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Triumph & Hope: Golden Years With The Peace Corps in Honduras Paperback – December 29, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Barbara E. Joe, a native of Boston, is a freelance writer, Spanish interpreter, and translator living on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. She is the author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles and several technical books. This is her first book for a general audience.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (December 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439222029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439222027
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Barbara E. Joe writes with agility and wit. This book is required reading for all those persons who skillfully persuade themselves that it is better to put off things until tomorrow. Barbara Joe's book reminds us that life doesn't wait until tomorrow and that unforeseen circumstances sometimes compel us to follow our dreams. I am reminded of a chapter in Bertrand Russell's The Conquest of Happiness - "Zest" or enthusiasm...you don't write books like Triumph and Hope without a full tank of zest. But in Barbara Joe's case this life-affirming quality is borne out of desolation and despair, and for that reason all the more uplifting.
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Format: Paperback
Barbara Joe and I are the same age, but that's where the similarities end. I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in my twenties; she served in her sixties. I taught in a boarding school in Nigeria, lived in comfortable faculty housing and played tennis at the local "sundowner" club. She lived in uncomfortable circumstances in isolated rural villages in Honduras ironically named "Triumph" and "Hope" and dealt directly with poverty and illness as a health worker.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a Peace Corps volunteer at an age when most of us are drawing Social Security, then "Triumph & Hope: Golden Years with the Peace Corps in Honduras" is the book for you. Her memoir is, indeed, a story of triumph and hope as she overcame divorce and the death of her own son, followed by the death of a foster son, to make a difference in an impoverished developing county.
Barbara was determined to rise from the ashes of these bitter disappointments. Unlike most volunteers, she was already fluent in the language of her host country, Spanish, even before she arrived, which eased her adjustment to a strange, new culture. Her book is a wonderful tale of warm encounters and lasting friendships with the people she served. It's illustrated with photos of her friends and colleagues that provide evidence of her accomplishments in a country she adopted as her own.
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Format: Paperback
When Barbara Joe tells you, as her treasure trove of a book opens, that "the essential qualifications for surviving the Peace Corps experience are flexibility, imagination, initiative and commitment," take her very seriously. Being with her in Honduras, the poorest country in the hemisphere -- and you are there, because her writing is so vivid, so completely engaging -- you'll get Montezuma's Revenge several times no matter how careful you are, be stung by a scorpion, be robbed repeatedly, find yourself often unable to eat your tortilla at a table thick with flies from dishes rinsed in cold water with no soap, sometimes find yourself surrounded with the stench of God-knows-what-all, find yourself caught in a dangerous tormenta (you've not been in a thunderstorm until you've been in a tropical thunderstorm) and have lightning strike so close it leaves you with a tingling scalp and significant hearing loss, and, if you're anything like me, you'll be screaming at the earliest pages, "My Gawd, woman, get the heck outta there, NOW!" But this is because she's written this book with the excitement of a secret, personal daily diary you've stumbled unto, know you really shouldn't read but couldn't put down if you tried. The second thing I like most about TRIUMPH & HOPE though is the fact that it has literally everything: history, geography, politics, medical knowledge, religion, humor as well as tragedy and honest-to-God stories about the real people she lives with and tries to help that sound as dramatic as any fiction, plus a lot of interesting Spanish slang. Joe spent her early years in Colombia where her father worked for the Organization of American States, so she's fluent in the language.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
As a former Volunteer in Colombia 1964-66 and Country Director in Argentina and Uruguay 1993-95,I find Barbara Joe's book a gift for all past and future Volunteers and Staff! The new Peace Corps Director when appointed should be given a copy to read and keep with her or him! Especially if they have never been a Peace Corps Volunteer! From my experience, Barbara Joe's beautiful story of her three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras is not about her age, but the commitment she has always had...to reach out to others. She goes to Honduras at age 62 knowing that her friends back in the U.S. think she will be home by Christmas...but her children believe in her. I am extremely impressed with her use of the black and white photos throughout her book, you feel that you are right there with her and her host country family. Some Volunteers and Staff spend their tour counting the days until they get to go home, while others really get involved in their communities, and like Barbara these are the Volunteers who adopt or are adopted by their new country, to become their "patria chica" or adopted homeland. Volunteers will often refer to their country of service as their new adopted homeland, and find something in themselves that they did not know existed...the special feeling that causes them to love and respect their new community. As Barbara says, "I now feel part Honduran!"
Having trained Peace Corps personnel, I feel Barbara Joe's book is a "how to" for future Volunteers and Staff, this must be made mandatory reading...pay attention Peace Corps, and not a bad way for family and friends to learn what it means to be with the Peace Corps. If you are even thinking about the experience that will change your life, check out Triumph and Hope by Barbara Joe...I couldn't put it down once I opened to the first page.
Bob Arias
Salem, Oregon
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