PPCA COVID-19 Support Fund – still available

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the Portland Peace Corps Association has established a special COVID-19 Support Fund to support our community members. Beginning immediately, newly evacuated PCVs and local RPCVs in NW Oregon and SW Washington may apply for funds based on their needs. Please refer to the information below to learn more about this funding opportunity and how to apply.

What: PPCA has established a special fund for one-time payments to support community members with crucial needs due to their evacuation and/or impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Newly evacuated PCVs and local RPCVs in NW Oregon and SW Washington

Eligibility: Individual must describe how they have been impacted, their need, and what they will use the funds for.

How to apply for assistance: Take our COVID-19 Support Survey NOW at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7H27S7V.

Note: We will never divulge anything that could be used to identify recipients, but we may paraphrase applicants’ needs to promote donations to our COVID-19 Support Fund.

When: We are considering new support applicants now! The first round of payments was made in early May, providing 6 newly evacuated PCVs with $2,300 in support. Future payments are dependent on member contributions to our COVID-19 Support Fund.

Who makes the selection decision?: PPCA has named a four-person committee to review requests and maintain confidentiality.

Amount of funds: As of May 20, thanks largely to member generosity, the total fund exceeds $750. As a result, we are willing to consider payments between $200 and $500.

Method of payment: Payments will be made via Venmo or by check.

Seeking additional donations to this fund: PPCA seeks additional donations to our COVID-19 Support Fund at http://www.crpca.org/checkout/.

December 2020 Book Club Selection

Dead Aid
Moyo, Dambisa: Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa (2009)

Discussion: Monday, December 14, 2020, 6:30-8:00 pm. Online meeting via Zoom; e-mail bookclub AT crpca.org for the login information.

Review: © Publishers Weekly: In this important analysis of the past fifty years of international (largely American) aid to Africa, economist and former World Bank consultant Moyo, a native of Zambia, prescribes a tough dose of medicine: stopping the tide of money that, however well-intentioned, only promotes corruption in government and dependence in citizens. With a global perspective and on-the-ground details, Moyo reveals that aid is often diverted to the coffers of cruel despotisms, and occasionally conflicts outright with the interests of citizens-free mosquito nets, for instance, killing the market for the native who sells them. In its place, Moyo advocates a smarter, though admittedly more difficult, policy of investment that has already worked to grow the economies of poor countries like Argentina and Brazil. Moyo writes with a general audience in mind, and doesn’t hesitate to slow down and explain the intricacies of, say, the bond market. This is a brief, accessible look at the goals and reasons behind anti-aid advocates, with a hopeful outlook and a respectful attitude for the well-being and good faith of all involved.

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

November 2020 Book Club Selection

The Sympathizer
Nguyen, Viet Thanh: The Sympathizer* (2015)

* 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Discussion: Thursday, November 12, 2020, 6:30-8:00 pm. Online meeting via Zoom; e-mail bookclub AT crpca.org for the login information.

Review: © Publishers Weekly: This astonishing first novel has at its core a lively, wry first-person narrator called the Captain, and his two school friends Bon and Man, as they navigate the fall of Saigon and the establishment of the Communist regime in Vietnam in 1975. The Captain is a half-Vietnamese double agent; he reports to his Communist minder Man who, unbeknownst to Bon, is a Republican assassin. The Captain and Bon make it on to one of the harrowing last flights out of Saigon as the city is overtaken by the Viet Cong. They travel with the Captain’s superior, the General, and his family, although Bon’s own wife and son are shot making their escape. The Vietnamese exiles settle uncomfortably in an America they believe has abandoned their country, as they are reduced to new roles as janitors, short-order cooks, and deliverymen. The General opens a liquor store, then a restaurant (in which his proud wife cooks the best pho outside Vietnam) as a front to raise money for a counter rebellion. In order to protect his identity as a spy, the Captain is forced to incriminate others, and as lines of loyalty and commitment blur, his values are compromised until they are worthless. Nguyen’s novel enlivens debate about history and human nature, and his narrator has a poignant, often mirthful voice.

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

October 2020 Book Club Selection

Say You're One of Them
Akpan, Uwem: Say You’re One of Them (2008)

Discussion: Thursday, October 8, 2020, 6:30-8:00 pm. Online meeting via Zoom; e-mail bookclub AT crpca.org for the login information.

Review: © Booklist: With this heart-stopping collection, which includes the New Yorker piece, An Ex-Mas Feast, that marked Akpan as a breakout talent, the Nigerian-born Jesuit priest relentlessly personalizes the unstable social conditions of sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout, child narrators serve as intensifying prisms for horror, their vulnerability and slowly eroding innocence lending especially chilling dimensions to the volume’s two most riveting entries: Fattening for Gabon (one of the book’s three novellas), about the systematic grooming of a Benin 10-year-old and his sister for sale to a sex-slavery ring; and the collection’s title story, a harrowing plunge into the mind of a mixed-race girl during the Rwandan genocide. From the slurp of machetes slashing into flesh to a toddler’s oblivious stomping through blood puddling from his mother’s crushed skull, Akpan tackles grisly violence head-on, but most of the stories, with the exception of the overlong, metaphor-laden Luxurious Hearses, are lifted above consciousness-raising shockers by Akpan’s sure characterizations, understated details, and culturally specific dialect. Don’t expect to emerge with redemption delivered on a silver platter. The stories’ tattered hope comes indirectly, from the thirst for broader knowledge about Africa’s postcolonial conflicts they’ll engender, and from the possibility that the collection’s opening map, with the featured nations labeled (as helpful as it is a glaring symbol of most Western readers’ woeful ignorance), will someday prove superfluous.

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