E&E RPCVs Group News

Gloria Curtis retires from E&ERPCVs board

Gloria in her Ethiopian t-shirt at a recent board meeting

Gloria in her Ethiopian t-shirt at a recent board meeting

Gloria Gieseke Curtis (Asmara 1963–65) has retired from the Board of Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs effective December 31st. Gloria was among the very first of our group to volunteer to serve on the Board many years ago, and her enthusiastic efforts in support of our many activities and projects have been invaluable.

Thank you, Gloria!

In tribute to Gloria’s penchant for storytelling we share the following from her:

My Hat is Higher Than Your Hat

During the school year of 1964-65, Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, along with Prince Phillip, came to visit the Emperor, Haile Selassie, in Ethiopia.  She visited several sites, and ended up in Asmara to a very warm welcome.  Because of security concerns, the original plan was to parade down the main street in a closed car.  However, because of the excitement to see the queen, plus the beautiful weather, a Cadillac convertible was borrowed from an officer at the U.S. Military Base — Kagnew. Now, as a side story, that base was such a secret that it officially did not exist.

This part is second hand information from Kagnew people to Peace Corps Volunteers, but I did witness the end result and my photos will verify the facts.

The queen arrived at Kagnew wearing a bright blue suit and a matching small cloche-style hat with a little net over the front of her hair.  The Emperor was dressed in his military finest with medals and ribbons hanging all over.  A square, sofa-type cushion was provided for him to sit on in the back seat of the car.  Then an assistant came up with a slightly higher cushion for the Queen. An aide handed the Emperor his military officer’s hat, and a lady-in-waiting to the Queen removed her beehive-style, chiffon-wrapped hat and positioned  it on the Queen’s head.  And then the parade headed for the main street where PCVs and others were standing taking photos.



From all reports, the Queen and the Emperor maintained a very good relationship for many years.  Before our PCV group left the country, a main street leading up to the Haile Selassie Secondary School was renamed Queen Elizabeth II Avenue in her honor.

Would you like to join the E&E RPCVs Board of Directors?

With the resignation of Gloria, the current board members would like to invite  RPCVs  who have served in Ethiopia or Eritrea to apply to serve on the board. Most of our business is carried on via email. Occasional meetings have been held around the country in conjunction with reunions or NPCA conferences. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization our topics of discussion mainly pertain to the RPCV Legacy Program, finances and planning for group gatherings.

Write to the Board at eerpcv@gmail if you are interested.


3 responses to “E&E RPCVs Group News

  1. William Seraile

    Volunteers in Mekelle went to Axum in early 1965 to see Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Haile Selassie. A special dispensation was issued to allow the Queen, a woman to enter the church. As security was lax, I and other volunteers were able to take photos of the royalty. I have one in my home of the Emperor and his great grandsons. Prince Philip was walking near by with an aide when I remarked to another volunteer, ” let’s go talk to the Prince” Overhearing me, he turned and replied “talk to my wife;she is more interesting” William Seraile. Mekelle, 1963-65

  2. William Seraile Mekelle 1963-65

    In early 1965, several of us went to Axum to see Haile Selassie, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at a church dedication. A special ruling allowed the Queen and female volunteers to enter the sanctuary. Security was very lax and we were able to closely follow the royalty as they walked the church grounds. I have a photograph in my home of Haile Selassie posing with his great grandsons. Seeing Prince Philip nearby, I said (a little too loud) to Judy Hopkins, let’s talk to the Prince. He turned and replied, “talk to my wife;she is more interesting!”

  3. In addition to her role on the Board, Gloria and husband Don were instrumental in the formation of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Colorado, a very active group in Colorado. She has also served in many roles with Denver Sister Cities, especially the Denver/Axum Ethiopia twinning. If we all had her energy and enthusiasm.

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