West Cascade Peace Corps Association
About Us

ReConnections - December 2006

A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley

December 2006 www.westcascadepca.org


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.

Seasons Greetings!

Let's all get together and celebrate this Holiday Season!

Meet at: Diane & George Jeffcott (India)
Where: 363 Mary Lane, Eugene 97405
Phone: 344-6447
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 the left)
  • 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: brett@bettandlaura.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 Libby Schoene

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.

West Cascade Peace Corps Association Board

  Dustin Johnson - Nicaragua (2004-6)
(541) 345-8007
Vice President
  James Cloutier - Kenya (1964-66)
(541) 341-3797
  Evangelina Sundgrenz - Uzbekistan (2001-3)
(541) 344-0317
  Shannon Micheel - Dominican Rep. (1995-97)
  Michael Kresko - Russia/Seychelles (1995-97)
Board Members At Large
  Maggie Keenan - Philippines (1987-90)
  Michele Pak - Korea (1970-2)
  Beryl Brinkman - Afghanistan (1967-69)
  Benj Epstein - Fiji (1978-81)
  Elizabeth Schoene - Guyana (2001-3)
  Wayne Thompson - Peru (1964-66)
Campus Recruiter
  Brett Holt - Armenia (2004-5)
(541) 346-6026
  Felicia Kenney - Benin (2003-4)
Past Presidents
  Pennie Moblo - Tonga (1971-73)
  Beryl Brinkman - Afghanistan (1967-69)
  Beryl Brinkman, James Cloutier, Dorothy Soper
  • 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.

New Topics

  • 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 not responded.
  • 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


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 http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/mentoring. The 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 mentor@rpcv.org.

Anne Baker
Vice President
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 jimanderson725@yahoo.com or call me at 342-7409.

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 Marfa, Texas.

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 from Kansas)