Eritrea Remembered elicits fond memories of PCVs
project a great success
by Marian Haley Beil (Debre Berhan 62–64)
You may recall that this past winter E&E RPCVs published the book Eritrea Remembered as an RPCV Legacy Program Project as the result of a suggestion by Scott Rasmussen at the American Embassy in Asmara. (You can read an earlier article about the project HERE.)
The American Embassy subsequently purchased copies of the book to share with Eritreans who have voiced their fond memories of their Peace Corps Volunteers to embassy staff. I have since received three notes from Scott about the book:
I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know the books came – they are beautiful! My staff has each taken a copy to review and they are so impressed with how well the RPCVs speak of Eritrea. We are planning an event with them in early May – we are trying to track down as many former Peace Corps students as we can for the event. I will keep you in the loop on this.
Again, thank you!
I hope you are doing well. I wanted to let you know that we received the books – they are beautiful! The Embassy had a booth at the Eritrean Book Fair that just wrapped up yesterday and we displayed copies of the book at the booth. We signed up nearly 50 people [for the event] who stopped to look at the book and ask about it. My staff told me “Once people start talking about their Peace Corps memories they just can’t stop!” We are planning our event for the first week of May.
The event was a HUGE success! We held it last Thursday, May 3. We billed it as the 50th Anniversary of the Arrival of Peace Corps Volunteers in Eritrea. I offered a few remarks about the Peace Corps, the Peace Corps in Eritrea, and shared some stories from the book. We then distributed copies of the book to the 140 guests who came and then opened the mic for anyone who wanted to stand and share their memories of the Peace Corps. We had 15 people stand up and fill the next hour with their memories about the Peace Corps. One gentleman became emotional saying “They inspired me to be a teacher. I love teaching because of them.” Another gentleman ran to the microphone to get ahead of others coming up and said “I can’t keep quiet!” The participants credited the Peace Corps Volunteers with teaching them English, to be service oriented, and to speak passionately for oneself.
We are receiving more requests for the book — from individuals and libraries. Thank you for all your work on publishing the book. I will try to contact each of the contributors individually — we had several people come up afterward and point to names in the book saying “That was my teacher!” Some of them gave me their contact information and are anxious to reconnect with their teachers.
Thanks again! I first thought of this idea in early Spring 2010 – it was so fulfilling to see it materialize – and all because of you!