A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley

December 2011

Upcoming Events

  • December 1: WCPCA Discussion Group from 6:30 - 8:00 PM at 449 Blair, New Day Bakery
  • December 4: WCPCA December Potluck from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at the home of Dale Morse and Leslie Mittelberg, 31160 Foxridge Lane, Eugene
  • December 5: WCPCA December Board Meeting from 7:00 - 9:00 PM at the home of Dorothy Soper
  • December 15: WCPCA Discussion Group from 6:30 - 8:00 PM at 449 Blair, New Day Bakery

In This Issue

From The Board

From Members and the Wider World

ReConnections is the monthly newsletter of the West Cascade Peace Corps Association (WCPCA) and can be found online at http://www.westcascadepca.org under the "News" heading. If you have a question about the WCPCA, would no longer like to receive the newsletter or are interested in becoming more involved with the WCPCA, please contact info@westcascadepca.org.

Contributions to ReConnections are always welcome, although the editor and the WCPCA board reserve the right to choose what will and will not be published. Generally, if it relates to the Peace Corps or to the WCPCA's goals (see the bylaws and constitution for more information), we would be happy to publish it. Please send contributions to newsletter@westcascadepca.org.

Editor: Felicia Kenney
Assistant Editor: Keith Beyer

Friends Of The DR To Celebrate 50 Years Of Peace Corps In The Dominican Republic


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!

Charles Thompson
Peace Corps Volunteer, Dominican Republic

Click image to enlarge

Climb Every Mountain By Wendy Nelson

WCPCA member Wendy Nelson is now living and working in Malatya, Turkey as an English language fellow. Below you can read about one of her adventures in Turkey.

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
Photo Flashback of Peace Corps Memories

We look forward to a good crowd at our last potluck of the year: Sunday, December 4th, 6-9 pm, at the home of Dale Morse and Leslie Mittleberg, 31160 Foxridge Lane, Eugene. Come for a good meal, lively conversation, an entertaining program, and the brief annual membership meeting. You'll find driving directions on the calendar page of our website, http://www.westcascadepca.org.

RPCVs are encouraged to send two or three digital images from their Peace Corps days to maggie@pacinfo.com. Maggie will queue these up in slide show, alphabetical by last name, and members will have an opportunity to spend a few minutes sharing Peace Corps lore. Sneak preview: Dorothy Soper pets a crocodile in Ghana, James Cloutier rides a government issued Triumph Tiger Cub motorcycle in Kenya, and Joe Hindman visits pygmies in the Central African Republic.

The Pot Luck will also feature a brief business meeting. Jim Beyer, as the nominating committee, will present a slate of members who are candidates for the 2012 WCPCA board of directors (see brief bios below). The election of the board will be by voice vote. There will also be a brief summary of the year's activities and an update on Peace Corps recruiting activities at the U of O. Members will have an opportunity to indicate interests that they would like to bring to the board's attention.

Proposed slate of 2012 board members:

  • Dorothy Soper, President
  • Maggie Keenan, Vice President
  • Miriam Aiken, Secretary
  • Dale Morse, Treasurer
  • Felicia Kenney, Communications Coordinator

At large members:

  • Keith Beyer
  • James Cloutier
  • Josette Green

Ex officio member:
Hannah Klausman, Peace Corps Recruiter, University of Oregon

New West Coast RPCV Representative For The National Peace Corps Association's Board Of Directors

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" In The Oregon Quarterly, Winter 2011, Highlights The Peace Corps At The U Of O

"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.

WCPCA Membership Directory For 2012 And Membership In WCPCA

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 info@westcascadepca.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 info@westcascadepca.org 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 info@westcascadepca.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.

Calendars And 50th Tee Shirts For Sale At The December Potluck And Beyond

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, info@westcascadepca.org.

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!

Awards Made By The WCPCA In 2011 To Humanitarian Projects Throughout The World

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.

  • Expanding Educational Resources (a high school resource room for teaching English) in the Kyrgyz Republic, $960
  • Sustainable Cookstoves (making smoke free adobe stoves for home kitchens) in Peru, $1,000
  • Powerful Peruvians 2012 Calendar (creating a calendar to celebrate the work of Peruvian women and teaching classes to empower women), Peru, $500
  • Camp ALMA (Actividades de Liderazgo para Mujeres Adolescentes) which will train young women in leadership skills, Peru, $500
  • School of Leadership (educating women to prepare them for a college education in the US), Afghanistan/US, $500