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San Diego Peace Corps Association Newsletter
July - August 2009 — Volume 22, Number 4


One of the current Peace Corps ads...

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Peace Days

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

One Day In Peace
Freedom Day
Women'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
--Mary 21
--June 22
–July 4

-October 16
–November 16
--December 5
–December 10

"Founded on the principles of private initiative, entrepreneurship and self-employment, underpinned by the values of democracy, equality and solidarity, the co-operative movement can help pave the way to a more just and inclusive economic order"
-- Kofi Annan

"Co-operative enterprises provide the organisational means whereby a significant proportion of humanity is able to take into its own hands the tasks of creating productive employment, overcoming poverty and achieving social integration."
-- Boutros Boutros-Ghali

I know that nuclear is better than fossil fuels when it comes to carbon dioxide, but nuclear energy is by no means clean. We don't know what to do with the waste we already have and it seems like a bad idea to me to make more when we have so many cleaner options such as wind and solar.
-- Sheryl Crow

We must not only control the weapons that can kill us, we must bridge the great disparities of wealth and opportunity among the peoples of the world, the vast majority of whom live in poverty without hope, opportunity or choices in life. These conditions are a breeding ground for division that can cause a desperate people to resort to nuclear weapons as a last resort. Our only hope lies in the power of our love, generosity, tolerance and understanding and our commitment to making the world a better place for all...
-- Muhammad Ali

"Nuclear weapons are the scourge of the earth; to mine for them, manufacture them, deploy them, use them, is a curse against God, the human family, and the earth itself."
-- Philip Berrigan

July 4 - Coop Day

August 6 - No Nukes Day

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


July 4 (First Saturday of July) -- Coop Day:
For most people "Coop" brings to mind a local health food store which is owned and run by its members. This is only one example of a cooperative. Cooperatives - community or employee owned businesses or groups - can be formed for businesses of any kind, including cooperative banks (called credit unions), insurance and health care companies, day care, agricultural distribution and housing co-ops. Cooperatives are much more popular than most people realize -- almost a third of American farmers' products are marketed through cooperatives, half of the electricity in rural areas comes from rural electric cooperatives and more than 70 million Americans use credit unions!

As mistrust of corporations grows in America, the cooperative core values of honesty, openness, democracy, social responsibility, and putting people before profits, is attracting more to consider the CoOp model. More than half a million American workers have chosen to take control of their lives and economic choices by being part of employee-owned businesses. Welch's, Sunkist, ACE Hardware and the Associated Press are just some of the many employee-owned companies.

The cooperative movement is growing throughout the world. The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) was formed in 1895 - today it has more than 200 participating organizations with over 800 million members in nearly 100 countries! In 1994, the ICA and International Labor Organization (ILO) launched a global co-operative campaign against poverty, Co-operating Out Of Poverty, urging the worldwide cooperative movement to work together to fight poverty by helping the poor to form cooperatives.

CoOp Day has been celebrated on the first Saturday in July since 1927 to help promote the cooperative movement and the concept of cooperatives as an important community-building and economic model. Since 1930, October has been observed in America as National Co-Op Month to further promote the importance of cooperatives.


August 6 -- No Nukes Day:
On August 6, 1945 the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, and three days later another one on Nagasaki. More than 100,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed instantly and for years afterwards, from horrible burns and radiation sickness.

Fortunately, nuclear weapons have not been used again on civilians, but they continue to remain a constant threat. Thousands of nuclear weapons remain on alert, ready to be fired at a moment's notice. These bombs could go off at any time by accident or at the hands of terrorists.

Recognizing that there are enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet, most nations signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), agreeing to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to work towards eliminating them. The NPT went into effect in 1970, but the number of nations with nukes has nearly doubled and there is still no timetable to eliminate nuclear weapons. A people's movement has grown to convince governments to rid the world of the nuclear threat. 5 regions, covering most of the Southern hemisphere and more than 250 municipalities around the world have declared themselves as Nuclear Free Zones.

Many are also concerned about the growing use of nuclear energy around the world. After over 30 years of building nuclear power plants, there is still no safe way of disposing the contaminated nuclear materials that are produced. These contaminated wastes endanger our environment and the lives of countless generations to come.

No Nukes Day, often called Hiroshima Day, is an opportunity to raise awareness about the threat of nuclear weapons and the dangers of nuclear energy. It's the perfect time to urge your Mayor to declare your city a Nuclear Free Zone.

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Bead for Life Presentation

Thank you to all who made the SDPCA May Annual Celebration such a great success! Specifically, I would like to thank everyone who supported the bead sale we had on behalf of Bead For Life. We raised $569 to help women in Uganda. Currently, Bead For Life has over 390 women involved in making bead jewelry. The average family size in Uganda is about 10 people, so Bead for Life impacts over 3900 people by providing a way for these women to earn a living. The women work from their homes so they can still be with their families. They roll unique beads out of recycled magazines that they find at the local market. The beads come in every color you can think of and are a perfect gift for anyone. By purchasing these vibrant beads you also know that you are supporting a worthy organization and cause.

If you didn’t get a chance to make it to the Annual Meeting or decide you would like to purchase more beads, please visit the Bead For Life website at http://www.beadforlife.org.  Don’t forget that you can also host your own Bead Party; they make it very easy and the website walks you through every step from start to finish.

–from Lisa Eckl, East Timor 2005-2006

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Rock'n'Roll Marathon 2009: Volunteering a Huge Success

On May 31, volunteers from SDPCA joined up with USC alumni, UCSD and SDSU students, and a high school volunteer club to distribute water and sport drink to thirsty marathon runners.  Dedicated volunteers woke up extra early for the event – arriving at 5:30 in the morning just to help!

After working diligently to set up and decorate the water station at mile 19.8 of the race course, volunteers provided much-needed refreshment and encouragement to tired runners.  The water station was located in a beautiful spot on Ingraham Street near Sea World, and our volunteers were fun and enthusiastic.  Water station volunteering is fun and tough work, like Peace Corps service!  Thank you to all of our volunteers, and see you next year!

To volunteer with us at Rock’n’Roll next year, please contact community05@sdpca.org.

May Social Hour:
Classy Time at Wine Steals

On May 5, we joined up for another fun Social Hour at Wine Steals in Point Loma.  Located in Liberty Station, the wine bar and restaurant offered a comfortable and classy location for our monthly get-together.  SDPCA members and friends sampled local wines, sangrias and tried Wine Steals’ flatbread pizza.  Several friends showed up from SDSU to contribute to the conversation.   

Be checking your email for the next Social Hour Evite invitation!
–from Jill Dumbauld, Ecuador 2004-2006

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Tonner International
Support Fund Grant Awards

from Kristen Slanina, Cameroon 1995-1998

On behalf of SDPCA, I would like to congratulate Neal Larkin, Robert Alvarez, Erin Clark, and Bryce Norton on receiving funding for their wonderful projects. These four projects stood out among all the applicants for their need, community involvement, sustainability, and impact on the community. Make sure to check the SDPCA newsletter for exciting updates on these projects!

Trash Cans for San Lorenzo, $528
PCV Neal Larkin, El Salvador
Neal’s project focuses on Environmental Education and Community Responsibility. Trash cans will be built and installed using labor from city hall employees and community members. Community members will also launch an educational trash campaign. With these trash cans: 1) sicknesses transmitted by mosquitoes and flies will likely be reduced; 2) tourists that visit will see cleaner streets and be more likely to return; and 3) the damaged river ecology will be improved.

Malosa Community-Based Oil Making Income Generating Project, $392
PCV Erin Clark, Malawi
With a local community-based organization, we’ve chosen a small income generating activity (IGA) to address the high prevalence of poverty, malnutrition, and disease in the southern region of Malawi. With funding from SDPCA, we are starting an oil producing IGA in Malosa using locally available ground nuts. Oil, high in fat and calories, will be sold to villagers at a price they can afford. The protein-packed by-product (ground nut flour) will be donated to local nurseries as a food additive for children. The profits will go back into the community in the form of micro loans for villagers interested in starting their own IGA.

Vocational Training for Woman and Youth, $499
PCV Robert Alvarez, El Salvador
SDPCA funding will support a vocational training project being developed in conjunction with ADESCO (Association for Community Development of Santa Paula). The vocational training course will be a four-month course taught by a certified instructor in the field of Sewing and Tailoring Theory, as well as some basic lessons in small business development and money management (provided by the PCV). The goal of the project is to provide women and youth alike, with the skills and knowledge to be able to earn an independent income.

Honey from Celaque Beekeeping Network, $556
PCV Bryce Norton, Honduras
Mieles del Celaque (Honey from Celaque) is a group of 20 honey producers across six towns in the department of Lempira. The honey from this region has a distinct taste due to the coffee flower nectar used by the bees. SDPCA funding has allowed the group to purchase four barrel centrifuges. These honey extractors will allow the beekeepers to harvest their own honey, and will serve them for years. The members hope to combine their harvest to sell their honey in barrels to a nearby beekeeping cooperative. With luck and the hard work of these men and women, the practice of beekeeping will spread in this region, thereby freeing families previously dependent on coffee for income.

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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 tcwilsoncal@gmail.com

Trip of a Lifetime:
To Niger

from Teri Wilson, PCV Niger, and her dad.

Continued from last issue...
We buy and drink water from cheap, sealed plastic baggies. Zach thinks this is a great idea: thin baggie-like containers with about a pint of water heat sealed in a bag that you bite the corner off to drink. Cheap, really cheap container for water. For those people who pay for bottled water, these could be sold for a fraction of the cost, since the typical plastic water bottle cost is far more than the contents.

The only problem, here in Niger, there are no refuse containers so plastic bag litter is everywhere: throughout the city, in the desert, along the roads and in the villages.

We visit the Peace Corps headquarters and like the American Embassy, it is considered American land, so is protected by guards. It’s very adequate, computers, and air conditioning. This part I had imagined correctly. I could have lived within those walls. Nothing too comfortable, but things were western adequate.

Two days we spent in Niamey. I felt relief when our hired car arrived; it was a Toyota 4x4, complete with a driver, Ull, who looked like he could be a heavyweight boxing contender. No more riding in taxi cabs that were hardly the size of a golf cart with broken windshields, front ends that shimmied and tires that needed topping off with air as we barreled through the city traffic. Teri would no longer have to argue to save us 20 cents in taxis that were difficult to squeeze in and out of. This was all very interesting and enlightening. Teri was very happy to have Zach and me get a look at “her world”. I very much enjoyed being with Teri, traveling with Zachary, but all along thinking and praying that we all are able to gain by and share this experience, not die or be maimed in some horrible auto accident.

We leave the city and are heading for Parc-W, the wild animal park. We travel the paved, 2 lane highway, littered with plastic trash that is all over this desert land. The road has some small villages along the highway. Small villages every few miles made up of mud huts with thatched roofs. Stick fences and storage sheds that have to be rebuilt every year. Without the benefit of signs, it’s hard to find which dirt road is to take us to a village, just a couple of miles off the highway. With a couple of cell phone calls, we do find the other Peace Corp member, Liz, and her father, who we are to travel with to Parc-W. Sheldon, the father, arrived a day before Zach and me and had been staying in his daughter’s little village 20 miles south of the capitol. He thought village life was nice in it’s simplicity. I’m thinking good…I could stand some peace. Little did I know it would come without the benefit of fans, anything remotely cold to drink and it came with rats.

Aside from hitting a goat, while traveling at 85 MPH and another Wild Toad Ride down the 60 miles of dirt road at 55 mph, that would have been posted at 15 mph in the states, getting to Parc-W was just another experience of travel in a 3rd world country. For Teri and Liz who traded off riding in the back of the 4x4, with the luggage, they thought it was better than riding on a bush taxi with goats, chickens and babies who peed on them. Zach and I were taken in by the people walking, herding goats, riding oxen carts, donkeys and camels, all of which shared the roads with speeding vehicles.

Parc-W was one of those places you need to go to only once. Kind of like seeing the Salton Sea in California. It’s a long way to travel and probably not worth seeing twice. We did see   elephants, water buffalo, various species of antelope, crocodiles, baboons, monkeys and even a wart-hog. I was intrigued by termite mounds and the bird species, but then again I am easily amused and impressed.  After two days in Parc-W, where our accommodations and meals were acceptable (even with the absence of a toilet seat), we had a more relaxed return to Niamey, the capital.  In route to Teri’s village, Fabidji, we stopped by a reserve that had giraffes. It was great to see two different species and we were able to get within 25 yards of the animals. They had little or no fear of humans. We saw some more termite mounds that stood more than 7 feet tall. The mounds were common place in the desert. I was impressed by these mounds of red dirt! No one else shared my enthusiasm but I made certain we got some pictures of these unique structures created by thousands of little termites.

We finally arrive at Fabidji, 12 miles off the main highway, down a very rough dirt road. (Our vehicle’s front bumper finally falls off. It took the brunt of the 85 mph hit from the goat.) It’s about 6:00 pm, way past happy hour, but first we have to go for a walk to greet Teri’s neighbors. (Everyone in this village is Muslim and they don’t understand the happy hour.) That’s ok, it’s hot, peaceful. It’s very hot and very dirty and without anything to wash down my dry and dusty throat. It was a dry heat, but still very hot.

The people are very nice and greet us with respect and great enthusiasm. We go back to Teri’s house to organize and retire for the evening. This was the only time I didn’t agree with my daughter’s arrangements. She thought Zach and I could just bleach the well water and drink it!?? Then I found out she brought only 2 liters of bottled water for Zach and I. (Teri drinks well water without treatment. Of course, she’s been treated twice for food/water bacteria and amoeba infections.) Begrudgingly she agrees to boil the well water. Now all we have to quench our thirst is hot water! Fortunately, I brought a good single malt scotch that is drinkable straight, even when hot.

I liked the pictures of her house, but the reality of it is now apparent. It’s four concrete walls with a metal roof. No fans, no running water, no bathroom (only a hole in the ground, outside, at the back of her house), no shower, no creature comforts that we take for granted in western homes. There was electricity from a generator, but it only ran from sundown until midnight and there is only one 12 inch florescent light and one electrical outlet in Teri’s home. I should correct that to Nadia’s home, because in Fabidji, Teri is known by the name of Nadia.
The first evening, as I lay on Teri’s cot, under the mosquito net in the 90+ degree heat I’m not certain that I can live here for the next 3 days. It wasn’t the heat, the smells, the lack of running water or a refrigerator, the malaria phobia or the overgrown rat running around on the same floor where Teri and Zach were sleeping, or the lack of a bathroom or morning coffee, it was all these things combined!! I’m not 25, my bones are brittle and I’m used to sleeping on nice, soft beds.

This is more than just 3 days of camping out! It’s really uncomfortable!!

The next day, I was feeling much better. We developed a routine of a morning walk, then a mid afternoon rest during the heat of the day. We then took an early evening walk around the village, once again meeting, smiling and taking pictures of these colorful people. I was really quite pleased to learn that most everyone knows and likes Nadia (Teri). I get to see how the people really live. No one has told them they are living below 19th century US standards. They have their good and bad days, people get sick and sometimes they die. They are quite happy when they get a small bag of pistachios from Teri and although they know there is a world outside of Fabidji, they think it is a flat world. Seeing the way they live completely redefines poverty. If Hillary visits, I’m quite certain she would let them know how miserable they are and she would promise to educate their children to at least a PhD level and include them in her US sponsored health plan, if they would just acknowledge that she would be their queen too.

The village smells of smoke from open fire cooking, goat, donkey and oxen dung, though it is not as putrid as the smells in the city, I still don’t think Zach and Teri should be wearing their sandals as we walk through the dung in the dirt streets. We visit the local bakery, blacksmith and clothes maker. I can’t describe the businesses, but they are as I imagine they existed in the 19th or maybe 20th century in a hot dirty environ–do you get the general picture?  We visited the school huts where the teachers are frustrated, (much like they are in the US), but here they have reason. They teach in stick huts, they have chalk boards propped on easels and get about 5 books allocated for a class of 30 pupils each year. Annual expenses are low, there are no “administrators”, no school sports to support, no electricity bill, but the stick huts have to be rebuilt each year because they blow or wash away when the monsoon rains come. They don’t have bathrooms so there is not even a janitorial staff. Even the mayor’s office is lacking a single computer, so there is no thought of adding such a curriculum. They teach language, reading, writing, arithmetic, history and are trying to get the kids to understand that the world is round, not flat as their parents believe.

I really enjoyed being and talking with Teri and Zach. Such an adventure and opportunity to get a glimpse of this life that Teri is living. To meet Teri’s friends, Ramatu, Seyni and their beautiful daughter Mariama as well as the chief, the secretary general, the mayor and all of the other people of her village was an experience I’ll always cherish.  Teri had purchased a goat that was slaughtered and cooked in her yard on a Wednesday morning. Zach has a video of the entire process for those interested. I have a memory of the cooked goat hanging from the rafters of Teri’s house Wednesday evening.

This was to try and keep the rats off of it, because the party for which it was purchased was not until Thursday evening.(There is no refrigerator.) When we were in Niamey, Teri had purchased cooking oil, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and pasta to go into the goat stew that was to feed 40+ people. The people came, they cooked the stew over the open fire in Teri’s front yard, they ate and had a grand time. They really liked seeing their pictures on my little digital camera. The women wore their bright, colorful clothing and gossiped as they sat on the mats Teri had put on the dirt in her yard. (Probably gossiping about Teri not knowing how to cook the stew.) The men came and made respectful greetings, but departed as there was not a separate area for men and they weren’t going to mingle with the women. The children ran about and played with the occasional scolding by a mother for being too spirited. They were just like mothers and children everywhere. Everyone enjoyed the socializing and the food.

This was a great party. I would have loved to tried the stew, but I was fearful of Zulu’s revenge or worse. Teri would have eaten it, but Zach and I gave away her portion to some kids who came late and didn’t get any to eat. When you see Zach, you need to ask him about the boy who lost his shoes.

Friday came and in the afternoon the PC van picked us up to take us down the 12 miles of dirt/rock road to the paved highway. (No more hired car that was just for us, but I was happy not to be traveling on a “bush taxi”.) Once to the paved highway, we eventually caught a full bus back to the capital, Niamey. (Eventually means 2+ hours, which is a standard wait for traveling in Niger. Full means every seat, including folding chairs in the aisles was taken).

Back to the Grand Hotel…a real toilet and shower. In the morning we rented an entire oversized canoe-like boat and take a two hour ride upstream in quest of hippopotami. This was splendid! A quiet peaceful ride in the cool of the morning and the chance to see life on and near the Niger river. Didn’t get to see a hippo, but the river ride and sites were wonderful; not necessarily beautiful, but wondrous to see.  It’s about time I wrap this story up. On our last day, we had some of the best Japanese food I’ve ever had, it included 2 Heineken. Zach and I packed our single bag, including the two shirts I had tailored, and we still had room to fit Teri in, if she wanted to escape. Teri seems very happy in Niger. She was pleased we had come to see her and her village; she was now ready to get back to her routine and kissed us farewell.

We made it through customs/security and all without a problem. In fact it was just like traveling 30 years ago, the only delays were caused by vendors in the loading area. We were able to keep our open water bottles, we could have had almost anything on us and we were flying into Paris. Flights were full, uncomfortable and long; Zach slept. I came back with a cold, but thanks to taking malarone with a healthy shot of scotch I didn’t appear to have malaria or any long lasting disease.  If you don’t understand my warped sense of humor, you may have gotten the wrong idea. Niger is probably the next hot vacation spot! Book you reservations early!! It was a great and very memorable trip. Being with my children, even in Niger, brought me great delight. It was an experience much greater than I would have possibly gotten in 72 holes of playing the golf courses of Hawaii.

Teri has gotten a fan, extension cord and outside shade area since they came, if that makes it more temping to visit! 

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NPCA Activities
From June 10, 2009  NPCA Advocacy News

House Legislation Passes -
Includes $450 Million for Peace Corps

On Thursday, June 11th, the House of Representatives voted 235 - 187 to approve H.R. 2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011. For more information, got to:
The legislation includes $450 Million for Peace Corps for FY 2010.

This is fantastic news and a result of all your good work.  However, this level of funding is still far from assured, as the funds still have to be appropriated. 

Earlier in the week, House appropriations leaders provided a $51 Billion allocation for the Fiscal Year 2010 International Affairs Budget.  That represents a less than two percent increase over current funding, and is three billion dollars below President Obama’s request.

Because that allocation is a ceiling, members of the Appropriations Subcommittee for State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs will face some tough decisions. 

PLEASE TAKE ACTION:  If your Congressman/woman is a member of this subcommittee, or if you know someone who is represented by them, please continue to call and email, urging them to support a $450 Million Peace Corps appropriation for Fiscal Year 2010.

Note:  All subcommittee Democrats, along with Congressman Mark Steven Kirk (R-IL) voted in favor of H.R. 2410.  For these lawmakers, thank them for supporting H.R. 2410 and remind them to follow through by appropriating the $450 Million for PC that was included in the legislation.

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Hawaii RPCVs Pass MorePeaceCorps Resolution
There are many great ways in which RPCV groups around the nation are taking action to advance the MorePeaceCorps campaign. 

The latest comes from Hawaii, where state RPCVs worked with fellow RPCV and State Representative Gene Ward (Malaysia 65-67; East Timor Country Director ‘91) to pass House and Senate Resolutions endorsing the Peace Corps Expansion Act     http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.1066:  legislation before Congress.

“Bottom line, it is easy and RPCVs should have this done in each state”, says Kimberly Biggs (Honduras 86-88), President of RPCVHI.  “We need to get behind efforts to double the size of the Peace Corps.”  The group has prepared some great guidelines outlining how they got the resolution passed.  Contact us at jonathan@peacecorpsconnect.org to get a guidelines copy.

 Introduced in mid-March, the resolution was adopted by the Hawaii House on April 16th and the Hawaii Senate on April 29th.  Congratulations to Kim, Gene and all the Hawaii RPCVs!  Special recognition to RPCVHI Vice President Frank Lavoie (Armenia 1996-97) who took the lead on drafting the resolutions.

One state resolution down!  49 to go?  Who’s next?

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ONE Campaign Seeks Support for Water
for the World Act

Many organizations are at work to advance Senate Bill 624, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:s624: 
the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009. The ONE Campaign has taken up the call for action on this legislation. Go here to read more, then join nearly 50,000 others who have signed the ONE petition: http://www.one.org/us/waterfortheworld/


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(above) Accepting the Global Awareness Award on behalf of
the Surviors of Torture was Charlene Pena, who works as their
Senior Administrative Assistant. [Photo: Ron Ranson]

May Meeting:
6th Annual
Global Awareness Award

Each year, the SDPCA honors one nonprofit organization at our Annual Meeting which carries out work consistent with SDPCA’s goals.  Nominations for our Global Awareness Award are open to any non-profit organization that supports one or both of the goals in our mission statement:

  • Bringing the world back home.
  • Building a network of RPCVs in the San Diego area.

Over the past five years the SDPCA has awarded our Global Awareness Award in recognition to the efforts of:

  • 2008: Irwin Herman: The Bookman
  • 2007: One World, Our World
  • 2006: Carol Jahnkow-International Rescue Committee SD
  • 2005: San Diego Peace Resource Center
  • 2004: Victor Villaseñor: International Snow Goose Thanksgiving

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the 2009 Global Awareness Award is Survivors of Torture, International.  Accepting the award on behalf of the organization was Charlene Pena, who works as their Senior Administrative Assistant.  Ironically, Charlene is a returned Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan, where she taught English from 2005-2007.  Survivors of Torture, International’s Assistant Director Stephen W. McCallion is also an RPCV, who served two years in Korea.

Survivors of Torture, International is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to caring for survivors of politically motivated torture and their families who live in San Diego County.  Survivors of Torture, International has helped people recover from trauma through a holistic program including medical, dental, psychiatric, psychological, legal and social services.  All services are provided at no cost to the survivors.

Since it began in 1997, Survivors of Torture, International has helped survivors of torture from more than 55 countries, regions, and territories.  Many of their clients were leaders and professionals in their home countries.  Survivors of Torture, International serves people of all ages, but the majority of their clients are 20 to 40 years old.  An estimated 11,000 survivors of torture live in San Diego County; nationally, this number is estimated to be between 400,000 and 500,000 people.  Torture survivors may be left with lifelong physical and mental health problems if not treated by trained professionals.

Almost all of Survivors of Torture, International’s clients are refugees, asylees or asylum seekers.  The victims are not only those who have been directly subjected to physical torture, but also those who have witnessed torture, discovered torture bodies, been forced to engage in torture, or who have lived in an environment where torture is an unrelenting danger. 

There are many wonderful and amazing successes achieved by Survivors of Torture, International.  Results include: an increased participation in education, employment and community activities; a reduction in homelessness; and the creation or strengthening of supportive relationships with the community. 

To learn more about this amazing organization and how you can get involved with Survivors of Torture, International, please visit their website:  http://www.notorture.org

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In the Press...
An Unforgettable Commencement Address

by Paul Hawken to the Class of 2009,
University of Portland, May 3, 2009

When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” Boy, no pressure there.

 “...the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades”

But let’s begin with the startling part. Hey, Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation… but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades...

[To read the rest, go to the url below.  It gets even better-- Check out the backs of their diplomas! -ed.]

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In the Press...
Peace Corps Transition Team Gives Obama a Roadmap for the Future

John Coyne writes: President Obama has in his hands the Peace Corps Transition Team document “Peace Corps Roadmap” telling the president what should be done to increase and improve the agency. The twenty-page transition document was written by his own team, sent to the Peace Corps after the election and before the president was sworn in.  [Ed: Below are excerpts from the document which contains far greater detail. Read the full document at: http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/2629/3215185.html]

Key Issues/The Challenge
President-elect Obama singled-out the Peace Corps in his presidential campaign to play an important role in his pledge to restore American standing and leadership in the world.…The principal areas for reform that Peace Corps must address include:

  • Improve volunteer recruitment, processing and placement
  • Revitalize Volunteer recruitment procedures
  • Improve programming and training
  • Urgently modernize processes and procedures
  • Reverse insularity from the development assistance community
  • Change overly centralized management structure and practices
  • Address severe budgetary constraints
  • Improve Peace Corps country director selection procedures and better support to country programs and Volunteers
  • Expand the focus and rewards by putting greater emphasis on the civic roles of returned Volunteers
    Strategic Questions and Options for the First 90 days
  • How to launch a revitalized mission for the Peace Corps combined with program growth?
  • What will it take for Peace Corps to meet the challenge of growth while increasing its effectiveness as a people-centered development agency?
  • How can Peace Corps retool itself with new approaches for service, while retaining its core values?
  • What should be the role and approach of the Peace Corps in this new and complex world?
  • What will be required financially for Peace Corps to increase its numbers while increasing its effectiveness to achieve its three goals?

Campaign Commitments Related To PC
During the Presidential campaign, President-elect Obama made the following comment in a speech at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa when introducing Senator Harris Wofford, a person with a close association to the Peace Corps since the days of John Kennedy:

“It is an honor to be introduced by Harris Wofford - one of America’s greatest advocates for public service. Starting with the civil rights movement and the Peace Corps, Harris and a generation of Americans answered a call to service. At a pivotal moment in our history, they stood up; they changed America; and they changed the world....”

He went on the say, “To restore America’s standing, I will call on our greatest resource - not our bombs, guns, or dollars -I will call upon our people. We will grow the Foreign Service to renew our commitment to diplomacy. We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011. And we’ll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity....”

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Say Thank-you to Key PC Champions:
Subcommittee Votes
$450 million for PC

from Jonathan Pearson, NPCA Advocacy Coordinator

Despite limited funds to work with, the House Appropriations Subcommittee for State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs today took a major step forward to provide the resources to expand Peace Corps.  In its “mark up” of programs within the International Affairs budget for Fiscal Year 2010, the subcommittee agreed to recommend a $450 Million appropriation for the Peace Corps.  This decision was announced [June 17] on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews by Subcommittee Chairwoman Nita Lowey. 
[Go to: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/  to watch the program.]

Eighteen months ago, the NPCA launched the MorePeaceCorps Campaign anticipating an opportunity but realizing that a coordinated and sustained effort was necessary. Inspired by the spirit of Peace Corps pioneer Harris Wofford, led by our Campaign Coordinator Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 01-03), supported by Donald Ross (Nigeria 65-67) and his team at M+R Associates and the countless contributions of volunteer advocates, we all went to work:  writing letters, making phone calls, hosting MorePC House Parties, organizing meetings with lawmakers, submitting letters and op/eds, taking part in a National Day of Action, marching in parades, attending rallies and much more..

It is very important to recognize that much more work remains, But today’s action is an historic step forward!  Express HUGE thanks to the following four lawmakers for their work and support! 

  • Congresswoman Nita Lowey (NY) As Chair of the key Subcommittee, Congresswoman Lowey played an absolutely critical role in including $450 Million in today’s mark up.  She should be thanked for her leadership.
  • Congressman Sam Farr (CA) The lead author of the Peace Corps Expansion Act of 2009, RPCV Congressman Farr has led the charge throughout the year for significant PC funding.
  • Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN) Congresswoman McCollum has long been a champion of the Peace Corps and has been a leading voice for funding within the Subcommittee.
  • Congressman Howard Berman (CA)  As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Berman agreed to include $450 Million in comprehensive foreign assistance legislation.

Thanks for taking action.   You make all the difference!  
-– Adapted from NPCA Advocacy Action Alert, June 17, 2009.
   advocacy@peacecorpsconnect.org  202-293-7728, x-21

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Do not go where the path may lead, go
instead where there is no path and leave a
trail. –Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Meet SDPCA 2010 Board!

Eva Rodriguez, President
Ecuador 2006-2009
My name is Eva Rodriguez and I recently returned from Ecuador 2006-2009. I served 2 years on the mainland in the cloud forest and my last year in the Galapagos. I was a health volunteer and taught nutrition, leadership and Sex Ed with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS. I am retired from Kaiser Permanente and also had my own company as an Event Coordinator for 15 years. I am proud to be an RPCV and am anxious to meet and recruit new members. I look forward to working with the new and returning board members. I have only met a few but from those I did meet, I have some large shoes to fill. I welcome all ideas and assistance, and strive to not only make this a great and fun new year, but a very productive one. (See Board emails in Contact section.)

Kris Slanina, Vice-President
Cameroon 1995-1998
I was a volunteer in Cameroon from 1995 to 1998. Last year I served on the board as the Global Awards Chair. I previously served as Social Chair for SDPCA as well as CFO for the Atlanta Area Returned Peace Corps Association. I am looking forward to a great year!

Gregg Pancoast, CFO
Costa Rica 1985-1986
Greetings. I have been involved with the RPCV group for several years and enjoy the get- togethers and supporting current volunteers through the Int’l Support Fund grants. I served in Costa Rica during the mid-80s in Small Enterprise Development and since then have worked with non-profits in both Costa Rica and the U.S.

Mae Hsu, Secretary & Newsletter Editor
Tonga 2001-2003
I served in the Kingdom of Tonga as a community youth development worker from 2001-2003. Since then, I’ve lived up and down California (San Luis Obispo, Berkeley, and Sacramento), and settled in San Diego last year. I currently work at the Council of Community Clinics and coordinate the countywide Oral Health Initiative. As secretary and newsletter editor, I hope to keep members up-to-date about the going-ons of the board as well as SDPCA and NPCA events. Please feel free to submit any articles or current events to me.

Vacant, Communications Chair
This position is currently vacant. If you are interested, please contact one of the current board members. The Communications Chair attends all monthly board meetings; oversees all association public communications — Newsletter, Website and Evites; coordinates communications to create policy for the association’s communications and public relations; and maintains a database of all SDPCA members.

Carl Sepponen, Chair Fundraising
Bolivia 1970-71; Ecuador 1971-72 & 1977-78
As the fundraising board member, I’ll be working with other interested RPCVs to bring in the money to keep the organization running. I want to help SDPCA succeed and continue to offer local RPCVs a place to get together and support each other.

I am a civil engineer working as a consultant in the water/wastewater field. I have worked in the private sector for 30 years and enjoy my work. I got married in 1977 when I was PCV in Ecuador and we have 3 daughters. They are now out of college and spread across the continent. My eldest daughter was a PCV in Nicaragua (without any encouragement from us!); we didn’t know about her application until she told us she was going to Nicaragua.

Lennox Miller, Speaker’s Bureau
Zambia 2001-2003
I was born in Guyana, South America. During my 62 years on earth, I’ve lived in, and, through the Arts, traveled to Caribbean countries and North America before coming to reside in America. When I arrived in the US of A in May of 1990, my primary goal was to go to school. Today I am the proud holder of an MBA (UOP). While I was at UCSD, I met Ron, this cool professor who lit the Peace Corps fire in me. I did the hardest job I’ve ever loved; I served in Zambia 2003-2005. I have a wife, three children, and eight grandchildren. As I take up the assignment as the new speaker’s chair, the fire is still burning—did somebody say “let it burn baby”?

Laura Vento, ISF/Global Awards
East Timor 2004-2006
Bom dia! I served in East Timor from 2004-2006 as a rural health extension volunteer. Upon my return to the States, I received my Masters of Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Leader at the University of Virginia and had the honor of being the UVa Campus Peace Corps Recruiter. Currently I work as a nurse in the Infectious Disease/ HIV unit at UCSD Hillcrest. I look forward to serving on the board as the Global Awards chair and connecting with volunteers in the field!

Katie Clark, Social Chair
Nepal 2001-2003
My name is Katie Clark and I am happy to serve as this year’s Social Chair. I was a Reproductive Health Volunteer in Ilam, Nepal from 2001-2003. I am originally from San Diego and am a Registered Dietitian and Consultant Nutritionist, splitting my time between San Diego and San Francisco. I look forward to meeting all of you at our monthly happy hours and other social events. We will be notifying you of upcoming social happenings by email.

Jennifer Arrowsmith, Community Action
Western Samoa  1998-2000
Jennifer Arrowsmith will serve as Community Action Chair for a second term. Jennifer served in Western Samoa as a high school accounting and business studies teacher from 1998-2000. During her service, she met her future husband Ryan Stansfield —another PCV who taught biology and chemistry to Samoan high school students from 1998-2000. They returned to the States with their 3 Samoan cats and relocated to San Diego in September 2006. Jennifer currently works at Qualcomm on the company’s community involvement programs, including corporate giving and volunteerism. She hopes to see many SDPCA members at the monthly volunteer projects she will be organizing, including beach cleanups, charity walks, and food sorting at the food bank. Jennifer is open to suggestions and would love to hear what members are most interested in doing to give back to our local community.

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For All Learners:
Check Out this Teacher's Blog

I received an email from John Coyne of PC Writers referring to an ongoing education blog and found the posts worthwhile reading. Fanselow’s books are a bit expensive new, but used versions are available on Amazon. Excerpts show stories (rather than “lecturing”) that focus on examining your own learning/teaching processes -- useful to all learners and teachers!! Check it out!

“The legendary Peace Corps teacher John Fanselow has posted his first blog on http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/teaching/author/jfanselow/.
If you are interested at all in education (at any level) you might want to check it out.”

John’s bio: After two years in Nigeria as a PCV (1961-63), two years in Somalia as a Rep from Teachers College, Columbia University for PC/Somalia (1966-68), and one year in French speaking Africa as a PC in-service trainer, he trained PCVs bound for Africa, trained at Columbia University, Teachers College. While working in the training programs, he completed his Ph.D. at Columbia University, Teachers College where he joined the faculty.

His main interest has been observation and analysis of interactions, both inside and outside of classrooms. His publications reflect this interest. “Beyond Rashomon” and “Let’s see,” two seminal articles in the TESOL Quarterly, have been reprinted in many anthologies. In addition “Let’s see” was awarded the Malkemes Prize from New York University for the best article of the year for relating ideas to practice. “Beyond Rashomon” was the basis of his book Breaking Rules (Longman, 1987) and “Let’s See” was the basis of Contrasting Conversations (Longman, 1992).

In addition to teaching and writing, Fanselow has been active in TESOL and started an MA Program in Tokyo for Columbia University, Teachers College in 1987. Try the Opposite (SIMUL, 1992) grew out of his work with teachers in Japan.

When he became Professor Emeritus in 1996 at Teachers College in New York, his students established a scholarship fund in his name to encourage “Fanslovian” ideas and practices among MA students in TESOL at the college and in the off-campus program in Tokyo.

After he became Professor Emeritus, he was invited to become president of a private tertiary institution in New Zealand. After nine years there, he returned to Japan as a visiting professor at Akita International University.

He has just completed a book titled Huh?...Oh... Aha...Activities for Student Centered Learning to be published in 2009.
–from Don Beck, Bolivia 1967-69

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May 15th Annual Meeting:
Observations from SD RPCV David Vargas

Welcome back to David Vargas (Ecuador 2007-09) who returned in April 2009.  He shares some of his thoughts on returning to San Diego and the US. D0es any of this sound familiar? 

Thanks for sharing, David!

Top 10 Things I No Longer Have to Worry About
Now That I am Back in the U.S.
10. Planning out the entire day around a trip into town
  9. Stepping on donkey and/or cattle excrement
  8. Safe and comfortable public buses, w/o deafening music
  7. How to eat meat using only a spoon
  6. Having roosters as an alarm clock
  5.  Donkeys eating my garden
  4. Fighting mosquitoes in my sleep
  3. Boiling drinking water
  2. Saving leftovers for the town pigs
  1. Having to use exact change when buying at the store

Top 10 Things I Have to Worry About
Now That I am Back in the U.S.
10.  How to use a washer and dryer
 9.   Gas prices
 8.   Not being able to walk freely into a neighbor’s home
 7.   Noise violations
 6.   Which out of 4 remote controls turns on the TV
 5.   Laws against public urination
 4.   Finding a job
 3.   Punctuality
 2.   How stop signs work
 1.   Who Miley Cyrus is

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Jobs Recruiting RPCVs
Peace Corps is actively recruiting for Americans to serve not only as Volunteers but also as staff overseas! To see a list of open positions, go to the Peace Corps website, http://www.peacecorps.gov, and click on agency jobs and info in the upper right hand corner and then look through the jobs section. Questions? Contact Bruce Cohen at Division of Overseas Recruitment, Selection and Support Division of Human Resources:  bcohen@peacecorps.gov

More Jobs Recruiting RPCVs
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is recruiting RPCVs for two open positions: 1) Claims Representative/Claims Authorizer in the downtown San Diego office; and 2) Service Representative in the Kearny Mesa office. The SSA is extending the non-competitive eligibility that RPCVs receive to up to three years. For a complete job description or to submit your resume, please contact Inez Yanora, District Manager (Downtown), at Inez.Yanora@ssa.gov, or Katherine Blum (Oceanside) at Katherine.Blum@ssa.gov.

2008 Biennial Volunteer Survey (BVS)
The 2008 BVS results provide a picture of the activities, experiences and views of Peace Corps Volunteers in 2008. They show areas where Volunteers’ needs are met and identify areas where improvements may be needed.

Would your host country benefit the most if the Peace Corps program were...? 

Refocused / redesigned: 46% Reduced: 6%
Maintained as is: 24% Discontinued: 4%
Expanded: 20%

Reports available:

–Mike Sheppard, The Gambia (03-05)

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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!

• Jocelyne Campese, Mali 2003-2005, josiemina@gmail.com
Eva Rodriguez, Ecuador 2006-2009, 2eva4eva@gmail.com

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Recruiter's Corner: May/June 2009

Hello RPCVs. While we don’t have any big recruitment events for this summer to report, there seems to be a lot of buzz around Peace Corps issues in the capitol. Perhaps the summer will get very busy, but for now our office is only planning a few panel events in Los Angeles and our monthly presentations in the various communities.

The exciting news for the San Diego area is that a new recruiter has been assigned to San Diego. His name is Shane Mathias, and he served as a volunteer in Panama on a reforestation project. Shane started a community nursery that planted more than 16,000 trees (and many more since he’s left). He has been with our office as a recruiter almost 2 years and knows San Diego well as an SDSU alumnus.

I will be spending more time in the office as I oversee the activities of our four on-campus recruiters in Arizona, San Luis Obispo, and UCSD. Luckily that last one will give me the chance to head down to San Diego once in awhile and drop in on an SDPCA social hour. I don’t know if I’m as excited about the drives to Arizona.

The SDPCA has been very helpful to me in my efforts to find and retain great applicants from San Diego. You can all take pride in the fact that your city produces a high number of volunteers, and that currently, three of the top six schools in our region for 2010 assignments are from San Diego (including UCSD, which is #1).

I am sure you will all enjoy working with Shane as he takes over the reigns. I appreciate the assistance you have provided me over these last two years, and your continued service to Peace Corps!

–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:

Mae Hsu

Web Layout / Production
Don Beck,

Contributors this issue are:
Jill Dumbauld, Jennifer Arrowsmith, Lisa Eckl, Jacob Hall, Teri Wilson, PCV, Johnathasn Pearson, Kristen Slanina, Don Beck, John Coyne, Paul Hawken, Mike Sheppard, David Vargas.

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