Peace Corps Writers
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  FY — Queen Noor’s new book Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life is coming out this March. In her recollection of being a teenager in America, she recalls, “The Peace Corps topped the list of career goals in my diary . . .”
   Paul Karrer (Western Samoa 1978–80), now a teacher in Castroville, California, has two short stories appearing in March. “You have To Try, Mom” is being published in Chicken Soup for The Mother & Daughter Soul. A second story "Uncle Mikey and The Much Famed Winged Bean," set in Samoa, will be published in Volunteer Tales. Paul may be heard reading his short stories or editorials once a month on radio KUSP 88.9 FM, Santa Cruz, California.
Invitations to Love: Literacy, Love Letters, and Social Change in Nepal, written by Laura M. Ahearn (Nepal 1982–86) and published by the University of Michigan Press in 2001, won Honorable Mention in the Edward Sapir Book Prize, sponsored by the Society of Linguistic Anthropology. Laura teaches at Rutgers University in the Department of Anthropology.
     For anyone wishing to read the translations of dozens of Nepali love letters that were the basis for the book, they can be found at the U of M Press site (in PDF format).
Authors Arthur Dobrin and Lyn Dobrin (Kenya 1965–67) have maintained their connection with Kenya and are now raising funds to construct and equip the Sema Academy at their former site. The building is expected to be completed in June. Recently the Dobrins sent 36 computers to Kenya with the help of the Canaan Foundation, a Connecticut-based program whose goal is to bring computer literacy to schools in Kenya.
     The Dobrins continue to seek donations for the Sema Academy through the The Kenya Fund, a project of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island in Garden City, New York.To learn more about Sema Academy and making a donation, check out their website.
Joby Taylor (Gabon 1991–93) is coordinator of faculty development in-service-learning at The Shriver Center, University of Maryland,/Baltimore Country, and teaches an urban education course for students tutoring in Baltimore City public schools. He had an article published in the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Volume 9, Number 1, in the fall of 2002 entitled “Metaphors We Serve By: Investigating the Conceptual Metaphors Framing National and Community Service and Service-Learning.” While it sounds “academically deadly” it is, however, well written and would be of interest to anyone who serviced in the Peace Corps.
     In addition to all that, Joby is a Ph.D. candidate in UMBC’s interdisciplinary Language, Literacy, and Culture program, and, since 1996, has directed “Visions Guadeloupe,” a summer service-learning program in the French West Indies.
     To order a copy of the Journal, go to; or to receive a photocopy of the article, write to Joby at
  ... Ask What You Can Do for Your Country Dan B. Fleming, Jr., a professor emeritus of education at Virginia Tech, has written a book on where we all — or most of us — were at 1:30 pm EST November 22, 1963 when President John Kennedy was shot. The book is entitled …Ask What You Can Do For Your Country: The Memory and Legacy of John F. Kennedy, and was published by Vandamere Press this last December.
     Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory, wrote a short foreword for the book that includes a chapter “Kennedy’s Children Remember.” The recollections come from Jerry David (Morocco 1962-64), Alan Guskin (Thailand 1963-65), Romeo M. Massey (Colombia 1962-64), Tom Scanlon (Chile 1961-63), Robert Steiner (Afghanistan CD 1962-64), Dick Weber (Cameroon 1962-64), Peter Weng (Indonesia 1963-65) and Jim Bausch (PC/W Trainer 1963). [Guess she didn’t realize that there were women serving as PCVs then!]      (This book should not be confused with Karen Schwarz’s excellent oral history of the Peace Corps: What You Can Do for Your Country, published in 1991 by William Morrow and Company. You can Buy this book used at for prices starting at $2.25.)
  The Mourning of Angels Barry Vogel (Peru 1964–66), producer and host of “Radio Curious,” a northern California Public Radio program from KZYX&Z, interviewed Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru, 1962–64) about her Peace Corps novel, The Mourning of Angels. A CD of the show, which aired on Christmas Eve, also includes an interview with anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, daughter of Margaret Mead and is available for purchase for $10.00. Write
George Packer (Togo 1982–83) author of The Village of Waiting, and most recently, Blood of the Liberals, has a moving essay in the January 13, 2003 issue of The New Yorker entitled, “The Children of Freetown” and the efforts of one man from Staten Island, New York who tried to help the war amputees from Sierra Leone.
  zine — an independent, underground print publication done for love is the website of Kate Haas (Morocco 1990–93). In addition to her stint in the Peace Corps, Kate’s past careers include apple-picking, editing, and teaching high school English. She’s currently a stay-at-home mom and the publisher of Miranda, a zine about motherhood and other adventures. Several issues feature stories about her experiences in Morocco; the current issue has her tale of getting a Berber tattoo. “Kate’s a born storyteller, and her stories are smooth, spellbinding,” says Zine World, a reader’s guide to the underground press.
     Visit Kate’s website for ordering information, to view a sample article, read what other critics have said and see illustrations.
   J. Randolph Ry” Ryan (Ecuador 1964–66) journalist and political activist, died in Boston of a heart attack on January 2, 2003. In the Peace Corps, he was assigned to be a university instructor, but he also worked on a road construction project. Known as an international crusader, “Ry,” as he was called, came to work at the Boston Globe in 1978 as a copy editor and by 1982 he was the lead writer on the Globe team that produced a special 56-page magazine entitled War & Peace in the Nuclear Age, which won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting the following year.
     Noam Chomsky of MIT, who met Ryan in Nicaragua about 20 years ago, said last week that through the 1980s Ryan’s editorials and op-ed columns in the Globe constituted “some of the most important work on Latin America.” William Goodfellow, director of the Center for International Policy in Washington, said in an obituary on Ryan in the Globe that, “Ry was almost alone among journalists writing for mainstream publications saying that what we were being told about the war in Nicaragua was just not true.”
     After leaving the Globe in 1996, Ryan worked in Bosnia first as a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, then as a political analyst for the private International Crisis Group, and then helped to train Yugoslav journalists for the International Research and Exchange Board. In 2000, he helped plan the UN’s special session on social development held in Geneva, and he had since been a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. There, he worked to derail the Bush administration appointment of Otto Reich.
     His passing was lamented by U.S. Senator John Kerry who called Ryan an “indomitable spirit.” Ryan was planning to join the senator on a 40-mile windsurfing excursion from Falmouth to Nantucket later this year.
     Married to Jasmina Vujosevic, one of Yugoslavia’s leading print and broadcasts journalists, John Randolph Ryan was 61.
Cathy Riggs Salter (Thailand 1967–70), a former teacher and now a consultant for National Geographic Society’s Geography Education Program and Geographic Bee, had an article published in April 2002 issue of National Geographic on “The Missouri River of Lewis and Clark.”
     Cathy is also a columnist for the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune and Boone County Journal.
Poet Edward Mycue (Ghana 1961) is featured at the website of Staceys — a San Francisco independent bookseller. Ed shares comments about his ten favorite books in Staff Picks.
William McNally Evensen (Peru 1964-66), long time Venice Beach, California activist and writer, recently attempted to sell American Indian (a quarterly established by the Smithsonian that will begin publishing with the 2004 opening of their National Museum of the American Indian, being built on the Mall) an article about the President of Peru, Alejandro Toledo who spoke (by phone) to the NPCA 40+1 Conference last summer.
     The American Indian editor declined Evensen’s idea for an article; however, the alert Regional Manager of the Peace Corps office in Southern California, Jill Andrew, liked the idea and asked Eversen to write an article on how PCVs Joel Meister and Nancy Deeds (Peru 1964–65) befriended Alejandro when they moved into the barriada of Chimbote where he lived with his family. After the Peace Corps this couple  helped Alejandro attended school in America. The L.A. Peace Corps office published William’s piece, “Peru’s Indigenous President Proves Power of Peace Corps,” using it as a recruiting item for Southern California and Arizona. When this article was published, Evensen sent a copy to American Indian and guess what? The editor at American Indian just assigned a senior editor to interview President Toledo.
Shawn Davis (Mali 1996–98) has a photo-essay in African Arts Magazine (Volume XXXV-Number 2/Summer 2002). The photos were taken during his years in Mali. Shawn’s beautiful photos are also online at:
     Shawn’s black and white images of Cuba and Mali will be part of two separate group exhibits in two Washington, D.C. galleries.
  • “Cuba Now! Images by Cuban & American Photographers,” The Charles Sumner School Museum, January 30 – June 17.
         Shawn’s photos are drawn from photo essays on a Havana flowerseller and on Carlos Borbon, a 27 year old HIV+ actor living and working in Havana.
  • “An Exhibition of Cooperative Members,” International Visions Photography Cooperative, February 1 – March 15.
         Shawn will exhibit Mali photos.     
Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) has an article in the January 2003 issue of National Geographic Magazine on The Great Wall of China. It is his account of  driving 7,436 miles to find “the good, the bad, and the real Great Wall of China.” Over the centuries the Chinese built not one wall but a vast network of walls to keep foreigners out. This article is based on a book Hessler has just finished writing for National Geographic Books on traveling by car deep into China’s rural heart.
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