Peace Corps

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 8

March 12, 2012 by

Marty Benjamin, John Stockton, Dallas Smith and I who shared a house in Gondar had the naïve notion that we were going to be self sufficient and live without servants. Little did we realize that in Gondar servants had servants. It took us several months to put aside the quaint notion of complete independence and hire much needed help.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 7

February 29, 2012 by

When we arrived in Gondar, Ethiopia on September 21, 1962 we were assigned to houses rented by the Peace Corps office in Addis. John Stockton, Dallas Smith, Marty Benjamin and I were given a house on a hillside surrounded by several acres of fields across from the school. The house was enchantingly reminiscent of a Joseph Conrad novel. It was of frame construction set on a massive elevated stone foundation.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 6

February 21, 2012 by

During our Peace Corps stay Gondar was an important market town for much of Begemedir Province. The overwhelming majority of residents of the town and countryside met their daily needs by participating in the weekly Saturday market. The market was attended by thousands of people and took place on a large stony field about two miles from our house.

The Peace Corps, Drugs and US Foreign Policy

January 29, 2012 by

A few months ago, President Barack Obama was celebrating the “profound” relationship between the United States and Honduras. This happened in spite of the fact that current President Porfirio Lobo’s rise to power was aided by a June 2009 coup. Even though Obama publicly denounced the coup, the administration’s response was timid. It did not take the Obama administration long to warm up to the ouster of democratically elected Manuel Zelaya.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 5

January 23, 2012 by

In the early 1960’s from north of Gondar in the Simien Mountains to south of Gondar in Ambover there lived thousands of Falasha Jewish Ethiopians. The name “Falasha” is not politically correct today, however, it was the only name we ever heard used. Since the 1980’s over 80,000 Ethiopian Jews have been permitted to “return” to Israel. Within our school in Gondar we were told that there were three Falasha students, however, no one was ever identified.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 4

December 29, 2011 by

The “Gondar 12”, Madelyn Engvall, Jack Prebis, Charlie Callahan, Frank Mason, Andrea Wright, Patricia Martin-Jenkins, Peggy and John Davis, Martin Benjamin, John Stockton, Dallas Smith and I, arrived on the flight from Addis. Gondar is in the historic, traditional and remote Begemedir Province which stretches from north of the Siemien Mountains to the south of Lake Tana (the source of the Blue Nile). We were assigned to the only secondary school, Haile Selassie I Secondary School (HS1SS), in the vast province.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962 - 1964 Part 3

December 8, 2011 by

As with my two previous posts I am drawing stories from the diary I kept while a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching in Gondar, Ethiopia. In Amharic the word “tarik” has the meaning of both “story” and “history” so this is my “tarik”.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962 – 1964 Part 2

November 10, 2011 by

The Easter week break in our teaching schedule at Haile Selassie Secondary School in Gondar, Ethiopia afforded us time to pursue our fantasy of visiting the historic carved churches of Lalibela. There were some complications, however, as there was no scheduled airline service nor roads leading to Lalibela. I urge you to Google “Lalibela” to see for yourself why UNESCO includes Lalibela on its list of World Heritage Sites.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962 - 1964

October 7, 2011 by

It was better than any college or high school reunion to see old friends and colleagues with whom 49 years ago I shared an adventure and life changing experience. On September 13th, The Embassy of Ethiopia, in honor of the fiftieth year anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps, hosted a reception and delicious Ethiopian buffet for Peace Corps volunteers who served in Ethiopia from 1962 through the start of the turmoil in the 70’s.

The Truth about the Peace Corps

September 29, 2011 by

As the Peace Corps turns fifty, now is an auspicious time to discuss Peace Corps reform. With annual expenses of less than $500 million, the organization costs little when considered in the broader budgetary debate on Capitol Hill. Over the past ten years, two disparate narratives have encompassed most talk surrounding the organization. The first has to do with Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) safety. The second issue has to do with inadequate funding.

Coming Back ‘Home’

May 14, 2011 by

“Is it true they’re going to kill you?” Elizabeth was taken aback by her friend’s question. At the time, Elizabeth, whose name has been changed due to the sensitivity of the situation, was a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador. She lived and worked in a small town in the south central department of La Paz. She started hearing rumors she would be killed in the final month of her two-year service.