July 31, 2005: Headlines: COS - Uruguay: Older Volunteers: Lincoln Journal Star: At age 60, Shirley Maly signed up for the Peace Corps and went to Uruguay for three years

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Uruguay: Peace Corps Uruguay : The Peace Corps in Uruguay: July 31, 2005: Headlines: COS - Uruguay: Older Volunteers: Lincoln Journal Star: At age 60, Shirley Maly signed up for the Peace Corps and went to Uruguay for three years

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At age 60, Shirley Maly signed up for the Peace Corps and went to Uruguay for three years

At age 60, Shirley Maly signed up for the Peace Corps and went to Uruguay for three years

She lived about 250 miles from Montevideo, the capital, in a pueblo called La Tentacion, where she served 200 people and about 60 households.

At age 60, Shirley Maly signed up for the Peace Corps and went to Uruguay for three years

‘Love Affair' lures readers with watercolors, words
BY NAN GRAF /For the Lincoln Journal Star

"Love Affair with the Americas: A Picture Primer of Travel Memories," written and illustrated by Shirley Maly, Day of Grace Publishing Service, Crete, 48 pages, $19.95

"Love Affair with the Americas," written and illustrated by Lincolnite Shirley Maly, showcases the author's ongoing "affair" with countries in this part of the world. Her "love" includes Nebraska, but she focuses mainly beyond the borders of the United States.

Maly's format is commentary on one page and illustration on each facing page. In addition to her written descriptions and observations, she provides her own original watercolor collages that capture special features of each place.

At age 60, Maly signed up for the Peace Corps and went to Uruguay for three years. She lived about 250 miles from Montevideo, the capital, in a pueblo called La Tentacion, where she served 200 people and about 60 households.

Even though the Peace Corps enlisted her "to help teach small business" in Uruguay, Maly figures she learned as much from her 60 families as they learned from her, especially "about friendship and country." Many years later, she still keeps in touch with the friends she made there.

Her facing-page illustration on Uruguay depicts life in La Tentacion and shows the modest home where she lived, the small church, the flag, the Paraiso tree, the wildflowers and the food. She even pictures a Carpincho, the largest rodent in the world, that is native to the area.

Maly finds wisdom wherever she goes. In Costa Rica with the Global Volunteers program, she learns to help and support but not lead or take over, thus avoiding the temptation to impose U.S. imperatives on others.

Along with 22 Lincolnites, Maly goes with the Friendship Force to Peru and stays with a second-generation Chinese family there, thus expanding her knowledge and her perception in unexpected ways. Her curiosity and her eagerness to learn, as well as her spirit of adventure, make her a good role model for Americans who travel to or stay in other countries.

I'm drawn to a few oddball anecdotes that Maly weaves into her commentaries. In Patzcuaro, Mexico, for example, there is the Murderous Fountain — found guilty by the city fathers of killing a man. According to the story, a drunken man fell off his horse and hit his head on the fountain, resulting in his death. So the fountain gets convicted of murder!

Maly revels in the joys of nature, from receding tides to mountain peaks. She "drinks" it all in with the awe of a flatlander born and reared in Nebraska. She marvels at the "bioluminescent bay" in Puerto Rico — La Parguera — where micro-organisms feed on plankton "and glow when agitated." On the border between Argentina and Brazil, she manages sightings from several angles of the magnificent Iquazu Falls — literally "big water."

Although in general Maly accentuates the positive, she occasionally shifts to the negative and casts a critical eye on the very big (what I think of as big uglies — malls, etc.) or the violent or the materialistic. She clearly prefers town or country to city; in particular, she notes that Buenos Aires, Argentina, with its 18 million people, doesn't have the appeal (to her) of smaller places like Mendoza or Cordoba.

This is a "good read" at one sitting. The writer's lively style and meaningful content will keep your attention; her watercolors will both charm and inform. This book belongs on your coffee table, for it will lure you, your friends and family to far-off places with strange-sounding names.

Nan Graf is a retired English professor.

When this story was posted in July 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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See RPCV Musical "Doing Good" in CA through Sept
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Story Source: Lincoln Journal Star

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Uruguay; Older Volunteers


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