Ethiopia III Reunion in San Antonio
by Alice Gosak Gary (Harar 1964-67)
When the Peace Corps general reunion met in Washington, D.C. in 2011, some of the Ethiopia III volunteers felt that they wanted to meet again in a cozier setting where they could comfortably sit and talk to each other for as long as they wanted. Since many of the meetings took place in Washington or in eastern locations, there were even those who lobbied for a reunion on the West Coast. Three years hence, 2014, was roughly targeted as the date for this reunion.
By 2014, a number of things had happened. A group, including some of the Ethiopia III RPCVs had returned to the country for a visit. Others had gone independently. Nonetheless, a small self-appointed committee of Darrel and Betty McLaughlin Hagberg and Alice Gosak Gary with advice from Al and Dianne Brandhorst and Judy Woods plodded ahead. The guidelines they set were that the venue had to be easily accessible by air and reasonably priced with lots of informal seating. The requirement of an Ethiopian restaurant had to be dropped as smaller cities do not necessarily have one.
After a false start with Asilomar on the Monterey Peninsula, San Antonio was chosen as the site for the reunion. The Drury Suites on the Riverwalk, an older hotel with plenty of comfortable lobby seating, was chosen. From October 19 till October 21, 2014, a group of 48 Ethiopia III members and some of their spouses from 16 states met for an update on Ethiopia today and to renew old acquaintances.
One of the days was devoted to a program with an update on education in Ethiopia and the E&E RPCV Legacy Program by Nancy Horn (Ethiopia VII), a program evaluator and frequent traveler to Ethiopia; a presentation by Ted Vestal and Hoyt Smith (Ethiopia I) on their splendid book, Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia Revisited; a DVD presentation of Ethiopia 1965 by Tom Andrews; and films, Making The Crooked Straight about the work of Dr. Rick Hodes, and Sincerely Ethiopia by Nathan Araya and Hellen Kassa about the efforts of young Ethiopians to improve conditions for people there. A panel of people who had visited the country on the 2011 return trip and a talk about planning a trip to the country also were included. By far the most spontaneous, but well appreciated event, was an update by those in attendance, a “what I have done in the intervening 50 years.”
Some of the reunioners:
Milli Quam (Mekele 64–66), Gary Daves (64–66)
and Beth Crockett Shorer (Mekele 64–66)
Judy Woods (Addis Ababa 64–66) and
Barbara Mann Spence (Debre Berhan 64–66)
Steve Krashed (Kotabe; Addis Ababa 64–66),
Eula Persons Krashen (Addis Ababa 64–66) and
Hoyt Smith (Addis Ababa 62–65)
Thurman Ragar (Harar, Sodo 64–67) and
Joe Ciuffini (Harar 64–66)
Walter Rathkamp (Mekele 64–66) and
Milli Quam (Mekele 64–66)
Although the reunion was heartwarming, no plans are being made for another one. It is hoped that less formal meetings of the Ethiopia III group and others will take place in connection with NPCA’s Peace Corps Connect conferences in the future. Follow developments with the Ethiopia III group by going to their web site or visiting the Ethiopia and Eritrea Facebook page.
Peace Corps Connect/Berkeley Conference
The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and the Northern California Peace Corps Association (NORCAL) will host Peace Corps Connect/Berkeley in Berkeley, CA on Friday and Saturday, June 5-6, 2015.
E&E RPCVs plans to have a program and a social gathering
A limited amount of low-cost housing has been reserved in a UC Berkeley dormitory where some to the conference programs will be presented. Reserve before May 15. Go for more information to:
(Click on “Attendees” on the left side of the page to download a pdf listing those who have registered as of April 15th to see those registered who served in Ethiopia.)