Here are a few more notes about the Peace Corps in Northeast Brazil (Period post 1972):
The Health program in Alagoas was a total disaster because of the lack of agency support. After the ship Hope left the programs died out. Kathleen Carvalho (72-74) was transferred to Goiânia, Pernambuco, where she trained an X-Ray technician at the local hospital.
Kathleen and I got married in 1974 and ended her service prematurely when I became Assistant Regional Director for the Northeast, alongside Greg Huger, who had just been appointed Regional Director. At that time, the Peace Corps had changed philosophy and began hiring nationals for permanent, top staff positions: Paulo Roberto in Rio, Victor Braga in Minas Gerais, and I in Recife. I had been working in Peace Corps training programs since 1967, but always on a contractual basis.
The initial challenge Greg Huger and I had was to close the state offices in Joao Pessoa and Fortaleza and make the office in Recife, near Praça do Derby, a regional office for volunteers spread in 7 Northeast states: Maranhao, Piaui, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Pernambuco, and Alagoas. Sergipe and Bahia were consolidated into the Central Region office, under Victor Braga and Bill Reese. The few volunteers left in the south and north were managed directly by the National Office, in Brasilia, until the programs terminated.
Next, Greg and I set out to assess all the programs in the region. We closed several weak programs, redefined a few others and started planting the seed for new programs that better reflected the type of volunteers available and the current demands of the Brazilian Government – which were becoming harder and harder to meet. Alagoas had just received a few more health volunteers for a couple of ill-defined programs in nursing, psychiatry, curriculum development and special education (APAE). Eventually those programs were terminated and the volunteers were reassigned to other states.
The program at APAE was somewhat successful and served as a model for similar programs in like Ceará and Pernambuco. The program with Secretaria da Educacao was a total success. Bill Svendsgaard and wife Aljean did a superb job in Curriculum Development and Renee Tjoumas was highly praised by the Secretary himself, for the work she did as a Librarian.
One of the nurses, Maureen Gomes, was transferred to Hospital do Pronto Socorro in Recife. That program also fell apart and Maureen carved a role as Staff Nurse for the Northeast Region, thus diminishing the need for doctor’s appointments. She stayed in that post until the Peace Corps closed and married David Lyon, who was then a vice-consul in Recife. They now have two kids and David is just finishing up his assignment in Australia.
In 1975, Greg Huger became the National Director and Whetten (Whet) Reed was appointed Regional Director for the Northeast. Whet was the coolest director you could ask for at a time when several programs were still undefined and volunteer moral was low.
At that point, the regional offices became responsible for training and I was appointed PTO (Programming and Training Officer), in addition to my responsibilities as Assistant Director. In early 1976 we hired Uberacy to take my place as Assistant Director. Arnobio de Carvalho was the Office Administrator, Bernadete was our secretary and Jose was the "pau pra toda obra" – Jack of all trades. I learned that after the Peace Corps closed, Arnobio was hired by the American Consulate and Jose opened up a restaurant in Recife. Bernadete came to the States and visited us. At the time she was considering moving in with her sister, who worked for NASA at Cape Kennedy.
Whet, Uberacy and I ran a tight ship. We had about 100 volunteers to support in seven states and alternated visits to every one of them every three months, assessing the programs they were involved in, talking to agency personnel and carving opportunities for new programs. Little by little we managed to bring order to chaos and then it was time for me to leave. Soon after I left, Whet did too and Bill Reese was appointed to replace him.
In December 1976 Kathy and I moved to Tampa and I finished my undergraduate in Business Administration at the University of South Florida. In 1981 we moved across the bridge to Saint Petersburg, where we presently live with our son Michael (20), our daughter Juliana (16) and two nieces: Cintia (19) and Amanda (22).
We still maintain contact with Bob Gentile, Maureen Gomes (Lyon), Dick and Phyllis Green – who live in Tampa and Michael Morris (saw him about two years ago in Miami). Ron Faas visited us many years ago. Now that we have found your site we have a way to contact everyone else. I still have rosters of several training programs in which I worked and would be glad to share that information. They go back as far as 1967.
St. Petersburg, FL