War and Reunion

WARNING: This blog may be longer than most and more difficult to read, but for those who want to understand what happened in Nimba County and to the Liberians in my village of Zorgowee including the surrounding areas in 1990, I give you the courage to read on. Do you ever make assumptions from what…Read more »

The Passing

Those of you who have read my memoir, In Search of Pink Flamingos, may recall Clara as my house girl in Zorgowee, Liberia. Her real name is Sarah. (I have permission to use her name.) Sarah was older than I thought when I was in Liberia. Though she hadn’t finished grade school, she was about…Read more »

Book Launch (in person or virtual), 9/25/22, 4PM, PDT

As the chief editor, I am inviting you to the West Coast book launch of Never the Same Again: Life, Service and Friendship in Liberia, a hybrid event at Village Books. Susan Corbett and Karen Lange, co-editors, were also responsible for this incredible anthology. All of us are former Peace Corps volunteers in Liberia. Come…Read more »

PC Liberia’s 60th Celebrations

Three days of celebration honored Peace Corps entry into Liberia in 1962. My last blog focused on the Book Launch of our Anthology, Never the Same Again. Enjoy a selection of photos of FOL members during happy hour 7/22/22 at the Deco Bar in Washington DC. Many of us met for the first time after…Read more »

Going Back

The Covid epidemic put a damper on many of the class reunions over the past two years. This June I returned to Nebraska for a special gathering of my rural one-room grade school students. I write about this iconic school in my memoir. In Search of Pink Flamingos. However it was demolished due to school…Read more »

A Thanksgiving Tour

When I arrived in Nebraska in early June, I was returning primarily for my 53rd high school reunion – delayed 3 years because of the pandemic, and a reunion of students from my one-room school house. Both of which I wrote about in my memoir, In Search of Pink Flamingos. But along with reuniting with…Read more »

The Rest of the Story

An epilogue is a writing at the end of a piece of literature, usually used to bring closure to the work. When I published my memoir, entitled In Search of Pink Flamingos, the epilogue reflected upon my Peace Corps experience and gathered historical information about Liberia that told a narrative summary of what happened there…Read more »

Never the Same Again

After publishing my award-winning memoir, In Search of Pink Flamingos in 2020, FOL (Friends of Liberia) asked me to become the chief editor of their anthology project. Never the Same Again was released in June 2022 and is an incredible historical non-fiction book of its time depicting Liberian life with a collection of stories, poems,…Read more »

This Mother’s Day

Have you ever met someone and said, “I want to be like that person some day?” When I was twenty, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia in 1971, I met such a woman, Ruth Jacobson. Here she is in 1940 graduating with her 3-year diploma of nursing from Tacoma General in WA State.…Read more »

Are We Connected?

Once a year, my local bookstore, Village Books provides a writing challenge. This year I was to write something relating to the theme Interconnectedness. Yes, it’s a mouthful. But in the end, we and everything on this planet from the solar system right down to the food chain is connected. I knew immediately what I…Read more »

Girls and Women Still Dying

5 decades later I would have hoped things could be better for young girls and women in many parts of the world. But click on this article in the Guardian to learn that the beliefs about womanhood run very deep. Read this article in the Guardian a few days ago. (Delete all the popups so…Read more »

Tragedy in Tonga

I arrived in Tonga in 1973 as Peace Corps volunteer supervising a TB and Typhoid vaccination campaign throughout the islands. Here is an excerpt from my memoir, In Search of Pink Flamingos, Chapter, An Island Paradise, about the my work and the wonderful people of Tonga. Despite the general good health of the population, I…Read more »

Empty Shelves

No, I didn’t experience the Dust Bowl. I didn’t grow up during the Great Depression, although I was raised by parents who lived through them. The media is having a heyday with our stores having empty shelves depicted with this bone-chilling image. Check out this recent story in the Washington Post. Social media is adding…Read more »

Clan Chiefs and the Midwife

(New photo to behind the scenes of In Search of Pink Flamingos) In Chapter, Indigenous Midwives (Part III) I explore how the head midwife, Bendu, wanted the midwives to begin charging families $1.00 for delivering their babies. I had just completed a midwifery course with eleven other midwives and supplied them with a starter delivery…Read more »

Truth

If I ever wanted to be mentioned in another author’s book under a specific chapter, I would want it to be entitled “Truth.” My developmental editor, Laura Kalpakian, author of nearly 20 books with numerous awards, mentioned me and In Search of Pink Flamingos as an example in her chapter called Truth. Her newest book,…Read more »

Old Boyfriend Resurfaces

Oh yes, the young and restless – I was 19 and Steve, 24. We met in the Virgin Islands at the Peace Corps training in 1971. I was heading to Liberia and he was on his way to Niger. A brief encounter…well because, I was spoken for – pearled to my high school sweetheart. But…Read more »

Best Peace Corps Memoir – 2020-21 BOOK AWARD

Friday, August 13th was my lucky day. I was camping on the Olympic Peninsula when I drove to access cell phone reception to check the ferry schedule. My first email was a “Hurray!” from one of my sage counsels. Here is what I read: Peace Corps Worldwide has selected In Search of Pink Flamingos as…Read more »

Fulani Woman, Liberian Woman

I am an occasional poet. Unexpectedly, stanzas flow from my brain, to my hand, to the keyboard. I took a poetry class recently that helped me create these two pieces that I want to share with you. Both reflect stories written in my memoir. The first poem of Fulani Woman helped to write the second…Read more »

The Priceless Goatskin Handbag

Why is the value of an object not fully appreciated until its gone? When I returned from my three years in the Peace Corps, I had many artifacts and memorabilia. But with retirement and downsizing in my future, I began to unload some of my treasures that I had kept for almost 50 years. One…Read more »

From Dream to Reality

It’s one thing for your friends, family, and colleagues to like your book. But it is another when the critics/experts select it for an award. I didn’t actually understand what I was applying for in April of 2020, just a few days after my book was published. I thought it was a local reviewing Award…Read more »

Anapholes Mosquito

Malaria, the Killer

News Release 23-Apr-2021 / University of Oxford https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-04/uoo-mvb042221.php Malaria vaccine becomes first to achieve WHO-specified 75% efficacy goal Researchers from the University of Oxford and their partners have today reported findings from a Phase IIb trial of a candidate malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, which demonstrated high-level efficacy of 77% over 12-months of follow-up. When I arrived in…Read more »

Icing on the Cake

April is my month; my birth month. It is always special to me. But this one was extra special. I not only celebrated the big seven zero with a some fanfare, but also was the guest author at another Zoom book club (more about that in my next blog). In addition, this was the month…Read more »

How Will I Know?

My essay, How Will I Know?, was accepted in the Whatcom Reads Anthology of stories and poetry entitled Reconciliation. It was published this week. I will be reading a 3 minute excerpt of the essay on 2/21/21 at my local bookstore, Village Books. This was rewritten from the chapter entitled “Reconciliation” in my memoir, In…Read more »

Zoom Book Club – A Success!

My one-room school teacher, Velma read my book, told her PEO book club members about it, and then procured 12 of my books for her club. On February 10th, 2021 I was invited as the guest author. Kally, Janie and Velma led a robust discussion and Q&A with several of their members living in Arizona.…Read more »

Ruffles and a Little Red Purse

“…the purity and vulnerability of this incredibly earnest child…” is a quote from Christopher Davenport, author of The Tin Can Crucible. His description of little Susan in her memoir is telling. Yet, this was only the beginning. Susan recently discovered this 1954 photo on a View Master slide in a box of old pictures. Here…Read more »

SFSU Magazine

My alma mater, San Francisco State University, just published their Fall/Winter 2020 Magazine and I’m now in the who’s who listing for those who graduated in the ’70s. SFSU gave me the best nursing education and I am proud to be one of its alumna.

Timbuktu, a Place Lost in Time

Forty-seven years ago almost to the day, just before New Years, I was traveling West Africa on vacation from my Peace Corps assignment in Liberia. The iconic Timbuktu was one imperative stop on my route. Following are excerpts from my book of this journey and proof this place really exists. Part VI: Chapter; Planes, Trains,…Read more »

Opposite Ends of the Globe

A Foreign Service Officer stationed at the American Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia (Central Asia) wrote me for a request. I paused in amazement wondering why I was contacted by this stranger from the State Department. How did he find me? In his quest for authors to endorse his upcoming memoir, Christopher came across my book,…Read more »

Deportation

So what was I thinking? I felt invincible at age 20 until I was strong- armed by two soldiers each sporting an AK-47. I entered Niger, a country on the edge of the Sahara Desert, without a visa where I didn’t speak the language. So what’s the big deal? This never mattered to me back…Read more »

I Refuse

I refuse to let the cloud of Covid -19 and the pandemic get me down. Some days it wins, but mostly I rise above it. I actually have much to be thankful for regarding my memoir. Here is one acknowledgment I can add to my resume. My publisher, (now Sidekick Press) has nominated my memoir,…Read more »

Recent Publication

The occasional poet that I am proved fruitful for me. Two of my poems about Covid-19 have been published in the Anthology noted below. I and some of my colleagues will be doing virtual readings on November 20, 6PM PST. Here are the details from the publisher: This Uncommon Solitude by Lisa | Oct 17,…Read more »

Mom’s Birthday

September 30th is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 97. Even though she has been gone over 6 years, her final few months are in etched my mind. Her declining cognitive state was accelerated with a fractured hip and she was ultimately placed in the hospice program. When and how does forgiveness happen or…Read more »

Judged and Misunderstood

When bad things happen to young people, it’s often hard for them to shake that memory. Being judged and misunderstood was the cross I needed to bear from a very young age, even until today. I was certain I had reprogrammed those old tapes or that my calloused skin would shed judgmental comments or thoughts. But…Read more »

A Book that Keeps Giving

Those pink birds just keep coming. There seems to be no end….. My books keep selling, five months into Covid-19. I delivered most by hand in the first weeks, many by mail. Village Books and internet sales are continuing. But during one home delivery, Nancy S. gave me a head ornament of two pink-felted birds.…Read more »

Unfettered Love – Part II

What is it about Africa that causes its visitors or temporary residents to fall so deeply in love with this continent? I hear it over and over again. The words of love echo from the first Peace Corps volunteers who landed in Liberia in 1962 to the newly returned volunteers in 2020 (post-civil war, post…Read more »

Unfettered Love – Part I

On August 3rd 2020, one of Sami’s sons, Osama, contacted me by Facebook. In a short time we agreed to make a video call. (On previous video chats I had already met Samer and Susan (my namesake), two of Sami’s five children). Leen, his seven year old daughter, was particularly interested in me and spoke…Read more »

Pinning, Peace Corps and My Ticket Out

I recently reunited by phone with Mrs. H., one of my Practical Nursing instructors. Now in her 90s and sharp as a tack, her speech was a bit slurred from a head injury she had sustained in an earlier fall. Nonetheless, she remembered me and all the details including that I had been elected president…Read more »

Peace Corps Worldwide Book Review

Peace Corps Worldwide is a publisher and provider of writing services for Peace Corps volunteer authors. They have written a nice review of my memoir, In Search of Pink Flamingos. Please click on review and it will direct you to the write up. This link reaches thousands of return Peace Corps volunteers both at home…Read more »

Daisy

Many of us had pets during our childhood. But how many had a pet pig? Don’t laugh, pigs are extremely intelligent. Have you seen the movie Babe? My nursing aspirations began with this little pet pig. I can’t forget that sweet face and disposition. Here is an excerpt from In Search of Pink Flamingos, Part…Read more »

Book Launch Success

After a few technical hiccups, Village Books sponsored my Covid-delayed launch on June 28th. Friends and family from across the land attended, 73 to be exact. People from all facets of my life were present including grade school, high school, Peace Corps, nursing, family, and Bellingham friends. A slideshow, excerpts, and Q&A rounded out the…Read more »

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