Book Review

Through the Eyes of My Children: The Adventures of a Peace Corps Volunteer Family.  Frances L. Stone.  Peace Corps Writers Book, 2012.

This is one of the books mentioned in my post, “Books by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers”.  Initially I was not very excited about this book as it is written for the young adult reader.  After a closer look I realized that the Stones and I had a few things in common.  They lived in Vermont before they joined the Peace Corps and eventually returned to Vermont to buy a farm.  They served in the Philippines in the early 70’s and they spent part of their service in Baguio.  (I lived in Vermont before and after Peace Corps and served in Baguio in the late 60’s).  Now I’m excited.

This book is written in essay form with contributions from each member of the family.  It is charming and quite a different experience to see the Philippines from a child’s point of view.  Initially their experiences seemed quite different from mine.  They first served in Bacolod, which is quite different from Baguio.  But mainly, as children, they simply had a different experience.

The descriptions of their living conditions and school are vivid as are the encounters with the very poor squatters of the country.  Descriptions of their life in Baguio are so familiar to me that it was as if I had returned to the Philippines.  They talk about the bad bathrooms, no water, typhoons, landslides and mold.  They talk about the caribou, pigs, chickens and rabid dogs.   Yet they somehow missed the huge cockroaches…perhaps as children they were not as annoyed by them as I was.

This book covers nearly every facet of life in the Philippines from doing laundry by hand to riding on overcrowded old buses.  From the tinikling dance to the wonderful people Filipino people.  A great read for young adults and for older people who would like to look at their experience through younger eyes.

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About Donna Strobridge Ianni

RPCV Philippines '67-'69
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