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Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond

Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond


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Summer, 1971. A naive young man must decide his path upon graduation from a small university in Colorado. Amidst the turmoil of the counterculture years and the looming possibility of being sent to Vietnam, he concludes that he wants to travel, serve, and, if possible, save the world. As a Peace Corps volunteer Mark embarks on a vigorous cross cultural experience in a Caribbean and two Central American countries, with a final stop in one of the more isolated areas of the highlands of Guatemala. Though beset with a fear of the unknown and feelings of profound isolation due to being the only volunteer in a remote village, he eventually gets to know and appreciate the people of the rural communities he is privileged to live among. After a near-death experience takes him to another part of Guatemala and eventually to a horse town, Mark meets the love of his life, Ligia, who will bear him three children and be part of a lifelong commitment to and appreciation of this beautiful and unique country. Much of the courtship process will take place on a coffee plantation owned by Ligia's family, where Mark experiences a different side of Guatemalan society. While Ligia selflessly abandons her own career to focus on establishing a stable bi-cultural home for their three children during the violent Guatemalan Civil War, Mark's "wanderlust" takes him on a four month solo trek through Latin America and then a country change based on threats from a guerrilla group. Mark's thirteen-year career promoting rural development through various international NGOs begins when he sets up a local development agency in Guatemala to help the poorest of the poor, whose plight is at least partially due to the policies of his own government. Eventually family circumstances force a radical career change and a return to the US to begin a thirty-year calling. Inspired by the "extreme do-gooders" he'd met along his journey, he takes some of the wealthiest American families in the world to meet some of the world's poorest in some of the most isolated, unstable countries. This leads to many adventures, with both wealthy and poor growing from their shared experiences. Mark's career comes to a sudden and unexpected turn after he is let go as the CEO of one of these international NGOs, and this frees him up to focus on his three children and his six grandchildren. This twist in the road also provides a new opportunity to reflect on what he has accomplished, where he's failed, and where the international NGO community has come up short. Different Latitudes is more than a travel memoir. It is a tale of physical and spiritual self-discovery through Latin American, African, European, and Asian topography, cuisine, politics, and history. TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface 1. Formative years 2. Innocents Abroad 3. Life with Ligia: Becoming Part of an Extended Latin Family 4. A Tramp Aboard: The Journey from Guatemala City to Southern Chile and Back 5. On the Front Lines: Developing & Managing Overseas Programs 6. Global Surveys & Evaluation 7. Fundraising for International Non-governmental Organizations 8. Hagar International: the Mission 9. Hagar USA: the Management 10. Philanthropy: Ripples in the Pond 11. The World of Overseas Donor Trips 12. Around the World With Rotary International 13. Guate Mala Guate Peor 14. Postscript: Reflections on a Life Well Travelled
Submitted on 2016-09-09 10:05

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935925811
Publisher: Peace Corps Writers
Publication date: 04/11/2017
Pages: 332
Sales rank: 1,123,935
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

Mark Walker's deep understanding of poverty issues comes from fifteen years of laboring side-by-side with needy people in the developing world, managing programs in Guatemala, Colombia and Sierra Leone with Plan International in Director Positions. Mark's passion for Guatemala goes back to his time as a Peace Corps volunteer. His wife and three children were all born in Guatemala. Mark's first job out of the Peace Corps was as a consultant with CARE International. Mark co-founded FUNDACEDI, a Christian Guatemalan development agency. Mark was the Senior Representative for MAP International (Medical Assistance Programs, the 37th largest charity in the U.S.), where, for over 10 years he was responsible for cultivating donor relationships in the western region of the country. Mark has held senior development positions with World Neighbors, Food for the Hungry, MAP International, Global Brigades and the Make A Wish Foundation International. Mark served as the CEO of Hagar USA which dedicated to the recovery of survivors of human trafficking. He is presently the founder of Million Mile Walker, LLC. and a VP and Senior Counsel for Carlton & Company. "Different Latitudes" was recognized by the Arizona Authors Association competition. Various articles were featured in the "Revue Magazine", "WorldView", "Ragazine" and in the fall the "Crossing Class Anthology" by Wising Up Press. He holds a master's degree from the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor's degree from Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado. Mark has been a presenter and task force member at the Hemispheric Congress for Fundraising that has hosted a conference in Mexico City over four years as well as a presenter on "Cross Border Philanthropy" for the Day of Philanthropy event of the Western Chapter of AFP in Guadalajara, Mexico. He's a Past President of the Greater Arizona chapter of AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) and the Planned Giving Roundtable of Arizona. Mark joined Rotary in 1981 in Bogota, Colombia and is the recipient of the "Service Above Self" award, which is Rotary International's most prestigious recognition. He was profiled in the Western State Colorado University Alumni Magazine for "Alumni Making an Impact". Mark and his wife Ligia live in Scottsdale, Arizona close to their children and six grandchildren.

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