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

May 2013

Coming Events

  • May 3: NOM party to honor those newly nominated as Peace Corps trainees. Our celebration will be a potluck, 6-9 pm, at the Many Nations Longhouse on the U of O campus.

    The NOM party is cosponsored by WCPCA and the Office of the Peace Corps recruiter on the U of O campus. See article below for driving directions and parking information.

  • May 5: WCPCA board meeting, 7pm, at the home of Dorothy Soper. All members are welcome. See the membership directory for Dorothy's address.

  • May 6: The book group will discuss Power Lines: Two Years on South Africa's Borders by Jason Carter, 7:00 pm, at the home of Ginny and Randall Donohue. You'll find their address in your membership directory or inquire through the email address below.

  • May 9: Discussion group will meet 6:30-8:00 pm at the New Day Bakery, 449 Blair, Eugene.

  • May 23: Discussion group will meet 6:30 -8:00 pm at the New Day Bakery, 449 Blair, Eugene.

  • July 12-14: WCPCA booth at the Oregon Country Fair. Volunteers will be needed to staff the booth. Details will be in the June newsletter.

  • August 24-25: WCPCA participation in the Eugene Celebration in the August 24th parade and with a booth on both days. WCPCA members will be needed for both activities. Details will be in the June newsletter.

  • To inquire about any of these activities please send an email to info@westcascadepca.org or visit the calendar page of the WCPCA website.

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 www.westcascadepca.org on the "News" page. 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.

ReConnections serves as a resource to RPCVs and friends in the Eugene and Lane County area through social events, community service projects, and professional development programs that embody the 3rd Goal and spirit of the Peace Corps. The WCPCA board reserves the right to choose which activities, projects, and programs will be published. Suggested items may be submitted to info@westcascadepca.org for consideration.

Editors: Deb Jones and Dorothy Soper
Newsletter Design: Felicia Kenney

Letter to WCPCA members

Miriam Aiken has decided to resign as President of the WCPCA. She has been on the board for over two years and will continue serving WCPCA as membership chair. She's working hard to put the membership database in a format that future membership chairs can easily access and master. We thank Miriam for all the service that she has provided WCPCA.

Because of the efforts of Miriam and other board members, WCPCA is in excellent shape. Patty McAfee and Juliet Bender have already organized events for the rest of the year. Deb Jones is maintaining our website and she and Dorothy Soper edit the newsletter. James Cloutier has organized volunteer activities and is taking responsibility for our participation in the Eugene Celebration. Dale Morse keeps our books. Randall Donohue is working with a subcommittee to design a membership survey. Felicia Keeney is advising us in our reorganization of web based activities. Andrew Dempsey-Karp is representing WCPCA at the Oregon Country Fair and others have stepped up for other responsibilities.

In addition, we are in good financial health. Our dues and distributions from the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund invested at the Oregon Community Foundation allow us to fund humanitarian projects including Peace Corps partnership projects.

We do, however, have one need.  We are currently a board of a half-dozen members but we need others who can assume organizational responsibilities as officers and in the IT area.   We plan to meet four to five times a year and stay in touch via email and occasional subcommittee meetings.  We're a welcoming and mutually supportive group. If you are interested in joining us, please come to our next board meeting at 7 PM on Sunday, May 5th, at Dorothy Soper's house. You'll find Dorothy's address in your membership directory or you may send an email to inquire, info@westcascadepca.org.

Board of Directors, WCPCA

Honoring new Peace Corps trainees at the NOM party

Once again the U of O Peace Corps recruiter's office and WCPCA will cosponsor the NOM (for nominees) party to celebrate Lane County residents who are newly nominated as Peace Corps trainees. We'll celebrate with a potluck on Friday, May 3rd, 6-9 pm, at the Many Nations Longhouse on the U of O campus. See driving directions and parking information below.

Please wear your country-of-service clothing and bring a potluck dish to share. Also, there will be a raffle. One canned good item (for Food for Lane County) and an unwrapped white-elephant type item from your country-of-service will be good for one raffle ticket. Additional raffle tickets will be available for purchase.

Please plan to attend this fun-filled evening, which will include a small panel of newly-returned RPCVs, great food, reconnections, and a warm send-off for the nominees!

The Many Nations Longhouse is located on the U of O campus at the north end of Columbia Street, just off of E. 17th Avenue. The Longhouse is behind the School of Law (1515 Agate Street) and immediately south of the Museum of Natural History ( 1680 E. 15th Avenue).

The best place to park will be in the faculty/staff parking lot at the corner of Agate and E. 17th Avenue with the entry off of E. 17th. This parking lot will be open and free of charge to the public after 6pm.

On street parking is available on Agate Street, in front of the Law School, on E. 15th Avenue, to the side of the Museum of Natural History, as well as elsewhere nearby. Be aware that most meters in the area must be activated until 8pm and that much of the other on street parking is posted for two hours only and this will apply to the time period of the NOM party.

Juliet Bender, (Mexico, 2009-12) and Patty Mac Afee, (Cameroon, 1989-91) Program co-chairs

April potluck thank yous

The April potluck brought out about 35 members to enjoy a wonderful evening at Howard and Marvy Schuman's home. We want to thank them for extending such a warm welcome to the participants.

For the program, recently Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), Elke Richers, shared her experiences as a Youth Development volunteer in the Central Andes Ancash region of Peru. She gave an overview of her projects: HIV prevention, community recycling, health training and environmental education. Following her presentation, Elke responded to numerous questions from the audience relating to food, community life, and cultural aspects of the Quechua people with whom she lived. We thank Elke for her excellent presentation as well as for her Peace Corps service.

Peru was well represented at the potluck. Shown in the photo, left to right, are Elke Richers (Peru, 2010-12), Rolly Thompson (Peru, 1964-66), Bob Watada (Peru, 1964-66), Rosa Sakanishi, who is Peruvian, and Wayne Thompson (Peru, 1964-66).

In the future, we look forward to seeing additional members at our potlucks. The next potluck (after the May 3rd NOM party) is scheduled for October 11th at the home of Juliet Bender and Charles Goldsmith. Please add this date to your calendar.

Juliet Bender, (Mexico, 2009-12), Program co-chair

WCPCA crew at Chefs' Night Out

Heartfelt thanks go to the fourteen WCPCA members and friends who formed an efficient clean up crew at the Food for Lane County's annual fundraiser, Chefs' Night Out, in early April. After enjoying culinary treats the crew dispatched its work in record time.

Those participating were: Andrea Callahan, Jane Dods, Colette Govan, Richard Hughes, Deb Jones, Lana Lindstrom, Jeem Peterson, Elke Richers, Cliff Volpe, Craig Volpe, Shirley West, Steve West, and Mitch Zammarelli.

James Cloutier (Kenya, 1964-66)

Overview of the WCPCA board's April 15 meeting

The board met on April 15th for the second time this year. Decisions made or discussions held at the meeting and not noted elsewhere in the newsletter are the following:

  • Review at May meeting the next draft of an upcoming online survey to assess current membership interests.

  • Purchase a paver for the entryway of the Nobel Peace Park being constructed in Alton Baker Park. The cost is $100. The park honors American recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Recommend to the membership a bylaws amendment to make them consistent with the 2012 revision to Article VII of the constitution.

    Proposal: in Article V, Section 4, strike the second part of the sentence. "The Board of Directors meets as the need arises but shall meet at least once a month."

    The board will propose a membership vote at the October potluck. This recommendation will be announced again.


  • The balance in the WCPCA accounts at OCCU as of 3/31/13 was $7,317. The balance in the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund at the Oregon Community Foundation as of August 1, 2012 was $26,416.

  • Sale of the 2013 international calendars netted about $150. The board gave the 50 calendars that remained unsold in February to teachers at South Eugene High School and the International High School. The board ordered 200 calendars a year ago and will order only 100 calendars for 2014 to sell.

    Book group in May

    The WCPCA Book Group will meet on Monday, May 6th, 7:00 pm, at the home of Ginny and Randall Donohue to discuss Power Lines: Two Years on South Africa's Borders.

    The book was written by Jason Carter, grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, and describes his two years (1998-2000) in the Peace Corps living with a rural family near the Swaziland border. For his assignment, Jason helped implement new curriculum for South African schools. Please join us to talk about the book and how it relates to your own Peace Corps experiences.

    Juliet Bender, (Mexico, 2009-12)

    WCPCA's affiliation with the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and the 2013 national conference

    Once again WCPCA has renewed its affiliation with NPCA. This affiliation has been in place since the late 1980s and gives WCPCA a connection to the other 140 affiliates of NPCA as well as the organization's advocacy work.

    Approximately twenty-five members maintain their WCPCA membership through the national organization and WCPCA receives several new members through NPCA each year. Often the latter are PCVs just concluding their service. WCPCA follows NPCA's practice of offering a year's free membership to those newly joining.

    NPCA is organizing its annual gathering this year in Boston, June 28-29. Registration information and the schedule of activities are available on the NPCA website. See the conference page.

    Many members will recall that WCPCA organized this annual gathering in Eugene in 1990. It was a grand and successful affair. It's good to see that the tradition continues.

  • NPCA Advocacy Coordinator, Jonathan Pearson, visits WCPCA

    Jonathan Pearson began a cross country driving trip in Oregon and joined WCPCA members at the April potluck. This gave him an opportunity to see one of our traditional activities and visit with those attending. Jonathan wrote a highly complementary article about the potluck and its program and has featured it along with photos on the NPCA website. Thank you, Jonathan, for visiting to get acquainted with us and taking part in a festive evening.

    Dorothy Soper, (Ghana, 1963-65)

    Health Justice

    WCPCA member, Felicia Kenney, is the author of the article, Health Justice, Returned Volunteers conduct survey on health impacts of service which appears in the spring issue of the NPCA publication, World View.

    In the article Felicia describes her experience with illness while a PCV in Benin, 2003-04, and how this led to her being a founding member in 2012 of an organization of RPCVs called Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers. The group's goal is "to improve the support system for RPCVs who are ill or injured because of their service." This and subsequent quotations are from the article which can be read in full on the Health Justice organization's website.

    Each of the five founding members of the Health Justice group experienced a serious illness or injury while a PCV and has had difficulty in securing adequate care upon returning to the US. Before deciding upon a course of action, the group surveyed RPCVs to learn the health outcomes of their service and the nature of current medical needs.

    The NPCA helped with the online circulation of the survey last fall. About 7,500 responses were tallied along with 2,600 written comments.

    Outcomes of the survey indicate that Peace Corps attention to volunteers' medical care is correlated positively with the Peace Corps budget. Some of the recommendations made to the Peace Corps based upon the survey are that greater attention be paid to volunteers' exposure to pesticides, that ways be sought to improve the Department of Labor's handling of Peace Corps claims, and that reform be made to the After Corps/CorpsCare insurance program. Above all, the Health Justice group recommends that the Peace Corps conduct its own survey on volunteer and returned volunteer health.

    Felicia concludes the article by saying that the Peace Corps has taken two important steps as a result of the survey. "First, the Peace Corps now has five staff members working on post-service health needs. There used to be one. Second, Lariam® is no longer being used as a first line malaria prophylaxis."

    I hope that many of you will read this highly detailed article on an important topic. We'll all appreciate updates from Felicia regarding the work of Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers.

    Dorothy Soper (Ghana, 1963-65)