Welcome to the Columbia River Peace Corps Association

logo for Columbia River Peace Corps Association, Portland, Oregon President’s welcome, by Tom DeMeo (Ghana 1980-82 and Botswana 1982-84)

Welcome to the Columbia River Peace Corps Association (CRPCA), the returned Peace Corps volunteers living in the Portland, Oregon, metro area. We are committed to ideals of service and community, both at home and abroad. Connect with us if you are a potential volunteer wanting to talk with old hands, if you are an returned volunteer looking to connect with others who have shared the unique Peace Corps experience, or if you share our ideals and want to meet others of like mind! Take a look at our calendar to see what upcoming events we have planned: we hold regular service events, social gatherings, and educational opportunities that help us serve our community and engage with the world. Find something that suits your style, and join us – we’d love to have you!

Connect with us via Facebook, our website crpca.org, or by signing up for our newsletter and e-updates.

December 2015 Book Club Selection

Long Walk to Freedom
Mandela, Nelson*: Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (1995)

* Winner of 1993 Nobel Peace Prize

Discussion: Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Bill Stein, 4308 SE Lexington St in Portland, 503-830-0817. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Review: © Library Journal: This is an articulate, moving account of Mandela’s life from his “country childhood” following his birth on July 18, 1918 to his inauguration as president of South Africa on May 10, 1994. Mandela traces the growth of his understanding of the oppression of the blacks of South Africa; his conviction that there was no alternative to armed struggle; his developing belief that all people, black and white, must be free for true freedom; and the effect that his commitment to overthrowing apartheid had on his family, who “paid a terrible price.” Over a third of Mandela’s memoir tells of his 27 years in prison, an account that could stand alone as a prison narrative. He ends his book with the conclusion that his “long walk” for freedom has just begun: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

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

We’re surveying our members for the first half of November

Book selection survey for 2016

CRPCA Book Club chooses most of its book selections through an annual survey open to all members. Check out our Book Selection Survey for 2016 at http://www.crpca.org/book-club/book-selection-survey-for-2016. Please be patient for up to a half-minute while the page loads, then set aside 15-20 minutes to fully consider the book options. Select your top 8 from among the 38 options, then proceed to the survey via the link at the bottom of the page. The survey closes 11/15/2015, and we will announce the results in CRPCA’s December newsletter.

Language discussion groups survey

CRPCA currently offers a Salon Francophone, in which a handful of our members gather most months to speak French with each other. Through 11/15/2015, we’re surveying all members who speak Arabic, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Russian, and/or Spanish to gauge your interest in additional language discussion groups. These languages are listed because they’re spoken across three or more countries in the Peace Corps world. There’s also a question for our French speakers about the format of Salon Francophone. If you speak any of the above-listed languages, please proceed directly to the survey today at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NX7ZVF7.

November 2015 Book Club Selection

The Orphan Master's Son
Johnson, Adam: The Orphan Master’s Son* (2012)

* Winner of 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Discussion: Thursday, November 12, 2015, 7:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Carole Beauclerk, 1500 SW Park Ave in Portland, 503-780-2722. On-street parking in downtown Portland is free beginning at 7:00 pm. Upon arrival, scroll up or down to Beauclerk (check the code, which should be 014) and identify yourself as a Book Club participant to be buzzed in. Then turn right into the building’s lobby and take an immediate left into the community room. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Review: © Booklist: Pak Jun Do lives with his father at a North Korean work camp for orphans. In a nation in which every citizen serves the state, orphans routinely get the most dangerous jobs. So it is for Jun Do, who becomes a tunnel soldier, trained to fight in complete darkness in the tunnels beneath the DMZ. But he is reassigned as a kidnapper, snatching Japanese citizens with special skills, such as a particular opera singer or sushi chef. Failure as a kidnapper could lead directly to the prison mines. But in Johnson’s fantastical, careening tale, Jun Do manages to impersonate Commander Ga, the country’s greatest military hero, rival of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il and husband of Sun Moon, North Korea’s only movie star. Informed by extensive research and travel to perhaps the most secretive nation on earth, Johnson has created a remarkable novel that encourages the willing suspension of disbelief. As Jun Do, speaking as Ga, puts it, people have been trained to accept any reality presented to them. Johnson winningly employs different voices, with the propagandizing national radio station serving as a mad Greek chorus. Descriptions of everyday privations and barbarities are matter of fact, and Jun Do’s love for Sun Moon reads like a fairy tale. Part adventure, part coming-of-age tale, and part romance, The Orphan Master’s Son is a triumph on every level.

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