I want to wish all my friends and cohorts a Happy New Year for what should be a very challenging year in many ways. A special thanks to all who voted for me in the Authors Show, “Great Writers You Should be Reading”—my book is now in the Authors Library—just type in “Different Latitudes” as the keyword: https://wnbnetworkwest.com/BookClub.php
I started the year with the following response to the President’s derogatory comments on Haiti and Africa: I must take exception to the recent disparaging comments from our President in reference to many of the countries I've served in over the years. I find the comments especially discouraging, as I have a wife and three children born in Guatemala. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala in 1971, and volunteers continue to work side by side with Guatemalans to this day. Today we face crucial issues on immigration, so let us raise up the level of discourse and remember how our country has benefited from our unique "melting pot".
My daughter Nicolle, who was born in Guatemala, followed suit: As a proud "shitholer", I was devastated by Trump's vile words…While, sadly, it didn't surprise me, it hit me to the core. My family was welcomed with warm hearts & open arms by communities in Guatemala, Colombia & Sierra Leone. My family is Guatemalan and Peruvian. Further, my colleagues & friends are from countries Trump considers "shitholes." The President's views are diametrically opposed to what I believe America means.
My post reached 5,000 on my “Million Mile Walker” Facebook with some 400 “Likes” from all my social media sites. But I also received many “dislikes” and the level of division, partisanship, mistrust and simple vulgarity came out loud and clear, “Why didn’t you stay there if you like it so much?” “Is your family here legally?” “Who cares? They’re only Shitholes.”
Like many, I’m concerned about the deteriorating quality of our national discourse and the growing misunderstandings and misinformation regarding other countries. So join me on my “Million Mile Walker” Facebook page to share information on international affairs and materials which rise above partisan politics and inspires us all to more effectively share our stories and experiences about the good things – and unjust things – happening in our world today: https://www.facebook.com/millionmilewalker/
I’m pleased to announce the completion of the promotional video for Partnering for Peace where I’m a board member and the Project Director of an effort with Hal Rifken Productions to produce a series of videos about the impact shared Peace Corps/Rotary programs are having on the lives of those most in need. A video production can cost over $20,000, so we’ll have our hands full. Here’s the initial promotional video: https://vimeo.com/249620070
Let me know about any joint Rotary/Peace Corps programs you’re aware of and any potential donors and advocates for this effort. Check out our website and Facebook for more on this partnership, as we’re always looking for more programs and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to join Rotary: https://www.facebook.com/groups/274883079631829/
You can also find my two articles about Partnering for Peace on the Rotary Service Connect website, with a third coming out soon about the making of our promotional video: https://rotaryserviceblog.org/2017/11/08/strengthening-the-connection-between-peace-corps-volunteers-and-rotary-members/
Be sure to click on the Red Winners Seal to retrieve your gift of my review of “The White Rose,” as I’ll be introducing a masterful storyteller who injects his worldview and philosophy, which focuses on the plight of the poor, especially the indigenous, rural population in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The story behind the author, B. Traven, is almost as fascinating as the novel.
“From Freeborn to Freetown and Back” is an uplifting memoir by Returned Peace Corps volunteer Patrick O’Leary, whose experiences in Sierra Leone piqued my attention, since I worked and lived there for three years. I met the author last summer at the National Peace Corps Association Connect Conference. http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/review-from-freeborn-to-freetown-back-oleary/
Given all the interest in the power of DNA in determining our background and in finding cures to difficult diseases, “The Gene”, by Siddhartha Mukherjee, is a most timely read. He also wrote “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer”, which won a Pulitzer Prize. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1845966486?book_show_action=false
As always, let me know what you think, check out my Million Mile Walker Website and Facebook page and please let me know of any funding opportunities for the Partnering for Peace video project! And of course, please read and review, “Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond.”