Beebe, James*: Those Were the Days: A Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines in the Late ’60s (2014)
* RPCV Philippines (1968-1973)
Discussion: Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Maria and James Beebe, 2373 NW Pettygrove St in Portland, 971-229-0780. Participating in our discussion–in person–will be CRPCA’s James Beebe, the book’s author! Feel free to bring snacks to share.
Abstract: A series of vignettes of significant, often funny, sometimes quite serious, events and encounters based on James’ Peace Corps experience in the Philippines. As a Volunteer from October 1968 to May 1973 James was profoundly changed by the joy of life and economic inequality he discovered while serving in the Philippines. He helped introduce a new activity-based approach to science teaching, learned the truth of the children’s rhyme that “Planting Rice is No Fun,” and taught part-time at a College. Life included buying a one-of-a-kind mosquito net, being offered a love potion, witnessing the funeral processions of poor babies, holidays, and being attacked by dogs after eating dog meat. The cloud of the Vietnam War had a significant impact. The most life-changing event almost didn’t happen when Maria, the “matchmaker’s” intended choice, accused the Peace Corps of “fascism, imperialism, and neocolonialism.” Renewed efforts the next year resulted in an accepted marriage proposal 6 weeks later. James then had to secure the blessings of her grandmother, Huk Kumander Dayang-dayang, for a marriage 2 weeks later. They had to wade through a waste-high flood on their wedding day and spent their honeymoon in a 350 year old Catholic convent. Maria’s naturalization as a US citizen and acceptance into Peace Corps occurred during a 6 week trip to the US after which they returned as Volunteers to the Philippines.