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Peace Corps Writers

August 17, 2022

Afghanistan: For an Educator, a Journey Back to a Time of Peace

Afghanistan at a Time of Peace By Robin Varnum Peace Corps Writers Reviewed by Jordan Simmons Friends en route to a provincial school. Photo courtesy Robin Varnum   Afghanistan at a Time of Peace traces Robin Varnum’s years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, 1971–73. Varnum chronicles her journey into learning the place she came to call home: adapting to the chilly weather in Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, and understanding why she and other foreigners are mocked as “Mister Kachaloo” (literally, “Mr. Potato” in Dari), and traversing the length and breadth of the country — from Jalalabad to Mazar-i-sharif. As a Volunteer...

April 20, 2022

An Audience with the King

For 30 years Ambika Joshee worked for the Peace Corps in Nepal. His memoir, The Life of a Nepali Village Boy, is a candid account of a country being transformed — and traces a personal quest for knowledge, justice, and understanding. Here is an excerpt. An Audience with the King By Ambika Mohan Joshee   Bandipur is seven kilometers south of Dumre Bazar, which is on the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway. It is a small hilltop settlement with a population of about 16,000. About 1,030 meters above sea level, on a saddle of the Mahabharat range, it is a beautiful town with old Newari architecture. Houses...

April 19, 2022

Understanding a New Meaning of Home

Tales of Togo A Young Woman’s Search for Home in West Africa By Meredith Pike-Baky Peace Corps Writers   Reviewed by Bill Preston   This candid and heartfelt memoir chronicles the twists and turns, the ups and downs, and the sometimes sideways arc of Meredith Pike-Baky’s time teaching English and living in Togo in the early 1970s. Eager to escape political turmoil in the U.S., she finds in Togo a nation “in the beginning stages of delayed independence, having declared an end to French rule a decade earlier ... on the threshold of a new era, a heady, hopeful time for both...

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