Outreach Presentation: Christie Musa RPCV Sierra Leone ’81-83

A presentation was made on her Peace Corps experience in Sierra Leone by Christie Musa, Inland Fisheries Extension Agent 1981-83.

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Howell Farms Potato Planting – April 25

On Saturday, April 25, a group from RPCV-NJ participated in the Annual Potato

Planting event at Howell Living History Farm in Lambertville NJ. The weather was cool and crisp and ideal for working outdoors. Assisted by 2 teams of horses who plowed the fields, our group was joined by others from the community in the planting activities.

The RPCV group included: Christie Musa, Gerry Gillio, Edie Ben-Israel, George Gunkelman, John Lawlor, Greg Harris, Carmine Grasso, Peter Arney, Pete Watson (our host), farmer Rob Flory and his intern and, soon to be PCV in Cameroon, Alex Amador.

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We worked hard and have the aching backs to show for it. After spending the morning in the field, we had lunch together treated to us by Pete Watson, our host.

Each week Howell Living History Farm hosts a different event involving the community. Next week it is sheep shearing. The harvesting of the potatoes will take place in August with the potatoes being donated to local Trenton area food banks. Our RPCV group will be back to join in the harvest.

RPCV Picnic in Waretown, NJ – May 3rd

Please join us and bring your family & friends on May 3rd for a Spring Picnic at:
905 Wells Mills Road (Route 532), Waretown, NJ
Days activities will include a hike lead by local expert Phil Levy, a Peace Corps Show and Tell, and a cookout on the grill!
Spouses/friends/family members are welcome!
Please RSVP by April 26th to:
Anthony Privetera

Ethnic Dining – Topo Vietnamese cuisine in Hackettstown, NJ

On a beautiful spring day, April 19, 2015, RPCVs and family members gathered in Hackettstown (Warren County) to enjoy Vietnamese food at Topo Restaurant  recommended by Allison Wawrin. The restaurant was easy to find and the décor bright and cheerful with setting was adequate for the eight attendees.

The food was excellent, from the Topo sampler (with fish, peanut and curry sauces) and pickled appetizers to the varied dishes ordered by attendees. A wide selection of foods from breakfast/brunch items to luncheon specials and regular menu items was available and by all accounts the food was delicious.

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As always, the camaraderie of RPCVs and friends was enjoyable.

RPCV-NJ Participates in 2015 Jersey Cares Day

On Saturday, May 2, 2015, seven representatives of RPCV-NJ participated in Jersey Cares Day activities.  The sun was shining and the weather was perfect for some outdoor work.  This year we chose the project “It’s fun to paint at the YMCA” in Hillsborough.  There were several projects to work on at the YMCA and the majority of our group chose painting a map of the world on the blacktop of the children’s playground.  Joining a group of about 20 volunteers from Novo-Nordisk we quickly worked collaboratively to make this project come to life.  We lined up and rolled out long white sheets across the playground and then painted in the many tiny circles with white paint.  When we took away the sheets, it revealed in the many dots a very rough outline of the world map.  We then had to connect the dots with chalk to form the outline of continents and countries.  Next was numbering each country to reflect the color that country was to be painted.  Then we painted each country with its assigned color.
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When it came to the continent of Africa, our Peace Corps experience gave us a bit of an advantage in identifying the countries from the outline.  In addition to painting many other countries, we made sure that Barbara painted Senegal, Lisa painted Ghana, Edie painted Malawi and Peter painted Sierra Leone.  You can see from the photos how things turned out. Anthony and Gabby worked on some different painting work at the Y but we made sure to stop and pose for a group photo.  A good time was had by all.

RPCV-NJ Family Picnic and Animal Bell Presentation – June 28

The fifth annual picnic in northwestern New Jersey took place on Sunday, June 28th. Attendance was reduced from prior years, presumably due to the rainy weather that weekend although it did not rain at all during the scheduled picnic hours in Harmony. Those who did come to the picnic enjoyed the camaraderie and varied food contributions as usual.

Attendees were also treated to a presentation by James Diamond, RPCV Chad who served there
with his wife, Betty Diamond.  Dr. Diamond was a professor of Animal Sciences and an agricultural administrator for 47 years at Upper Bucks County Area Vocational Technical School, Delaware Valley University, and Penn State University.  The Peace Corps was the beginning of Dr. Diamond’s international career.

Before becoming the Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley University, Dr. Diamond was an international Agricultural and Extension Education Consultant for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and USAID.  He worked extensively with people in various agricultural endeavors in 50 countries on five continents.

He shared his extensive collection of domestic animal bells used on a wide variety of animals including: Horse, Cattle, Sheep, Goat, Donkey, Llama, Water Buffalo, Turkey, Cat, Bull, Dog, Oxen, Camel, and as a Bear Warning.  His international travels resulted in this collection from countries including: Albania, Afghanistan, Switzerland, Iraq, Mexico, China, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Korea, Saudia Arabia, United States, Canada. Jim relayed stories of how he got each bell, how it was made and used.

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Thanks to Jim and Betty for coming to our picnic and sharing their bell collection.

Lasting Impressions – Art Exhibit

Thank you to everyone for attending the “Lasting Impressions” Art Exhibit Reception on April 11th. Below are some photos from the event.



Owen Fitzgerald RPCV Mali speaking to a packed house at Lasting Impressions Art reception.




The Exhibit runs from April 11-May 26, 2015 

How artist’s perspectives were influenced by working in Peace Corps’ health, education, and development programs.Curated by returned Peace Corps volunteer artists Nancie Gunkelman and Adam Swart, this exhibition highlights the Peace Corps legacy in New Jersey and the surrounding region through the works of artists who have successfully employed alternative means to communicate with non-literate communities and diverse age groups on health care issues. These Peace Corps volunteers used visual and performance art in inventive ways to build understanding on health issues including HIV education, malarial prevention, vaccination programs, water and sanitation, and nutrition. The exhibition also showcases the profound effects that Peace Corps experiences have had on the artists themselves. These impressions, impacting the artists’ points of view, sensibilities, creativity, and methods of expression, are so powerful that they last a lifetime.

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Mabel Douglass Library
8 Chapel Drive; New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: 848-932-5008

You can park in the Douglass Parking Deck, or in Lot 70 (which is right next to the parking deck). There’s no proper address, but here’s three ways of finding it:
– Douglass Parking Deck, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
– Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 (It’s a short one-way street)
– Or use these coordinates: 40.483611, -74.437861 or 40°29’01.0″N 74°26’16.3″W

Confirmed artists:
Adam Swart (RPCV Nepal)
Bernie Oberoski (RPCV Papua New Guinea)
Brian Knudsen (RPCV China)
Chuck Miley (RPCV Malaysia)
David Miller (RPCV Afghanistan)
Ellen Papciak-Rose (RPCV Botswana)
Ken Shuey (RPCV Malaysia)
Margaret Najjar (RPCV Tunisia)
Nancie Gunkelman (RPCV Kenya)
Owen Fitzgerald (RPCV Mali)
Patricia McLaughlin (RPCV Costa Rica)
Rosemary Venter (RPCV Colombia)
Rosalind Pace (RPCV Afghanistan)
Terese Maineri (RPCV Guatemala)

Read an article about the art exhibit on the Rutgers Library website.

Questions, contact Nancie Gunkelman ngunkelman@gmail.com

Peace Corps Commemorative National Design Competition

The Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation (PCCF) is sponsoring a two-stage, national design competition to select an artistically exceptional design concept for a permanent commemorative work in the heart of Washington, DC.

This competition will provide designers from all across the United States an opportunity to create a compelling work of public art that will be bold and inspirational.

The design should focus on and express American ideals and values that are the essence of the Peace Corps and Peace Corps service. It should be about America and our aspirations as a people, and about the Peace Corps as a manifestation of those aspirations.

Registration, entry fees and Stage I design concept submissions due on or before: June 12, 2015, 4 p.m. ET

For more information about the competition, visit the official website.