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Table of Contents

"I Know I Have Changed": Encounters with Zen in Japan

By Camelback to Timbuktu

The Seasons Come and Go:
Impressions of a Peace Corps Tenure in Ghana

Summerterm in Nepal:
More Than They Bargained for

To Russia, With Love

Learning Outside the Classroom: The FTAA Protests in Quebec City

"Yon ti dlo fret"
(A Little Cold Water)

Student Initiative

Memories of Afghanistan

Laurentians in the Peace Corps

SLU International Programs

Alumni Accomplishments

Class Notes

Magazine Cover


Memories of Afghanistan

By Philip D. Needham '68

The author astride a camel on the high plateau during his Peace Corps service in Afghanistan.

According to information supplied by the Peace Corps, 197 St. Lawrence alumni have served in the Corps in 70 countries since its founding in 1961. Phil Needham was among the first, going to Afghanistan in 1964. Thirty-seven years later, he reflects upon his experiences:

During my junior year at St. Lawrence, I received a call from my brother, letting me know he had decided to apply to the Peace Corps. His excitement rubbed off on me, then a restless student wondering about my future path.

To improve my chances, I volunteered to go anywhere in the world. I was assigned to a little-known, landlocked country that had attracted conquerors and empire-builders from all sides of the world, a country that was a major stop on the great trade and exploration routes of the past: Afghanistan.

From 1964 through 1967, when I returned to St. Lawrence to complete my degree, I taught physical education at Kabul University, the country's only university, in its capital city. The entire experience made unforgettable impressions on my mind, even as it expanded my mind. Today I co-own Needham-Betz Thoroughbreds breeding farm in Lexington, Ky. My interest in horses was nurtured in the Peace Corps; how life unfolds for each of us is a mystery.

Afghanistan has been the stage for the advance and decline of powerful religions. I hope it will someday rid itself of the Taliban and return to the progress and development it was enjoying when I was there nearly 40 years ago now. I live some part of every day shaped by my experiences there.