Bringing Peace Corps Service Home

Last Update: 8/8/2013 12:12 AM

Lie (center) at the White House

Champions of Change

Craig Michael Lie Njie, “Lie” (The Gambia, 05-08) was recently recognized as a Champion of Change at the White House on July 23rd. This event highlighted extraordinary leaders in transformative civic hacking and civic engagement.

In early June Lie and Amran Gaye, a colleague Lie met during his Peace Corps Service in The Gambia participated in the National Day of Civic Hacking to address a Peace Corps Innovation Challenge submitted by a PCV in South Africa. The challenge was to develop an SMS notification system that clinics could use to notify local communities when critical supplies had been delivered. In response to this challenge Lie, Amran and an international team of American and Gambians developed Medlink. MedLink's SMS, Web, and Email tools enable those in need to request medical supplies and services. Medical health professionals and volunteers quickly respond with where and, more importantly, when those supplies and services will be available. Medical providers can integrate requests into inventory control and purchasing systems. Click here to learn more about this incredible project.

The Way Back to Yarasquin

Myra (left)

On August 1, 2013, film maker Sarah Gerber, film protagonist Mayra Orellana-Powell and approximately 200 supports gathered for the premiere of The Way Back to Yarasquin at a classic Art Deco theater in Alameda, California. The short documentary portrays Mayra’s journey from the United States back to her hometown in Santa Elena, Honduras where she has connected small coffee farmers to the specialty coffee market in the Bay Area in an effort to raise the standard of living for these farming families. Sarah’s film has emotionally captured the legacy of Mayra’s grandmother (the woman who raised Mayra in Santa Elena) through Mayra’s words and deeds, while the film’s score magically weaves the images of rural Honduras and its people into a perfect blend. Those of us in the audience with a Peace Corps past were drawn back to our own days in country and inspired anew by Mayra’s coffee journey home.

To learn more about the film, watch the trailer, and keep updated on future plans, check out the webpage at, Perhaps you have a venue idea for the film. Sarah would love to hear from you. Sarah will use funds generated from showing the film in the U.S. towards the costs of a Honduran film premiere in Santa Elena TBD early next year.

To learn more about Mayra’s coffee project and the social impact check out the webpage at, You can also contact Mayra if you want to try delicious Santa Elena coffee.

Written by Lowell Powell (RPCV- Honduras 1998-2000, NorCalPCA member, and Mayra’s Husband).

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