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

September 2012

Coming Events

  • Thursday, September 6, 4:00-6:30 pm (note different time): WCPCA discussion group, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair
  • Monday, September 10, 7-9 pm: WCPCA board meeting at the home of Dorothy Soper
  • Thursday, September 13, 6:30 pm: NEW! West Cascades Book Group
  • Thursday, September 20, 6:30-8:30 pm: WCPCA discussion group, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair
  • Friday, October 12, 6-9 pm: Potluck with program about a PC project in Senegal at the home of Nancy and Walt Meyer

In this Issue

From The Board

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

NEW! West Cascades Book Group - Starting soon!

We will meet every other month (months without potlucks) reading and discussing books written by RPCVs and/or relating to Peace Corps. Our first meeting will be: to plan a schedule, map out a few books, discuss meeting places/homes, and format for discussion.

The first meeting will take place on Thursday, September 13, 6:30 pm. My address is: 383 Hunington Ave., Eugene. Directions: south on Donald, the first right after Ventura (if you go up the steep hill to Fox Hollow, you've gone too far), my condo is in the first building near the sign as you enter. Call with questions: (541) 510-8862.

Patty Mac Afee

October potluck

Mark your calendars! Our next potluck will be at 6 pm on Friday, October 12, at the home of Nancy and Walt Meyer, 3987 Brae Burn Drive.

Join us to welcome fall, our new WCPCA members, and newly returning PCVs. We'll enjoy a presentation by Kourtney Rusow, WCPCA member and RPCV from Senegal, 2010-2012, where she served in the arid, sandy countryside.

Kourtney is also an alum of the Masters International program of Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine where she matriculated this May.

Senegal was in the throes of political change during her service, and Kourtney will speak about her experiences serving in this climate, as well as how being in a Master's program affected her service. Her main projects included working with new media and project coordination for the multi-million dollar Stomp Out Malaria Initiative that began in Senegal.

Please bring a dish to share. Plates, cups, and utensils will be provided. For directions to the Meyers' home, please see the calendar section of the website.

Many thanks to Nancy and Walt for hosting the potluck!

Josette Green, Program Co-chair

WCPCA leadership in 2013

2012 has been a busy and productive year for WCPCA. We've maintained our membership at 140 and engaged in several activities to support the local Peace Corps community while reaching out to the larger community to "bring the world back home." In this newsletter you'll read about the warm reception that the organization has received in its recent outreach efforts.

As we approach the fall, it's time to talk about leadership for next year. The scope of the organization's activities in 2013 will depend entirely upon the depth of its leadership.

Current activities include organizing six potluck dinners with programs in the year, supporting the work of the U of O Peace Corps recruiter including organizing an annual party to celebrate the new Peace Corps trainees (the NOM party), organizing a parade entry and a booth at the Eugene Celebration, publishing a newsletter, organizing membership support, and selling tee shirts and international calendars to fund humanitarian programs throughout the world, and more.

Leadership for 2013 will be the first topic on the board's agenda at its meeting on September 10th. If you're willing to learn more about leadership opportunities and possibly to assume one or more leadership responsibilities, please let a board member know or, better yet, attend the board meeting. We need to hear from potential leaders at this time.

Thanks for thinking about this important topic.

Dorothy Soper, WCPCA President

Benefits of WCPCA membership

WCPCA members, as well as those on the mailing list who aren't members, receive all of the WCPCA communications and are welcome at all of its activities. But only members are listed and with contact information in the annual membership directory which is circulated only to members as a .pdf file.

When you want to contact someone whose name you see in the newsletter or find out who was a PCV in a certain country, having the membership directory is a great convenience.

Your membership dues also support WCPCA's essential work to maintain a presence in the community and to support humanitarian projects, usually those of PCVs from Oregon during their Peace Corps service.

Thus the board encourages local RPCVs and friends of the Peace Corps to join the organization. Annual dues are low ($15 for an individual; $22 for a family) and there are several categories of free memberships including those for students, PCVs and trainees, and first year members.

The newly revised membership page on the website makes it easy to join, renew, or update your contact information online. Members' including a brief bio statement make the directory even more useful.

If you receive this newsletter and don't yet belong to WCPCA, please consider taking this step!

Miriam Aiken, Membership Chair

Basking in the August picnic's sunshine

Many thanks to Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi for their warm and sunny hospitality as they welcomed us to their home and poolside for the August picnic.

About 25 of us enjoyed the setting, the barbecue, and potluck salads and desserts, the opportunity to visit with each other and to learn from two newly returned PCVs about their programs.

Kerry Davis spoke about her educational program in Vanuatu, 2009-2011, and Jennifer Knowles talked to us about her teaching and recycling experience in Macedonia, 2009-2011.

The two countries represented are relatively new Peace Corps host countries and this was an excellent opportunity for us to learn about them. A frequent situation within the developing world was illustrated. As PCVs both Kerry and Jennifer had internet connections and used cell phones while also struggling with poor supplies of water and electricity.

August regional Peace Corps campout

Many thanks from WCPCA to member, Sam Greer, who organized the 22nd annual northwest regional RPCV campout. We all appreciate his efforts and good cheer and can report that the camping space sold out and Sam stayed within the budget while having fun. Sam shares some thoughts about the adventure below.

South Coast RPCV Campout Report

The weather was great for another successful regional August campout at Sunset Bay State Park with the West Cascade PCA as hosts. We had 52 campers including a dozen kids, and spent the weekend enjoying the seaside by wading, hiking, biking, sightseeing, kiting and sand castle building; visits were also made to Charleston Harbor, Cape Arago, and Shore Acres Park.

The WCPCA cooks and crew - Diane and Erik Jeffcott, Dale Dow, Vern Delk, Patty MacAfee, Penny Moblo, Joe Hindman and I - had the help of Boiseans Susan Mason and Daniel Snyderman with Saturday's dinner. Taking advantage of some of the 24 countries represented, rice bowls were served with a choice of chili with toppings, vegetarian curry, or Thai crab stew.

A new tradition was begun on Sunday with a breakfast provided by the Spokane group who will be the hosts for the August 2013 campout; it's hoped that this precedent will continue with the next host group making a small morning meal for the departing campers.

Sam Greer

WCPCA at the Oregon Country Fair

We're indebted to WCPCA member, Andrew Dempsey-Karp, for his work to coordinate WCPCA's participation in the Oregon Country Fair. Below Andrew fills us in on the activities. .......

July marked the WCPCA's second year at the Oregon Country Fair's Peace and Justice booth in the Community Village.

The purpose of the Peace Corps' presence was to promote the WCPCA by connecting with additional RPCVs and to provide information about the Peace Corps to prospective applicants.

RPCVs Nancy and Walt Meyer (Mexico, 2006-08), Eva Miller (Dominican Republic 2008-10 & Peace Corps Response: El Salvador 2011-12), Jeem Peterson (Solomon Islands, 1995-97) Kourtney Rusow (Senegal, 2010-2012), and Genealle Visagorskis (Lithuania, 1997-99) volunteered at the booth and were a tremendous help in speaking with the public. Nick Fleury (Cameroon 2000-02 & Tanzania 2002-04) was also a part of the Peace and Justice booth, volunteering for Food for Lane County. In total, fifteen RPCVs visited the booth and we connected with twelve potential PC applicants.

Andrew Dempsey-Karp

WCPCA in the Eugene Celebration

WCPCA maintained a longstanding (maybe 25 years) tradition with its participation in the 2012 Eugene Celebration. With the sunny weather and the contributions of twenty members or so the organization did, indeed, bring the world back home.

James Cloutier and Wayne Thompson organized the WCPCA entry in the parade on Saturday morning. About 20 RPCVs carrying flags of current and former Peace Corps host countries and Peace Corps posters, all the while propelling the venerable WCPCA Peace Corps bus, called attention to Peace Corps service throughout the world. The entry received a warm welcome by those watching the parade.

WCPCA maintained a booth in the Community Causeway on Saturday and Sunday. A large world map was displayed and RPCV visitors placed a pin in their country of service. The map was a focus for many Peace Corps discussions at the booth.

We also invited the public to play a geography game developed by Evangelina Sundgrenz and for which several members contributed questions. Great merriment here. In which former Peace Corps host country will you find Timbuktu?

U of O Peace Corps recruiter, Hannah Klausman, who helped staff the booth and supplied Peace Corps handouts, brought us up to date on Peace Corps facts and figures.

There was a steady stream of passers by, most of whom had a serious interest in the Peace Corps or who were themselves RPCVs. About 15 of the latter asked to be added to the WCPCA mailing list. We hope to see them again. We welcomed two new members who joined the organization while still at the booth.

Many thanks from the board to all of the people listed below who contributed to the organization's presence at the 2012 Eugene Celebration: Gwen Bailey, Sandy Belson, Vince Ceccacci, James Cloutier, Laurel Fleet, Josette Green, Hannah Klausman, Jennifer Knowles, Lori Matthew, Dale Morse, Kourtney Rusow, Howard Schuman, Dorothy Soper, Evangelina Sundgrenz, Anita Tanner, Wayne Thompson, and Bob Watada.

2013 international calendars on sale

Once again WCPCA is selling international calendars published by the Madison, Wisconsin RPCV group. With photos from current and former Peace Corps host countries, and day by day listings of holidays from countries and cultures throughout the world, the calendar is a work of art and a resource that celebrates ties of friendship created by Peace Corps service.

The 2013 calendars are now available from WCPCA. The price for an individual calendar is $12. Five or more calendars may be purchased for $10 each. The calendars are ideal gifts for your internationally minded family members and friends. Teachers, especially, welcome them in a classroom setting.

The cover photo is of a child in Gabon. Inside you'll find photos and information about the following countries: Argentina, Botswana, China, Czech Republic, Gabon, Ghana, Indonesia, Mali, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, and Romania.

You may purchase calendars at WCPCA events in Eugene, through Paypal on the WCPCA website (with a mailing cost of $3 per calendar added), or directly from a WCPCA member. To inquire please send an email to info@westcascadepca.org and write "Calendar" in the subject line.

WCPCA funds a Peace Corps Partnership project

In August the WCPCA board donated $500 to the Peace Corps Partnership project in Vanautu of Oregon PCV, Nick Farr. The project is "Vanuatu Rural Water System Development."

In doing this the board redirected the sum originally donated to a project in Kenya that was subsequently cancelled. This second donation brings our total contribution to the Vanuatu project to $1,000. Board members thought that the scope and need for the project merited continued support.

Funds for these awards came from distributions of the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund that was created with generous gifts to WCPCA and whose sole purpose is to support humanitarian programs.

Beryl was a PCV in Afghanistan (1967-69), a founding member of WCPCA, and one of its most tireless leaders for over twenty years. The awards given in her name will honor her legacy of fighting poverty and building peace.