5.15.09

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San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter
May - June 2009 — Volume 22, Number 3

 
Editor
 

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International
Peace Days

http://www.betterworldcalendar.com/
Great site for Peace-full things:  Check it out!
Books, quotes, links, ideas, heroes, clubs, resources.


One Day In Peace
Freedom Day
Wom
en's Day
Earth Day

Diversity Day
Interfaith Day

CoOp Day
No Nukes Day

Peace Day
End Hunger Day

Tolerance Day
International Volunteer Day
Human Rights Day

--January 1
–February 1

--March 8
--April 22
–May 21
–June 22

–July 5
–August 6

–September 21
–October 16

–November 16
--December 5
–December 10

"We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race."
-- Kofi Annan

cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity.
-- Robert Alan

The end of the Cold War removed the immediate causes of whole destruction -- but not the threat contained in our knowledge. We must tame this knowledge with the ideals of justice, caring, and compassion summoned from our common human spiritual and moral heritage, if we are to live in peace and serenity in the twenty-first century.
-- Mahnaz Afkhami

"We who have been born Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, or any other faith can be very comfortable in each others temple's, mosques, and churches, praying or meditating together to create a spiritual mass of consciousness which can overcome our greed, hatred, and illusions."
-- Dr. Ari Ariyaratne

May 21 - Diversity Day

June 22 - Interfaith Day

(above-Kofi Annan) from http://www.betterworldcalendar.com

May 21 -- Diversity Day:
The tragedy of September 11, 2001 clearly illustrated that serious conflict can arise over "cultural differences." Shortly after this tragic event, 185 nations unanimously adopted the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity to proclaim that our cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity. It rejected the claims that a clash of cultures and civilizations is unavoidable, and stressed that intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee of a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.

What is culture? A culture is a community's language, arts and literature. It is also its values system, traditions, beliefs and way of living. Respecting and protecting culture is a matter of Human Rights. Everyone should be able to participate in the cultural life of their choice. The Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions was adopted in October 2005 to outline legal rights and obligations regarding international cooperation to help protect cultural diversity throughout the world.

Diversity Day, officially known as World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, is an opportunity to help our communities to understand the value of cultural diversity and learn how to live together in harmony.

June 22-- Interfaith Day:
Some of the wars and conflicts of the past and present were fought over land and resources, but many have been over religious differences. In this past century, a global interfaith movement has been growing, helping to raise consciousness about the need for tolerance and understanding between different cultures and religions. This movement has helped highlight the common goals that most religions share, such as the Golden Rule, which is at the heart of nearly all religious traditions. At the same time, many throughout the world are discovering that 'spirituality' -- a deep connection to a greater purpose for humanity -- is an important driving force in their lives, even if they aren't religious.

UNESCO, working with religious and spiritual NGOs, is currently developing an action plan for Interfaith Cooperation for Peace. The flagship event, a Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace took place on June 22, 2005. Interfaith Day is an opportunity for all who value spirituality in their lives to connect and unite in our wish for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world based on values grounded in our deeper spiritual connection to each other and the world around us.

Related: World Spirituality Day is observed on December 31 as a time for the spiritual community to join together to celebrate the victories for peace, tolerance and understanding that have been won throughout the year and to rededicate our lives to our spiritual paths.


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PC Week Activities in San Diego

The Peace Corps celebrated 48 years in style at UC San Diego on Friday February 27th.  Organized by Diana Gomez (Armenia & UCSan Diego PC Recruiter) four returned PCVs acted as resource speakers to an audience of approximately 45 students, RPCVs, nominees, faculty, Peace Corps LA staff and parents of nominees.  Paul Mullins (Jamaica), Charlene  Peña (recently returned from Kazakhstan), Perth Rosen (2000-2002 Honduras 2002-2003 Peru) and Ron Ranson (Nepal) regaled the gathering with a description of their everyday lives overseas and what the PC has meant to them. 

There were a wide range of impressions expressed since so many Peace Corps years were represented.  A long time was used for the numerous questions from the audience.  A delicious lunch at the International Center’s outdoor patio was but a few steps away where the discussion continued with other RPCVs joining in under a perfect San Diego sky.

Lennox Miller (pictured, above), a graduate of UC San Diego and a PCV in Zambia (2003-05) provided a spectacular song and dance as “frosting” on an already terrific lunch. His robe is from Ghana where he participated in a UCSD Study Abroad program.  Lennox, being a former theatre student, combined the dance steps from the two countries to earn a loud round of applause from the overflow audience.
–from Ron Ranson, Nepal 1964-66, Photo from Ron Ranson.


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SDPCA Earthday 2009

It was another exciting and busy EarthDay at our booth this last Sunday, April 19th. If you weren’t there then you were definitely in the minority. I am always amazed at how many people can visit Balboa Park in one day. The EarthDay organizers estimate 60,000 people attend!!! MANY stopped at our Peace Corps booth to ask a myriad of questions. Those were answered by Jacob Hall, our San Diego PC Recruiter, who also supplied books, pamphlets, stickers for the table and my intrepid group of SDPCA members and their friends.

Thanks to Ron Ranson, Mary Dilligan, Larry Badger, visiting from Oregon, Josie Campese, Willie Clayborn, Mary Dulatre, Jen Arrowsmith, Jason Carmichael, Alaina Gallegos, Lennox Miller, Carol Wahlen, Paul Mullins, Jill Dumbauld, Ali West, Kris and Ray Slanina, and Carl Sepponen. You can imagine what a good time we had just being there together. Even the heat didn’t stop us.

And it is exciting to see so many people still interested in what we did; I hope our stories and encouragement convince some of them to fill out an application and have that incredible life experience.

Come volunteer with us next year.
–Marjory Clyne, Samoa 1972-74


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Click on any photo-collage to see full size...

..Greetings
..from
..Rural Thailand

from Rudy Sovinee, Ghana 1970-73.
The two years since I was with you at the annual May meeting have flown bye. Being retired is definitely not boring when one moves to a new life, needs to learn 2 new languages using completely new characters, customs, climate, critters and beliefs. I’ve already shared my adventures of import, like meeting Boon, getting to know her family and town, building a home and lessons in organic gardening. Some of the later photos are available via my page on the PC Connections site. Still, there are some topics for which I previously lacked photos, and yes, even approaching what would have been a PC tour completion, there are many things to learn anew with better understanding.

My last posting was sometime midst the 2008 campaign. As the financial crisis hit stateside, the repercussions here are only now sinking into the rural populous. Many factories have closed, causing unemployment problems with people either struggling in their city life or slowly returning to live with their families in more rural parts. Thailand compounded its economic woes by various behaviors over the last year in political conflict.

Political issues here are hard to discuss even in private, but for while it’s accessible these links are excellent for analysis: http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/15366/resentment-of-reds-
and-the-challenge-of-reconciliation
and
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/15351/mp-amnesty-on-the-table

Just know that I rarely even go to Chiang Mai, let alone Bangkok. So far the protests have been mostly in Bangkok, here feels quite peaceful and safe.
The main holiday that I didn’t photograph last year was the Thai New Year festivities that this year came from just before through a week after Easter. The event signifies the return of the rainy season, and is celebrated in large part by helping others get wet. Being the hottest season (regularly in the 90’s in the shade) the water feels good too.

Young kids do it as play. Older ones set up road stands and get nearly every vehicle – unless the driver adamantly declines. On Monday the 13th, we gathered in the plaza for a ceremony gifting snacks to the monks, but by 10 AM a parade with floats did the regular parade route in town, headed to the plaza. This parade though had bystanders all supplied with water and bowls to use to pour down the back and shoulders of those in the parade – while wishing them a good or luck filled new year. Even the beauty pageant contestants in traditional gowns were gently watered. (In the cities, I hear the whole event gets far more boisterous) Still, the parade ends at the same plaza as so beautifully attended at 8AM, but now being greeted by sprays of water coming from the town’s two water pump trucks. A concert followed, and the pumpers kept cooling the area with a majority of people dancing through the spray.


(above) More family is able to visit now that Rudy has a family-size home!

For the balance of the week people visit family or community elders, have parties, sightsee at local hot springs or waterfalls, and both eat and drink to excess. Having gone through the 2008 process, I found ways to catch a few photos this year.

Coming up for me is helping to train three of the English teachers to do the 1WOW School Program for the Jr. High and High students. The community building and friendship supporting lessons augment the regular curriculum here. The idea came after seeing a year’s worth of social interactions among the teens, and wanting to help. I proposed it to my daughter’s English teacher during their end of school year celebration, and by the end of the day the school director and I had met and drafted an idea of how to proceed.

Oh, and I’ve nearly missed reporting about how Harry Potter has added to my days. Helping Bow and her cousin with English last year often seemed like helping with their homework. But Harry Potter is available in Thai as well as English, so the girls are taking turns reading a few pages each, first in English, then in Thai. I’m the reference and stickler over pronunciation. The fun is that they are now thoroughly hooked on the story, so want to read more each day. The regular practice and mid level vocabulary is adding up to rapid improvements in their confidence and abilities.

So enjoy your time together at the annual meeting. Visit me at the PC Connections, and otherwise know that at least in my case, the skills gained in PC are serving me well in retirement. I wish you all well, and look forward to the visits that some of you have promised.
--Photo collages from Rudy. Check out Rudy’s tropical gardening and more on his page at ConnectedPC:
http://community.peacecorpsconnect.org/profile/SDpix4Pax

 

 

Some of Rudy's planting around his home, supplying abundant produce for himself and family. Click on picture to see full size.

 

 


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Here are my Dad’s thoughts about his little trip across the ocean and a few countries to see me. I’m so happy my Dad and brother Zach were able to visit and write about Niger.--Teri Wilson, PCV Niger

Trip of a Lifetime: To Niger

from Teri Wilson PCV: comments from her dad.
Preparations for our trip to visit Teri in Niger began in August 2008.

That’s when I needed the first of a series of vaccinations to travel to Niger. It was about 9 shots and $840.00 later that I had completed the vaccinations and Zach and I were able to secure visas for travel to Niger. Then 2 weeks before we are to leave, Teri informs me that she has malaria, but it’s no big deal, everyone in Niger gets it! Had  I known this in August, I’d never have made this promise to visit.

Anyhow, it’s just malaria. Then there was the packing. Zach and I checked 4 bags; 3 packed to the 50 pound limit with food and supplies for Teri.

The long flight via New York and Paris was just a long uncomfortable flight in hard seats in the sardine section of the plane. This being my first experience, since my hip replacement, made me realize that I will always require additional time to get through metal detectors.

When I first showed my medical card, indicating that I had a metal implant in my leg, they responded with, “that’s nice, step over here and spread your legs, arms out with palms up.” Five or ten minutes later, I was able to join Zach.

The flight from Paris to Niger commenced with the realization that English was no longer an international language. Zach and I completed the customs forms, that were in French, hoping that we weren’t applying for permanent residency in Niger. The only English the flight attendants understood was, “another beer please”.

As we flew over Algeria and northern Niger, I occasionally opened the window shade to see the windswept Sahara desert. Desolate and barren of any apparent vegetation or life of any kind. We finally made our approach into Niamey, the capital and largest city of Niger, with a population of a million people. The airport reminded me of the Madera airport with the exception that in had no taxi ways. The jumbo jet landed then turned around at the end of the strip and backtracked down the runway/takeoff to the small terminal.

We disembarked at 5:00 pm into the 104ºF temperature. This is their winter, the cool time of year! After enduring thru customs etc. and gathering all of our bags, we could see Teri, standing outside the building in a crowd of, well, black people; she wasn’t hard to spot.

She looked great! Had a big smile on her face and it was just great to see her, in all her glory. Hugs and kisses, then after Teri argued with the bagman who toted our 180 pounds of luggage to the van, over the $2.00 charge, she escorted us to the shuttle/van from the Grand Hotel, the nicest hotel in Niamey.

We made it! We were with Teri, in Niger, where the only languages spoken were French, Hausa, Zarma and about 3 other obscure African languages. We checked into our $175/night suite. I didn’t know then as to how pleased that I should have been with this room that I wouldn’t have paid $40 for in California, but later learned how privileged we were to have a toilet seat on our in-room toilet. Teri arranged for a man to come to our room for currency exchange. I gave him $2,000.00-US and he gave me $960,000.00-CFA. I divided this funny currency among us, as I didn’t feel comfortable carrying almost a million of anything in this land of streets, fraught with beggars, street vendors and dark alleys.

OK, we made it and after Teri surveyed the supply of food we brought, she’s ready to go out to dinner and it’s already after 9:00pm. We catch our first ride in a cab. It reminded me of the “Wild Toad Ride” in Disneyland. We go to a “Nice” restaurant. It reminded me of being in the bad part of Tijuana, but I should have known it was “Nice” because they had armed security at the entrance. We go upstairs to the roof of this building, decorated with strings of Christmas lights. Teri orders something for her and Zach.

Hearing they had bottled beer, I remembered that there were enough calories to sustain college students for 10 days on beer alone. Zach and Teri ate, I had 2 beers.

Now I have to pee. After minor discussion, I’m told they are remodeling the bathroom and it’s ok to go down to the street and pee. Oh well, when in Rome…..
I go downstairs, the guards are now talking to other men in uniform, with guns. I take about 10 steps in one direction, but there are many black people watching this white guy looking very uncomfortable. I walk back the other direction…. I go upstairs and tell Zach and Teri, “we’re going back to the Hotel, now!”

We slept under the comfort of an air conditioner that had obviously been added to upgrade this Motel 6 like room. The morning began with a trip to the “Petit Marche”, (the open Market which is the only market). If you have seen the movie, “Slumdog Millionaire” you will get the general atmosphere. The smell of a rendering plant comes to mind. In fact Zach and I discover they are killing and defeathering chickens behind the line of buildings in this hub of the city center.

By the mountains of chicken feathers, they have been doing this right here for years, if not centuries.

Let me make it clear now. We are getting along just fine. Teri really knows her way around and I am really impressed with her ability to communicate in Zarma. We had breakfast in a restaurant that has WIFI.

By the clientele, this is obviously an establishment only for the elite of Niamey. Security out front, a French bakery inside, this was a very nice place to be. In the street are cows, goats, donkeys, oxen and general mayhem from a western point of view. Traffic is chaotic, mixing animals with autos, motorcycles and people. Everything moves at a crawl unless you have an opening that is wide enough to get your cab, which no longer has side mirrors, through that opening just 4’11” wide, then the cabby floors it, before a motorcycle or another mad driver fills that space, just wide enough to fit his vehicle.

We walk through the market, again I am thinking, “Slumdog”. Women sitting with their baskets of spices, vegetables, rice, and other items I suppose are for eating. Vendors cutting up meat with machete like knives, blood splatters on passer-bys. Clothing, cheap shoes, billets of cloth sold by the yard and Tijuana like novelty shops selling junk products from China. There is everything a Nigerian needs to survive sold in the market. Zach and I won’t let Teri get more than 10’ away, because we’re essentially mute deaf without her ability to communicate in this foreign land. It’s all very interesting, the sites, the people, the smell.

Enough of our shopping. We visit the hostel, where Teri stays when she’s in Niamey. My description: if the movie “Casablanca” had a scene of a vacated crack house, this place could have been used as the set.

All I’m thinking is, “why don’t they have air conditioning”. It’s their cold season and it’s hard to breath in this room of stale hot air that is pushed around by the one slow moving fan that still works. I later discover that all is relative, because compared to living in the village, this place is more than adequate for these kids. It’s the closest thing to western living that they are going to get in Niger. Besides it has television with DVD player.
We visit the city’s zoo. I think those animals are saying to me, “just shoot me”. It’s pretty disgusting, but it’s probably not right that the animals have it any better than the general populace of the city.

-Continued next issue


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NPCA Activities

MorePC Advocacy Reaches new Heights

Back on March 3rd when RPCVs Joby Taylor and Marie Kenyon met with Marie’s Congressman William Lacy Clay (D-MO), we had a feeling that the MorePeaceCorps National Day of Action was going to produce results.

Six weeks later, your meetings, emails and phone calls have certainly paid off!  As of now, 177 lawmakers (140 Representatives and 37 Senators) have taken at least one positive action expressing support for robust Peace Corps funding. 

Two of our actions - Senate and House Dear Colleague Letters urging robust Peace Corps funding - are closed.  However, you can still contact your Congressman/woman and urge them to co-sponsor the Peace Corps Expansion Act of 2009.

While we await President Obama’s Peace Corps funding request (expected in May) MorePeaceCorps Campaign advocates made great progress in building support on Capitol Hill.  Ready to go the extra mile? 

Contact MorePeaceCorps Campaign Coordinator Rajeev Goyal (rajeev@morepeacecorps.org) and learn more about becoming a volunteer coordinator for your state/region.

Thanks to everyone who took action!

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PC Connect Reaching 10k of Profiles

The Peace Corps Connect Community is on the rise! With almost 10,000 members profiles and 277 groups, this network is thriving.

What else is new?  To start, the new country pages are now up and running. They help facilitate communication between RPCVs and learning about different countries.  Country-specific information, pictures and news, as well as discussions, groups and resources are all available by navigating the interactive map to find your country of interest.  This is a great new way to find people and projects, share experiences and ask questions!

The content on Peace Corps Connect is also growing every day.  Stay informed through new groups and discussion boards, and keep up-to-date with events that are going on in your area.

Continue in the spirit of service! Look for resources and opportunities on our Service and Volunteerism page: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/service-and-volunteerism

Stay up-to-date with news of your country...click on the Flash Map and post your comments! http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/

Come be a part of it! 


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NPCA Board Elections

The NPCA Governance Committee announces the election  to fill vacancies on the NPCA Board of Directors when terms expire in late June 2009.

The following member-elected seats in these three regions are scheduled for election this year: Northeast U.S., Mid Atlantic / Nationwide, and Europe, North & East Africa.

To see the current Board of Directors, visit our website: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/about/our-people/board-of-directors.

Voting instructions will be mailed to eligible voters by the end of April. Voting will take place primarily online from April 27 to May 27. You can read candidate bios there.

Only current NPCA members living in the US geographic regions or serving in the country of service region are eligible to vote


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from Peace Corps:
May is Asian & Pacific American Heritge Month

Help celebrate the Third Goal by sharing their Peace Corps stories. Whether they are returned volunteers of Asian-American heritage or volunteers who served in the Asia/Pacific region*, there are many ways to promote the Third Goal this May and throughout the year.

Please contact us at thirdgoal@peacecorps.gov with any questions or to let us know what you have planned. We would be glad to post it on the Third Goal website if it is open to the public.

Be sure to recommend http://www.peacecorps.gov/thirdgoal as your members’ one-stop-shop for Third Goal activity ideas and resources.  Finally, don’t forget to register 2009 Third Goal activities and outcomes. The more registered RPCVs we have each year, the more reasons for the Peace Corps to obtain fuller funding by Congress.
--Vivian Nguyên (RPCV Niger 2003-05), PC-Program Specialist  202. 692. 1462 | 202. 692. 1421 fax; thirdgoal@peacecorps.gov

Asian & Pacific American Heritage Month celebrates Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. As a rather broad term, Asian & Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island). – Library of Congress

RESOURCES:
• Wkipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Pacific_American_Heritage_Month
• Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/topics/asianpacific/
• Asian Nation: http://www.asian-nation.org/heritage.shtml
• US Census: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/011602.html
• Smithsonian:
http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/heritage_month/apahm/index.html
• Scholastic Dream in Color Project: http://www.scholastic.com/dreamincolor/asianpacificheritage/
• Diversity Store: http://www.diversitystore.com/ds/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&
category_ID=10


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Much interest and activity relating to expansion of volunteer programs: national and international. MorePC (NPCA) and others pressing for election-promise-follow-through.  This issue contains two recent articles about PC, International Policy and  the recent approval of monies to expand only national volunteer programs.-Ed.

In the Press...
Tragedy of the Peace Corps

by Laurence Leamer, Author of “Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach”

For close to half a century the Peace Corps has suffered from a surfeit of easy admiration. President after president has praised the agency, vowed to expand its size or influence, and then left it largely alone, moving on to what were considered more crucial matters. Barack Obama is just the latest. During the presidential campaign, Obama promised to double the number of volunteers, but while planning to triple the number of domestic volunteers, the president has put forth a budget that at best will leave the Peace Corps at its current size.

The sad reality is that if Obama acts on his pledge, he will be presenting the Peace Corps bureaucracy with a problem it does not want and is probably incapable of handling. There are many talented, dedicated employees both in Washington and across the world, but there are too many barracks soldiers with neither the energy nor the ability to face the challenges of the world outside. At what should be the most promising moment for the organization in decades, the Peace Corps is at its most dangerous moment in its history.

The Peace Corps has too many easy political friends in Washington, satisfied with the organization the way it is, unwilling to spend their political time, energy and capital figuring out how to reinvigorate the agency for a new century. One of the problems is that there is a patronizing attitude toward the Peace Corps in the development community in Washington, and a willful dismissal of the important role the Peace Corps should play in a progressive foreign policy.

A case in point is The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President by The Center for Global Development, an important blueprint for the new administration. The book length document talks of building a foreign policy based on the three stools of diplomacy, defense and development. For all the talk of development, the Peace Corps is mentioned only once substantively almost as a historic relic as “part of the Cold War arsenal aimed both at stemming the spread of communism and at encouraging development in some of the world’s poorest countries.” The book talks nothing of a role for the Peace Corps as such but proposes a small global health corps.

The report notes: “The Americans’ sense of moral obligation to people far away has grown as the international movement of goods, information, and people has accelerated.” Nowhere, however, is there any acknowledgment of the role close to 200,000 Peace Corps volunteers have played in educating Americans about the rest of the world. Volunteers have gone on to plan seminal roles in everything from the Gates Foundation to the Foreign Service, and from heading innovative NGOs to developing businesses dealing with the developing world.

What is needed at the Peace Corps is a new director with the vision to create a revitalized organization for the 21st century. Of all the names bandied about, the best by far is Timothy Shriver, the CEO of Special Olympics International. Shriver has overseen a massive expansion of Special Olympics in precisely many of the countries where the Peace Corps serves. Sargent Shriver, Tim’s father, was the first Peace Corps director, but his son would be anything but a sentimental choice. Indeed, he would be precisely the opposite of a legacy candidate.

Shriver would not take the job unless it came with the mandate and power to rebuild the organization from the ground up.

Shriver has proposed a “Department of Development and Service” to integrate the volunteers with USAID, the UN and NGOs. It is a bold vision if the Peace Corps doesn’t end up the little guy carrying the coffee to the big meetings and driving the honchos around in a Land Rover. The genius of the Peace Corps is that it stands apart from the development establishment, and is the daring idea of sending individuals out to live among the people at their economic and social level. Each assignment is an experiment in which success or failure is largely based on the volunteer.

The Peace Corps has been an important part of the American presence in the world for close to half a century, but now is the time for an even more crucial role. The Obama administration must reach out to the developing world with a strong, open hand in which one of the strong fingers is the Peace Corps or the handshake will be less than firm.


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Article about passage of bill for substantial increase in service programs at home inside the United States, while Peace Corps’ budget and numbers have been cut.  Many are now concerned that we need to press for more action to increase Peace Corps, to follow through on election promises. -Ed.
from New York Times-March 19, 2009

In the Press...
House Passes Expansion of Programs for Service


By David M. Herszenhorn
WASHINGTON — The House voted Wednesday to approve the largest expansion of government-sponsored service programs since President John F. Kennedy first called for the creation of a national community service corps in 1963.

The legislation, which passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 321 to 105, would more than triple the number of service positions by expanding AmeriCorps and creating volunteer programs focused on education, health care, clean energy and veterans. The total number of positions would grow to 250,000 from 75,000 now in AmeriCorps.

The Senate is expected to adopt a nearly identical bill early next week.
The action by the House came three weeks and a day after President Obama in his first speech to a joint session of Congress called for “a renewed spirit of national service for this and future generations,” and lawmakers said they were answering his challenge.

The broad expansion of AmeriCorps, at a cost of nearly $6 billion over the next five years, would establish Mr. Obama as the boldest proponent of service programs since Kennedy exhorted Americans to “ask what you can do for your country.”

Mr. Obama, in a statement, praised the House vote. “At this moment of economic crisis, when so many people are in need of help and so much needs to be done, this could not be more urgent,” he said, adding, “It is up to every one of us to do his or her small part to make the world a better place.”

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, said, “This has been a great day.”

Critics, however, expressed concern about the cost of the measure, and some said the money could be better spent, perhaps on raises for members of the military. A single Democrat joined 104 Republicans in opposing the bill; 251 Democrats and 70 Republicans voted for it.

In addition to expanding the number of positions, the bill would raise the education stipend for volunteers to $5,350 — the same amount as a Pell Grant.
The legislation is a top priority of the first lady, Michelle Obama, who has said public service will be a main focus of hers in the White House. She founded the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program, after leaving her law career.

Representative George Miller, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said Mrs. Obama had pulled him aside at a White House dinner to introduce herself and express her keen interest in the bill moving quickly.

At a lunch with Mr. Obama the next day, Mr. Miller recounted the conversation, aides said, prompting a jovial warning from the president. “Speaking from long-term experience,” he said, “it sounds to me like you better get that bill out of committee.”

Kennedy’s service program, which began after his death, was called Vista, Volunteers in Service to America. The House bill is the GIVE Act, for Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education. The Senate legislation has a simpler name: the Serve America Act.

Mr. Obama’s budget provides $1.2 billion for the expansion of programs in the next fiscal year.

The House bill seeks to encourage middle school and high school students to engage in volunteer activities, allowing them to earn a $500 education credit to be used for college costs. It also establishes “youth engagement zones,” a new service-learning program intended to establish partnerships between community organizations and schools in high-poverty neighborhoods.

The bill seeks to establish Sept. 11 as a national day of service though it would not be a formal holiday.

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland and a major proponent of the legislation, invoked the nation’s long history of service programs, saying, “This is not about programs; this is about value.”


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February Community Action & Social Hour:
Work at San Elijo Lagoon
followed by...
Swami's Cafe

Five members and friends of SDPCA participated in the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy’s monthly work party to assist in the conservation of the ecological reserve. An astonishing three tons of invasive ice plant were removed during the project, along with some 2,000 linear feet of old fence.  Ice plant is a non-native species that invades natural areas like the San Elijo Lagoon, where it out-competes native species. Like other non-natives, it has low value to our local wildlife, and as a result all animals and plants and the entire natural community suffer.  Thank you so much to all who participated in this truly herculean effort!

After the work event, we joined Conservancy staff for a free guided nature walk, marveling at a flock of White Pelicans in the West Basin.  We then headed up the coast a few miles to Swami’s Café to enjoy their healthy and delicious food.  A fun time was had by all!


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(above) Sharon, Lennox Miller, Lisa and Marjory, chopping up fruit for the salad.
(Photos from Jen Arrowsmith)

March Community Action & Social Hour:
Ronald McDonald House Dinner
followed by...
94th Aero Squadron

Ten SDPCA members got together in March to cook, prepare, and serve dinner for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego.  Ronald McDonald House provides temporary lodging for families with children undergoing treatment at nearby hospitals. Not having to prepare their own meal after a day at the hospital gives families one less worry during this difficult time in their lives. Additionally, they have a chance to connect and spend time with other families in similar situations.

(above) Willy Clayborn preparing sloppy joe fillings!

We made enough Sloppy Joes (both meat and vegetarian versions), salad, and dessert to feed over 50 people!  We demonstrated “that many hands make little work.”

Afterwards, we celebrated our hard work at the March Social Hour, which was held nearby at 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant.  Several other SDPCA members joined us there who were unavailable to attend the volunteer project.


(above) SDPCA members relax over appetizers and beers while watching planes take off at 94th Aero Squadron.


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A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.  --David Brinkley

from the President
May Brings new Board

It’s always good to have a second chance to write new goals and work on creating exciting new opportunities. Well, that’s what we do this time of year here in our association; a new board of directors will be installed in May. Those of us leaving the helm will look forward to working under new leadership. I personally have been honored to be President this year, and to know so many of you as friends.

On May 16th at our Annual Meeting & Potluck we will again choose 9 people to run this great organization for the next year. The SDPCA started 21 years ago, in March 1988. Our purpose is to provide a support structure for RPCV?s in San Diego to engage in social, educational and community service activities; to provide funding for PCV projects overseas; and to influence the direction of Peace Corps through advocacy. (You can find this statement in the About SDPCA section of this website.)

Looking back over this last year, the current board has strived to offer a variety of activities for our members to attend; we have supported many worthwhile PCV projects; and done our share of political advocacy. And each year the new Board of Directors has the opportunity to design and create new and exciting ways for this membership to be involved in the San Diego community, especially helping those less fortunate than ourselves, while having fun together.

There is room for you on a committee or the board this year -- whichever you prefer!  There is a need for dynamic ideas and vision. Please come to our Annual Meeting, raise your hand, volunteer to work on a comimittee or for a directors? position. Keep that passion for service alive and well; help the SDPCA continue its legacy.


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May 15th Annual Meeting:
Recruiting for Committees and Board Positions...

President–Preside over monthly board meetings. Guide decisions if conflicts arise.

Vice President–Attend monthly board meetings. Fill in for president if unavailable.

Secretary–Take notes at the monthly board meetings. Serving as Secretary is an excellent introduction to the Board and SDPCA. This is a good position for someone who wants to learn more about the organization and be more involved, but may not be sure where to start.

Treasurer & Chief Finance Officer (CFO)–Attend all monthly board meetings and handle all financial transactions of the Association.

Communications Chair–Chair attends all monthly board meetings. Oversee all association public communications— Newsletter, Website and E-vites. Coordinate communications to create policy for the association’s communications and public relations.

Speakers Bureau Chair & Committee– Chair attends all monthly board meetings, oversees a speakers committee. Coordinate with Peace Corps to fulfill requests for speakers in the community. This position seeks an exciting community outreach specialist. The Chair of the Speakers Bureau is contacted by public groups to arrange RPCV speakers. It’s a great way to network in San Diego and connect RPCVs to fun speaking engagements. You also participate in the basic operations of the SDPCA through board meetings and have voting power. It’s a great resume booster, not too much work, and fun!

Global Awards Chair & Committee–Chair attends all monthly Board meetings. Oversee a committee responsible for reviewing, evaluating and awarding the Mark J. Tonner award to PCVs in the field.

Fundraising Chair & Committee–Attend all monthly board meetings. Oversee a committee responsible for generating fundraising activities – historically these have been selling Entertainment books and the Wisconsin calendars.

Community Action Chair & Committee–Chair attends all monthly board meetings. Oversee a committeethat determines the dates and venues for our group to reach out to the greater San Diego Community by offering volunteer services in a variety of settings.

Newsletter Editor, Layout & Distribution Persons–Coordinate the content for the newsletter, published six times a year. Solicit articles, draft event write-ups and proof read once layout is complete. Having a computer and Internet access is important to doing this task easily. Currently the layout is done using Adobe InDesign on a Macintosh. Layout proofed in Acrobat .pdf files, so access to PC or Mac is essential.

Members  Chair & Committee– Oversee a committee that reaches out to recently returned RPCVs as well as the general SDPCA membership on a neighborhood level.


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Featured PCV:  PC Full Circle!
Preston Tulay

 Preston was born in Liberia and had a Peace Corps teacher in elementary school. He came to the US for college, became a US citizen, and decided to complete the cycle of volunteerism by returning to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer himself!
-from PC Connect, http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/

Peace Corps Community News
Access information about events inour country of service on NPCA’s PCConnect at:
http://peacecorpsconnect.typepad.com/communitynews/

Choose your country form the list at right side and see what happening!

Figures about the Size of Peace Corps...
In 2009, Peace Corps will send 500 fewer volunteers than in 2008. This represents a 15% reduction in the number of volunteers at a time when the President has pledged to double Peace Corps.

In 2008, we sent under 4,000 volunteers into Peace Corps, half the number in 1966. In 2009, we will send under 3,500.

There are between 20 and 25 countries today requesting Peace Corps volunteers including Indonesia but Peace Corps lacks the resources to respond.

Over 13,000 people applied for under 4,000 spots in Peace Corps in 2008 alone. This was a 16% increase over 2007. The number of applicants of color and applicants over the age of 50 also rose substantially in 2008.

Applicants are reporting one-year deferrals when applying to Peace Corps due to the budget shortfall.

President Kennedy’s early vision for the Peace Corps was to send 100,000 volunteers per year.

President Obama has pledged to double the size of Peace Corps by 2011 on Whitehouse.gov.

For more information about the MorePC efforts and bills under consideration such as House 1066, check out:
http://www.morepeacecorps.org/hr1066/facts

HELP! Looking for a place to live....
I am currently a PCV but will be completing my service in August and will be enrolled in a program at UCSD from mid-September to mid-December.

I am not from the area and am in search of an affordable living situation for this short period. I was wondering if there is any part of your newsletter to advertise this. Any leads would be appreciated.

Thanks. kwazlaw@yahoo.com
--Kristen Wazlaw

Reading Needed for Global TeachNet Newsletter
May is here, and the next issue of the Global TeachNet quarterly newsletter will be for June, July & August. If you have any lessons, articles, or resources you’d like to share, please let us know! If you’re not familiar with the Global TeachNet newsletter, please visit our website (http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/global-teachnet) for more information and to see past issues.

This summer issue is also when we feature suggestions for good summer reading. If you have suggestions, please include the title, author, and a paragraph or two about the book; longer reviews are also most welcome.

Send all contributions to the Global TeachNet newsletter editor, Susan Neyer, at susanneyer@astound.net. Global TeachNet is the global education program of the National Peace Corps Association.
–GlobalEdNews, April 29


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Welcome New Members!

SDPCA extends a warm welcome to our newest members, as of April 20, 2009. 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! We’re glad we were able to support your work in service: welcome back!

• Antonia “Toni” Jensen, Turkmenistan, 2006-2008
• Ali West, Namibia, 2006-2008


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Recruiter's Corner: May/June 2009

Hello. I hope you’ve had an enjoyable spring and are preparing for another great summer.

These past few months have been pretty hectic in the regional recruitment office. Along with the customary batch of graduating seniors consider Peace Corps service this time of year, an increasing number of people are looking into volunteering in response to President Obama’s national call to service. While it is exciting to have a great crop of talent for our overseas posts, for many applicants it means a longer wait than usual.

Recently I enjoyed attending a few of the monthly socials, and heard very positive comments from the applicants that attended. Thanks for keeping them inspired! And speaking of inspiration, the volunteer force that manned the SDPCA booth at Earth Fair endured a hot afternoon and turtle groupies while representing the Peace Corps with enthusiasm. Great job!

I look forward to your annual party, and I hope to have a number of nominees & invitees in tow. As a number of them may be departing this summer, it will be a good way for them to get some last minute advice before their adventures begin.
Saludos, I wish you well, and a peaceful summer!

Cheers,
–Jacob Hall, Regional Recruiter – Peace Corps, jhall@peacecorps.gov


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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:

Editor
Liz Brown

Web Layout / Production
Don Beck, Marjory Clyne

Contributors this issue are:
Jill Dumbauld, Jennifer Arrowsmith, Tracy Addi,s Jacob Hall, Teri Wilson, PCV, Marjory Clyne, Vivian Nguyen, Don Beck, Brenda Terry-Hahn, David Herszenhorn, Ron Ranson, Rudy Sovinee

 

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