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

August 2013

Coming events

  • August 15: Thursday evening discussion group, 6:30 -8:00 pm, New Day Bakery 449 Blair, Eugene

  • August 24-25: Saturday and Sunday, WCPCA will take part in the Eugene Celebration with a parade entry on Saturday and a booth on both days. Parade participants and booth minders are needed. See details in the article below.

  • September 9: Monday evening, the book club will discuss Bread, Salt & Plum Brandy: A True Story of Love and Adventure in a Foreign Land, by Lisa Fisher Cazacu, 7 pm, at the home of Juliet Bender and Charles Goldsmith. Their address is in the membership directory.

  • September 23: Monday evening, food packaging at Food for Lane County, 6-9 pm, FFLC warehouse, 770 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene.

  • October 6: Sunday evening, WCPCA board meeting, 7-9 pm, home of Dorothy Soper. Her address is in the membership directory. All members are welcome.

  • October 11: Friday evening, potluck with program, 6 pm, at the home of Juliet Bender and Charles Goldsmith. Their address is in the membership directory.

  • 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

WCPCA in the Eugene Celebration, August 24-25

Everyone loves a parade, especially in Eugene!

Join the WCPCA entry in the Eugene Celebration's Saturday morning, August 24th, parade! We've been marching for over 25 years and want to keep the tradition going. If you were with us in 1990, you might find yourself in one of the photos. We were a handsome group then and still are.

West Cascade members, families, and friends are all invited to join the WCPCA parade entry and carry a flag of a Peace Corps host country. We'll supply flags but you're welcome to bring your own. If you wear an article of clothing from your host country, it will add interest. A Peace Corps tee shirt is good too. You can buy the newest WCPCA shirt through the website.

Everyone is encouraged to invite citizens of Peace Corps host countries to join us. A multicultural group will be the strongest evidence of our worldwide service.

We no longer have the yellow taxi and so the flags, a WCPCA banner, and a strong presence will be important as we represent with pride the 200,000 plus PCVs who have served over the last 52 years. The Eugene community always receives us with enthusiasm.

We'll gather about 9:30 am on Saturday morning for the parade's 10:00 am starting time. The parade will begin near South Eugene High School, on East 19th Avenue between Patterson and Pearl Streets, Eugene. You may park in one of the school's parking lots. When we learn our position in the parade and our exact staging area, we'll send an email to let everyone know.

As the parade organizer, I would like to know how many plan to join us. Please let me know if you'll be there by calling and leaving me a voice mail at (541) 342-3797 or sending me an email at info@westcascadepca.org with parade in the subject line. Looking forward to seeing you!

James Cloutier (Kenya, 1964-66)

The WCPCA booth in the Community Causeway

The WCPCA booth in the Community Causeway on Willamette between 7th and 8th Avenues will feature Peace Corps literature, a world map for conversation, a Peace Corps game with prizes, and friendly RPCVs to answer questions.

Booth minders answer questions from people interested in the Peace Corps and greet RPCVs new to the area. We encourage both to join WCPCA activities. We're still looking for people who can help mind the booth which will be open from 11am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, August 24 and 25. Minders are asked to work for a two hour period. They can learn all that they need to know to answer questions in our five minute prep period and then have fun. I'll be there to get everyone started. We hope that the new U of O Peace Corps recruiter will be able to join us.

If you can volunteer to be a booth minder, please let me know via email at info@westcascadepca.org and write booth in the subject line. Many thanks in advance.

Looking forward to seeing you at the celebration!

Dorothy Soper (Ghana, 1963-65)

WCPCA in the Oregon Country Fair

July marked WCPCA's third year at the Oregon Country Fair where the Peace Corps is a member of the Peace and Justice booth located in Community Village.  The purpose of the Peace Corps presence is to (a) promote the WCPCA by connecting with additional RCPVs and b) provide information about the Peace Corps to prospective applicants.

WCPCA members Walt Meyer (Mexico 2006-2008), Wayne Thompson (Peru 1964-1966), and Jeem Peterson (Solomon Islands 1995-1997) volunteered at the booth and were a tremendous help in interacting with the public and sharing their experiences. In total 11 RCPVs visited the booth and we connected with 13 potential PC applicants. Additionally, while Walt Meyer volunteered at the booth, his wife Nancy (Mexico 2006-2008) toured the fair with their visiting Mexican counterpart, Raul Ortega Borjes. Raul loved his time at the Country Fair and enjoyed visiting Eugene and the Oregon coast. Thanks to all who helped make this year’s booth active and productive.

Andrew Dempsey-Karp (Dominican Republic, 2003-2005)

Overview of "Peace Corps Connect, 2013"

Taking part in "Peace Corps Connect, 2013" the annual National Peace Corps Association's conference held this year in Boston, June 28-29, was a real pleasure. I was honored to represent WCPCA. I attended with a friend from my Peace Corps group. For the most part we attended different sessions and later compared notes. Between us we talked to many of the 350 people who attended and came away with new information, new ideas, and a new perspective on post Peace Corps activities being pursued by RPCVs, especially those who are retired. We spent a busy and rewarding two days and I've brought home some thoughts to share with the board.

There is a good summary of the conference in the July NPCA newsletter and I've pasted much of that below for easy reference. I'll add at the end a few items of information that I think West Cascade members might be interested in. Note that the 2014 conference will be in Nashville and the 2015 conference on the west coast, exact place as yet undetermined.

Dorothy Soper, (Ghana 1963-65)

"Peace Corps Connect, 2013" overview by Helene Dudley from the NPCA July newsletter

"At the Boston Peace Corps Connect Conference (June 28-29) it was energizing to be surrounded by people representing all generations of Peace Corps service, all sharing that common bond of having been transformed by our Peace Corps experiences, and dedicated to building a more fair and just world. With so much positive energy, one gets a sense that it could actually happen. I also sensed a renewed National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) commitment to working closely with RPCVs and member groups to promote Peace Corps and its values which makes the NPCA the logical forum for making our collective voices heard. Save the date for the next Peace Corps Connect Conference in Nashville, June 20-21st, 2014.

"At the Boston Peace Corps Connect conference there were top quality speakers and group sessions. During the session on "RPCVs in Public Service," we heard from Harris Wofford, an early Civil Rights advocate and advisor to Martin Luther King, who was instrumental in creation of the Peace Corps. RPCV David Magnani was on the same panel and spoke of his success in getting the U.S. Congress to act on a bill to ban conflict diamonds. The "Raising Your Voice on Human Rights" panel featured Dr. Mohamud Sheikh Nurein Said, recipient of the 2013 Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award for his work with the Kenyan Red Cross in assisting displaced persons, overseeing the world's largest refugee camp and promoting the rights of torture victims. Hauwa Ibrahim gave a riveting presentation about her strategies for winning precedent-setting cases for women's human rights in Nigeria in Shariah Islamic Courts.

"There were also workshops on Career Development, Peace Corps films and writers, advocacy, overseas job opportunities, Peace Corps archives, an opportunity for members and groups to provide feedback and suggestions to the NPCA at the Group Leaders Forum and a session on Peace Building lead by RPCV Chic Dambach, past president of the NPCA who helped negotiate an end to the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

"Phillip Lillienthal (RPCV Ethiopia) received the Sargent Shriver Award for his work as founder and chairman of Global Camps Africa which empowers African children for an AIDS-free tomorrow. Friends of the Dominican Republic and the Northern California Peace Corps Association received the Loret Miller Ruppe Award for their service projects.

"Those were the highlighted stories, but there was a steady stream of enrichment from encounters with RPCVs who bring the world home and make it better in unheralded ways every day. Being among them was like mind candy for people committed to peace and social justice. Treat yourself with a trip to Nashville for the next Peace Corps Connect, June 20-21st, 2014."

Additional notes from "Peace Corps Connect, 2013":

  • Archiving papers from PCVs, RPCVs, and RPCV groups: Staff members of the JFK Library in Boston and the American University Library in Washington DC explained the focus of their archival collections about the Peace Corps and how to make a donation.

    Phyllis Noble of the RPCV Oral History Project talked to people throughout the conference about signing up to be interviewed and how to become an interviewer.

    I've listed contact information for these three avenues below but be aware that other libraries are also interested in Peace Corps materials.

    Peace Corps Community Archives, American University Library, archives@american.edu, (202) 885-3256

    Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Collection, John F. Kennedy Library, acquisitions.kennedy@nara.gov, (617) 514-1642 for materials related to the early years of the Peace Corps

    Peace Corps Oral History Project: RPCVs interviewing RPCVs about their Peace Corps experience. Recorded interviews become part of the National Archives housed at the JFK library. For information contact Phyllis Noble at pnoble42@gmail.com.

  • Peace Corps Iran Association had a major presence at the conference having newly reorganized to focus on informing Americans about Iranian culture. At the conference the RPCV group sponsored a panel discussion of Iranian culture and US-Iranian relationships. Panelists were two RPCVs of Iran and three Iranian graduate students currently studying in the US. Learning their perspectives on the topics was fascinating.

    Later at a group leaders' forum we learned from a member of the Peace Corps Iran Association who lives in Portland how the association has reorganized recently and affiliated closely with Portland's Iranian community. About 30 members of this RPCV group attended the conference and used the opportunity to meet to work on its upcoming plans.

Can You Spare a Few Hours for Community Service?

Food for Lane County appreciates our help on the fourth Monday.  This opportunity allows us to give back to our community, connect with fellow RPCVs, and informally promote Peace Corps. We package food from 6-9PM, which is then distributed to various sites in the county.  Please join us for some or all of these months: September, November, January, February, March, April at Food for Lane County, 770 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene, OR  97402.

You'll see the September date in the newsletter's calendar.

Patty MacAfee (Cameroon, 1989-91)  

Letter from RPCV Bethany Harmon: women's shelter in Corvallis

July 12, 2013

To Whom it May Concern,

I am a returned Peace Corps volunteer (Guatemala, 2009-2011) pursuing a PhD in Human Development and Family Sciences at Oregon State University. Recently I was invited to a community meeting in Corvallis where the need for a women's cold weather shelter was being discussed. Although a men's cold weather shelter runs in Corvallis, the organization that previously sponsored the women's shelter decided not to fund this program in the future. The United Methodist church in Corvallis has offered space for a women's shelter and has helped recruit in-kind donations of volunteer support and basic materials, but lacks resources to pay for an overnight supervisor to accompany the volunteers.   

Experience as a Peace Corps volunteer, as well as having previously worked in a crisis shelter, makes the issues related to offering very basic shelter and safety services dear to my heart. I am sure that many other volunteers had similar experiences of wishing to offer whatever small assistance that they can to the people who dwell in their communities, and I write to inquire if your organization would be interested in helping to establish this women's shelter. 

Thank you for your time!

Bethany Harmon
Phone: 360-547-9142

President Obama's intended nominee for Peace Corps Director

"President Obama announced on Thursday his intention to nominate Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Samoa 1981-83) to become the 19th Director of the Peace Corps.  

"Hessler-Radelet has been leading the agency since September of 2012.  You can read an interview with her published in the winter 2012 issue of WorldView Magazine. She was nominated by the President to be deputy director under Aaron Williams and began serving in that role in June, 2010. "As Deputy Director of the Peace Corps, Carrie has been instrumental in recruiting and training thousands of Peace Corps volunteers who work to promote social and economic development around the world," said the President in a written statement.  "I'm delighted to nominate her as Director, so this program can continue to benefit from her vision and commitment."  

"Her nomination will require Senate confirmation. She will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her confirmation hearing.  

"The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) welcomed the nomination of Hessler-Radelet.  "Carrie has demonstrated highly capable leadership in guiding the agency through a period of transition, and at a time when the Peace Corps is being called upon to continue providing quality programming with limited resources," said NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst. "Her impressive Peace Corps service, international development credentials and willingness to consult with the broad Peace Corps community make her an ideal appointment."  

"Hessler-Radelet is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) who served on the Samoa Islands, from 1981 to 1983.   While there she was health volunteer and later served on the Peace Corps Headquarters staff from 1984 to 1986. Hessler-Radelet has a distinguished career in international development focused on public health issues.  As reported in her biography on the Peace Corps website, 'Hessler-Radelet was vice president and director of the Washington, D.C., office of John Snow Inc., a global public-health organization, where she oversaw the management of public-health programs in more than 85 countries.  She was actively involved in the establishment of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and was a primary author of PEPFAR's first strategic plan. Hessler-Radelet was also a Johns Hopkins Fellow with USAID in Indonesia, where she assisted the Indonesian government in developing and implementing its first national AIDS strategy.'  

"Hessler-Radelet served on the Advisory Council to the NPCA and was a member of the NPCA Board of Directors from 2000 to 2007.  

"She also has the Peace Corps in her DNA:  Hessler-Radelet  comes from a three-generation Peace Corps f amily, beginning with her grandmother, Ruth Pearsall (Malaysia) and her aunt, Ginny Kirkwood (Turkey).  Her husband, Steve Radelet, is also an RPCV."  

NPCA website 7/29/13