A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley
My name is Charlie, and I am a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in the Dominican Republic. It is with great pleasure that I invite you to join current Peace Corps Volunteers, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, staff and others for the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic.
The 50th Anniversary celebration in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on February 7-10 of 2012 will provide you with the opportunity to reflect over your Peace Corps experience, reconnect with fellow RPCVs, and to learn about what projects are shaping the service of volunteers today. Come join us for this historic occasion where you can take part in panel discussions, an artisan fair, and one of the many excursions we have planed to reacquaint you with the sun soaked country you once called home.
Participate in the history that you helped create, and share what made your Peace Corps service memorable! For more information and to register please visit the 50th Anniversary website at http://50th.fotdr.org/
I look forward to seeing you in February!
02 OCTOBER 2011
I spent all day yesterday exploring the wonders of the region of Turkey where I live. My neighbors arranged an outing & invited several of their fellow ETAs to join us. They all arrived on Friday evening/night, and some of them crashed in my living room, so I awoke to 4 strangers on my couch & chairs, but none of them tried to kill me in my sleep, so I figured they were harmless.
We set out at 7 AM & stopped for breakfast around 8, at a restaurant where the doors apparently don't close. It was freezing, but very tasty.
Our next stop was a 500-600 year old tree. Sadly, lots of people have carved their names & other random messages in it, but it's still pretty amazing.
After that, we headed for a cave city that was built during the first century. There are all kinds of benches & beds carved right into the walls of the caves.
Our next destination was an old Roman bridge. There was a nice informational sign that probably gave lots of pertinent details, like the age of the bridge, but it was too worn away to be readable. There was, however, a sign with the name of the bridge:
Climb Every Mountain By Wendy Nelson (continued)
I choose to believe he was a long-lost ancestor of Professor Snape. There were also a couple of panels with words carved in them, but again, they were too worn to be legible, even if I did know how to read ancient Latin.
The last stop of the day - after lunch - was the one we'd all been looking forward to: Mount Nemrut. Also from the 1st century, it has several carved stone heads that used to be on top of carved stone bodies. The bodies are still upright, but the heads fell off at some point, so are now arranged at the feet of the bodies.
The drive up the mountain was one of the more terrifying rides of my life. It's basically a one-lane road with dozens of hairpin turns & a fairly sheer drop-off. Our driver was great, but it was still pretty scary. When we finally got to the parking lot, it was about 1 1/2 hours before sunset, so we strolled up to the top & wandered among the ruins, then climbed up on one of the rocks & watched the sunset over the mountains. Then we raced back down while there was still enough light to see the path, and discovered that the road back down is much safer than the one up.
We stopped for a late dinner at the same place where we had breakfast - still freezing, still tasty - then got home around midnight. All the visitors headed home this morning, and I've been nursing my sore quads all day.
In all, I'd say it was a great way to start exploring Turkey. Next week, Ankara!
From The Board
Sunday, December 4 Potluck
WCPCA member, Joe Hindman, was the west coast representative to the NPCA Board of Directors for several years. His term has concluded and a new representative, Darryl Johnson (Thailand 1963-65), has been elected to replace him. Darryl is from Burien, WA, and has been active in the Seattle RPCV group, SEAPAX. He shared the following information for the November NPCA newsletter.
"Serving in Thailand was challenging and fulfilling; a life-changing experience," Darryl says, "I re-connected with the Peace Corps through NPCA, serving on the Board for the past year representing the Asia-Pacific region, and through SEAPAX, which is very active. I am familiar with how much more there is to do for NPCA following this 50th anniversary year, especially in the areas of membership, funding and mission."
Darryl had a distinguished career as a Foreign Service Officer culminating in his service as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand, 2001-2004. His resume is available online.
We'll invite Darryl to take part in a WCPCA activity in Eugene next year so that we'll all have a chance to meet him.
"Corps Values" is an excellent article by Alice Tallmadge in the winter issue of the Oregon Quarterly. The article describes the 50 year history of the Peace Corps on the U of O campus. Approximately 1,000 U of O graduates have joined the Peace Corps since its founding. The author interviewed several of them and has recounted their experiences and the perspectives that they gained in their service. Lovely photos are included in the article.
WCPCA members can thank the author for noting the organization's efforts in Eugene to fulfill the Peace Corps' third goal, "to bring the world back home."
The article is available online. Unfortunately the article's excellent photos are largely missing from the online version.
Communications Coordinator, Felicia Kenney, will prepare the WCPCA 2012 membership directory in January. It will be published as a .pdf file and will be distributed only to members via email. Those who want a paper copy may print their own.
All WCPCA members in good standing will be included in the directory. If you owe dues, be sure to pay them by the end of the year so that your name will appear in the directory. We especially welcome new members in December so that they may be included in the 2012 directory. Details about how to renew or join are below. But first the case for renewing or joining.
WCPCA currently has approximately 140 members of whom about 110 pay dues. The organization needs the ongoing support of a core membership so that dues will cover basic operational expenses: website, printing and postage, outreach activities such as potlucks, participation in the Eugene Celebration and presentations, and special events such as the March 1st 50th anniversary celebration. The board has kept dues low to encourage membership but we count on the Peace Corps community to compliment the low cost of dues with a robust membership. We are close to the point at which dues will fully cover expenses but we haven't yet reached that goal yet. The board encourages more RPCVs to join the organization so that our fundraising proceeds may be fully directed to awarding grants to humanitarian programs throughout the world.
To join WCPCA or pay dues to renew your membership you may send a check made out to the organization to WCPCA, P.O. Box 5462, Eugene, 97405. Annual individual memberships are $15 and family memberships are $22. You may also join or renew using Paypal on the website, http://www.westcascadepca.org. Click on "Membership" in the sidebar. Note that if you renew using Paypal you will need to fill out the membership form once more.
Several categories of RPCVs pay no dues when joining WCPCA. These are active PC trainees or PCVs, students, and anyone joining for the first time. If you are in one of these groups you may join by sending your contact information to the postal mailing address above or to firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out the membership form that you'll find on the website. On the form you will indicate your category.
If your contact information has changed in the last year, please let us know so that the information in the directory will be up to date. You can do this by sending the information to email@example.com or by filling out the Membership Update Form on the membership page of the website.
We encourage all members to send in a short biography to include in the directory (143 characters). Please mention your current activities, ie school, work, volunteer work, etc. as well as general interests. This will make the directory a better networking tool. You can email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the Membership Update Form on the membership page of the website.
Please help us prepare the directory early in the new year by joining, renewing, or updating your contact information or bio by the end of December. Many, many thanks in advance.
Our primary fundraising activities this year are the sale of the international calendars published by the Madison WI RPCV group and of the 50th anniversary tee shirts designed by James Cloutier. WCPCA uses the proceeds from these sales to fund humanitarian projects throughout the world. This year the board awarded five grants totaling approximately $3,500. Your purchase will contribute to our awards in 2012 while securing holiday gifts for your globally minded family members and friends.
This year's calendars are spectacular with photos from the 13 original Peace Corps host countries of 1961. Dozens of international holidays are listed on the days of their celebration. Calendars sell for $12 each but purchases of five or more lowers the price to $10 each. You may buy calendars at the December potluck, through Paypal on the website (with postage included), http://www.westcascadepca.org, or directly from Dorothy Soper through, email@example.com.
The remaining 50th tee shirts along with tee shirts of other designs will also be available at the potluck. Wear a tee shirt that makes a statement as you jog in Eugene!
Your purchase of calendars and shirts along with donations have contributed to these grants which totaled $3,500 in 2011. Approximately $1,200 of this amount came from distributions of the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund. The board seeks to support the projects of PCVs from Oregon when possible. A full description of the projects is on the "Projects" page of the website, http://www.westcascadepca.org.