Category Archives: Reunions

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Peace Corps Connect is coming to the Rocky Mountain State!

See you in Denver, August 4, 5 & 6, 2017

University of Denver
2199 South University Blvd, Denver, CO 80208
Located on the light rail line
(Take the A Line from Denver International Airport to Union Station.
Take the E-line from Union Station [downtown] to the University of Denver station.  Approximately 2 hour ride).  

Google other routes (car, bus).   Or support a Colorado-grown ride share App developed by members of the Ethiopian/Vietnamese immigrant community:  Hovit.  Download the app for $15.00 off your first ride. 

About Peace Corps Connect 2017

  • Partnering for Progress: Taking Collaborations to New Heights. Keynote speakers, panelists, exhibitors, and breakout sessions will all address this theme through focus areas such as global health, environment, economic development, equality and justice, and education and youth development.
  • Registration http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/events/peace-corps-connect-partnering-for-progress.
  • Lodging:  Dormitory rooms will be available at an affordable rate.  The co-hosts, the RPCVs of Colorado, http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/events/peace-corps-connect-partnering-for-progress.
  • Annual RPCVs of Colorado picnic (Sunday, August 6).  The RPCVs of Colorado would also like to invite everyone for our annual RPCV of Colorado picnic. The picnic will take place outdoors on the University of Denver campus, with food and drink provided via catering. Conference registration will include a ticket for the picnic.  Tickets will also be available just for the picnic.

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCV events TBD

  • E&E RPCV Affiliate Meeting (Business meeting) 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Friday, August 4, 2017.  DU Campus, Anderson Academic Commons (Library)
  • Optional dinner at a favorite Ethiopian restaurant 6:00 p.m. Friday, August 4, 2017.
  • Pre-conference (August 4)  There will be a pre-conference event on the Peace Corps and Rotary partnership on August 4.
  • Harris Wofford Reception, Saturday, August 5, 2017 on the University of Denver campus
  • Taste of Ethiopia, all day, Saturday August 5, 2017. Location :  Parkfield Lake Park, 15555 E. 53rd Ave. Denver, CO 80239
  • All conference picnic, Sunday, August 6, 2017.

 

All day event.  Free admission.  Food for purchase. Traditional dancing, music, fashion show, booths, and citizenship ceremony.

 

 

Ethiopian restaurants:

Ethiopia-related sightseeing:

City of Axum Park 4400 Bruce Randolph Ave. Denver, CO 80207.On January 20, 1995, Denver Mayor Wellington Webb signed the proclamation and declared the day as Axum Day. On November 12, Mayor Webb led a delegation to visit Axum. The people of Axum turned out in mass lining the streets of the city. To commemorate the occasion, Denver Street was named in the middle of Axum. In turn, the City of Denver named a park in honor of the Sister City relationship.

 Gloria Curtis (Asmara 1963–65) was instrumental in directing the painting of buildings on the park.

axum-park-3 axum-park-4

 

axum-park-1axum-park-2

 

Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. 2401 Welton St, Denver, CO 80205. Denver First Lady, Wilma Webb, was presented with a beautiful Ethiopian dress which is on display at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library  2401 Welton St.  Denver, CO 80205

Denver First Lady Wilma Webb was presented with an Ethiopian dress during a visit to Axum.

Denver First Lady Wilma Webb was presented with an Ethiopian dress during a visit to Axum.


 

 

 

 

Peace Corps and NPCA

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Peace Corps Connect is Coming to the Rocky Mountain State!

See you in Denver, June 23 & 24, 2017  Please note date change:  August 5 & 6, 2017

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCV events on Thursday, June 22, 2017  New date TBD

Local arrangements committee:

  • Janet Lee (Emdeber 1974-76)
  • Chuck Kreiman (Assella 1968–70)
  • Gloria Gieseke Curtis (Asmara 1963–65)
  • Amanda Spiegelberg (Addis Kidam, Awi Zone 2012-2015)

 


 

Reunions

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 & Gary Daves & Beth Crockett Shorer

Milli Quam (Mekele 64–66), Gary Daves (64–66)
and Beth Crockett Shorer (Mekele 64–66)

Judy Woods & Barb Mann Spence

Judy Woods (Addis Ababa 64–66) and
Barbara Mann Spence (Debre Berhan 64–66)

Steve & Eula Krashen and Hoyt Smith

Steve Krashed (Kotabe; Addis Ababa 64–66),
Eula Persons Krashen (Addis Ababa 64–66) and
Hoyt Smith (Addis Ababa 62–65)

Thurman Ragar & Joe Ciuffini

Thurman Ragar (Harar, Sodo 64–67) and
Joe Ciuffini (Harar 64–66)

Walter Rathkamp &  Milli Quam

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.


 A Reminder

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

Housing acomodations
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:

www.peacecorpsconnect.org/annual-gathering/berkeley-2015/

(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.)

 

 



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Reunions

Save June 4-6, 2015

Peace Corps Connect Conference – Berkeley CA

The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and the Northern California Peace Corps Association (NORCAL) have announced that 2015’s Peace Corps Connect event will take place in Berkeley, CA on Friday and Saturday, June 5-6, 2015.

E&E RPCVs plans to have some programming on June 4. Stay tuned for more details.

Housing accomodations

A limited amount of low-cost housing has been reserved in a UC Berkeley dormitory where some to the conference programs will be presented. You must act quickly to secure a reservation. Go to for more information:

www.peacecorpsconnect.org/annual-gathering/berkeley-2015/registration/

www.peacecorpsconnect.org/annual-gathering/berkeley-2015/

Hopefully many of you will be able to attend.

 


Reunions

ANOTHER FABULOUS ETHIOPIA II (1963–65) REUNION

by Gloria Gieseke Curtis (Asmara 1963-65)

twos-reunion-2013

EVERY GREAT EVENT starts with a fabulous idea and leaders bursting from the pack to pull it off.  Since quite a few of our “twos” group have homes in Florida, Ed Lynch invited anyone interested to celebrate the 50th anniversary year of our training at UCLA with him in Englewood.

Where the Hell is Englewood, Florida?  Who cares? If that is the destination for an Ethiopia II reunion, then it shall be found! Fly into Tampa, go south past Bradenton (home of Dannie and Daryle Russell) along the Bay coast to Lemon Bay, and look for a pastel cluster of buildings named “Wanna-B Inn.” What a beautiful location, right on the shore, to meet and greet dear old friends.  Every reunion, we are joined by at least one person who has never been to an Ethiopia II event, and this year it was Moe Rosen and his lovely wife, Jackie.

Thanks to the hard work and creative planning of our fabulous “hosts” (The Russells, The Hillenbrands, and the Lynch Team), we were treated to a long weekend of food, drink, fun, sun, water, music, stories, laughing, crying, nostalgia, book reviews, Ethiopia updates, and more food and drinks. Dannie’s event-planning experience really showed with her gourmet food and fun “extras” like the Ethiopia-Eritrea bracelets and souvenir palm tree drinking glasses, which were well used all weekend.  I’m always amazed at how hard the non-PCV spouses work to make these events a success, and they deserve our sincere thanks.

The original plan was to start with an evening reception Friday, April 19, and end with a goodbye brunch on Sunday, April 21.  Of course, that would never be enough time for the fanatic “Twos” who needed more reunion time. So many folks decided to come in early and stay later that our flexible hosts kept adding activities. The extended weekend ended up with an open house, abundant food and drinks, and a “meet and greet” at the Ed Lynch vacation home in Englewood Thursday afternoon into evening.  Then Friday morning was a scenic boat trip out of Sarasota.

The Friday evening poolside reception was a special treat. First, the “Private Party” sign went up at the hotel pool area. Ed arranged for musicians to play songs from “the good old days” of our 1960s Peace Corps experience.   The big surprise was hearing the wonderful solo voices of Ted Vestal, former PC Assistant Director in Ethiopia, and Pat Bailey (Addis Ababa 63–65), one of our own, singing their specialties and then leading the group in some favorites. We ended with a rousing version of “We Shall Overcome . . ..”

Saturday morning is usually set aside as the “business meeting” for reunions, but for our group there is always some experience that keeps us from getting too serious.  We heard very thorough and thoughtful updates of life in current Ethiopia, plus some wonderful travel stories from recent visitors. Our leaders were Prof. Ted Vestal, Dane Smith, Haskell Ward, and travelers Marvin Vinande and Doug Worthington and their wives who went on the “Return to Ethiopia” trip last September. A special treat was viewing the beautiful scrapbook that Lynn Worthington made up to remember their trip. Some told of what must be one of life’s most exciting experiences for RPCVs — finding former students from the 1960s, especially when they are healthy and successful in their work and personal lives. Others spoke of  the support they are giving to  projects in the homeland that benefit students and educational projects.

Elias Wondimu from Tsehai Publishers, a guest of Ted Vestal, brought literature describing the many interesting books about Ethiopia already published by the company, or will be published later this year.

While our outstanding grill cook, Barry, was doing duty for lunch outside at the Englewood Community Center, the rest of us told stories inside the clubhouse.  We ranged from cheers to tears as Dannie led us in a round of informal story telling.  Although this was our group’s official 50th anniversary year reunion, it really did seem like we were back in Ethiopia as Volunteers. We are an emotional group. The memories are so strong. Of course, the stories continued around the seaside picnic tables as we devoured the lunch prepared by our hosts.

Saturday night was a really fun time at the official farewell dinner held in a funky beach bar and restaurant.

The farewell brunch at Ed and Aud Lynch’s home was really fun.  Even some of their neighbors dropped by to meet these strange folks who went to a strange place with Ed and stayed for two years already!  Of course, we can’t part company without planning the next reunion and we all agreed that the Fall of 2015 would officially commemorate the 50th year of our LEAVING Ethiopia.  Warren and Marti Fritz stepped up to suggest Traverse City, Michigan, their home area — and a cheering vote confirmed the deal. Our Peace Corps banner and the Eth 2 Party Sign were passed to Warren to make the plan official.

Over the years I’ve met so many returned Peace Corps Volunteers who have never been to a reunion or who have lost contact with everyone in their group.  This is always a shock to me and a source of great sadness. Barry has suggested that as a project before 2015 we “Twos” make an effort to contact every person in our group. Hopefully, other Ethiopia groups will try to do the same. Someone needs to VOLUNTEER!

Reunions

Reunion after the Reunion

By Jon Wechsler (Mendefera 66–68)

Many who attended

Many who attended

Two months after 97 of us celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the first Peace Corps Volunteers in Ethiopia, a much smaller group gathered in an Ethiopian restaurant in New York City to reminisce about the recent trip. The 22 Ethiopian RPCVs at the November 26, 2012 lunch included many who traveled on the recent trip, and a few who couldn’t make it, and wanted to hear how it went. Also, as always happens, there were a few reunions among those who simply hadn’t met one another during the Peace Corps reunions over the past years.

Donald & Jackie Schlenger had brought with them by far the best collection
of trip stories and photos. And, as their album was being passed around,
they talked about an idea of theirs, to hold an Ethiopian Volunteers Reunion
Weekend in April 2013 in their part of North Carolina. (See details by clicking on “REUNIONS” just above the header photo on any page of The Herald.)

E. T. Williams told us about a generous art donation he brought to Addis on the trip, and shared with us the wonderful letter he received from Ethiopia thanking him.

Jon Wechsler brought with him the timely titled “Ethiopia 1966,” a gorgeous new photo book not yet available in the United States, but found by him in his last few hours in Addis. Over 100 photos taken in Ethiopian and Eritrea in 1965–1966 are in this recently published volume.

Nancy Horn told us about some of her recent trips to Ethiopia, describing a number of opportunities to teach, to volunteer in other ways, in Ethiopia in the years to come.

After five hours or so, the last of the group departed, well fed, and most
hoarse from hours of talk.

Reunions

ETHIOPIA VII: Let’s organize a reunion back in Ethiopia

Encouraged by the enthusiastic and nostalgic responses to Peace Corps she encounters during her frequent visits, Nancy Horn suggests organizing a reunion in Ethiopia

By Nancy Horn (Addis 66-68)

I have been going to Ethiopia on average twice a year for the past five years to consult with the largest Evangelical Church there. While in country, I have met many Ethiopians who were taught by PCVs. I met two former students who were taught by ETHI VIIs (my group), earned their PhDs in the US and are now working in development. I am very interested in learning how many VIIs are ready to make a group return trip some time during 2011. The timing would not interfere with the 50th anniversary celebrations Peace Corps has scheduled for Washington for September 2011.

I am willing to take the leadership in organizing such a trip along with a committee formed by any of you who are interested. Two years ago I did the organization for a group of teachers who went to Ethiopia to provide a week of teacher training to church-school teachers.

If you are interested in taking such a trip, please send me an email (or a letter) providing some of the following information:

  • Name, email contact, telephone number, and mailing address.
  • Town and years of PC service.
  • Number of people traveling with you.
  • Price ceiling per person.
  • Preferred month of travel, plus one or two alternatives.
  • Departure location.
  • Number of days you want to spend in-country, beyond the three travel days in and out of country.
  • Activities you are interested in.
  • Willingness to serve on the planning committee or raise funds for the reunion, or both.

Please send your replies to me at horn.n@att.net, or 1225 South Lorraine Road, #212, Wheaton, IL 60189.   I would appreciate a response by March 31. I will be moving in April and all the numbers will change.  I’ll report back to you in THE HERALD on the response.

I should be returning to Ethiopia this summer. I thought I might  place an advertisement in the Ethiopian newspapers trying to get in contact with those who were taught by PCVs during the period September 1966 to June 1968.  With the responses and a bit of networking we can plan a gathering, probably in Addis Ababa, for us all. We will have to do some fundraising for this as there may be quite a few people. Do let me hear from you by the end of March, and I’ll set things in motion.