November 26, 2004: Headlines: COS - Rwanda: Writing - Rwanda: Poetry: Spin Space: The Poems of Rwanda RPCV Derick Burleson

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Rwanda: Peace Corps Rwanda : The Peace Corps in Rwanda: November 26, 2004: Headlines: COS - Rwanda: Writing - Rwanda: Poetry: Spin Space: The Poems of Rwanda RPCV Derick Burleson

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The Poems of Rwanda RPCV Derick Burleson

The Poems of Rwanda RPCV Derick Burleson

The Poems of Rwanda RPCV Derick Burleson

by Derick Burleson

If you have a sweet potato, give half to your brother.
Before serving guests a gourd of urwagwa,
sip through the straw yourself to show it's not poisoned.

When you meet your neighbor in the market
shake hands and exclaim, "You're still alive!"
Wish him large herds when you part.

When you plan to marry, present your future father
with a hoe and a cow. Before bedding your husband,
leave a pitcher of water for Lyangombe, goddess

of fecundity since there's no greater sadness
than dying with no grandchildren to mourn you.
It's futile to fight the will of Imana.

You're rubbed twice with butter: Once when you're born.
Once when you die. Bury your first child's placenta
under the bed. Wrap the umbilical cord into an amulet.

When you need to know the future, take a bottle full
of your own spit to the umupfumu and he'll fry it
to read the spirits' will. If a wife whistles,

her husband is doomed. When someone sneezes say,
"Be rich." They'll answer, "together." Harvest
bananas before they ripen or crows will eat them all.

Attend Mass each Sunday. When you get home,
sacrifice butter and beer at the ancestors' altars.
Let only laughter scar your face.

by Derick Burleson

All day I measure noses.
People are brought before me.
My brass calipers never lie.

If the nose is long enough,
I give that person a card.
If not, I shrug and smile.

I keep meticulous records.
Research shows self is a science.
The laws of Nature are exact.

The sun is savage here,
burns my nose quite raw.
I haven't caught the brain fever

yet, though many have. A few
even died. The women here
are lovely. I shouldn't say so.

The noses of Tutsis are identical
to ours. Outrage! you cry.
Color is the only difference.

I can show you my records.
I wonder how you'd measure up.
We know now the length of nose

is a sign of the finer perceptions
noble blood bestows. Our card
shows those capable to receive

those gifts we bring, gifts of God
and science to create, we anticipate,
an oasis of advanced civilization

here beneath this savage sun.
Yet my work is full of sorrow.
I pity those Hutus whose noses

are only almost long enough.
The laws of Nature never lie.
My brass calipers are quite exact.

I work for the good of my King.
I work for the good of our colony,
beautiful among a thousand hills.

I miss my wife back home.
My work is full of sorrow.
So few noses are long enough.

The sun rises and sets at six.
All night I dream of noses.
Noses just too short

to learn the laws of God
and science. I wear a helmet
against the sun.

When this story was posted in November 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.

Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes
Take our new poll. NPCA members begin voting this week on bylaw changes to streamline NPCA's Board of Directors. NPCA Chair Ken Hill, the President's Forum and other RPCVs endorse the changes. Mail in your ballot or vote online (after Dec 1), then see on how RPCVs are voting.

November 27, 2004: This Week's Top Stories November 27, 2004: This Week's Top Stories
RPCV reaches out after Soccer attack 27 Nov
Tony Hall serves cold rice to embassy guests 27 Nov
Hope calms injured volunteer's family 26 Nov
Journalist Russell Carollo plans book on Peace Corps 25 Nov
Moyers says next 4 years will be golden age for reporters 24 Nov
RPCV is new president of the Hawaii bar association 23 Nov
Mark Gearan confirmed by Senate for CNS Board 23 Nov
Chris Shays fits in the other Republican Party 22 Nov
DC job a possibility for McPherson 22 Nov
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Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying
Congressman Norm Dicks has asked the U.S. attorney in Seattle to consider pursuing charges against Dennis Priven, the man accused of killing Peace Corps Volunteer Deborah Gardner on the South Pacific island of Tonga 28 years ago. Background on this story here and here.
Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.
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The Kerry campaign wants the RPCV vote. Read our interview with Dave Magnani, Massachusetts State Senator and Founder of "RPCVs for Kerry," and his answers to our questions about Kerry's plan to triple the size of the Peace Corps, should the next PC Director be an RPCV, and Safety and Security issues. Then read the "RPCVs for Kerry" statement of support and statements by Dr. Robert Pastor, Ambassador Parker Borg, and Paul Oostburg Sanz made at the "RPCVs for Kerry" Press Conference.

RPCV Carl Pope says the key to winning this election is not swaying undecided voters, but persuading those already willing to vote for your candidate to actually go to the polls.

Take our poll and tell us what you are doing to support your candidate.

Finally read our wrap-up of the eight RPCVs in Senate and House races around the country and where the candidates are in their races.
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Plus the debate continues over Safety and Security.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Spin Space

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Rwanda; Writing - Rwanda; Poetry



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