A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley
In the summer of 1973, I boarded a flight out of Washington, D.C., bound for New York City. A plane change and hours later, in the darkness of night, I stepped off a Boeing 727 into the suffocating heat and overpowering smells of Dakar, Senegal.
Nothing in a college degree quite prepared me for this. My first step through the forward cabin door as a starry-eyed Peace Corps volunteer in Africa was an awkward stride in an unfamiliar world. At 22, I had stepped across a chasm of place and time beyond my imagination.
The Peace Corps 50th celebrations in Washington DC sponsored by the National Peace Corps Association, September 22-25, 2011, as remembered by WCPCA members
These four days featured a whirlwind of events, large and small, that attracted about 5,000 RPCVs to Washington DC. The anniversary of note was the 50th of Congress's passing on September 22, 1961 bills to create the Peace Corps and appropriate $40 million for its first year of operation. Over these four days the NPCA sponsored several events that drew crowds. The RPCV-Washington DC group organized an extraordinary ceremony for the last day in Arlington Cemetery to honor Peace Corps volunteers who died during their service and to commemorate the Peace Corps' fifty year history. The ceremony concluded with a "Walk of Flags" in which 139 flags of the Peace Corps host countries past and present were carried from Arlington Cemetery across the Potomac River to the Lincoln Memorial, each surrounded by a coterie of RPCVs who had served in the relevant country. No one was counting but a consensus is that about 3,000 took part that day.
From Thursday, September 22nd, when 500 RPCVs took part in Advocacy Day, lobbying senators and congressmen on behalf of the Peace Corps, through Sunday, September 25th, with the Walk of the Flags there were approximately 200 events, a true whirlwind. The most numerous and heartwarming were surely the reunions of individual Peace Corps groups. Ethnic restaurants throughout DC were booked for these reunions and many also took place in private homes. Several ambassadors of Peace Corps host countries were generous in opening their homes and embassies to greet RPCVs who had served in their countries. This touch was made especially poignant at the Arlington ceremony by the presence of several ambassadors of Peace Corps host countries and in the talk given by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai of Liberia who had had Peace Corps teachers when he was a high school student in Liberia.
At least a dozen RPCVs who are WCPCA members and/or resident in the Eugene area took part in these events. James Cloutier shared his impressions with you in the October newsletter and several others will share their experiences and photos with you in the following accounts. I hope that you'll enjoy the whirlwind, not worrying too much about the time and place of events. It was a busy time!
Parade of thousands of volunteers. Thanks to the Jeffcotts for the photo.
More visuals are available in three You Tube videos, each showing one of the big events.
If you want more facts, figures, and photos visit these two websites:
PC director Aaron S. Williams talking to assembled RPCV's at Arlington Cemetery prior to our flag walk across the bridge. Photo by James Cloutier. Click to enlarge.
James Cloutier standing next to a JFK poster at the Peace Corps headquarters
Van Schuler, the oldest living RPCV at 105 years old. This was taken at the conclusion of the march adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial. She was an India volunteer sometime in the 70's. Photo by James Cloutier.
Arlington Cemetery. Photo by Diane Jeffcott.
If you were in DC for the 50th and would be willing to share your experience, please write up an article and send it to email@example.com.
Early Tuesday evening, the House of Representatives gave final passage to the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011.
The House approved a version of the bill - Senate Bill 1280 - that had been unanimously approved last month in the U.S. Senate.
Congratulations to all advocates who made their voice heard in passing this legislation. Congratulations to the leadership of the Congress and the Peace Corps, who worked through various versions of the legislation to build the momentum to passage. Finally and especially, congratulations to the members of the groups First Response Action and Kate's Voice, for their steadfast and passionate work which led to the passage of this landmark legislation.
Be sure to contact your lawmakers to thank them for passing this legislation.
Note: Senators Wyden and Merkley and Peter DeFazio were cosponsors of this legislation.
So what was it like? In the human-sized parcel of 50 years of Peace Corps service, it was hope and making history, and it was, sometimes at least, an exercise in futility. These volunteers set out to change the world and, more often than not, found themselves transformed: learning so much more than they could ever teach, receiving so much more than they could possibly give—which is not to diminish the teaching, the giving.
Dear Fellow RPCVs,
Happy 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps!
I'd like to share with you some opportunities for American high school students to participate in language and culture-focused exchange programs overseas. I work in the Youth Programs Division at the U.S. Department of State and we are now recruiting applicants for our 2012-13 programs. The specific programs are detailed below, and as you can see they include many Peace Corps countries and languages.
I am requesting your help in spreading the word through your networks about these opportunities. Please note that these are all full scholarships – rather rare in this day and age – and we're hoping to attract a diverse group of applicants from across the U.S. Deadlines vary, but the first one for the NSLI-Y program is only a few weeks away.If you have any questions, please let me know.
Thank you in advance for sharing this informationwith your RPCV group and your community!
Carol A. Radomski, PhD
Youth Exchange Scholarships for U.S. High School Students
Four U.S. Department of State programs offer scholarships for U.S. high school students to study abroad:
Below are links to recent testimony by RPCVs about the Peace Corps in the U.S. Senate on October 6, 2011, and the U.S. House on October 4, 2011 that may be of interest to you.
The first link is to the U. S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Global Narcotics Affairs hearings titled "Peace Corps, the Next 50 Years". There are further links to the testimony given in panels by the following Returned Peace Corps Volunteers: former Senators Christopher Dodd and Harris Wofford; Director of the Peace Corps, Aaron Williams; President of the National Peace Corps Association, Kevin Quigley; Peace Corps Inspector General, Kathy Butler; and, Training and Outreach Director of the D. C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Liz Odongo.
Link (then see October 6)
The second link is to testimony on October 4, 2011 by Chuck Ludlum, PCV, Nepal and Senegal, to the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. His testimony is in opposition to legislation that would authorize a Peace Corps Monument on the National Mall. He cited eight compelling reasons against such a monument, one of which is number 7: "A Self-congratulatory Monument: An Embarrassment".
Submitted by Miriam AikenOctober 28, 2011
On Wednesday, November 9 at 11:00 a.m., Oregonians will hear on their radios and see on their televisions a test of the emergency alert system (EAS). The test will last approximately three (3) minutes. Normal programming will return following the test. This is a nationwide test organized by the FCC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
This test will be different than those we have had in the past. The November 9 test will utilize a "live" national alert code, i.e., a coded message that will present itself as an actual emergency announcement, not a test. This is necessary in order to allow FCC and FEMA to test the actual working order reliability of legacy EAS equipment and the state of readiness of EAS operators and participants. Television stations are being encouraged to run a scroll at the bottom of the screen throughout the test stating that it is just a test.
Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM), FEMA, Broadcasters, NOAA and many other agencies are diligently trying to get the word to people that this is, in fact, a test. Often, citizens who are unsure of whether the alert is real or a test, place calls to 911 which tie up the phone lines for legitimate emergencies.
If anyone has questions about the test, please do NOT call 911. Please tell your neighbors and friends about this test so that Oregonians will be the most informed of all the states and will not be caught off guard by this unusual test of the EAS equipment.
More information can be found at www.fema.gov/emergency/ipaws/eas_info.shtm.
By Patence Winningham on behalf of Eugene/Springfield Area CERT.
After Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Thomas Camero (Honduras 78-80, Response 2000) pedaled thousands of miles from his home in Hood, Oregon to Washington, D.C. to join the Peace Corps 50th anniversary celebration, his friends decided they wanted to greet him in style. In enthusiastic and entrepreneurial Peace Corps fashion, what started as a simple swing by the NPCA office for a few photos, and then on to a hotel bar, began to mushroom. Could Thomas end the journey at Peace Corps headquarters? Could he, and accompanying riders, be greeted by the Director? Should someone from the Honduras Embassy be contacted for the photo op?
From The Board
December potluck date changed! Relief for football fans!!
Our December potluck has moved to a new date, Sunday, December 4th. It will be from 6-8 pm at the home of Dale Morse and Leslie Mittelberg, 31160 Foxridge Lane, Eugene.
The Pac-12 championship game will be played on Friday, December 2nd, and there's a just chance that it will be at Autzen Stadium with the Ducks' playing. If that's the case, some of us might even see it in person and lots of us will watch it on TV. Lots of us will probably be watching the game on TV even if the Ducks don't play. You can do that now without feeling guilty about missing the potluck!! This potluck will be a little different than previous potlucks, too!
Our December 4 potluck will provide an opportunity for members to get to know each other by learning about each other's Peace Corps service. Maggie Keenan will reserve speaking slots, of approximately three minutes each plus time for a few questions. Interested members should send one digital photo that represents a significant memory from their Peace Corps days to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you hear back from her, to ensure that she has received the photo. On December 4th, Maggie will have the photos queued up in alphabetical order, by last name. Be prepared to spend about three minutes telling us about your photo and a memory that sticks with you from your Peace Corps days.
Before the photo extravaganza, Jim Beyer, as the nominating committee, will present a slate of members who are candidates for the 2012 board, and we hold an election.
Many thanks go to Leslie and Dale for being flexible because this change pays homage to the football season and the great U of O Ducks. Directions are available on the website.
A WCPCA volunteer crew of nine worked on clean up duty at the Empty Bowls fundraiser sponsored by Food for Lane County on October 1st. They were treated to dinner first and then spent 2-3 hours putting away furniture and taking care of other clean up tasks. Working at this fundraiser has been a West Cascade volunteer activity for several years. WCPCA received an enthusiastic letter of thanks for the help. You'll see the letter below.
The Saturday night crew was amazing! They all worked so hard and made a huge impact on the process of restoring the warehouse for operation. Our Sunday crew was able to be finished by 1:30 – a new record! The following folks came to help – if I have misread any names I know you will know who I mean! Special thanks to James Cloutier for actually pulling the troops together.
In August WCPCA granted $500 to SOLA, School of Leadership, Afghanistan, in memory of WCPCA member, Artis Spriggs, who died a year ago. Below you'll see the thank you letter from the organization and also notice of the 2011 Starfish Award made to SOLA by Friends of Afghanistan, an organization of RPCVs from Afghanistan.
WCPCA raises funds each year to award grants to humanitarian projects by selling the beautiful international calendars produced by the RPCV group of Madison, WI. This is the 25th year that the Madison group has published the calendars and they are better than ever with photos from thirteen past and present Peace Corps host countries.
Please celebrate this anniversary and help support the WCPCA grant program by purchasing one or more calendars. They make excellent gifts in part because dozens of international holidays are entered on the days of their celebration. No more comprehensive list exists. You'll find photos of the calendars on the WCPCA website.
WCPCA charges $12 for individual calendars and only $10 per calendar for purchases of five or more. Please add the calendars to your holiday gift giving list. You may purchase a calendar at the December 2nd potluck, through the website at www.westcascade.org, or directly by emailing your request to email@example.com. In this latter case you'll be able to pick up calendars in Eugene and thus avoid paying for mailing.
U of O PC recruiter, Hannah Klausman, organized the Peace Corps information booth at the annual Street Faire on the U of O campus, October 5-7. Hannah reports that many people stopped at the booth to inquire about the Peace Corps and pick up PC literature. Several U of O students and WCPCA members helped staff the booth. Lisa White, a Peace Corps recruiter from the Seattle office came to Eugene to help out as well.
On Friday evening, October 7th, at the conclusion of the Street Faire, WCPCA held a potluck at the Wesley Center, which is next to the campus, to welcome RPCVs returning to the campus and students who are interested in learning about the Peace Corps. Approximately thirty people attended. Our guest speaker, Enrique Fernandez, a Cuban-American, gave us an intriguing view of Latin American culture in the US in a talk entitled, "Latinoamericano/Latino American:The Hispanic Challenge, The Peace Corps Response".
The Next Step in Changing the World
A message to all members of The National Peace Corps Association Social Network
That is one of the questions that are frequently asked of staff at the National Peace Corps Association. In other words, how do I find a volunteer who served in Botswana or Paraguay / who speaks Fulfulde / who went to grad school after Peace Corps / who lives in my town?
The answer: The National Peace Corps Association Ning Social Network. You've already created your profile on the network, so that you can search for people in the Peace Corps and people can find YOU.
Why not take a second right now to add a picture to your profile if you haven't already? How about joining one of the over 400 groups that have been formed on the site for specific countries of service and areas of interest? Even if you didn't serve (YET!), you can connect with the many individuals who are passionate about the Peace Corps and its values. Tell your friends to join, too! (It's really easy - just log into your profile and click "invite" in the upper right hand corner.) The more people on the site (and we are 24,000 strong!!), the more vibrant this community will be, and the easier it will be to answer that question ... where can I find someone? See you online!
Molly Mattessich (Mali 02-04)
Visit The National Peace Corps Association Social Network at: http://community.peacecorpsconnect.org/
Below you'll see the slate of nominees for the 2012 WCPCA board of directors. The slate was organized at the current board's request by Jim Beyer acting as the nominating committee. The membership will vote on the slate at its annual meeting which will be at the potluck on December 2nd. The election will be by voice vote and will follow a brief annual report for 2011 that I will make to the membership. The full annual report will be available shortly on the website. The new board will serve for the 2012 calendar year.
All of the officers on the slate are continuing from 2011. Among the "at large" board members two are continuing and one new person, Josette Green, is joining the board. Four current "at large" members are retiring.
Jim presented this slate to the current board at its October meeting and the board accepted it with gratitude for his work. The board thanked retiring members, Nick Bosustow, Jack Meacham, Wayne Thompson, and Bob Watada for over thirty years of collective service on the board. They will be missed.
I want to call to the membership's attention to recent activities of the retiring board members. Nick helped organize WCPCA's participation in the Eugene Celebration parade this summer. For the last two summers Bob and his wife, Rosa, have hosted the membership at delightful poolside summer picnics at their alpaca farm in Pleasant Hill. Jack served as the board treasurer for two years. Wayne was a co-organizer of the March 1st events of this year to celebrate the Peace Corps‘ 50th anniversary. To our good fortune the retiring members all plan to stay active in WCPCA and participate in coming events.
Listed below is the slate of nominees for the 2012 board and following that in alphabetical order are brief biographies that will introduce those on the slate to the WCPCA membership.
I'll close by encouraging WCPCA members to attend board meetings and to feel free to suggest to me agenda items that they would like to have discussed a few days in advance of the relevant board meeting. All board meeting minutes are posted on the web. The board would like the membership to stay in touch and let us know your ideas and suggestions for WCPCA's activities.
Submitted by Dorothy Soper
Proposed slate of 2012 board members:
Dorothy Soper, President
At large members:
Ex officio member:
Hannah Klausman, Peace Corps Recruiter, University of Oregon
Biographies of members of the slate for the 2012 board:
I had never been more than 200 miles from home until I made the journey via the Ohio Turnpike from East Palestine, Ohio to Bowling Green State University. In my senior year, one of my professors asked a Peace Crops recruiter to address my sociology class, and, since I had no job prospects, and I wanted to expand that 200-mile geographic envelope, I applied based on his assurances that "if he could do it anyone can." I was as surprised as my roommates, friends, high school teachers, and parents (especially my mother) when I received an invitation from Sargent Shriver to attend training as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines.
After graduation (BGSU, B.A., Sociology), and Peace Corps training at San Jose State College, I was assigned to Ozamiz City, Philippines, on Mindanao, as a teacher-trainer in elementary TESL and math (1965-1967). After a 3-month return trip around the world in the opposite direction from Ohio, I moved to the District of Columbia where I worked over the next 40-plus years for private social science research organizations including the National Association of the Deaf, TransCentury Corporation (for Warren Wiggins, a senior advisor to Sargent Shriver in the early days), and, finally, Westat.
In the 1970s, I was a member in RPCVs of Washington, DC as the membership chair and vice president. In 2010, I moved to Eugene due mostly to the influence of Beryl Brinkman and FoB (Friends of Beryl).
Miriam is currently the board secretary.
I am a second generation Oregonian having been born in Portland. I attended five different elementary and middle schools and 3 different high schools, all in Oregon. After graduating from Lincoln high school in Portland and serving two years in the Navy, I attended the University of Oregon on a baseball scholarship.
During the summer of 1962, prior to my fifth year at the U of O, I spent two months in Ethiopia with a non-profit student organization, Operation Crossroads Africa. This experience ignited my desire to return to Africa which I did in 1964 as a member of the first Peace Corps contingent to Kenya. During my two year tenure in this East African country, I created and oversaw an audio/visual department connected to the government's Ministry of Lands and Settlement. My responsibility entailed the production of agricultural teaching materials, i.e. posters, brochures, etc. designed to assist African settlers who were moving back onto the lands appropriated by the English during their colonial reign.
Following my return to the U.S. in 1967, I worked for six months as a Peace Corps recruiter before entering graduate school at the U of O. I received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1969 and have been a practicing artist since then. My artistic achievements include 11 self published books, the first of which was my Master's thesis, a b/w photographic essay on the Alpine Tavern. The majority of the other publications featured cartoons about Oregon. Presently, I am free lancing as an illustrator/cartoonist here in Eugene.
James has been a board member for many years and recently served a year and a half as president. He's created many tee shirt and sweatshirt designs for WCPCA including this year's design for the 50th anniversary tee shirt.
Electing The WCPCA Board Of Directors For 2012 (continued)
Josette Green has had a long career in providing opportunities for our citizens to complete their educational goals. With a career in Ohio, Florida and Georgia, she is happy to fulfill this passion now as Executive Director of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission in Eugene - a position she accepted a year ago.
Adventuresome is a word to describe Josette as she travels in pursuit of visiting all countries in the world, ran for US Congress in 2000, completed a ministry program also in 2000 and experienced a stint in the Costa Rica with the Peace Corps in 2007-2008. An expert in little but an experiencer of much. She holds a BA in Business from Adrian College in Michigan, an AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and a MBA in Finance from the University of Akron in Ohio.
Josette will work with Maggie and Hannah to plan and make arrangements for the programs at the potlucks.
I was raised in eastern Iowa and attended college there, 1954-1958. I taught in elementary schools in Illinois, Germany and Japan before earning a Master's Degree in 1968. Then I settled into a community college career in Wyoming and after retirement, my wife and I became Peace Corps Volunteers in Poland, 1994-1996. The PC became addictive and we also ventured into further tours in Thailand, 1998, and Russia, 2001-2002.
Keith works on the board with Felicia to do research for, write, and publish the newsletter.
Maggie Keenan is Communications Director at the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (http://www.elaw.org). She is also an Adjunct Professor with the University of Oregon's International Studies Department. She holds a Master's in Professional Studies in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University. She served for three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and worked for three years in Uganda as a consultant for the Uganda Wildlife Society, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and various USAID-funded maternal health projects.
Maggie has been a board member for several years most recently as Vice President.
Felicia Kenney is a former computer programmer and web developer, who has been in charge of the WCPCA's website for about five years. She has a music podcast (5songset.net), is involved in Ham radio and loves cross country skiing.
Felicia works with Keith to organize, edit, and publish the WCPCA newsletter each month and also maintains the membership database.
Hannah Klausman, RPCV Mongolia '06-08, TEFL
Eugene Native. Grew up in Eugene and attended the Japanese Immersion School "Yujin Gajuen" for 12 years. Graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland with a degree in International Relations and Japanese. Currently pursuing a Masters in Community & Regional Planning at the Univ. Of Oregon.
After Peace Corps I also served as an Americorps volunteer for 2 years in Newport OR, serving as the Executive Director of the Buy Local Lincoln County Association, a nonprofit aimed at local small business development.
Hannah is beginning her first year as a graduate student at the University of Oregon and as the university's Peace Corps recruiter.
I was born in Eugene while my father was a student at the University of Oregon. After growing up in Spokane I returned to Eugene to play tennis, party and attend a few classes. When confronted with the choice of Vietnam or the Peace Corps, I sought out Tom English, the PC representative on campus, and followed him to Nepal as a member of Group 21 in 1969.
I taught science and math in a high school in Nepal and worked on a program to improve practical training in science education. Upon returning to the US, I got a little more serious about school and received graduate degrees from Oregon (where I was the PC representative in 1974/75) and Stanford and commenced teaching at Cornell for 13 years before returning to teach at the University of Oregon in accounting. I have also had the opportunity to be a visiting professor in many countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe. I am married to Leslie Mittelberg, who owns Swahili Imports, an African importing business and sometimes follow her around Africa. We have two grown boys.
Dale is currently the board treasurer.
I grew up in California and with my husband moved to Eugene over 30 years ago. Our son and daughter grew up in Eugene and are now an attorney and physician living in Washington DC and Los Angeles. We're pleased that they are both globally minded. Our son is an RPCV (Ethiopia 1998-99, Morocco 1999-2001) who specializes in immigration law and our daughter regularly uses both French and Spanish to talk to her patients and their families.
I joined the Peace Corps in 1963 after graduating as a French major from Stanford where early interest in the Peace Corps was intense. As a PCV in Ghana I taught French in a public boarding high school in a rural setting. At the time PCVs were the primary college educated staff of such schools since Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, had opened approximately 30 of them in 1961, just in time for the PC. As the only female faculty member at my school I was placed in charge of the girls' dorm. The girls were my teachers when it came to understanding Ghanaian life. I maintain friendships now with several of them and have been thrilled to see them on recent visits to Ghana. Through email and Facebook I'm in touch with their children.
After the PC I received an MA in African history at UCLA. Since then I've worked in education often including the teaching of French and African history. I've retired from 4J as an elementary school teacher, am active in local organizations, and remain a student of African history.
Dorothy is a longtime member of WCPCA and has served in several board offices. She is currently the president.