liz and Rudy will assist. Lynn will create a list of people who will check the voicemail each month.
Past and present activities are covered in newsletter stories.
Speaker’s Bureau: (See Story and Photos on Women in the Peace Corps)
New Business: Voice of San Diego is a non-profit organization that may be able to publicize upcoming SDPCA events. Marjory collected some information at Earth Day about straw bale construction and will pursue a possible social/fundraising activity. The 2005-06 Board will need to review and assess the Strategic Plan before next meeting.
6:30 PM, 6/29/05, at the home of Nikol Shaw.
–Sira Perez, Kazakhatan (2001-02)
Look for an evite announcing our activity for July and another for August.
If you have any ideas for activities, please send suggestions in!
Contact Lisa Rivera (our new Community Action Chair) at: email@example.com
is not what happens to you. It us what you do with what happens to you.
Below are several websites that offer FREE search engine use for your missing RPCV friends:
Regional Peace Corps Campout
This year’s annual event will be held at Honeyman State Park on the central Oregon coast August 25-28. The Northwest NPCA affiliates have long had a cooperative relationship where we meet with each other and our NPCA board rep several times a year.
Our biggest region-wide event
is the annual campout, which historically has roved between various parks
in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
If any members are interested in this year’s campout, please visit the following website
Space is limited, so we encourage early reservations. Contact Bill Stein (RPCV Niger 1990-93) at 503-235-9637 to save your spot. Bill can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Help Needed: Photos
The plan to hold three such panels a year is being expanded. Starting later this fall we will be seeking digital photos and panelists to highlight each of the regional areas of the Peace Corps – beginning with the EMA (Europe/MiddleEast/Asia).
Do you have digital photos (at least 640x480 resolution) to share for use in a digital slideshow? Would you be willing to be a panelist? Please email Rudy Sovinee (see below). Note: we will be seeking a new venue.
The librarian says they will
not be able to stay open as late – due to budget cuts by the city.
If you know of a service club (or church, library, etc.) that would like
to be of service to us–and able to seat 80-100 people, please contact
Jason Gordon (Moldova 2002-04) is looking for photo contributions for a large coffee-table style photo book featuring photographs taken by PCVs all over the world.
f you would like to contribute, please send a selection of your best photographs (preferably with Host country Nationals in them but will consider scenic) via email to Jason.email@example.com or via snail mail at Jason Gordon, 7815 M
Please include your name, country of service, years of service, and a brief caption with each photograph. If sending digital, please be sure the images are 300dpi or higher.
If published, a significant amount of the revenue from the book sales will go to support Peace Corps projects worldwide.
As this project is in its developmental stage, potential contributors should inquire about how royalties are to be allocated and should inquire about a contract with the author to retain ownership after publication.
Brett Walker (Nicaragua, 2002-03) is currently working on placing 15-20 students from countries such as Thailand, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Chile, Slovakia and others with host families in San Diego County through the AFS Intercultural Programs.
AFS is 50+ year old non-profit, volunteer based high school student exchange organization whose mission is to promote global peace and justice through increasing intercultural understanding. Each year AFS hosts roughly 2700 students from 45 countries around the world, including some of the countries where some of us may have served as Peace Corps Volunteers. The students arrive in mid-August, and stay for the school year. All of our students live with host families, attend school, and participate in community activities such as sports, theater, and community service projects.
If you are interested, please contact Brett Walker, Regional Field Coordinator, AFS Intercultural Programs, 506 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204. Phone: 800.237.4636 x 1574, email firstname.lastname@example.org
World Link, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State Youth Programs is involved in providing exchange programs for youth from the Eurasian countries of the Former Soviet Union under the Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) and with Afghanistan through the Youth Exchange and Studies Program (YES).
World Link places and supervises these students who arrive in August and return back home during June. During their ten months in the USA, they attend school and are involved in community service and leadership development activities. When they return home, they are involved in alumni activities designed to make positive changes in their communities and the students’ careers. Are any returned Peace Corp volunteers that interested in helping with students from the Eurasian countries of the former Soviet Union such as; Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Moldova?
For more information visit their web site: http://www.worldlinkinc.org or contact Lana Stutzman, Youth Exchange Coordinator, World Link, Inc., 905 M Avenue, Kalona, Iowa 52247. OR Toll Free: 1-877-656-4590
We are currently looking for help in the disbursement of our newsletter. We need individuals who are willing to assemble, fold and place labels on our newsletters. This task usually takes between 2-3 hours with the help of 2-3 people. Once assembled, newsletters need to be taken to the main post office and shipped out. For the past year Liz Brown has been coordinating this effort and she needs relief! If you are interested in assisting in the distribution of the newsletter please contact Lynn Jarrett at email@example.com or Liz Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org as we can provide more details.
A big thanks ahead of time to Kate McDevitt and Tom Ryan who assisted with this newsletter.
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 so that we might help you as well.
–Lynn Jarrett, Ukraine (2001-2003)
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: email@example.com
this issue are:
Ellen Shively, Brenda Terry-Hahn, Rudy Sovinee, Nikol Shaw, Patsy Loughboro, Marjory Clyne, Liz Brown, Hilla Raen, Lynn Jarrett, Sira Perez, Cindy Ballard