ReConnections - December 2006
A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley
December 3, Sunday, 5:30
Potluck holiday party at the home of George and Diane Jeffcott. Slide show
of pictures from RPCVs past and present. See article to the right.
January 6. Saturday Noon-5
Regional National Peace Corps Association meeting in Portland.
Mainly for RPCV group leaders, but all welcome.
If interested in going call Beryl 687-7095.
January 7, Sunday, 5:30
Presentation by recently returned Nicaragua PCVs Dustin Johnson,
Eli Meyer and Brooke Edwards. Location to be determined.
January 19, Monday, 6 PM
Board Meeting of West Cascade Peace Corps Association, location TBA
Febuary 4, Sunday, (Tentative)
Fundraising dinner at Mazzi's Restaurant.
March 1, 1961
46th Anniversary of the Peace Corps Charter signing.
March 4, Sunday, 5:30 PM
Program by Rotary Club about project in Africa. Home of Tom and Nancy
English, 2530 Fairmount Blvd, Eugene.
August 2-5, 2007
West Regional RPCV Campout,
Mt. St. Helens, Washington
More interesting than you could imagine.
RPCVs just wanna have fun.
Let's all get together and celebrate this Holiday Season!
Meet at: Diane & George Jeffcott (India)
Where: 363 Mary Lane, Eugene 97405
Time: Sunday, December 3, 5:30 PM
- Look on Page 19 of your DEX phone book.
- See where Willamette and Crest Drive meet up?
- Take Crest Drive west to Loma Linda. (the 2nd street on
- Turn left on Loma Linda, and take it (including a dog leg)
to Mary Lane.
- Left on Mary Lane, Park as soon as you can. House is on
the left hand side of the street.
Call the Jeffcott's if you want to be picked up on Crest
Drive near Loma Linda.
Enjoy the company of RPCVs and friends and
appreciate the artistic designs of the Jeffcott house and art carvings in it.
Bring a dish and beverage to share. Later enjoy the
International Picture Show that YOU will provide.
Note from Brett: "NO MORE THAN 3 digital photos.
The digital images should be more than 500kb for better viewing (I
can downsize, if necessary). Send to: email@example.com
Call Beryl at 687-7095 if you have questions, you'd like
to carpool or would like a ride.
West Cascade Peace Corps Association
Board Meeting Minutes
October 22, 2006, 10:30 AM
Home of Michelle Pak
Attendees: Beryl Brinkman, James Cloutier,
Michael Kresko, Shannon Micheel, Michele Pak and
Topics of Discussion:
- Holiday Party at home of Mary Spriggs; RPCVs
to bring slides or email photos, limit of 1 3 pictures
and 2 min. max. discussion time, email photos to
Maggie Keenan?/ Brett?; gift exchange (white elephant);
need to confirm presentation by Emily Wheeler re: trip
to Rwanda this summer.
- Late January or February
Fundraising dinner at Mazzi's.
- Campout August 2007 WCPCA group is responsible for planning regional RPCV
group campout for approx. 100+ people with tents
and campers; committee was formed and current
members include: Michelle, Shannon and
Michael - more needed; Michelle will look into Blair Lake,
Shannon and Michael will look into Diamond Lake, and look
Mt. Saint Helens. All will report at next board mtg.
- Officers New treasurer is Evangelina.
Co-secretaries are Shannon and Michael. Still
searching for President and Vice President.
- Member Survey- will distribute at November meeting; will ask Felicia to post on website; email
will be sent out to members with a hyperlink to the
survey; and surveys will be mailed to all those who've
- Dues- to assist members in paying on time it
was decided that the website should offer
membership payments online and Evangelina would
make announcements at meetings that payments were accepted and explain that the date on your
newsletters label indicates when you need to pay.
- Directory we need one and the
board approved the idea. It could also include a hospitality list of RPCVs who are willing
to open their homes to traveling RPCVs.
- New Ideas from Programs - Shannon will write an article for the next newsletter for
a Partnership Project
- Other Business- funding for the purchase
of an RPCV Hospitality list was approved.
Another must-read RPCV book
It has taken Jan Worth (Tonga 1976-78) 30+ years
but finally she has written her novel of the October 14,
1976 murder on the island of Tonga of the PCV, Deborah
Gardner. You might have read Phil Weiss's non-fiction
haunting account, American Taboo, and now Jan, who lived
through that tragedy, has used the same murder in her novel
Night Blind, just out from iUniverse. [Check out: www.janworth.com]
Jan, who lives in Michigan and California, (with her
new husband,) teaches creative writing at the University
of Michigan's Flint campus. She has published essays,
poems, short stories and reviews in such diverse places as The
Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Drexel
Online Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, Passages North,
Fourth Genre, Controlled Burn, Marlboro Review, and her
poems have appeared in two editions of Contemporary
Michigan Poetry, published by Wayne State Press.
Jan's recent marriage has seeds of another
novel. Divorced from her first husband for a number of years,
Jan reconnected with Ted Nelson (Turkey 1964-66) a man
she met in Tonga in 1976. Ted, who had been on the staff
in Turkey and Washington, D.C., went to Tonga in 1976 to
do In-Country Training shortly after the murder took
place. When Phil Weiss was researching his book American
Taboo he reconnected Jan and Ted and through emails they
began to correspond. In 2001 they met again for the first time in
25 years. They were married in 2005 on a cliff overlooking
the Pacific, the same ocean where they first met. Today
Jan divides her time between Michigan and L.A. where Ted
is the CEO of Hollywood Awards, a family business. This
fall Ted and Jan, visiting Washington, D.C., took a taxi to
the Peace Corps Headquarters only to find that on
Saturday morning the building was closed. Not wanting to miss
a romantic opportunity, they had the taxi driver take a photo
of them kissing in front of the building. How's that for a
nice ending, or a new beginning of another novel!
From John Coyne
COULD IT BE?
By Jim Anderson, Iran, 1964-66)
Could it be?
Could we really learn
to rise above family, tribe, region, nation?
Could we begin to see ourselves
as part of humanity
that makes up our world?
No Arab or Jew, Serb or Croat, Hutu or Tutsi
Just tender, gentle souls looking for
understanding and a caring ear.
Could we really rise above all this impedimenta?
The practical realist scoffs
The visionary idealist says maybe...
What an Ideal!
What a notion!
Can we really pull this off?
I can't see any reason why we shouldn't
Can we claim the beauty of our heritage?
The universe whispers in our ears
Try this way, the path of wisdom.
Jim Anderson, who wrote this poem in 2006, has
been a dedicated volunteer and supporter of Beyond War
in its renascence since June of 2002.
Be a mentor!
Through a cooperative agreement with Peace Corps, the National Peace Corps Association
is coordinating a pilot mentoring program to
connect RPCVs with volunteers who have recently
completed Peace Corps service and are transitioning back to
life in the U.S. We are pleased to announce that
Portland, Oregon, is one of the pilot regions for this program.
On behalf of NPCA and the local affiliate group,
the Columbia River Peace Corps Association, we
invite you to participate in this initiative.
This pilot program will provide a unique
opportunity for newly returned volunteers to connect with others
who have gone through the same experience of
"reverse culture shock" following Peace Corps service.
Mentors will assist mentees in making the transition to new
jobs or educational programs, and introduce them to the
local RPCV community.
An initial orientation meeting will provide
mentors with valuable training and resources, including
a Mentor Toolkit with tools and strategies for
effective mentoring. From January through June 2007,
mentors and mentees will meet face-to-face and
communicate regularly by phone and e-mail, and will offer
feedback to NPCA about their experiences.
In each region, we are seeking 15 RPCV
mentors, as well as 15 recently returned volunteers to
be matched with mentors.
For full details, eligibility requirements, and to
apply to be a mentor or a mentee, please visit
deadline for submitting applications is December 15.
We welcome your involvement as we build
this mentoring program. If you have any questions
or suggestions, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Peace Corps Association
Jim Anderson sends message to West Cascade
First, let me thank you for letting me
present the introductory session for Beyond War at the
last meeting in November. We are trying to imagine
how we could possibly get to such a state, how we could begin to access new modes of thinking
and resolve conflicts without resort to shooting or
bombing each other. If the Iraq war has any utility, it may be
to point out very clearly howhighly
counter-productive this war has been. Of course, that's not an
unusual conclusion looking back
General Eisenhower was quoted as saying,
"I hate war as only a professional soldier who has
been there can. I hate war because of its brutality,
its stupidity, its tragedy and its futility." Is there a way
in which our senseless and out of control defense
budget can begin to be addressed? We certainly hope so
and many people have begun to enter the discussion.
The present state of international affairs is so rife
with charge and counter-charge that it looks very much
like the inmates have taken over the asylum. Can we
get thisto some reasonable, understandable, and humane perspective
That is definitely our hope andtoward that end, we have designed an eight-week study series
that really digs deep to look at what can be done to
truly move the world "beyond war.
I, Jim Anderson, would be glad to serve as a coordinator and facilitator for the study
series beginning in January. Wednesday evening from 7-9
or Saturday mornings from 10-12 would be good
times for me, but I will consider other suggestions. If
you would like to be a part of this study series, please
e-mail me at
email@example.com or call me
Let me conclude with a provocative quote from Bill Ury, "What if fighting, violence, and war were preventable...and we simply didn't know
it? What if we didn't know it because we had never fully tried to prevent them? What if we
had never really tried because we had never really believed prevention to be possible?
"I have a friend who says that all of life
can be divided into two columns: Those things that one cannot affect and those things one can.
Not long ago, diseases and epidemics were believed to fall into the first category. Yet
now the prevention of most epidemics and many diseases is widely accepted. Is it possible
that the innocent children, women, and men dying
at this very moment from a stray bullet,
terrorist bomb, or air raid are dying needlessly from
a disease as preventable as smallpox?"
Please join me and other colleagues from the Returned Peace Corps community in the
exciting journey of uncovering new avenues to help
people consider how it is we can begin to move toward
a world that uses new modes of thinking to resolve conflicts, to truly begin to move toward a
world "beyond war". I look forward eagerly to
your participation and input.Thank you!
Jim Anderson, Iran 1966-68
New book coming up by son of RPCV
Novelist Tony D'Souza (Cote d'Ivoire
200002; Madagascar 200203) author of Whiteman finished
his second novel a few months ago.
It will be published by Harcourt next October.
This novel is entitled The Konkans and is a love story
set against the little known and real Goan
(Konkan) Inquisition in India, instituted by St.
Francis Xavier,which lasted 252 years, burned hundreds
of thousands of Hindus at the Catholic stake, and
is drawn from Tony's family history.
Tony's mother was a Peace Corps Volunteer
(India 1966-68) and met Tony's father while
serving overseas. Recently he also received a
writing residency for 2007 at the Lannan Foundation in
Tony is now driving his pick-up truck through
Mexico and Central America learning Spanish and writing.
While on this drive, Tony heard that he had also won a
Japan Friendship Fellowship from the National Endowment
for the Arts. This will allow Tony to have six months with
all expenses paid to live and write in a Japanese town
of his choice.
Tony will leave for Japan in April, '07.
This item was given by John Coyne, Ethiopia, who
co-founded RPCV Writers & Readers
Letter to the Editor (and more...)
As I write this note I'm looking at the fabulous
Oct. '06 Peace Corps calendar page with photo of the
Afghan boys and eggplants in the Kabul market...I've loved
these calendars each year and, now by second nature,
of course(!), I want one for 2007. I have always kept
them by my computer 'cause that way I know I'll see
that month's wonderful photo (and even read a little
more about the 'country of the month'...) just about everyday.
I also give my older sister one each year
for Christmas she preceded me as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She was in Senegal from '64-'66
doing community and health development work. Then immediately upon returning to the U.S., during the
two years I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda in
'67-'68, she did social service and voter registration
work with migrant workers in the deep south of our good
ole USA where she had some scary encounters with
the KKK boys. Not to be deterred, she then went off to
the highlands of Tlaxcala in Mexico for a couple of
years through the American Friends Service
volunteer program (where she met her
Panamanian/Jamaican husband of now 37 years)!
She's never stopped being a deep-in-her-heart
PCV I think! And, like you and many others, me
either...I think the ol ' you can take us out of PC but you
can't take the PC out of us' holds for lots and lots and lots
of us RPCVs. Anyway, my sister loves the calendars
too and kinda 'knows' that I'll be sending one along to her.
I also sent her the set of James Cloutier's Peace Cards during mid-year this year as a little
surprise. She told me that she immediately "just had to
write little notes to my all my RPCV friends around
the country on those cards!
Oh Marsha's piece on Claude was fantastic! (October ReConnections). And I know from seeing
the real thing with mine own two eyes (every chance I got
I went down to spend time with Ed and Marsha in
and around their place in wondrous southern Uganda),
that James' drawing captured perfectly the way that
little guy navigated around on Marsha's leg! And,
truly, even with that little guy being so attached (literally
and figuratively) to Marsha, she would just go about
her business with him latched on, almost as if he were
just another part of her. It was always a trip to see it!
Larry Irvin, (Uganda, 1967-68) (written