By the time you’re halfway through your second tour, third tour bidding goes from an abstract concept to very applicable. The end of first and second tour “directed assignments” means the beginning of your own advocacy to get your next Foreign Service position.

From a One-Room Schoolhouse to the Foreign Service

Here I was on July 4, 1955, expected to assume duties as Press Attaché and Information Officer, American Embassy, Caracas, Venezuela - after only two months of practical orientation in Washington, preceded by five years of corporate public relations, a BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, courtesy of the GI Bill, and roots reaching all the way back to a one-room schoolhouse on the prairies of South Dakota. Not exactly elite.

Street Children in Bogota

One Sunday, I was doing my homework in my room when I heard a clanging coming from the street. I pulled aside the sheer drapes covering my window and saw a small group of cochinos in front of the closed candy and newspaper store across the street going through the contents of some garbage cans. One of the older kids handed a piece of something to a very small boy who put it in his mouth and sat down against the building, slumping like an old man. Garbage for lunch.