A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley
One of the topics from the last WCPCA discussion group was a twenty point proposal to strengthen and expand the Peace Corps crafted by two two-time volunteers and reviewed by many others. This memo is long (over 100 pages for just the 20 points), but members of the discussion group wondered if this was something that members of West Cascade would be interested in getting more information on, creating their own version of, or otherwise discussing. You can read this memo here. If you are interested in discussing it with our motley band, please join us at the next discussion group on July 7th at New Day Bakery or email email@example.com.
Peace Corps Culture Goes On Display At The Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The community is invited to join an interfaith peace walk on Thursday, July 21, 20ll. The walk will begin at the Japanese-American Memorial Garden at 6th and Willamette in Eugene at 9:00 A.M. and wind through the city for 15 miles, ending about 5:00 P.M., at the First United Methodist Church on Olive Street. The route goes through various Eugene thoroughfares, and parks including Amazon Park, Tugman Park, and Jacobs Park (across Valley River Center). There will be a short lunch break at Alton Baker Park shortly after noon. A potluck dinner after the walk will be at the First United Methodist Church to receive the prayers of Native American Bob Tom.
The public can join for all or any part of this important and inspiring day.
The walk will be led by Brothers Senji Kanaeda and Gilberto Perez, monks from the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Bainbridge Island Dojo (Seattle). The Monks will drum, chant and offer prayers for a nuclear free future. The Eugene walk is the first leg of a walk that will proceed through a number of communities in Oregon and Washington, ending on August 9, 2011 in Seattle.
The peace walk is being organized locally by WAND (Women's Action for New Directions), Japanese American Association, CALC (Community Alliance of Lane County) and Eugene Friends Meeting. For more information on the walk contact Susan Cundiff, 541-683-1350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Bob Watada
Hello Friends in Eugene,
We're looking for a Peace Corps Campus Representative for Oregon State University (we already have a stellar RPCV at University of Oregon we're really excited about!). The job description is located here. The application deadline is soon – Friday, July 8.
Thanks for your help on this and your ongoing support of the Peace Corps.
Have a wonderful July 4th weekend!
*Melanie M. Forthun - Public Affairs Specialist - Peace Corps Northwest Regional Office* 1601 Fifth Avenue, Suite 605 - Seattle, WA 98101 - Direct 206.239.6603 - RPCV Bulgaria '06-'08
Posted by John Coyne on Wednesday, June 22nd 2011
Join more than 10,000 RPCVs and Peace Corps Staff coming to Washington, D.C. this September to celebrate 50 years of service. Be part of the largest gathering of RPCVs to celebrate - for 4 days from Thursday September 22 to Sunday September 25 - in the Nation’s Capital. Parties, picnics, Peace Corps films, presentations, book signings, country updates, speeches and remembrances. Enjoy four days of international food, music and art done the Peace Corps Way.
In honor of Peace Corps' 50th anniversary, CRPCA was invited to participate in the Portland Rose Festival's most prominent annual event, the Grand Floral Parade. On June 11, 2011 we marched proudly holding the flags of all 139 countries in which Peace Corps Volunteers have served, the flags of Peace Corps Response countries in which our members have served, and the flag of the United States of America.Photos are available on the CRPCA website: http://www.crpca.org/rose.html.
Your generous contribution to this Fund is helping us convene special events and programs around the world. For instance, the Peace Corps will be featured at the internationally renowned Smithsonian Folklife Festival June 30 — July 11, 2011, in Washington, D.C. An expected one million visitors will learn first–hand about the impact of over 200,000 Peace Corps Volunteers in areas such as health, education, agriculture, the environment and small business development. According to the Smithsonian, media coverage of the event is expected to reach an additional 40 million people.
"Jon Di Re, Jon Di Re, Ma Se Fer Gu Son, Ma Se Fer Gu Son." That's what some village men were saying while trying to make a connection with me, an American living and traveling in Turkey in the 1960's as a Peace Corps volunteer. Not having come from the American Midwest, I had no idea what these men were saying. It wasn't Turkish, it wasn't English. Then it hit me: John Deere, Massey Ferguson, the brand names of American tractors and agricultural equipment that these men knew so well. Certainly during the 1960's and even now, a privilege of being an American is to travel around the world and not only find countless familiar American brands but also see that these are among the highest quality and the most desired: Coca Cola, Ford, Microsoft, Caterpillar, Disney, IBM, KFC, Kodak, McDonald's, General Electric, Jack Daniel's, Marlboro, Budweiser, Starbucks, General Motors, and many more. A few years ago, as I was completing the registration form at a hotel in Spain, the desk clerk suddenly thrust his leg onto the high counter in front of me. He had made the connection between my home town and the American brand of the new sneakers he was wearing: Nike.
But will American brands always hold this familiar, desired, and privileged position in the marketplaces and imaginations of the world? No, and not even for more than a few years longer, according to Karl Gerth, the author of "As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers Are Transforming Everything" (Hill and Wang, 2010). China has more than 150 cities with populations of more than 10 million, compared with the United States, which has around 10 such cities. China now has hundreds of millions of new, middle-class consumers with increasing amounts of disposable income. Consumer spending in China is already much greater than in Japan and on par with that in the European Union. Gerth argues that because of the size and growth rate of the Chinese market, manufacturers both in China and around the world are designing products specifically to appeal to this new demographic. And so it will be Chinese consumer choices, and no longer the preferences of American consumers, that will determine the availability and range of options, features, styles, and colors for consumer products all around the world.
Branding adds significant value and profit to a product beyond the point of manufacture, through advertising and the linking of positive values (being healthy, being green), status (celebrity endorsements), quality (whether real or not) and life styles (the wealthy, athletes, jet-setters) with the product. Gerth gives, as an example, a 30-gigabyte iPod, valued at $4 in terms of materials and Chinese labor, but valued as an export product at $150 because of its brand. For the past decade, a Chinese government commission has been charged with strengthening the perception of new Chinese brands and promoting these internationally. The Chinese advertising market, with 80,000 companies and more than a million employees, is now second largest in the world; it is projected to surpass that of the United States by 2020. One can argue that the American marketplace has survived well-enough (or has it?) despite the introduction of now-familiar Japanese brands such as Toyota, Honda, Lexus, and Mazda as well as those of many other countries. But are we ready to go shopping in downtown Eugene or at Valley River Center and find that the dominant, high-quality product names have now become Lifan, Haier, Lenovo, Chery, Baidu, Li Ning, Huawei, Midea, or (for those of us old enough to have served in the Peace Corps in the 1960's) Tongrentang? There's more of interest in "As China Goes," including chapters on the impact of Taiwan and Korea on the development of Chinese markets, the massive Chinese production of counterfeit and low-quality products, and the environmental impact of increasing Chinese consumerism and production.
50th Anniversary Calendar
Want to find an event near you for the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps? Need people to attend your event? Please visit the NPCA / Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Calendar of Events at http://events.peacecorps50.org/. Keep track of all of the exciting, meaningful, fun celebrations happening around the world during the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary year. Don't forget to add your own events on the calendar!
With the Peace Corps' Speakers Match program, elementary and secondary school teachers can enhance their students' learning through classroom presentations by returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Interested classroom teachers and returned Peace Corps Volunteers can enroll in the Peace Corps' Speakers Match program by visiting http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/speakersmatch/
Peace Corps Offers Regional Career Events for RPCVS
This year, Peace Corps' Returned Volunteers Services began offering FREE one-day events in cities where Peace Corps has Regional Recruitment Offices, to further expand support of returned Volunteers throughout the United States. RPCVs learn how to tell their Peace Corps stories in a way that highlights their professional qualifications, participate in hands-on workshops, and interact with potential employers. Visit http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.returned.carres.carevents to learn more.
Save the Date: 50 th Anniversary Regional Expos
The National Peace Corps Association, in conjunction with the Peace Corps Regional Recruitment Offices and select Member Groups, is coordinating a series of 50th Anniversary Regional Expos nationwide in 2011. Each Expo will feature exhibits from RPCVs showcasing their work around the world, remarks from both Peace Corps and NPCA, and discussion sessions for interested applicants and RPCVs. Expos are free and open to the public. Visit http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/resources/peace-corps-50thanniversary/50thexpos/ to find out specific details about that Expo and to register – hope to see you there!
On Friday, September 23, 2011 from 5pm to 8pm, the Peace Corps Alumni Foundation for Philippine Development (PCAFPD) will host a reception with Filipino food, music and entertainment for all Philippines RPCVs. Special Guest: Philippines Ambassador Jose Cuisia, Jr. The "mini-fiesta" will be held in SW Washington DC at Harbour Square Coop Community Room, 500 N St. SW. The building is a two block walk from the Green Line Metro-Waterfront-SEU Station; very limited street parking is available; there is one parking garage a few blocks away near Arena Stage on 6th Street. The admission price is $50 per person before September 1, $60 thereafter. This price is inclusive of venue costs, food,drink and entertainment; fifteen ($15) of the $50 is a tax deductible contribution to the PCAFPD scholarship fund. Recently returned Volunteers, i.e. COS from 2006-2011, pay $35. Tickets need to be purchased in advance. Checks should be made out to PCAFPD Reception 2011 and sent to PCAFPD, P. O. Box 100114, Arlington, VA. 22210. Please complete the attached registration form and send it with your payment. If you prefer to pay online, please go to our website, http://rpcvphilippines.org/donate.htm and follow the "Donate" link. In the Designation box, please type "reception" and include any name of spouse/guest accompanying you. Please purchase your tickets as soon as possible. The venue accommodates 325 people, and we will need to stop accepting reservations if we reach that number. Preliminary indications of interest number about 215 so far. If you have any questions, please e-mail email@example.com.
Country Update: The Philippines, the Peace Corps and You! (new information re location)
On Saturday morning, September 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. PCAFPD will host a three-part program that features speakers and discussion of contemporary issues in the Philippines, interaction with recently returned Volunteers about the Peace Corps today, and an "open mike" session that offers the opportunity to share reflections on the Philippines, the Peace Corps, or one's own personal experience. Ample opportunity at the venue to meet and visit with "batch" mates and former staff. The event will be held at the IBEW Building at 900 7th St. NW, easily accessible by Metro - Gallery Place/Chinatown Station on Red or Green/Yellow Lines. Coffee and tea will be available starting at 9:30 am. Please let us know if you will attend by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. P.S. Walk of Flags: Sunday The Sunday ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery will be followed by the Walk of the Flags-a march of volunteers from each of the 139 countries in which Peace Corps has served-from Arlington to the Mall. PCAFPD expects to select a handful of carriers for this event for the Philippines contingent. We'd like folks from each decade of Peace Corps service-the 60's, 70's etc. Please let us know if you would like to "be the one' to be among the flag carriers. Do so at email@example.com.
Friends of Afghanistan is planning a series of events for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Peace Corps in Washington, DC. About 75 people have registered so far, with about 110 indicating an interest. Please register right away by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org for a registration form. The registration fee of $25/person can be mailed to Box 30, Trinidad, CA 95570.
Our exciting news is the Afghan Ambassador has agreed to give a presentation after the opening of our Saturday program at 10 am at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, followed by a question and answer period. The Embassy dinner event for Friday night is now filled to capacity with a 70-person limit.
In our Friends of Afghanistan presentation to the Ambassador on Friday evening, Jan is editing, revising, and reducing the length the DVD "Rekindling Afghan Connections" to show the work of the Peace Corps in Afghanistan from 1972-79. It will now also include photographs of the work of Volunteers/Staff since returning home for the benefit of Afghanistan, such as projects, presentations, or activities you may have done for Afghanistan. Also, photographs of Herat are needed.
Please send digital photographs of you on the job in Afghanistan or of the work you've done since you've been back in the United States to benefit Afghanistan to email@example.com by July 10th. This is a time-consuming project, hence the early deadline for receiving the photographs.
You can send the photographs to me on a CD or if they are posted online, send me the link to your albums. This is our chance to show the real impact of our service in Afghanistan—"Once a Volunteer, always a Volunteer!"
Letter From WCPCA Member, Bob Crites (PCV Brazil 1964-66, Guatemala APCD 1978-1980)
A longtime member of WCPCA, Bob is the founder of Students Helping Street Kids International (SHSKI), an NGO that has supported the education of children of poverty in Brazil for many years. The board accepted Bob's request to publish the attached letter to ask fellow WCPCA members to help support the university education of one of the SHSKI students who will enter the University of Oregon this fall.
Bob and his wife, Delva, divide their time between Eugene and Recife, Brazil. They are currently in Eugene.
Members should feel free to contact Bob to request more information about his appeal.
Dear Fellow WCPCA Members,
It is not often we get to participate in a true Cinderella Story. I am writing to you to see if you will join me in helping to make it possible for the very talented, but impoverished, 18-year-old Brazilian student Priscilla Dantas to attend the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, beginning this September.
I first met Priscilla when she was 10 years old - she and her family were squatters in a miserable, crime and drug infested slum in Olinda, Brazil. Putting enough food on the table has been a constant challenge for her father. In spite of her tough life conditions, she was a child prodigy on the piano, and has spent the last nine years of her life reaching for her dream of becoming an international concert pianist. Dr. Alexandre Dossin (www.dossin.net), Asst. Prof. of Piano at the University of Oregon, says that she has a chance to reach that lofty goal. Receiving a scholarship at age 7, she began studying music at a municipal conservatory where her father is a night guard. At age 9, she began on the keyboard, and just before turning 10, she began studying the piano. View the video clips (video 1, video 2) below to see how accomplished she already was at ages 14 and 15.
Through Students Helping Street Kids International (SHSKI), a nonprofit I founded, I gave Priscilla a scholarship to attend a private school in her hometown in Brazil. Elementary and high school students in Oregon, California and Colorado, along with individual donors have supported Priscilla's academic education through SHSKI since she was 10-years-old. This included funding her senior year as a foreign exchange student at Churchill High School in Eugene this past school year.
Music and education are the avenues out of poverty for Priscilla. She is an incredible talent and when she appears in the concerts that she has given in Brazil and in Oregon, one forgets that this marvelous, well- dressed, well-mannered girl playing sophisticated classical music lives a different life most of the time. She just momentarily steps outside of her poverty and the crime-ridden slums, she sits down at a beautiful piano in an elegant theater or church and is transported to a different world. After the concert, she returns to the slums, takes off her pretty dress and continues the daily grind of her meager existence. When her senior year at Churchill High School ended this June, she returned to her home in the slums of Recife.
Priscilla will be funding her university education with $22,000 in annual U of O scholarships, Work Study, and continued SHSKI Scholarships. However, this will not meet her total costs for 4 years. The costs for her freshman year total $39,483, and according to the U of O, will increase an average of 5% a year. This leaves her several thousand dollars short over the next four years.
We want to do everything in our power to make it possible for Priscilla to pursue her studies at the University of Oregon. Therefore, I am asking if you will become a */"Priscilla Sponsor"/* by making a pledge to help fund Priscilla's university education - $500 or $1000 a year or perhaps $25, $50 or $100 a month. A one-time donation of any amount is also very welcomed. All donations are fully tax deductible, as SHSKI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and 100% percent of your donation will go towards her education. If you wish, you can make one-time or recurring donations using your debit or credit card by clicking on https://www.charity-pay.com/d/donation.asp?cid=21, or go to our website –www.helpthekids.org – and click on the "Give Online" icon. Checks can be made payable to "SHSKI" and sent to: SHSKI, P.O. Box 2069, Eugene, OR 97402.
I hope Priscilla's story will inspire you. Please contact me if you want additional information on Priscilla.
My Warmest Regards,
I didn't receive this directly from the Peace Corps's NW Regional Office, and I get the impression it isn't supposed to be an "official" Peace Corps response. - Editor
Peace Corps Northwest Regional Office in Seattle
Communication to RPCVs About Safety and Security (Congressional Hearing)
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
You may have seen the news that Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Peace Corps’ enhanced safety, health and support measures for volunteers serving around the world. The hearing, entitled “Peace Corps at 50,” also included testimony from RPCVs, Peace Corps’ Inspector General and members of the Peace Corps community.
As a RPCV and member of the Peace Corps family, we want to share the following resources which outline the Peace Corps’ ongoing commitment to safety and security and recent reforms to improve the compassionate care of victims:
We hope the aforementioned resources – along with additional information available at www.peacecorps.gov/safety – will answer any questions you may have. We also hope this enables you to speak confidently about current safety and security procedures as you share your Peace Corps experience with your community.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you again for your service and continued support of the Peace Corps.
From Kathy, an RPCV from the Philippines:
I ran across this former volunteer online, and she has given us permission to use her article. - Editor
I happen to know a bit about this, thankfully not because anything happened to me or to my friends in PC, but because I served in a program that placed volunteers in residential centers for child victims of sexual abuse. None of the volunteers in my group were told ANYTHING about the sex crime component of the work we would be doing until we were well into training in country, and I can assure you all that it was a shock to hear that our "community services education" was going to consist of counseling and mentoring underage rape victims. Not only were we dangerously underprepared and untrained - thank heavens for the amazing staff at site who were able to pick up the slack and help most of us to become reasonably successful volunteers anyway - but the R word was conspicuously absent from any of the later training and discussion we had with PC throughout our service. Ironically, after an incredible two years with the staff and kids in my centers, I went back to the states and promptly got hired at a rape crisis center where the level of staff training and support was as good as PC's had been nonexistant. I would love to see not only PCVs in similar programs, but PC medical staff, receive the same basic sexual assault prevention, response and awareness training that is given to nonprofit staff, volunteers, and student groups in the US. I think it would help to reduce some of the issues raised by previous posters in this discussion - blaming the victim, stereotyping (rapes only happen late at night when the victim is drinking, etc.), the confusion of risk reduction with risk elimination, etc. I would definitely suggest that any petition to PC call for much better training for staff and volunteers.
From a WCPCA member:
Here's my input on this issue of the Peace Corps and the safety and protection of women. I was a volunteer in Honduras from 1993 till the end of 1995. I served when I was in my late 50s. While I was in training I had a very unwanted encounter with a Honduran public school administrator. I had been sent to his village to observe classes. He was in charge of my welfare. He assigned me to stay in a small room in his office. There was a bed and he began to "come on" to me. He left the room, saying he'd return in a minute. I grabbed my backpack and fled the building. I then roamed the streets and found lodging in a private home. When I regrouped 2 days later with my training group we debriefed this incident. I felt supported by my Trainer and others.
A year later a Peace corps staff person from D.C. came to Honduras. She was on assignment to film a training video. Peace Corps, Office of Special Services, produced a Training module, "A Slice of Life, Coping with Unwanted Attention" which was filmed in Honduras in 1994. I'm quoting from the video insert,"This video is intended to be used with the accompanying manual as part of a personal safety training program. Not as a prescription for action, but rather as a means to focus attention and stimulate discussion." My training class women had requested personal defense training and we did receive it. I was one of the several volunteers who told their stories in this video. [I have a copy of it.]
Following this video filming, Peace Corps Honduras formed a group of female volunteers who were "on call" to lend support to any volunteer who was a victim of harassment, etc. We were given training for this role. I was never called on to serve in this capacity. I'm unclear how the new support was communicated to all volunteers. Many of the women in my training group reported constant verbal harassment. One older woman was assaulted on the street and left service. I was threatened at knife point once in a robbery attempt as was a volunteer friend of mine. Violence was a way of life and we each dealt with it in our own way. In many cultures where Peace Corps works women are devalued and this reality must be recognized and not ignored.
Another sad happening, my group trained for 3 days in Miami, before leaving for Honduras. I was rooming there with a young blonde woman. She came into the room late the second night and hesitatingly told me that one of our Trainers [from D.C.] had propositioned her. She was not drunk. She turned him down, but was very confused.
Later, in my final months of service, I received a written death threat. When I contacted Peace Corps Honduras I was given much support to move from my community into a safer local. This was still very stressful and I received professional PTSD counseling after I COSed.
So, if any of this is of general interest it may be printed. Peace Corps is a reflection of our sexist, violent world. Nevertheless, a great experience and the best job I ever had.
From The Board
One of the primary goals of WCPCA is to contribute funds to humanitarian programs or projects especially Peace Corps Partnership (PCP) projects in which PCVs from Oregon are participating. Since the 1980s the organization has donated approximately $34,000 to such projects. You'll find a listing of the projects and the amounts donated on the website. We've been especially pleased when the PCVs whose projects were funded have talked to us about their work upon their return. This is a record that the organization can point to with pride.
In this year's budget the board set aside $2,000 for such funding. At the April board meeting the board voted to award funds to four PCP projects. However, when our treasurer tried to make the contributions using the PC website (the only method available) he discovered that three of the projects had already been fully funded and thus removed from the website. So we funded one project at this time and it is described below.
In June the board voted to fund another PCP project and again found that it was fully funded when we tried to send off the funds. We're certainly picking winners but we've learned to move faster! We'll return to this task in July and keep the membership informed about projects that we fund.
Meanwhile I encourage our membership to consider joining us in this activity. If you are interested in contributing to a PCP project, look on the PC website to find a listing of those available. There is a long list and it can be sorted by country, type of project, or the home state of the volunteer involved. You may also contribute to a general project fund for a country or to a project fund for certain types of projects. All of this is explained on the PC website. (A link to the relevant page on the PC website is in the introduction to the Project page of the WCPCA website.) I think that you'll be impressed with the wide range of projects available to fund. All you need is an interest and a credit card. The Peace Corps will make sure that the volunteer receives the funds in the local currency and will transfer the full amount donated. The Peace Corps will also acknowledge your contribution in writing and verify that the donation is tax deductible. These projects are a worthy cause.
In April the board voted to donate $960 to a PCP project in Kyrgyzstan, Expanding Educational Resources. Participating in this project is Oregon PCV, H. Yoder. (The PC does not provide any further information about the PCV.) We're attempting to reach the volunteer through the country director and hope that he or she will reply to us soon. Yoder provided the following information about the project.
The high school does not have any outside resources for students learning English. Students who have books are learning from outdated materials from the Soviet era. The purpose of the proposed English resource center is to give students access to current books and materials. It will also help those students who may find the traditional classroom a difficult one to learn in. The center will encourage students to explore learning opportunities on their own outside of the materials they are given in class. A computer and the digital encyclopedias will also provide students and faculty members with current information about a variety of topics that they will find useful both if they are learning or teaching.
This project is sustainable; students and faculty will be welcome to add their own contributions to the resource center now and in the future. When new books and materials come in, there will be a place to keep them where they will be readily available to those who might find them useful rather than limiting their access to one or two classrooms. With access to these resources, students will gain a better English language education, a better chance of getting into top universities, and a competitive edge in the job market.
The Governance Committee of the National Peace Corps Association Board of Directors announces the 2011 election results for member-elected representatives to the NPCA Board of Directors.Read More....