by Janet Lee (Emdeber 1974–76)
Winter hit with a vengeance here is Colorado over the holidays as it did elsewhere across the nation. Sub-zero temperatures made me long for Thirteen Months of Sunshine. But with a new year and a new semester, can Spring be far behind?
With Spring, comes some Spring cleaning. Perhaps you have a trunk of Peace Corps memorabilia in which the kids and grandkids have no interest. If so, the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford University is soliciting just such material for its research collection documenting war, revolution and peace in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, in particular East Africa. Read on for more details on how to contribute to this very worthy cause.
In this issue of The Herald, I would like to introduce you to Brittany Franck (Mekelle 2011-2013; PC Response Mekelle 2014). Although Brittany is recently returned and is attending the University of Denver, she has taken leave of her studies to work on a school-related project back in Mekelle under the auspices of Peace Corps Response. It is the best of all worlds. While in Mekelle as a Volunteer, Brittany worked at a school for the blind. I had the opportunity to visit it and “clearly see” why these students captured her heart. In “So that all May See: Ashenda Brings a Community Together,” Brittany relates a small but important step in building the confidence of these young women under her charge and the acceptance of the blind by the greater community. She utilizes the power of music and dance through the major cultural holiday of Ashenda primarily celebrated in Tigray. This is just one of many projects that is under her guidance. I hope to bring our readers more updates in the future.
Bill Graff (Addis, Sodo 63–65) and his wife Betty have returned to Ethiopia several times providing literacy and resources to students primarily in the area of SNNRP. Initially, the projects were pretty traditional utilizing printed books, with mixed results. He wondered if there was a better way to provide resources to a nation on the rise, thus an ebook project was born as outlined in “Why ebooks in Ethiopia? Why Now?” Some might question the wisdom of introducing a technology that only a few may use, but, as Bill shows, with wireless technology and the use of smart phones and tablets, there is greater access to more relevant material at less cost. Just as the country leap-frogged telephony by skipping the expensive laying of land lines and going mobile, perhaps the same can be true of books and information. Open source and open access books provide resources to the greater community while protecting the rights of authors. No, there is nothing like snuggling up to a good book, but is it not better that a future doctor, engineer, or policy maker have the most current information on the topic?
The members of the E&ERPCV board and the Project Champions, John (Ethi. VII, Gondar Public Health College) and Linda (Ethi. VIII, Haile Selassie I Secondary School, Gondar – now known as Fasildas Secondary School) Hillman, announced — and completed — a new RPCV Legacy Program project, “Water for Ethiopian Vegetable Gardens.”
To support the E&E RPCVs’ other projects click on “The RPCV Legacy Program and how you can help” at the top of every page.
The Herald also has tributes to those who have gone before us. They made a difference then and their legacy lives on. Names and relevant links are listed In Memoriam.
Check your calendars for an upcoming reunion: The National Peace Corps Association and the Northern California Peace Corps Association have announced that next year’s Peace Corps Connect event will take place in Berkeley, CA on June 5-6, 2015. The E & E RPCV Board is planning programs in conjunction with this event. If you have not yet attended a Peace Corps Connect, this would be a great opportunity.
John Coyne (1962-64) has done it again! In our Book section, Kathleen Croskran (Addis, Dilla 1965-67) reviews Long Ago and Far Away, published by Peace Corps Writers. Peace Corps Volunteers in Ethiopia play a central role in this novel, but I don’t want to give the story away . . .. Read the review and then read the book.
If non-fiction is more your cup of “shai,” check out the review of Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia’s Victory over Mussolini’s Invasion, 1935–1941 by Jeff Pearce, published in November. The book is a fascinating account of Ethiopia’s second defeat of the Italians.
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