A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley
I hope you've had the opportunity to enjoy some time off this summer! As the fall term approaches, I want to inform you of recent staff changes taking place in the Seattle Regional Peace Corps Office that have led us to modify our office structure and organization, including who works with which partners. As a result, I will no longer be the Peace Corps representative for Eugene and the University of Oregon.
Without question, I've enjoyed working with you and genuinely appreciate your support of Peace Corps. Your willingness to help spread the word about Peace Corps events on campus and in the community was an incredible help to me and led to many successful visits. Thank you.
I will miss my trips to Eugene and the University of Oregon, but I am leaving you in good hands. My colleague, Lisa White, will be your new Peace Corps representative. Lisa is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in Guinea and Mali, West Africa. I personally find it a pleasure to work with Lisa and I am confident that you will enjoy working with her as much as I do!
Next month, Lisa will begin preliminary planning for the fall and she may be in touch with you regarding Peace Corps activities/events in Eugene and at UO. She can be reached at 206-239-6618 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for your continued support of the Peace Corps mission.
In light of the success that the women who were sexually assaulted while in the Peace Corps achieved, thanks to the 20/20 episode that brought their issues to serious senate consideration and a probable bill to make permanent changes in the PC, I feel that the time is right bring our stories to light. We are not just at risk "while in the field" but also when we return home sick and are virtually abandoned by our supporting organization. I am working to assimilate our collective stories (anonymously), along with my own, and take my final overview to the networks and Congress. I am wondering if anyone out there is struggling and would be willing to "go public" with me if I have any success in reaching the right outlet I still feel that the PC is a great organization and concept but we must be cared for when we return sick and disabled. For me, the struggle continues and the treatment we all have received has been unjust. You may also email me confidentially at: email@example.com. Nancy
Dear West Cascade,
Thanks for any help you might offer.
-- Bart Bolger
On Saturday, August 6, 2011, at promptly 8:00 p.m. there will be a Commemoration ceremony to reflect on the nuclear weapon used in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The ceremony will begin with Koto Master Mitsuki Dazai at Alton Baker Park, in Eugene. There will also be the traditional taiko drummers and obon dances and the closing floating of the lanterns. Come hear the words of the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and our own Mayor Kitty Piercy, calling for the world to eliminate nuclear weapons.
This year, Fukushima, Japan has been added to the disasters, in recognition of the still untold devastation wreaked by the Fukushima power plant meltdown resulting from the Sendai earthquake and tsunami. The public is also invited to the potluck of the organizers and sponsoring organizations at 7:00 p.m. at the same place.
The MacKenzie River Gathering (MRG) invites WCPCA members to join them at their annual summer party and benefit, Sunday, August 7, 2-5 pm. at Alton Baker Park, Shelter 1, Eugene.
It's MRG's 35th anniversary, and Cafe Soriah's Ib Hamide will be providing the treats, savory and sweet pies of all kinds. Randy Ross and the People's Choice will get the crowd grooving to timeless reggae music.
MRG is a foundation that focuses on funding peace and social justice organizations in Oregon. Their particular specialty is funding emerging groups, which often paves the way for funding by larger foundations.
For more information, click on: http://mrgfoundation.org/event/peace-and-pie-park-2011.
A group of Volunteers took the bus out to a small village so that the male Peace Corps Volunteers could play local high school boys in a challenge basketball game arranged by one of the sports and recreation Volunteers. Female Volunteers went along as the cheering squad. I guess it shows my bias when I say I can't even remember who won the game! What I do distinctly remember, however, is something that happened at the meal after the game.
The village wasn't prepared for the invasion of fifteen gringos with healthy appetites. There really wasn't a restaurant in town, but the house that served as the bus stop occasionally served meals, so we descended with the hopes of finding nourishment following an exhausting game.
Because the owners of the house were unaccustomed to serving such a large group, we pitched in and helped with the serving and clearing away of the dishes. As I helped with the clean-up and went into the kitchen, I noticed that, in addition to the volunteers, they had called upon all the family to help out. This included a young girl who appeared to be no more than four years old. This beautiful little girl, with her long black hair and olive complexion, was kneeling on top of a stool, "washing" (holding the plates under running water and rubbing them with her hands) the dishes we had been using so that they could be used again for the next round. It amazed me to see such a little one in there working so hard. I commented to my companions when I went back into the dining room that they "wouldn't believe it — the dishwasher in the kitchen couldn't be more than four years old!" One of my fellow volunteers responded: "Really! What brand is it?"
The reaction to this comment was a round of laughter that to this day is one that I remember as hearty as any I've ever experienced!
Margaret Riley is a graduate student in Omaha, Nebraska.
In 1994, the WCPCA put out "The Funniest Job You'll Ever Love", an anthology of Peace Corps humor. This book was a great fundraiser and was made up of the stories of members. Now, we'd like to do it again, and we'll need your stories for the next edition.
Smarttrips is a program that provides a comprehensive approach to promote alternatives to driving alone. Those of you who live outside of the downtown Eugene area might not get their newsletter, so I thought I would pass on a little bit of info. While all the materials to help residents learn about alternatives to driving are great, what really caught my attention was all the cool activities that they have and how kid-friendly they are. You can find more information on their calendar. (I find the view on the "Agenda" tab easiest to read.)
Submitted by Felicia Kenney, Communications Coordinator
At the end of July, Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams and the four RPCV members of Congress hosted an annual recruitment event at the Capitol Visitors Center.
That's not the only positive Peace Corps news that is coming from Capitol Hill. There were significant legislative developments on three other fronts. Read more....
This 1987 video of Catherine Destivelle free climbing in Mali is interesting both for the climbing and the setting. Amusingly, as a volunteer who served in Africa, I was more shocked by her shorts in the marché than the climbing.
Submitted by Miriam Aiken and Felicia Kenney
From The Board
For at least twenty years WCPCA has taken part in the annual Eugene Celebration and plans to do so again this year. The celebration will take place over the weekend of August 26-28. WCPCA will have a "Marching Unit" in the parade on Saturday morning, August 27th, and also a booth in the Community Causeway on both Saturday and Sunday, August 27th and 28th. The theme of this year's celebration is "Raise the Roof." We can honor the theme as our members join together to celebrate the Peace Corps' 50th anniversary.
There are two organizing committees. Nick Bosustow is heading the one for the parade entry and Miriam Aiken heads the committee that is organizing the booth. Vern Delk, Dale Dow, James Cloutier, and Wayne Thompson are working on these committees. Nick and Miriam have articles below to let you know about their work and how you can help. Please note the new dress requirements for our parade entry.
Most of all we need our membership to join the parade and staff the booth. Let's "Raise the Roof" and make our presence felt. Please contact Nick and Miriam if you can help and please join the parade to show our colors.
Details about the Eugene Celebration including a map of the new parade route are online at http://www.eugenecelebration.com/.
Eugene Celebration - Parade - Saturday morning, August 27th
WCPCA will once again march in the Eugene Celebration parade. We'll march through town (much shorter route this year due to the construction), each carrying a Peace Corps host country flag (supplied by WCPCA). You're welcome to bring your own country's flag if you wish. Otherwise you can select from our collection. Our venerable taxi will be on the road once more. Come one and all. Families with children are especially encouraged to take part.
It will be essential to wear clothing from your country of service or a reasonable facsimile. This is a new requirement of the organizers. We've been told that just a hat or T shirt will not do the job any longer. If you need help to "qualify" please contact Dorothy (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she may have some extra traditional clothing or will find someone who can help.
Information about where we'll gather hasn't been released yet but will be announced to the membership in a special email or you can contact me for further details (email@example.com) after August 20th. The parade will start at 10:00 am and we'll probably meet about a half-hour before in the vicinity of South Eugene High School.
Let's make this our biggest turnout yet to celebrate the Peace Corps' 50th Anniversary.
We need help! At the WCPCA booth, we'll be distributing Peace Corps recruitment materials, collecting names and email addresses from people who wish to be connected to WCPCA, selling the 2012 International Calendars designed by the RPCVs of Wisconsin - Madison, and WCPCA's own Peace Corps 50th Anniversary tee shirts designed by James Cloutier. Staffing the booth is a good way to meet people and there will be an opportunity to talk to those who are interested in the Peace Corps.
We need help staffing the booth both on both Saturday and Sunday, August 27 and 28, in 2 1/2 hour shifts, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you can help, please sign up in one of two ways:
At the WCPCA picnic on August 13th, there will be a sign-up sheet. It will be a master list that will have the names of people who have already signed up. We need two people for each shift. Shifts are: 10:00 am to 12:30 pm; 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm and 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm.
Email MiriamAiken@gmail.com and let me know the day and hours that you will be available.
Saturday, August 13th, 3-5 pm
Join the WCPCA at the home of Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi, 85622 Jasper Park Road in Pleasant Hill, for a potluck and pool party. Bob will grill hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner. Others attendees, please bring a salad, veggie side dish or a dessert to share. Plates, cups for water, and cutlery will be provided. If possible, bring a lawn chair. If you come early you can explore nearby Jasper Park.
The pool is inviting for all but children are especially welcome!
Take I 5 to exit 188 and drive east on Highway 58 to Pleasant Hill. Drive past the Pleasant Hill schools to Parkway Drive; turn left. There will be a sign also for Jasper Park which is near Bob and Rosa's house.
Continue on Parkway Drive for about two miles until you come to Jasper Park Drive and also a sign for Jasper Park. Turn right on Jasper Park Drive. Proceed for about one block to Jasper Park Road. Turn left and drive about 100 yards to 85622 Jasper Park Road which is on the left and has a very visible white fence in the front. Turn left into one of two driveways.
Note: While driving on Parkway Drive if you come to a bridge over a sizeable river, you have gone too far.
As president of the board I'm pleased to give you an update on the board's work this year. My purpose is to keep you informed, thank you for your support and participation, and encourage you to continue to take part in our work. The year has been a successful celebration of the Peace Corps' 50th! And there is more to come!
You'll read elsewhere in the newsletter about ways that you can take part but, in particular, I hope that you'll join us in August at the picnic/pool party, and then at the Eugene Celebration to march in the parade and help staff our booth. We also need a few members to organize the sale of the 2012 international calendars put out by the Madison RPCV group and the WCPCA 50th anniversary tee shirts designed by James Cloutier. We have 150 calendars and a few dozen tee shirts to sell and this will be our primary fundraiser in the fall. Both items will be on sale at the Eugene Celebration.
We're celebrating the Peace Corps' 50th anniversary this year. I hope that we're giving our community ample evidence of our presence as an active nonprofit and as representatives of the 200,000 Americans who have served the cause of peace by serving others for 50 years.
Membership and Finances:
WCPCA now has approximately 140 members of whom 19 are new this year. This is a strong showing of primarily Lane County RPCVs and gives us a clear presence in the community as an active nonprofit. Your continued membership is our lifeline. We stay in touch with our members through our electronic newsletter, our website, and email. Thank you!
Our financial position is secure. Annual dues are low, $15 per person or $22 for a family. There are also several categories of membership for which there is no charge. We try to cover basic operating expenses through the dues, preserving income from fund raising activities to fund humanitarian programs.
As of July, 2011, the balance in the WCPCA checking and savings accounts was $7,200. In a separate account of which the funds may be used only to support humanitarian programs there is now a balance of approximately $500.
We also benefit from an endowed account, the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund, which is managed by the Oregon Community Foundation. This fund was created in October, 2009, with a gift to WCPCA in Beryl's memory. Its balance now is approximately $29,000. In accordance with the guidelines that the board accepted when it received the gift, distributions from the fund may be used only to support humanitarian programs or to augment the fund's principal. Distributions are currently approximately $1,100 per year.
Goals for 2011:
Members of the board took office in January. At its first meeting the board set goals for itself to achieve with the support of the membership. The goals were published in the January newsletter and are listed again below. I've noted our membership support and where we'll need it once more. Below are the goals and a progress report for each.
Goal #1: Continue bimonthly potlucks with a program
We sponsored potluck dinners in January, April, and June. Local RPCVs spoke at the first two and we learned about their Peace Corps projects in Kazakhstan and Guatemala. In June we joined with the office of the Peace Corps recruiter on the U of O campus to cosponsor the annual NOM party, which celebrates new local nominees to the Peace Corps. The NOM party's program included musical performances by U of O international students and talks by Eugene's mayor, Kitty Piercy, (RPCV, Ethiopia, 1964-66), and the new U of O Peace Corps recruiter, Hannah Klausman, (RPCV, Mongolia, 2006-08).
We're looking forward to a picnic this month and a robust fall program which you'll read about in the newsletter. Please join us for these lively social events!
Goal #2: Award a minimum of $2,000 to humanitarian projects
In April and July we funded Peace Corps Partnership projects: a language resource center in a high school in Kyrgystan with $960 and an adobe stove project in Peru with $1,000. The PCVs involved are from Oregon and Washington respectively.
The board has committed $500 to fund a humanitarian project in memory of Artis Spriggs who was a member of WCPCA. The project has not yet been selected.
Goal #3: Develop a fundraising plan and pursue fundraising projects
We've purchased 150 international calendars for 2012 and selling them will be a major fundraising project. This is the 25th year that the RPCV group in Madison, WI, has created the calendar. We're also selling the second printing of the WCPCA 50th anniversary tee shirt designed by James Cloutier.
Both items will be for sale at our booth in the Eugene Celebration and online from the WCPCA website. Beyond that, we need your ideas! Membership help is needed here!
Goal #4: Encourage and support opportunities for members to participate in local service projects
A large delegation of WCPCA members worked for Food for Lane County's fundraiser, Chefs' Night Out.
We're looking for more good opportunities of this type.
We need member support here!
Goal #5: Plan local activities for the celebration of “Peace Corps 50 in Eugene”
You'll remember the gala activities on March 1st: a noon rally in downtown Eugene and an evening of Latin music at Cozmic Pizza. Both events attracted crowds.
In addition there were substantial articles about local RPCVs in the Eugene Weekly and the Eugene Magazine. An article by a WCPCA member appeared on the op-ed page of the Register Guard. WCPCA members have given several panel presentations about the Peace Corps at 50 to local organizations: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the U of O, the League of Women Voters of Lane County, the Southtown Rotary, and the National Association of Retired Persons.
With the Eugene Celebration's coming up we'll need membership support to join our entry in the parade and to staff our information booth. See more information about these activities and how you can help elsewhere in the newsletter.
Appeal to the membership:
I hope that you are pleased, as I am, with the results of our organization's work this year. On behalf of the board I appeal to you to help us make a strong statement in the
Eugene Celebration's parade and staff our booth fully. The parade is a family affair! Come one and all to join us. Carry a flag of a Peace Corps host country, wear traditional dress of a host country, and represent the 200,000 Americans who have served over the last 50 years. Help staff the booth and answer questions about what it means to be a Peace Corps volunteer. See details of how to get involved elsewhere in the newsletter.
Thanks to all for your interest and support. I hope to see you at an upcoming activity. Please get in touch with me if you have suggestions or questions.
Dorothy Soper, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
At its July meeting the WCPCA board voted to give a grant of $1,000 to a Peace Corps Partnership project being organized by N. Eller, a PCV from Washington state. The project, Sustainable Cookstoves, is located in Peru. You'll find a description below. Note that the project is not yet fully funded. WCPCA members who are interested in contributing to the project will find it listed on the Peace Corps' website.
Funds for this grant and a portion of the grant made earlier this year came from distributions of the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund, an endowed fund created by WCPCA and managed by the Oregon Community Foundation. Beryl was a PCV in Afghanistan, 1967-69, one of the founders of WCPCA, and played a key role in the organization's leadership until her untimely death in 2007. The fund was created by gifts in Beryl's name. More information about Beryl and her work will be found on the website.
This rural community in the coastal desert of Peru suffers from a plethora of illnesses due to contaminated water and inadequate hygiene practices. Only a quarter of the families I interviewed could name a true source of disease (germs or flies) and only 59% of the population bothers to treat their water before they drink it. However, the most prevalent disease by a factor of 5 are "acute respiratory illnesses," at a rate of 903 a year in a population of only 1500. This seems odd in a community with so few cars, and apparently clean air--but the blackened walls inside the kitchens point to the culprit. Food is generally prepared in poorly-ventilated areas over what are little more than open fires that burn the eyes and choke the lungs. As the kitchen is often a social area where the whole family gathers to cook, eat, and chat, women, children, and men alike suffer from smoke inhalation.
I am proposing a "healthy kitchens" project, that will begin with informational sessions and workshops on sanitary practices, and culminate with the construction of an adobe wood-stove, approved by the United States Renewable Energy Commission, and especially designed to not only reduce smoke inhalation, but also fuel consumption. The informational sessions, mandatory for those who want the wood-stove, will be presented by local nurses and cover germ theory, water treatment, trash disposal, STD prevention, and nutrition. Prior to stove construction, I and the nurses will also inspect homes, making suggestions on how to create a healthier environment. The families themselves will provide the adobe and the labor needed to build the stoves, while donor's contributions will provide the bricks, chimney, and cement needed to finish them. At the end of the project, cooking clubs and continued inspections will ensure that better sanitary practices are being used. With 85 wood-stoves budgeted and 6 different neighborhoods participating, this project will hopefully transform the health of the whole district.
The local community will contribute 50% of the required funding for this project or about $2,920.
N. Eller, PCV, Peru
Please mark October 7 (6-9 pm) on your calendar for West Cascade's fall pot luck. A recently returned RPCV will share her experience and we may also have a special guest, Rotary Peace Fellow Joseph Karangathi from Kenya. Through his nonprofit Maendeleo Endelevu Action Program, Karangathi is working to establish lasting peace in his home district of Molo. The pot luck will be held at the Wesley Center, just north of the UO Bookstore at 1236 Kincaid.
WCPCA had a presence in the Peace and Justice Booth at the Oregon Country Fair, July 8-10. Our display materials were available for public review much of the time and were backed up with the presence of several WCPCA members. The board gives enthusiastic thanks to Andrew Dempsey-Karp for initiating and organizing this activity, and to those who staffed the booth along with Andrew, Nick Bosustow, Dale Morse, Rosa Sakanishi, and Bob Watada.
West Cascade received fan mail from the Seattle Recruitment Office for the "tremendous job" we did celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps in Eugene. The July 7 letter states: "We are impressed with the level of professionalism and enthusiasm that went into the special features in /Eugene Weekly /and /Eugene Magazine/, along with the events you've organized this year... As the Peace Corps celebrates its 50th anniversary during 2011, there have been hundreds of activities around the world. However, your group has gone above and beyond the typical Third Goal activity, and for that we are sincerely grateful. It is the spirit of returned volunteers like you that makes us proud to be a part of the Peace Corps family."
The letter is signed by Janet Allen, Regional Manager; Erin Carlson, Recruitment Supervisor; Melanie Forthun, Public Affairs; and Linda Zahava, Regional Representative.
You can read the letter here and via the West Cascade website.