Twenty years later, I read in the latest edition of "Friends of Malawi News" that Bob Holland, Malawi Peace Corps Volunteer 1994-66, died of AIDS and "I burst into tears."

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malawi: Peace Corps Malawi : Web Links for Malawi RPCVs: Twenty years later, I read in the latest edition of "Friends of Malawi News" that Bob Holland, Malawi Peace Corps Volunteer 1994-66, died of AIDS and "I burst into tears."

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 4:15 pm: Edit Post

Twenty years later, I read in the latest edition of "Friends of Malawi News" that Bob Holland, Malawi Peace Corps Volunteer 1994-66, died of AIDS and "I burst into tears."



Twenty years later, I read in the latest edition of "Friends of Malawi News" that Bob Holland, Malawi Peace Corps Volunteer 1994-66, died of AIDS and "I burst into tears."

Twenty years later, I read in the latest edition of "Friends of Malawi News" that Bob Holland, Malawi Peace Corps Volunteer 1994-66, died of AIDS and "I burst into tears."

AIDS Quilt Panel Remembers Peace Corps Volunteers

Article by Bob Powers I served in Malawi, Africa during the "Kennedy years" (1964-66). The Peace Corps was new and exciting; the world was unknown and homophobic. During those days, volunteers in training had to meet with a psychiatrist. For most of us, these meetings were nerve wrecking, if not down right scary as they could and did result in the instant dismissal of trainees. "What if they think I'm queer?" I thought. So, during my interview I spent a lot of time talking about my girlfriends, a ploy which seemed to work as I made it through "de selection." But I was left with the unpleasant thought that I "fooled them," even though, at the time, I didn't even know my own orientation. I now know, I was in deep denial.

Almost ten years later, I met Robert Wood on a business trip to New York City. Over lunch, I discovered that he roomed with Bob Holland, another Malawi volunteer. Robert invited me to their house for dinner that evening.

I took the subway to Brooklyn Heights and rang the doorbell to their "Garden Apartment." The prospect of seeing another Malawi volunteer was exhilarating. When the two of them opened the door, I was dumbfounded. For, at that moment, I knew they were gay and that they were lovers. I had never seen gay people who looked just like me. I stared at them for what seemed like an eternity and then, I burst into tears. For, at that moment, I also knew I was queer and I felt as if my life had just fallen apart. I spent the entire evening in tears and the days, weeks and some months ahead in agony. Robert Wood and Bob Holland helped me sort it all out and before long I began the process of "coming out" and "becoming myself."

Twenty years later, I read in the latest edition of "Friends of Malawi News" that Bob Holland, Malawi Peace Corps Volunteer 1994-66, died of AIDS and "I burst into tears."

In honor of Bob and all the other Peace Corps Volunteers who have died of AIDS, the Bay Area Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Returned Peace Corps Volunteers group hosted a "quilting bee" every Friday during the month of May 1996. The panels, which honor Volunteers who have died of AIDS depict a map of the world with volunteer names sewn into the panel and connected by strings to their country of service. A dove flies above the world, carrying a banner that says "In memory of all Peace Corps Volunteers who have died of AIDS."

The panels will become a part of the Names Project's display of the entire AIDS Memorial Quilt, made up of 40,000 plus panels, to be held at the White House in October 1996. (See Quilt Bound for Washington D.C.)

We have asked Peace Corps Director, Mark Gearan, to participate in the national event by reading the list of volunteer names. We ask you to send us names of Peace Corps Volunteers (along with the names of their service countries) who have died of AIDS for inclusion in the quilt.

Bob Powers, along with Alan Ellis, is author of the best selling book, A Manager's Guide to Sexual Orientation in the Workplace (Routledge, 1995) and the soon to be released book, A Family and Friend's Guide to Sexual Orientation (Routledge, May, 1996).





Send comments to webmaster@lgbrpcv.org This site is located at http://www.lgbrpcv.org ©Copyright Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Association, 1996 - 2001. Updated on 09/12/98



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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Malawi; Special Interests - HIV

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By ELVELYN SNIPES (65.207.29.162) on Friday, April 25, 2008 - 11:46 am: Edit Post

LOOKNG FOR FORMER PEACE CORPS VOLUTEERS SERVING
IN BELIZE DURING THE 70 'S SEAVIEW HOSP

BERTHA ELVELYN BULL


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