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Hopkins Grammar School
The Class of 1965



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Peter Ewell

Peter's Graduation Photo In June, 1997, Peter e-mailed us:

"It is interesting that you have taken the time to construct a web page for Hopkins '65. Just a quick up-date for you.

I got my Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Cornell in 1984. Since then, I have worked for the International Potato Center (CIP), which is based in Lima, Peru. Since 1988 I have been based in Nairobi, Kenya, where I am now CIP's Regional Representative for Sub-Saharan Africa. We do research on the improvement of potatoes and sweet potatoes in collaboration with national agricultural researchers throughout Africa."

Peter sent this family photo on December 20, 1999...

Peter Ewell and family, Nairobi, 1999

...and this family photo on Deceber 24, 2000. Click on it for an enlargement.

Peter Ewell and family, Nairobi, 2000

May, 2001

Dear HGS classmates,

For the past 12 years I have now lived in Nairobi, Kenya, where I head up the regional office for Africa of the International Potato Center (CIP). This is one of 16 international agricultural research centers that work on food crops and which are affiliated through an office of the World Bank. CIP (the acronym for its name in Spanish, El Centro International de la Papa) is based in Lima, Peru. We do various kinds of research on potato and sweetpotato. Last week, we had a planning meeting for a new project, promoting orange-fleshed varieties in Africa as a dietary source of Vitamin A, a micronutrient that is critically deficient in the diets of many African children.

My wife Helga Recke is German, and works here in Kenya for the European Union. Our children Christopher (6) and Hanna (5) attend the German School in Nairobi. Old friends from HGS should come for safaris!

Best wishes,

Peter T. Ewell

December, 2002

Happy New Year to you! I am still in Nairobi, although I recently changed jobs. I am now Agricultural Advisor at the regional office for eastern and southern Africa of USAID (The United States Agency for International Development). I have been here in Africa since 1989, and still nobody from HGS ’65 has stopped by for a safari. I hope that will change in 2003.

Best wishes,


December 2003

Another year has flown by in what seems like a whirlwind! The children seem so grown up compared to last year. We have had a very good year in general and are grateful for many things!

In the beginning of the year my parents were with us and enjoyed the Kenyan summer as much as we, particularly the children, enjoyed their company. We are expecting them again in a few days to be with us for Christmas and most of the European winter. In April the children and I went to Germany to visit my sister Meggie in Hamburg, spend Easter with my parents, and then visit friends in Weinheim. The weather was unusually warm and sunny and we had a great time. Over Easter Peter joined us for a few days.

The Ewells, Christmas 2003

We spent our summer vacation at Peterís familyís house on the sea in Marion, Massachusetts. His mother lives in a retirement community in Pennsylvania for most of the year, but she was able to spend the whole summer up there. We were joined at intervals by Peterís brothers John and Charles and their families, and by my parents and sister Meggie. Many cousins live nearby, and everyone had a great time. Hanna was sad at first that she could not join Christopher for sailing lessons since she was not yet eight, but she very much liked the arts workshop she participated in for two weeks. Next year she hopes to be able to take a sailing course as well. Then I shall remain the only person in the family who does not know how to sail, maybe I should take the effort to learn??

Since the tennis courts at the German School have opened over the summer vacation we have taken up tennis again (not Peter, though, who does not like tennis very much). The children both have lessons as part of their school curriculum once a week and sometimes take extra lessons with the same coach over the weekend. I started again a few weeks ago with a coach and almost gave up after the first lesson since my right arm hurt so much afterwards. Wrong technique, heavy old racket and no practice for over 30 years!! But now it is getting better and I am seriously thinking that I might eventually enjoy it and am willing to invest in a proper racket.

Early this year Peter and I became members of the Muthaiga Country Club (the place where Meryl Streep as Baroness Karen Blixen was thrown out of the menís bar in the movie Out of Africa). It hasnít changed much in appearence over the years, but at least they now accept women as members! We had been invited periodically over the years, recently several times by our good friends Robert and Fumi, and liked the atmosphere very much. It is a great place to go for dinner, and we particularly like to have Sunday lunches in the garden around the pool, with the company of good friends. The children like it as well.

Peter has been enjoying his new job with REDSO, the regional office of USAID for eastern and southern Africa. He is happy to have made a change to a different kind of work. He stays in touch with many colleagues from CIP and other CGIAR centers. He travels quite a bit around Africa, and made two trips this year to the U.S.

My work schedule has been more than crazy, culminating in a big conference I organised in mid November, which turned out to be a big success. Now we are working on the proceedings, finalising the activities under this programme, getting an external review organised and an appraisal for a new project that we hope the European Union will be willing to fund. But I am sure there will be a funding gap and I am looking forward to a complete break in July and August, most of which we are planning to spend in Marion. A welcome chance to spend unpressured time with the children.

We have enjoyed the company of numerous visitors, somewhat less than other years since our compound was a construction site for many months. To meet USAID security standards, a stone wall was built around the entire compound. We have planted more than 150 bougainvilleas that will eventually cover it completely, and the lower garden where we mostly sit is nearly back to normal. Our climate here is really favourable to fast growth! During a big party we had in mid November the children were called upon to compete for the best chalk decoration of the wall, and they did a fine job. The jury was impressed! Some of the artwork is even still visible although with the rainy season now parts of it are being washed away.

If you have time and an opportunity to visit East Africa and Nairobi, please come and visit Ė we love company! Have a good holiday season and a great start into the New Year! Helga, Peter, Christopher and Hanna

Address:     In Kenya: Regional Agricultural Advisor, USAID/REDSO/ESA/Food Security, ICIPE/USAID Complex, Kasarani Road
                        P.O. Box 30261, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
                    From the USA: Unit 64102, APO AE 09831-4102, U.S.A.
Telephone: +254-20-862400, Ext. 2336
FAX: +254-2-860562
Mobile: +254-733-634933

E-mail: Peter:  and Helga:

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This page last updated February 9, 2004