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

May 2012

Coming Events

  • May 3: Discussion group, 6:30-8:30 pm, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair
  • May 4: NOM (nominee) Party, an annual potluck/party to honor newly appointed PC trainees from this area, organized by the U of O Peace Corps recruiter's office and WCPCA, 6-9 pm, Wesley Center, 1236 Kincaid St., behind the U of O Duck Store
  • May 14: WCPCA board meeting, 7-9 pm at the home of Dorothy Soper
  • May 17: Discussion group, 6:30-8:30 pm, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair
  • June 11: WCPCA board meeting, 7-9 pm at the home of Dorothy Soper

In this Issue

From The Board

From Members and the Wider World

Volunteer Opportities

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 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.

Editors:Keith Beyer, Deb Jones, Dorothy Soper
Newsletter Design: Felicia Kenney

U of O Street Faire and Peace Corps Recruiting

On May 2, 3, and 4 the bustling U of O Street Faire will take place on campus along 13th Street and will include a Peace Corps recruiting booth. WCPCA members have a tradition of helping staff the booth and thus enjoying the opportunity to meet prospective PCVs, talk about the Peace Corps, and learn Peace Corps updates from the recruiters in Eugene and Seattle who will be there.

U of O Peace Corps recruiter, Hannah Klausman, is organizing this recruiting activity. She would like the booth to be staffed by two people at a time working in two hour shifts from 9:45 am to 5:00 pm. The booth will be located near the intersection of 13th and Kincaid. Hannah will provide the basic information that you'll need regarding current Peace Corps activities and requirements and the application process.

This is a good opportunity to get updated on current Peace Corps programs and activities and to enjoy meeting prospective PCVs. Sign up here in a Google document on which you can see the full schedule and record and save your preferred volunteer times and dates.

Hannah will confirm your choice. Many thanks in advance for your time and interest.

NOM - for nominees - Potluck Party to Celebrate New Peace Corps Trainees on Friday, May 4th

The annual NOM (for nominees) potluck party to honor new Peace Corps traineesfrom the area will be on Friday, May 4th, 6-9 pm, at the Wesley Center,1236 Kincaid St., immediately behind the U of O Duck Store.

The potluck party will be cosponsored by the U of O Peace Corps recruiter's office and WCPCA. Honored guests will be the newly nominated trainees and their families. This will be an excellent opportunity for them to meet returned volunteers from all eras and learn about Peace Corps experiences and perspectives. There will be a program exploring Peace Corps themes. We look forward to a good turnout. Please bring a dish to share.

Plates, cups, and utensils will be provided. Parking is available in U of O parking lots after 6 pm except for individually reserved parking places. There is a large U of O parking lot at Kincaid and 14th Streets. Note that street parking meters often require payment until 8 pm.

Volunteers needed to help organize the NOM party

The NOM party is a festive event that requires some organization of furniture and decorating. We have volunteers to handle the event itself but are still in need of volunteers with strong backs to help move furniture, which is a requirement when we use the Wesley Center, and to help decorate.

If you can help for 20 to 30 minutes starting at 5 pm on Friday, May 4th, at the Wesley Center, 1236 Kincaid, please let us know by emailing info@westcascadepca.org and writing "NOM party" in the subject line.

Many thanks in advance.

Jamaica in Eugene

Many thanks to Amy Small for her enthusiastic presentation at the April 13th pot luck on her recent service in Jamaica. In classic Peace Corps style, Amy embraced work beyond her initial assignment. She set up school garden projects, rallied beach clean ups, and joined a team of expats conducting research in deep, dark, caves. She rappelled, solo, hundreds of feet down into a cave full of "scary stuff." And had photos to prove it.

Amy's husband Michael, a Jamaican, was at the pot luck and added his own take on the Caribbean nation. Many thanks to Amy and Michael for a riveting presentation!

Maggie Keenan

Cleanup Fun at Chefs' Night Out

Thank you to all the WCPCA members and friends who participated in the fundraiser, Chefs' Night Out, held at the Hult Center on April 10th by Food for Lane County. Thanks to Miriam Aiken, Rich Wiget, Dolly Marshall, Lana Lindstran, Patty MacAfee, Easther Chigumira, Mike Mooser, James Cloutier, and Dale Morse. We all enjoyed the restaurant and winery samples, and then helped pitch in with the clean up. We hope more can join us to volunteer for the event next year. I enjoyed my first year organizing our crew.

Vince Ceccacci


Your membership is important to WCPCA because dues support our operations leaving income from fundraising available to fund humanitarian projects. We've kept dues low to attract a robust membership. They vary from an annual $15 for an individual and $22 for a family, to free memberships for students, first year members no matter their years of service, and active Peace Corps trainees and volunteers. Since WCPCA is a non-profit organization, dues are tax deductible.

Any interested party may receive the newsletter and use the website but only members are listed in the annual membership directory and receive a copy of the directory. Since the directory is an excellent networking tool, we hope that it will attract those of you who read the newsletter and haven't yet joined to become members.

You can join the organization or renew your membership through the website, www.westcascadepca.org, using PayPal, or by sending a check made out to the organization to P.O. Box 5462, Eugene 97405. You don't need a PayPal account to renew online.

Membership renewal notices are sent to members by email within a few weeks of the members' anniversary dates for joining WCPCA. Notices come from Miriam Aiken, a new person on the WCPCA membership committee. We hope that everyone will renew promptly and provide us with updated contact information (if applicable) and a short bio to include in the directory.

At this point in the year, we have about 140 members of whom 16 are students, 24 are first year members, and a few are PC trainees or volunteers. These categories represent over 28 percent of our membership, so only about 100 of you are dues paying. Twenty five (25) renewals are pending in April and May. We hope that you'll renew!

If you have any questions, please contact me by using this email address info@westcascadepca.org and writing "Membership" in the subject line. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Miriam Aiken

Peace Corps Partnership Project in Rwanda Funded

At its April meeting the board awarded $835 to Guitar Workshop, a Peace Corps Partnership project at a boarding school in Rwanda. The project director, Tyler Russ, is from Canby, OR and is a recent graduate of Portland State University. He's a guitar player and his project will establish a program to teach students and colleagues to play the guitar and train some of them to, in turn, teach others. Funds will be used solely to purchase guitars. Tyler has found a local guitar maker and hopes to able to purchase the guitars from him.

The board was pleased to be able to fund the project fully and thus allow Tyler to launch his project immediately. There is a full description of the project on the website. We emailed Tyler to tell him of our contribution to the project and received a thank you email in reply of which a portion to quoted below:

"Thank you for your generous contribution. I will try to make some photos and videos available when I can. I don't personally have a camera of any kind, but some cameras are available from the school administration and other PCVs.

"The second term of the school year will start on Monday, April 23rd. I hope to have the guitar workshop rolling within the first few weeks of the term. Student selection, making final purchases and then actually starting the workshop with the students. Hopefully this can be done within 3-4 weeks.

"I'll be in Kampala taking a GRE exam on the 21st, so I think you can imagine that I'm fairly busy at the moment. But I've already found a workshop in Kigali where the man there makes guitars himself by hand. I was skeptical at first, but I tried them out and their tone is very good. They will make great practice/beginner guitars."

Tyler Russ

Summer help needed with the newsletter and the Eugene Celebration

We still need one or two people who can help assemble the copy for the monthly newsletter and arrange it in final form. We hope to rotate this responsibility among a small group so that everyone will have a turn every two to three months. The job should take 3-4 hours per month. Basic computer skills are necessary. If you are willing to help, please send an email to info@westcascadepca.org and write "Newsletter" in the subject line. Thank you in advance.

We'll need a group to design, manage, and staff the booth at the Eugene Celebration on August 24-26. This is the best opportunity that we'll have this year to offer information about Peace Corps service and opportunities to the community. With this effort we are truly bringing the world back home and perhaps helping to send some people off to discover a new part of the world. Planning should start in mid-summer. We have lots of history to build on but welcome new ideas. Please let us know if you can help in this lively activity by emailing info@westcascadepca.org and writing "Eugene Celebration" in the subject line. Many thanks in advance.

WCPCA's new "Forever Peace Corps" tee shirts on sale now

With the April potluck WCPCA unveiled the new "Forever Peace Corps" tee shirt designed by James Cloutier. The shirts will be available to purchase at the NOM party and future WCPCA gatherings as well as through the website. You can purchase one at any time by letting us know of your interest via email at info@westcascadepca.org and writing "tee shirt" in the subject line.

The shirts are a beautiful spring blue color, 100% cotton, with the design printed in four colors. The front features the West Cascade dove and a quotation from President John Kennedy's inaugural address (1961), "My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you but what together we can do for the freedom of man." The back shows a graphic of JFK against the background of a world map, the Peace Corps name, and the following quotation (1963), "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on."

The board felt that the quotations are as relevant today as they were fifty years ago. We hope that you'll share this view and want to wear the shirt to commemorate the Peace Corps' legacy while making a positive contribution to current civic discourse. We ask your support for WCPCA's work by purchasing a shirt and wearing it proudly as an inspiring addition to your spring wardrobe.

Tee shirt sales will be a major fundraiser for WCPCA this year. The board will dedicate the total profit from the sales to funding humanitarian projects such as those that we have recently funded in Vanuatu and Rwanda. The price of an individual shirt is $20 plus $3 per shirt for mailing if necessary. A wholesale price for a dozen or more shirts will be $16 per shirt plus $16 per box for mailing a box that will hold up to 15 shirts. We hope to enlist the interest of other RPCV groups as well as businesses in selling the shirts.

Dorothy Soper and James Cloutier

Summer on the Horizon

As you think about summer plans the board hopes that you recall that WCPCA is planning a campout for the Northwest regional RPCV groups, August 2-5, at Sunset Bay near Coos Bay. WCPCA member, Sam Greer, who is a resident of the area will oversee the activities. Registration for this activity is now open on the website. Space is limited so please check the website if you are interested.

We'll have a picnic in August and plans will be publicized soon.

The month of August will conclude with the Eugene Celebration, August 24-26. This will be an excellent opportunity for WCPCA members and friends to reach out to the community as we march in the parade on Saturday morning and have an information booth in the Community Causeway on Saturday and Sunday. The board encourages all of you to join our group in the parade to carry flags and wear traditional dress of your country of service or the new WCPCA "Peace Corps Forever" tee shirt. Children are most welcome to join in the parade.

Discussion Group's Activities

Last month, some members of the WCPCA discussion group attended the Science Pub night at Cozmic Pizza and are talking about going regularly. For those who don't know about the Science Pub, it is a monthly event put on by OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and co-sponsored by the Science Factory and the U of O, and held at Cozmic Pizza. As the name suggests, they cover a wide range of science topics.

The talk that we went to was on the neurochemistry of human attraction (and that of voles too!). It was very interesting and very accessible, even for people who haven't studied neurochemistry. The next discussion will be on an Antarctic fish and how its strange adaptation to its environment could provide clues for scientists looking for treatments for human diseases.

If you'd like to join us, you can either try to find us in the crowd (I'll have brightly colored hair, probably pink or purple) at Cozmic Pizza on May 10th at 7 pm (we'll be there at 6:30, as it gets packed quickly) or drop me an email and we can save you a seat.

You can find more information about the Science Pub in general on OMSI's website.

More information on the next talk is here

Felicia Kenney, Benin 2003-4

Portland's Rose Festival and the Grand Floral Parade, June 9th

Columbia River Peace Corps Association based in Portland has been invited once again to join the Grand Floral Parade on June 9th. RPCVs from other areas are invited to join. If you are interested go to www.crpca.org, to read about the event and how you might apply to take part. Also see the organization's bright new tee shirt designed by James Cloutier.

Attention all Thailand RPCVs

Peace Corps Thailand will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in Bangkok this coming July. Friends of Thailand is trying to locate ALL the Peace Corps Volunteers/Staff who served in the Kingdom. (If you are already on our mailing list, please pass this message along to your friends who served in Thailand.)

Contact Friends of Thailand c/o Carolyn Nickels-Cox (Thai 34), 1418 Striped Bass Street, Unit D, San Francisco, CA 94130 or carolynnickels@earthlink.net. For more information on Friends of Thailand, go to friendsofthailand.org .

Former PCV jailed in Nicaragua

WCPCA member, Andrew Dempsey-Clark, wants to call to our attention the situation of a former PCV who is in prison in Nicaragua. You can read the petition for his release here.