October 29, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: The series By Togo RPCV Peggy

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 29, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: The series By Togo RPCV Peggy

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-165-54.balt.east.verizon.net - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 3:23 am: Edit Post

The series By Togo RPCV Peggy

The series By Togo RPCV Peggy

The series By Peggy

Carollo and Hopgood tell many sad stories, and it is absolutely their right to do so. As an effort funded by taxpayers, the Peace Corps is fair game for press scrutiny; and in a democracy, the press is free to choose its approach within the limits of responsible journalism. Every story on the Peace Corps is not required to reflect every aspect of the subject, nor could it possibly.

However, as a journalist, nonfiction writer, former volunteer (Togo I, 1962-4), and former Peace Corps evaluator (1966-8) who has kept in close touch with the agency over the years, I find the authors of this series verging on irresponsibility for their failure to provide readers a fair or even knowledgeable context for the charges they seem to be leveling. What most astounds me is that they fault the Peace Corps for providing precisely what most people--all putatively adults--join it for: the adventure of going off the beaten path, the opportunity to develop one's own resourcefulness toward a larger good in settings where resourcefulness and the sincere application of it can be useful to recipients.

OF COURSE the Peace Corps should check out housing in advance. But as anyone knows who spends any time at all in the developing world, prior arrangements can go awry for a million reasons. (Actually, that happens here, too.) With the most careful planning, volunteers sometimes arrive at their sites to discover that a job or place to live has fallen through. The best volunteers make lemonade. (Generations of us did this without access even to a land phone.)
I'm also dismayed that specific criticisms made of the Peace Corps by the subjects of these stories (and sometimes their parents) are allowed to stand without any apparent attempt on the reporters' part to check out these claims. And maybe I missed it in the series to date; but did the reporters provide us statistics on murder, rape, and death from injury and illness in a like cohort of Americans who stayed home?

Reading today most of the responses to this series that have been posted by other returned volunteers, I felt moved by and enormously proud of the soundness and the eloquence of the sentiments expressed. Any one of these writers--or, for that matter, any random samplping of returned volunteers who had a priceless experience overseas, as did, I believe, the overwhelming majority of us of us--could have provided the context missing from this series.

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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 - Togo



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