Welcome to the Columbia River Peace Corps Association

logo for Columbia River Peace Corps Association, Portland, Oregon President’s welcome, by Phyllis Shelton (Honduras 1986-1988)

Welcome to the Columbia River Peace Corps Association (CRPCA) web page! We are a group of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers living in the Greater Portland, SW Washington area.

As you probably already know, those of us who share the Peace Corps experience have a unique bond, and it doesn’t matter what country you served in or what decade you were there, it just feels right to sit down, share a meal and a story or dive into a meaningful service project shoulder to shoulder. CRPCA is a place where people who served in the 60s are just as apt to attend a pub night, service event, book club, potluck or special fundraising event as the volunteer who is so freshly returned they are still suffering from reverse culture shock! Family friendly events are important to many of our members, and networking for jobs or making friends when you are new in town are a big attraction too.

We are committed to ideals of service and community, both at home and abroad. Every year we collectively spend hundreds of hours on local service projects, give out thousands of dollars in grants to well vetted projects sponsored by returned or currently serving volunteers, so the good work continues. We are also happy to welcome prospective volunteers at our events. Come meet us and find out what it is really like; we are happy to share stories.

Our calendar is full of interesting events, check it out and see what is coming up, we would love to see you at one of our events soon.

Connect with us via Facebook, our website crpca.org, or by viewing our 50+ years of newsletters.

September 2018 Book Club Selection

Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage
Thomas, Maria*: Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage, and Other Stories (1987)

* RPCV Ethiopia 1971-1973

Discussion: Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 7:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Paul and Susie Robillard, 5405 NW Deerfield Way in Portland, 503-430-1776. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Review: © The New York Times: In Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage, Ms. Thomas gives us a group of stories about…Peace Corps volunteers, foreign academics and Agency for International Development advisers, Indians and white hunters left behind by colonial empire, American blacks looking for a place where blackness is the norm. These people don’t belong to Africa. Most have come here with the purpose of doing good, curing disease or famine or inventing consistent technical vocabularies where language hasn’t caught up to imported technology. Others came, as expatriates always have, to be saved from some sickness of the soul – they seek a witch-doctor cure of one alienation by another.

Where to find it:
Libraries: Multnomah Co
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

August 2018 Book Club Selection

Whiteman
D’Souza, Tony*: Whiteman** (2006)

* RPCV Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar 2000-2003

** 2007 Maria Thomas Fiction Award

Discussion: Tuesday, August 7, 2018, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at Rose City Yacht Club, 3737 NE Marine Dr in Portland. Participating in our discussion will be Tony D’Souza, the book’s author, via Skype. When you arrive at the gate, call or text Liz Samuels at 503-701-6218, and she will give you the code for the keypad to get in. Depending on how hot it is, we will meet either on deck of the Club House or Liz’s air-conditioned floating home. Feel free to bring snacks to share. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Review: © Booklist: Jack Diaz is a young American relief worker in a Muslim village in the Ivory Coast, part of an endeavor to bring potable water to the impoverished villagers. As it becomes more and more apparent that he cannot achieve his original goal, he drifts into various projects from hunting to farming to teaching villagers about AIDS prevention to taking up ill–advised love affairs. Tensions between Muslims and Christians mount and add to the layers of cultural and political nuances that Jack struggles to understand. Christened Whiteman by the villagers, who believe him capable of magic by virtue of his white skin, Jack feels his whiteness more than he ever has in his life. As he penetrates the culture–but never achieves complete integration–he discovers a people not as simple and uncomplicated as he had thought. With war threatening to hasten the end of his three-year commitment, Jack’s affection for the region and the people heightens, and he seeks forgiveness for his privilege and ineffectiveness.

Where to find it:
Library: Multnomah Co
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Our most important event of the year is this week!!!

CRPCA’s Grant Program has, over the last two years, awarded $10,000 to projects in Belize, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Oregon, Palestine, Sierra Leone, and Swaziland. To keep up this level of giving in FY2019, we aim for a great turnout of members and friends this Thursday!

  • Date: Thursday, July 12th, 2018, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Venue: Lagunitas Community Room, 237 NE Broadway in Portland, Oregon
  • Tickets: $20 per adult (21+), $5 per kid. Includes dinner and a drink, with additional beverages for purchase. Save time by purchasing in advance on our Checkout page.

Everyone is welcome to join us for RPCV Bingo, storytelling, and an incredible silent auction. We have more than 40 items from around the world that have been graciously donated to support our Grant Program.

Tickets will also be available at the door, however buying in advance will help us to cater appropriately. We hope to see you there! But in the event you can’t make it, your support is greatly appreciated, and we encourage you to buy tickets through our website.