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

October 2012

Coming Events

  • October 10-12: U of O Street Faire on campus, EMU outdoor amphitheater
  • October 11: Discussion group, 6:30 pm, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair
  • October 12: Potluck with program about a PC project in Senegal, 6 pm at the home of Nancy and Walt Meyer
  • October 25: Discussion group, 6:30 pm, New Day Bakery, 449 Blair
  • November 5: Bookgroup, 7pm, home of Patty MacAfee

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

A fall overview

Fall brings the WCPCA membership several activities including opportunities to support the work of the U of O Peace Corps recruiter, to socialize at two potlucks where we'll learn about the Peace Corps programs of our members, and to join topical small group discussions.

The U of O recruiter, Hannah Klausman, will give an update on Peace Corps procedures and programs to those who sign up to take part in the Street Faire at the U of O. Our first potluck will be on October 12th and we hope that newly returned PCVs and prospective PCVs whom we meet at the Street Faire will join us. Kourtney Rusow will tell us about her recent PC program in Senegal.

Our second potluck in December will give members from all decades of Peace Corps service an opportunity to share up to four slides (digitized) along with a sprightly narrative about their Peace Corps work. We did this last year and thought that it was great fun. You'll learn just how to do this next month.

We're looking for members to join the 2013 board next year. We hope that several of you will volunteer to organize WCPCA's activities and bring new ideas to the table.

Please read about these opportunities in the articles below.

Calling all RPCV's, it's FALL STREET FAIRE TIME!

It's once again fall and the leaves are starting to turn and that means thousands of eager students have returned to campus in search of what they will do upon graduation. The university's fall Street Faire is a wonderful opportunity for returned volunteers to talk with new and graduating students about the exciting option of joining the Peace Corps.

As always, I am looking for some volunteers to help out with manning our booth. This year we will be located around other non-profits in the EMU outdoor amphitheater. The fair takes place Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, October 10th-12th. The booth will be open from 10am-5pm each day. Having two volunteers at a time is the most fun. Each shift will be approximately 2.5 hours and believe me the time flies.

You can fill in your time on the link below to a scheduling document on Doodle, or simply send me an email with your available times. Thank you in advance for your assistance with this and continuing the great collaboration between the University of Oregon Peace Corps recruiting efforts and the WCPCA. I look forward to seeing you there.

Scheduling link is here.


Hannah Klausman
University of Oregon
Peace Corps Representative 220
Hendricks Hall 541-346-6026

October 12 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 in south Eugene.

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

Serving on the 2013 WCPCA board

WCPCA board service is for a calendar year and so the membership will elect a new board for 2013 at the December potluck. A few members of the current board would like to continue but we'll need several new people to join the board for 2013 to maintain our customary activities.

Knowing that our membership is a busy group, the current board is recommending that board sponsored activities be reduced next year. At its September meeting the board and five guests from the membership reached a consensus to recommend to the 2013 board the following level of activity:

  • quarterly board meetings, potlucks, and newsletters supplemented by emails to the membership as necessary
  • continued outreach activities to support the U of O Peace Corps recruiter, participate in the Eugene Celebration, and volunteer for Food for Lane County as long as there are members willing to take responsibility for these activities
  • continued fundraising to support humanitarian projects as long as there are members willing to take responsibility for these activities
Note that we will continue to fund humanitarian projects with distributions from the endowed Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund. Fundraising supplements these distributions.

The 2012 board understands that it can't decide the program for 2013 but we'll use these recommendations as the basis for recruiting members to serve on the 2013 board.

To allow for the implementation of these recommendations we'll ask the membership to approve at one of the fall potlucks a limited change in the wording of the organization's constitution and bylaws which now call for monthly board meetings. The suggested new wording will be distributed to the membership via email prior to the relevant potluck. Please read the email to be familiar with the proposed changes.

We're now actively looking for members who would like to serve on the 2013 board. We can assure the membership that WCPCA is organizationally and financially in good order and rotating board service among the members will help maintain this healthy situation. You'll find information about the membership and our financial situation in articles below.

We hope that each of you will consider serving on the board for one to two years and thus taking a turn to keep this outstanding organization in good stead. New ideas and interests are always welcome. If you are interested please contact a board member or let us know at one of the potlucks. Many thanks to all of you for being willing to take a turn on the board.

Dorothy Soper, President

Treasurer's report

WCPCA treasurer, Dale Morse, reported at the September board meeting a total balance of $5,826 in the organization's OCCU checking and savings accounts. There is a balance of $121 in a separate savings account in which funds are reserved for awards to humanitarian projects.

As of August 1, 2012 the value of the endowed Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund invested at the Oregon Community Foundation was $26,416. WCPCA receives annual distributions from this fund of approximately $1,100 which are always placed in the savings account for funds restricted to awards for humanitarian projects.

A humanitarian program that receives an award from the distributions of the memorial fund is so identified in its writeup on the WCPCA website.

Membership update

Membership chair, Miriam Aiken, reported at the September board meeting that total membership is holding steady at 140 members, though at the beginning of the month, notices were sent to 9 members whose expiration dates were 5 months or more ago. This membership level is slightly higher than the membership numbers 10 and 15 years ago. About 100 members live in Lane County. Others live elsewhere in Oregon as well as out of the state. A few members are active PCVs living in their host countries.

WCPCA is currently able to pay for all of its operating expenses from membership dues. Thus maintaining our membership is vital. This situation allows the board to devote all or most of the proceeds from fundraising to awards for humanitarian projects.

Holiday giving: calendars and tee shirts

As you plan your holiday giving remember that WCPCA has two items for sale that are high in quality and low in price and are perfect for your internationally minded friends. Proceeds from these sales are used to fund humanitarian projects.

2013 international calendars published by the Madison, WI RPCV group are on sale once again from WCPCA. 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 price for an individual calendar is $12. Five or more calendars may be purchased for $10 each.

WCPCA "JFK forever" tee shirts designed by WCPCA member, James Cloutier, are on sale for $20 each. They are 100% cotton, medium blue in color, with designs on both the front and back. The latter design is printed in four colors and 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."

You'll see photos of both the calendar and the tee shirt on the website. Both items will be on sale at WCPCA events or you can pick them up in Eugene. Let us know of your interest by emailing info@westcascadepca.org. They can also be ordered on the website but a mailing cost will be charged.

Farewell to our venerable and much loved taxi

Approximately fifteen years ago WCPCA member, Vern Delk, built a wood/cardboard/metal taxi that has symbolized Peace Corps life as we propelled it along in the WCPCA entries in the Eugene Celebration's parades. The taxi was decorated with drawings by James Cloutier and painted and repainted several times by James and other WCPCA members. It has also been repaired a few times, especially last year after it tumbled out of the back of a certain pickup truck. It has endured and served us well, but the board has decided that the taxi made its final appearance in this year's parade.

Our heartfelt thanks for building and decorating the taxi go to Vern and James, and our gratitude is also extended to Rolly and Wayne Thompson, who have stored the taxi at their farm over its long life. The door is open now for new ideas regarding an appropriate Peace Corps prop for public display.

It's not too late for lovers of Peace Corps tales

...to join the newly formed West Cascades RPCV Book Group. Our first discussion will be held Monday, November 5th @ 7:00PM. The book is: African Visas by Maria Thomas. The meeting will be held at Patty Mac Afee's. If you are interested please email Patty via info@westcascadepca.org and include "book group" in the subject.

Foreign Affairs Forum idea

Since I moved to Eugene 16 years ago, I've missed having a regular foreign affairs program. Apart from random events here, the closest formal program is in Portland, which has the The World Affairs Council. It offers over 40 public programs each year with experts and world leaders.

A regular foreign affairs program would be a natural extension of WCPCA's mission to bring the world back home. A small scale program would certainly be feasible. Expertise is available at the University of Oregon, among RPCVs who follow foreign affairs, among community members and retirees who have relocated here, and among individuals doing speaking tours and book promotions.

If other RPCVs are interested in exploring a Foreign Affairs Forum, please contact John Hofer at info@westcascadepca.org and include "forum" in the subject, and we will scope out the opportunity.

John Hofer

Update from a Rwanda project funded by WCPCA

Hi, all,

I was hoping to give you an update on the most recent developments with the Guitar Workshop. I wanted to send this e-mail sooner, but I only recently received the donor list.

Review: To date, we've got six of the ten guitars at the school where I serve along with four guitar cases (actually 'gig bags'). The guitar books for the learners are also at the school (about 70 in number).

Materials: Very recently (August 31) I acquired six more 'gig bags', giving us enough bags for all ten guitars and allowing me to transport the final four guitars to the school. My plan is to do that today (Sunday, Sept. 2). I also acquired extra sets of strings for the guitars (10 packs) and ordered 10 guitar stands from the guitar maker, Mariuss. These materials have exhausted the budget. And it's enough for a working Guitar Workshop.

Recent Activity: The guitar maker, Mariuss visited me at site in late June or early July, during the second term of the school year. He spent one night at my site, the village of Bungwe in the Northern Province, and checked the guitars for problems. He made a few minor adjustments on some of the guitars and took one guitar with him back to his workshop to resolve a small problem with the sound. I now have that guitar in my possession.

Planned Activity: We will soon have all ten guitars at site as well as many books for students. It will be possible to start the Guitar Workshop this term. The term begins on Monday, September 3rd and will end November 10th. We have just over two months to get the program established. Judging by the enthusiasm of many students and even teachers at the school, I'm confident that the program will succeed. The workshop will be the major focus of my energies in my last few months of service. My service in Rwanda will end November 28th.

Additional Projects: I've also taken it on myself to help Mariuss find additional information in order to improve the strength and quality of the guitars he makes. His guitars lack sufficient support in the bridge area (the area where the strings are attached to the body of the guitar, just behind the sound hole or rosetta). This weakness affects the Guitar Workshop only minimally. Improving this situation could have many positive effects here.

That is where the Guitar Workshop now stands. I hope to get some photos and videos with the students using the guitars.

Thanks for reading and for your support! I'm excited to see how the project progresses and to keep you all updated.

Kwitonda Tyler
Sept. 9, 2012

Reunion of RPCVs who served in Honduras

I thought you might be interested is a list of RPCV's from Honduras that we are in the process of creating, and of a reunion that we are planning for 2013.

I've attached a list of around 1200 RPCV's who served in Honduras, starting in 1962, the first PC class. Fred Corvi is working on expanding the list until it contains all 5500 PCV's, staff, friends, etc., who have served in Honduras (or he will die trying). If you would like to be on this list, or want Fred to track down PCV's who aren't on the list yet, let him know at fcorvi2002@yahoo.com . If you have questions about the 2013 reunion in Colorado, contact Jon Lind at Jonathan.Lind@cordenpharma.com. That's still a year out, so don't expect too many details just yet.

The list is in Excel format, making it easy to sort by state or service years or first name, if you like. You will find instructions on a tab at the bottom if you are not too familiar with Excel. About 30 people on the list give Oregon as their home state.

I've also attached a letter describing our privacy policies, and asking that the list not be used for commercial purposes, only for inter-PCV communications. If you would like to pass the list along to others, please include the letter.

I hope this list helps you reconnect with old friends, and perhaps make some new ones.

Steve Phelan -- Tegicigalpa, 1973-74
Sept. 5, 2012

Congratulations to the U of O Peace Corps Recruiters

In the September 12 issue of the Eugene Register-Guard, we learned that the U of O ranked 13th in the nation for the number of volunteers that it produced compared to 66th for OSU. Congratulations to the PC recruiters that WCPCA has known and loved over many years!

RPCV Survey Focuses on Illness/Injury

We learned from the NPCA enews of September 20, 2012 that NPCA is "teaming up with the recently formed group, Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers, in circulating a brief survey that all are asked to fill out and share with other RPCVs. The survey seeks to further assess the scope of debilitating injury or illness over the years, and challenges Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have faced and continue to face in receiving the care, attention and support they need and deserve."

Follow this link to take the survey and please share this link with other RPCVs.

WCPCA member and Communications Coordinator, Felicia Kenney, is a founding member of this group. She can respond to questions that you email info@westcascadepca.org and include "health survey" in the subject.

WCPCA members are urged to be responsive to this need as well as the one that calls us to respond to the chloroquine study described below.

Chloroquine Study

In a situation similar to the one described above, NPCA will help publicize a survey of returned Peace Corps Volunteers who took the anti-malaria medication, Aralen, during their Peace Corps service. The active ingredient in Aralen is chloroquine and there is evidence based upon animal studies at the Baylor College of Medicine that this drug may prevent certain types of cancer.

To study this possible link the Abramson Center for the Future of Health is organizing a survey of RPCVs who took Aralen. The study will include women only, both those who did and those who did not take Aralen because both an experimental and a control group are necessary. Organizers hope to have responses to an online survey from 14,000 individuals.

Peace Corps Community Mourns the Loss of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens

The entire world was shocked and saddened to learn that U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens (Morocco 83-85) was killed in an attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11. Upon hearing the news, the National Peace Corps Association immediately conveyed the condolences of the entire Peace Corps family and mobilized our social media resources to share the news with the Peace Corps community and beyond. Ambassador Stevens has been remembered as a diplomat with a deep understanding of the region, shaped by his Peace Corps experience.

From the NPCA enews

Peace Corps Director, Aaron Williams, resigns

The director of the Peace Corps, Aaron S. Williams, is leaving his post. An agency announcement said Mr. Williams, an international development expert who served with the Peace Corps in the late 1960s and took over in 2009, had cited "personal and family considerations" as reasons for stepping down.

New York Times, 8/21/12

NPCA President, Kevin Quigley, resigns

Dear Peace Corps Community Member,

Fall is a season of transition, including here at the National Peace Corps Association, where I am concluding my nine years of service as your NPCA President at the end of this month. I have had a remarkable run here, during which the Peace Corps community had some significant, indeed, unprecedented accomplishments.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your president for nine memorable, productive years.

I am excited to live out the dream of many in our community: to return to my country of service, Thailand, as the Peace Corps Country Director. Help me connect our serving volunteers with the tremendous "returned" volunteer community by supporting our efforts.

In gratitude,

Kevin F. F. Quigley
President, National Peace Corps Association
Thailand 1976-1979
Sept. 13, 2012