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.

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 the floating home of Liz Samuels, 3737 NE Marine Dr in Portland. Someone will be there to let people in the Rose City Yacht Club’s gate from 6:15 to 6:30. At 6:30 we will walk together to the venue. Call 503-701-6218 if you arrive later. Participating in our discussion will be Tony D’Souza, the book’s author. 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.

July 2018 Book Club Selection

River of Renewal
Most, Stephen*: River of Renewal: Myth and History in the Klamath Basin (2006)

* RPCV Peru (1965-1967)

Discussion: Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 6:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Bill Stein, 4308 SE Lexington St in Portland, 503-830-0817. Note the earlier than usual time! This gathering will be a potluck dinner; please bring a dish to share. While we eat, we will watch a 55-minute film based on the book. Then, at 7:00 pm, we’ll be joined by author and filmmaker Stephen Most, via Skype.

Review: © Orion Magazine: The Klamath can be read as an encapsulated history of bad water-management decisions. Virtually everyone involved is a victim; the salmon are merely the most dramatic. When the Link River Dam was constructed without fish ladders in the early 1920s, salmon were eliminated from the upstream half of the drainage. Over the next sixty years, six more dams would push salmon habitat farther and farther downstream, ostensibly to provide flood control and hydroelectric power. Most tells these stories in the voices of the protagonists, who give the basin’s complex history an illuminating immediacy that infuses the entire book. It is a mark of his achievement that he has been able to make these historical, cultural, and environmental pieces into a comprehensive whole. River of Renewal is the best source available for those wishing to think clearly about this cumulative tragedy, as well as a first-rate model for regional land use history anywhere in the American West.

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