October 27, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Info without dramatics pls... By Samoa RPCV Amy

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: October 26, 2003: Dayton Daily News reports on Peace Corps Safety and Security: What RPCVs say about this Series on other Message Boards: October 27, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Info without dramatics pls... By Samoa RPCV Amy

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-165-54.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 6:48 pm: Edit Post

Info without dramatics pls... By Samoa RPCV Amy

Info without dramatics pls... By Samoa RPCV Amy

Info without dramatics pls... By Amy

As a recently returned PCV (Samoa 2001-2003) I have to say that I am happy to see pcv safety and security as a "hot topic" in the news. Unfortunately I am disappointed by the sensationalist attitude this series seems to be taking. I don't mean in any way to minimalize the horrible experiences of the volunteers sited in the articles, however I think it's irresponsible to portray these experiences as the norm. As someone mentioned earlier, citing the murder rate in Chicago doesn't give you a clear full picture of everything Chicago is about. I will never forget going to an information session at the World Trade Center in NYC where in response to a safety query a PC employee responded, "You'd be safer in a lot of these countries than you are in NY" Six months later while I was far away in the Pacific, the room we had been sitting in was rubble.

Every volunteer goes through saftey and security training along with language and technical training before being placed at site. It was my understanding that we as trainees were being evaluated for language competancy, technical ability as well as common sense and maturity. If we were found to be lacking in any of these areas either steps were taken to correct that or we were not sworn in. This article makes it sound as if Peace Corps sends a whole bunch of just graduated drunken incompetent yokels out in to the field and then doesnt take responsibility for them. Where does personal responsibility play in all of this? I can't even count how many times we were told, dont walk alone at night, dont get drunk in a bar alone - common sense! Living and working in remote underdeveloped locations is the foundation of Peace Corps. It takes a certain amount of maturity and self awareness to be able to do this safely, or to know when to say OK Im not safe - send me home! Of course not all attacks and dangerous situations can be avoided, sometimes bad things happen even when you're doing everything right, but a little prudence does go a long way. I guess my point is just that I think PC Safety and Security money might be better spent actually evaluating and informing potential volunteers in a more in depth manner for maturity before they become volunteers rather than buying everyone a cell phone. It'd be very easy to call out the obvious and say raise the age limit to join but unfortunately its not that simple - just because someone is a recent graduate doesn't mean they arent more or similarly experienced and mature than their older counterparts. I think Mr. Corollo's mistaken focus on young volunteers is an offensive cheap shot.

The one positive outcome of this article may be that Peace Corps is forced to be more open with their statistics and information. This can only be a good thing. Perhaps it will scare away some numbers but it may leave a smaller pool of better informed, more prepared people going out in to the field. We all make a choice when we join PC, just like people who move to Chicago despite the murder rate make a choice. The best way to make competent, mature decisions is to have all of the facts. So I applaud Mr. Corollo for bringing out the facts, I just wish he could have resisted the temptation to sensationalize them.

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Story Source: Dayton Daily News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Investigative Journalism; COS - Samoa



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