Van Beek, Steve*: Slithering South (2002)
* RPCV Nepal 1966-1969
Discussion: Saturday, May 6, 2017, 7:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Carole Beauclerk, 1500 SW Park Ave in Portland. On-street parking in downtown Portland is free beginning at 7:00 pm. Upon arrival, call 503-780-2722 to be buzzed in, then turn right into the building’s lobby and then take an immediate left into the community room. Participating in our discussion–in person–will be Steve Van Beek, the book’s author! Feel free to bring snacks to share.
Synopsis: A wild, often hilarious, ride down Thailand’s longest river. A tiny teak boat set in the Ping River deep in the Golden Triangle takes the author on a 58-day voyage of discovery through Thailand’s heart. Along the way, he meets Sin the Buffalo Man, the Cowboys of Tha Sala, Jamrat and the “Boom Boom Girl”, and dozens of other intriguing characters. One dark night, poachers prey on him; on another, he is a murder suspect, as he learns far more about rural Thailand – and himself – than he bargained for.
Where to find it:
From the author: Steve Van Beek, in Thailand through 4/28, has obtained more copies of this book, which was published in Thailand. His spouse Piyawee Ruenjinda, currently at their home in Beaverton, is selling the book for $20 to folks willing to come to their home. Please call 971-347-7285 today if you’re interested in one of these copies.
Alder, Greg*: The Mountain School (2013)
* RPCV Lesotho (2003-2006)
Discussion: Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Patrice Hudson, 4222 SE Morrison St in Portland, 503-866-7020. Participating in our discussion–in person–will be Greg Alder, the book’s author! Feel free to bring snacks to share.
Synopsis: The Kingdom of Lesotho is a mountainous enclave in southern Africa, and like mountain zones throughout the world it is isolated, steeped in tradition, and home to few outsiders. The people, known as Basotho, are respected in the area as the only tribe never to be defeated by European colonizers. Greg Alder arrives in Tšoeneng as the village’s first foreign resident since 1966. In that year, the Canadian priest who had been living there was robbed and murdered in his quarters. Set up as a Peace Corps teacher at the village’s secondary school, Alder finds himself incompetent in so many unexpected ways. How do you keep warm in this place where it snows but there is no electricity? For how long can dinners of cornmeal and leaves sustain you? Tšoeneng is a world apart from his home in America. But he persists in becoming familiar with the new lifestyle; he learns to speak the strange local tongue and is eventually invited to participate in initiation rites. Yet even as he seems accepted into the Tšoeneng fold, he sees how much of an outsider he will always remain—and perhaps want to remain. The Mountain School is insightful, candid, at times adaptive and at times rebellious. It is the ultimate tale of the transplant.
Where to find it:
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Attend the West Coast National RPCV Career Conference, taking place Monday, March 23, 2015 through Thursday, March 26, 2015 at the Henry M Jackson Federal Building in Seattle. (915 2nd Ave., Seattle, WA 98174)
Register to attend this four-day conference, where you’ll learn in-depth strategies to make yourself stand out from other job-seekers. RPCVs are welcome to attend any or all parts of this conference. We hope you’ll join us and take advantage of this opportunity to boost your job-search skills while networking with other RPCVs and RPCV-friendly employers.