2006.03.01: March 1, 2006: Headlines: COS - Peru: Food: The Register-Guard: Peace Corps Volunteers Wayne and Rolly Thompson eat guinea pig in Peru

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Peru: Peace Corps Peru: The Peace Corps in Peru: 2006.03.01: March 1, 2006: Headlines: COS - Peru: Food: The Register-Guard: Peace Corps Volunteers Wayne and Rolly Thompson eat guinea pig in Peru

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Peace Corps Volunteers Wayne and Rolly Thompson eat guinea pig in Peru

Peace Corps Volunteers   Wayne and Rolly Thompson eat guinea pig in Peru

My hosts took great pride in offering me the front of the guinea pig. The first time, I played with the guinea pig quite a bit. As the others watched to see whether I would eat it or not, I swallowed as much as I could.

Peace Corps Volunteers Wayne and Rolly Thompson eat guinea pig in Peru

Bowlfuls of borsch
Food Lore From The Peace Corps: Adventurous eating is part of the job for volunteers in far corners of the world

By Jennifer Snelling

For The Register-Guard

Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2006

As Peace Corps celebrates its 45th anniversary this week, some local volunteers share their experiences and recipes:

Hiding the brains of a guinea pig

Wayne and Rolly Thompson: Peru 1964-66

In most of the Andean villages, the only real protein was guinea pig, or "cuy" as they say in the Quechua language. Each little hut had a place set aside in the corner for the guinea pigs. For every guest of honor, the host kills a cuy.

I had no idea this was going to happen the first time I was a guest in someone's home. My host killed the pig, gutted it, and put it on a skewer right in front of me.

I watched for 15 or 20 minutes as the cuy was rotisseried on a wood stove in the middle of the hut. When it was done and dinner was served, I was given the front end of the guinea pig. The guest of honor would always get the head, where the brains are, since the Campesinos believed that the brains will help you become even brighter than you already are.

My hosts took great pride in offering me the front of the guinea pig. The first time, I played with the guinea pig quite a bit. As the others watched to see whether I would eat it or not, I swallowed as much as I could.

The second time, I had a little windbreaker with a zipper in the front. When I didn't think anyone was looking, I threw the brains into the windbreaker, and when I left I chucked it outside. I wasn't sure if anyone realized what I'd done.

We went back in 1990 to the house where I was a guest of honor. The matriarch was still there, with her family. I related the story and she got such a kick out of it. I can't say I'm any brighter because I ate the brains of the guinea pig.

The Thompsons are retired Eugene educators who own and manage Fox Hollow Farm and Fiber.

Recipes from volunteers

Peace Corps Online

Peace Corps volunteers including Maggie Keenan (shown in photo at lower left taken while she was in the Philippines) learn much about an area's culture through the sharing of food. Photo: Paul Carter
The Register-Guard

Papas a la Huancaina

(Potatoes With Cheese

and Hot Pepper Sauce)

From Wayne and Rolly

Thompson, Peru 1964-66.

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt, freshly ground pepper

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

8 medium potatoes

3 cups coarsely chopped Spanish fresh cheese (queso blanco or queso fresco)

1 or more fresh hot yellow peppers, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon palillo, or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup olive oil

Lettuce leaves

4 hardboiled eggs, halved

2 or 3 ears of corn, cooked and cut into 8 slices

8 black olives

In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Add the onion, separated into rings and set aside to pickle at room temperature. Boil the potatoes in their skins until tender. Drain, peel, and keep warm. In a blender or food processor combine the cheese, hot peppers, palillo or turmeric, and the cream. Blend until smooth. Heat the oil in a skillet, pour in the cheese mixture, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce is smooth and creamy.

Garnish a platter with the lettuce leaves. Arrange the potatoes on the platter and pour the sauce over them. Arrange the eggs, corn slices and olives around and in between the potatoes. Drain the onion rings and arrange them over the potatoes.

When this story was posted in March 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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March 1, 1961: Keeping Kennedy's Promise Date: February 27 2006 No: 800 March 1, 1961: Keeping Kennedy's Promise
On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency: "Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed--doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language. But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps--who works in a foreign land--will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace. "

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The Peace Corps Library Date: February 24 2006 No: 798 The Peace Corps Library
The Peace Corps Library is now available online with over 40,000 index entries in 500 categories. Looking for a Returned Volunteer? Check our RPCV Directory. New: Sign up to receive PCOL Magazine, our free Monthly Magazine by email. Like to keep up with Peace Corps news as it happens? Sign up to recieve a daily summary of Peace Corps stories from around the world.

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Retired diplomat Peter Rice has written a letter to the Wall Street Journal stating that Peace Corps "is really just a U.S. government program for paid vacations in the Third World." Director Vasquez has responded that "the small stipend volunteers receive during their two years of service is more than returned in the understanding fostered in communities throughout the world and here at home." What do RPCVs think?

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The U.S. military, struggling to fill its voluntary ranks, is allowing recruits to meet part of their reserve military obligations after active duty by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" and RPCV Chris Matthews leads the debate on "Hardball." Avi Spiegel says Peace Corps is not the place for soldiers while Coleman McCarthy says to Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps. Read our poll results. Latest: Congress passed a bill on December 22 including language to remove Peace Corps from the National Call to Service (NCS) military recruitment program

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When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger. Latest: Read the ongoing dialog on the subject.

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170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

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Story Source: The Register-Guard

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