A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley
President John F Kennedy sent out an 'army' of everyday US citizens to every corner of the globe - the Peace Corps. His big idea was to counter the idea of the 'ugly American' and in some way stem the spread of communism. Bridget Kendall goes to the United States to meet former Peace Corps volunteers and evaluate their role as America's 'missionaries of democracy'. And to hear, in their own words, their incredible tales.
In July, the WCPCA donated $1000 to Nikki Eller's sustainable cookstove project in Peru. Our funding comes from membership dues, fundraising activities, donations, and distributions from the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund. To find out more about other projects we have funded or the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund, go to the project page on our website. The board always likes to hear input from members, so if you'd like to attend a board meeting (or better yet, join the board), please contact email@example.com.
Thank you so much for your contribution!
I love the Pacific Northwest and plan on moving back there when I finish my service, and it's great to find support and hear from RPCVs back home. Moving from green and rainy Seattle to the rural Peruvian desert has been a big change, and it's taken me a long time to adjust. At 9 months into service though I'm feeling a lot more comfortable, and quite happy with my stoves project.
I've really been amazed at how well my project is going; when I finished up the informational sessions many women asked for more, and the nurses asked me for the names of the participants so that they could do inspections and follow-up.
I was chosen to host an IST event at my site, so on my birthday my 18 fellow Peru 16 WAT/SAN volunteers came from all over Peru with their community counter-parts to build the first 4 stoves! It was a circus, but somehow everything worked out and the families are very happy with their new stoves. I am now awaiting the rest of my funding so that I can continue with construction. I've decided not to work with professional masons, as I feel it's more empowering and satisfying when the families build the stoves themselves. I also just love getting my hands dirty with all that mud and adobe!
Unfortunately, I lost my camera back in June so I don't have any pictures, but my father will be bringing me a camera in September. I have been keeping a blog since I got here, which you can find at nikkieller.blogspot.com. If anyone would like to come down and build a stove themselves, I should be working on them for the next 5-6 months, and I live a mere 1/2 hour from the famous Nazca lines.
Nikki Eller, Peru 16
Santa Cruz, Ica
This article in the Washington Post covers PC Volunteers statements about violence done to volunteer's and the PC's uneven response.
A friend just brought my attention to this great retrospective video about the Peace Corps in the 1960's. Well done and it brings back many memories (even though I didn't serve in Niger).
Click on "Watch the Trailer."
Thanks to Jack Meacham for bringing this to our attention.
From The Board
Many thanks to Rosa Sakanishi and Bob Watada for hosting the WCPCA membership to a summer picnic and pool potluck at their farm in Pleasant Hill. We especially enjoyed seeing Bob's newly built Zen garden.
Many regulars to the WCPCA Discussion Group will be traveling during September and October. We'll be planning out the next couple months' meeting dates at the September 1st meeting, so if you have an opinion, please be sure to come by the New Day bakery (449 Blair) at 6:30pm to let us know what you think. If you can't make it but what to add your voice to the discussion, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of WCPCA work closely with the U of O Peace Corps recruiters to support their work by staffing tables at recruiting activities on campus, responding to community inquiries, and cosponsoring events that include students as well as members of the general public. Through these activities we meet many of the newly returning PCVs who are often graduate students at the U of O. They, in turn, often give us presentations to describe their Peace Corps work and help us with presentations in the community. This is a cooperative relationship that keeps us up to date with Peace Corps work has been rewarding for both parties for over twenty years.
In June at the party that we cosponsored with the recruiter's office to honor those newly nominated as Peace Corps trainees (the NOM party) we said, "Good-bye," to Justin Overdevest who had been the campus recruiter for three years. Justin brought great energy and dedication to his work. We'll miss him very much but he has promised to stay in touch.
This fall we'll welcome Hannah Klausman as the new campus Peace Corps recruiter. Hannah was a volunteer in Mongolia, 2006-08, and is there for a visit now as I write this article. In 2008 WCPCA gave her a grant to help fund the purchase of teaching materials for a library and music room in the high school where she was working in Mongolia. She described her work to us in a fascinating presentation just after her return. Hannah grew up in Eugene and attended local schools. She'll begin graduate studies at the U of O this fall.
You can see that we are already acquainted with Hannah. We had an early chance to greet her when she spoke at the NOM party in June. But now let's give her an official and enthusiastic welcome at our fall potluck on October 7th. I hope that many of you will be able to take part. Details about the potluck are elsewhere in the newsletter.
Many members of West Cascade will be attending the festivities for Peace Corps' 50th anniversary in Washington, DC this September. If you are attending and have the time, please take a moment and record some element of your experience for the newsletter and the RPCVs back in Eugene who couldn't attend. It could be a few photos and captions, a description of your favorite event or even a little essay on some history you learned. Whatever you'd like to contribute would be greatly appreciated. You can send your contributions to email@example.com.