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01 Feb 2020 8:30 AM • Everglades National Park via Homestead, Florida
22 Feb 2020 4:00 PM • 1279 NE 79th Street Causeway, Miami, FL 33138
14 Mar 2020 • MDC North Campus, Room 2151, Time to be Announced
26 Apr 2020 2:00 PM • A.D. "Doug" Barnes Park, 3401 SW 72nd Ave, Miami, FL 33155 - Shelter # 3
19 Aug 2020 • Namibia

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Annual Everglades Outing


Coming up on Saturday, February 1st, 2020, RPCVSF will host it's 21st annual outing to the Florida Everglades National Park for kids in shelters. To join this event, please click on the Everglades Outing in the Calendar just above.


America's Everglades - The largest subtropical wilderness in the United States



An international treasure as well -  a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and a specially protected area under the Cartagena Treaty.


The Everglades is an expansive area of land in south Florida, which consists of 1.5 million acres of wetland. Everglades National Park protects an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species like the manatee,  American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther.


RPCV Global Village

RPCV Global Village is Accepting Applications for 2020 “Service Vacations”


Join RPCVs for a week (or more) from January to April in Immokalee, Florida to serve the immigrant farm-worker community.  


For more information, please Click Here and https://www.rpcvglobalvillage.org

Travel Update Chat


2020 is going to be a great year for traveling. It will probably mark Travel’s last time as a trip leader. Travel will still be available as consultant on international travel for RPCVSF members and friends through the website and newsletter. Share with us your thoughts, inquiries, comments, and most of all, your finds.


This year Travel will be looking hard for BARGAIN packages and different ADVENTURES. We are going to try to make a niche for our members and friends in other vendor’s travel packages. At the moment, Travel is looking at trips for Senegal and The Gambia, giving us a look at French and British northwest Africa; Ghana in British West Africa; Brazil grand excursions including the Pantanal inland delta; the Guianas to give us a taste of British, Dutch, and French culture in South America.


The biggest event of the year takes place August 19, 2020, a special date in the life of Traveland for everyone born in 1940. (also special for Bill Clinton and Tipper Gore but with different years). A fitting place to wrap up being a trip leader, we shall celebrate grandly at Joe’s Beerhouse in Windhoek, capital of Namibia, the most interesting safari country in Africa. Former RPCVSF President Tuey Murdock (Colombia) will be honorary hostess. (Joe’s is the liveliest bar/restaurant in the country, a little like Shorty’s in Miami with an Africa flair and menu features. You thought Impala was a car; it is a great burger.)


Dates, itinerary, and pricing will be announced very soon. High season means a short consideration time.


FYI: Beer in non-Muslim countries south of the Sahara is excellent. Most of those countries have signed agreements with the major breweries of Europe to provide brewers and technical assistance. Namibia has its German and Dutch heritage to provide extra quality. Don’t like beer? The place is afloat with South African wine, still and sparkling. Many of these countries have also signed bottling agreements with the distilleries of the world. Local bottling reduces product price and increases availability. Soft drinks are always available.

Email: travel@rpcvsf.org

33rd Annual General Meeting of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida


RPCVSF Expresses it's Appreciation to the Historic 94th AeroSquadron Restaurant for a great Lunch and Venue

RPCVSF President Jen Wos Welcomes Everyone to the 33rd Annual General Meeting of

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida, Inc.



RPCVSF President Jen Wos (left) and the Honorable Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins who spoke on All Kinds of Service. Commissioner Higgins served as Peace Corps Director in Belize.



Fair Trade Market Goods Were There to Raise Funds for HELP - Haiti

2019 Spirit of Service Learning Awards

Our annual Spirit of Service Learning Award event, held on Saturday, October 12th, at the Miami Springs Lions Club, was well-attended by RPCVs, awardees and friends.  After some mingling and a scrumptious, potluck meal, awards were given to: 2019 Spirit of Service Learning Winners and Honorees.pdf.

For more information about the Spirit of Service Learning program, please click here .



K - 12 Winners



 Higher Education Winners Melissa Grossman and Thomas Uhle, Jr.



Awardees and Representatives of the

Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year Coalition and the

Armando Alejandre Jr. Memorial Foundation and

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida

__________________________


Miami Dade College published an article titled "Faculty Honored for Service-Learning Dedication" about RPCVSF's Service-Learning in their monthly "MDC College Forum" that has a nationwide distribution of over 50,000.

Immediately below is a link to the article.


Service-Learning Faculty Awards College Forum Article Nov 2019.pdf

RPCVSF Went to Thailand

By Greg Zell (Nigeria)


November, 2019 - Thailand has been a major Peace Corps country from the beginning. RPCVs from Thailand have made an impact on our organization from its start. A comprehensive 2 week visit is called for.


Thailand is an attractive country. It is not a gorgeous country. Bangkok is unattractive like many capital cities: very congested, largely sidewalk-less, buildings piled on each other happenstance. Cranes fill the skyline. Where are the new buildings going? The Chow Praya river adds a scenic touch though. We finish a cruise at the stylish rear entrance of the Mandarin Oriental hotel for high tea in the famous Authors Lounge. We take tea in the James Michener suite. Everyone agrees the surroundings, tea, and food make this an experience.


We leave the city to explore the ruins of two ancient capitals of Siam: Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. They remind us we are in an ancient civilization. At Kanchanaburi we see the River Kwai. Pierre Boule, a French author, took a handful of facts about a rail bridge near a river in Thailand built by Japanese WWII POWs and fashioned a popular novel. The American publisher gave it the English title Bridge Over the River Kwai; David Lean turned it into a great movie called Bridge on the River Kwai. Tourists wanted to see the river (and the bridge which was blown up at the end of the film!).


So the Thai government renamed a portion of the river and added new bridges even though the original did not cross the river but was parallel to it. An entrepreneur constructed nearby a bamboo cell block typical of a Japanese POW camp for tourists to see. Even more sobering, outside the town is the perfectly manicured cemetery for over 6900 Commonwealth POWs, mostly Australian and New Zealanders.

All our hotels on the trip were eye-popping. On the River Kwai, each room was a separate building with foundations sunk in the edge of the riverbed. The rooms were connected by a kind of gallery/causeway. You had to see it.


We head north to Chiang Mai, nestled in mountains and a favorite of PCVs. It is more temperate than the south. Visiting the elephant sanctuary lets us see them feeding, wallowing in a mud pit, and bathing in a river. They are a smaller species than their African cousins which we saw on our Namibia safari.


We go further north to Chiang Rai in the Golden Triangle, home of some of the world’s major druglords and best dope. I bought a nifty t-shirt featuring poppies. Now I am concerned people might think me a South Beach mo-del. The road ends at a river, the border with Myanmar (Burma).

We fly south to Phuket. The scars of the tsunami over a dozen years ago have healed. Now we see hills and mountains pouring into the sea and lovely beaches (no surf) and so many tourists, the result of China’s economy booming for years. Some of our group went snorkeling; others took a course in Thai cooking. We were blessed with authentic Thai cuisine every lunch and dinner. Asian food tends to be repetitive after a few days but not our meals.


Qatar

Our good fortune began when we caught a bargain airfare of about $900 round trip on Qatar Airways. The planes are sparkling new. No old overweight behemoth flight attendants for them: real gorgeous stewardesses and handsome stewards.


Qatar is an independent Arab emirate next to the United Arab Emirates. Qatar is mostly pronounced “cutter” but is better pronounced “gutter” we are told even though we never hear it. Qatar has oil which will run out in 20 years. Sing no sad songs. It has one of the world’s largest supplies of natural gas. The government tries to diversify its economy by encouraging tourists to fly its airline and layover by offering a 4 star hotel for $28 a night. We chose a night on the way home to fight jet lag. Our hotel was an older low-rise boutique, beautiful with inlaid marble everywhere.


A city tour was a must. I have never seen so many skyscrapers crammed together. Each one was more spectacular in design than its neighbor. My eye could not figure out why they did not detract from each other. Underneath many are gigantic cooling systems to blow coolness up to the pedestrian areas. The parks and “hills” are all created. Water comes from de-sal plants for people and greenery, altogether a lesson on what money can buy. What a treat! You should see.


September 5, 2019 - RPCVSF Members Ana Ciereszko and Marvin Hancock visit with Ryan Hnatiuk, Regional Director at U.S. Senator Rick Scott's West Palm Beach Office to provide updates on Peace Corps.




August 28, 2019, RPCVSF Members Ana Ciereszko, Doris Vincent, and Marvin Hancock visit with Lea Padron, Regional Director at U.S. Senator Marco Rubio's Miami Office to provide updates on Peace Corps.



Miami Marlins vs Arizona Diamondbacks

July 27, 2019

Former RPCVSF President Tuey Murdock (Colombia)

Visits Her Daughter in Namibia who is on Assignment at the U S Embassy


This week, I went to the swearing in of the 50 th Namibian group of Peace Corps Volunteers. There were 30 new volunteers many dressed in local attire, singing and dancing local dances and anxious to go to their assigned posts after the ceremony. This is a group of education volunteers- teaching in primary and secondary schools. The average age is 22 years old- they look so young- but there was one volunteer in her 60’s who is a Returned PCV having served in the 90’s in Sierra Leone. She was as thrilled with the prospect of 2 years in a remote Namibian village as the 22 year olds.


The training for today’s volunteers is 9 weeks in country after 3 days in DC. A bit less than the 8 months of training I had in the 60’s! They had training in the local languages, cultural and history, medical and of course how to teach. All in 9 weeks. It was fun to join about a dozen RPCVs that work for the State Department, Peace Corps, US AID, and CDC here in Namibia at the ceremony. The training takes place in a medium size village, about 45 minutes north of Windhoek. The trainees live with local families and practice teaching during the training at local schools. Apparently because Namibia has good medical care, many of the volunteers chosen for Namibia may have medical conditions that would not allow them to be PCVs in other countries. The PCVs of today are very different from my experience in the 60’s- they all have laptops and cell phones with solar chargers!


You can see her photos of Namibia with a narrative by clicking on the following link: Namibia



RPCVSF July 2019 Board Meeting

May 19th Partnership Lunch


Twenty-six RPCVs and guests enjoyed a delicious Georgian-Armenian lunch at Kavkaz Restaurant on Sunday, May 19th.  In addition to the great fellowship and wonderful food, the attendees selected a Peace Corps Partnership Project to which the $260 collected and $260 RPCVSF match (a total of $520) was donated.


The project selected is in the Republic of Georgia (fitting) and is called “Growing Seeds & Skills: Teaching Business to Domestic Violence Shelter Residents.”  The program will teach 15-20 survivors of domestic violence marketable small-business skills and organic-growing practices through a series of 6 workshops at a new greenhouse.  In addition to the workshops, the project includes the purchase of necessary supplies and materials for the existent greenhouse structure.


Once the participants in the program are ready to transition from life at the shelter to independent living, they will possess the increased capacity to work in horticulture, at community markets, and may even feel confident enough to start their own small growing businesses.


Many thanks to those who attended the partnership lunch for contributing to this project and to the future of the beneficiaries of the donation!





RPCVSF'S 20th ANNUAL OUTING to the EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK Saturday, March 30th, 2019


Thanks to the Park Rangers and Fire Rangers, the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis, our wonderful teams, 51 RPCVs & their families, and the organizing by Genevieve Bazer for our 20th Annual Outing to the Everglades National Park as well as the post event wrap up at the home of RPCV David Garcia in Homestead.


Lots of Guests, Guides, Park Rangers and Chaperones



And Lots of Official Resident Greeters !


A Very Handsome Anhinga on The Anhinga Trail


The anhinga(/ænˈhɪŋɡə/; Anhinga anhinga), sometimes called snakebird, darter, American darter, or water turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of the Americas. The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird. The origin of the name snakebird is apparent when swimming: only the colored neck appears above water so the bird looks like a snake ready to strike. They do not have external nares (nostrils) and breathe solely through their epiglottis.

Like other darters, the anhinga hunts by spearing fish and other small prey using its sharp, slender beak.



Hello, my name is Ali and that's Ms Ali chatting in the next photo


Cooking and Conversation Club Haitian food Fort Lauderdale - October 13th








We had 6 attend the Yellow-Green Farmers Market on Sunday, September 30th, where we found RPCV Linda Alvarez selling honey from Florida Keys' bees.


From left: Michelle Kelsey, Barb Junge, Linda Alvarez, Ann Gleeson, Seamus Gleeson, Lenore Sek. Not pictured: Sharon Alvarado.

RPCVSF 2018 Retreat Sept., Key Largo, Florida



Friday - Dinner at the Tower of Pizza, Key Largo




Saturday - September Meeting of the RPCVSF Board of Directors


July 28, 2018 - Marlins vs Washington Nationals

 


We had a turnout of 19. Great game (2-1 Marlins in 10) plus post-game fireworks.

For more photos, please see "Our Photo Album" on the left side of this page.

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