October 28, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Responding Intelligently By Landon Loomis

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 28, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Responding Intelligently By Landon Loomis

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-165-54.balt.east.verizon.net - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 3:26 am: Edit Post

Responding Intelligently By Landon Loomis

Responding Intelligently By Landon Loomis

Responding Intelligently By Landon Loomis

Ironically, the authors have performed an impressive disservice to the victims that they claim to advocate: they’ve transformed genuine hardship into tedious hyperbole and missed an opportunity for constructive and thoughtful dialogue. Volunteer safety is not a function of the walls and wire that segregate you from the outside, safety is a function of the relationships and trust that connect you to the outside. In other words, visits from Peace Corps officials who reside 12-14 hours from the “unsupervised” volunteers are not going to provide greater safety. Safety will come from the many hours spent each day interacting with neighbors and participating in the mundane chores of every-day life in the developing world. I would expect that after twenty months of sleuthing, our authors might have grasped the importance that the community plays in this regard.

In fact, most security incidents occur when volunteers are away from their communities, particularly in two situations: either while in transit and/or when drinking. Volunteers are repeatedly told – both during pre-service training and in-service training – that these are the most vulnerable situations, and are instructed how to reduce risk. Sit near the driver. Have lose change ready to appease a potentially dangerous solicitor. Always be aware of where you are, where your belongings are and who is around you. Don’t dink in public or walk drunk in public. Safety 101 – in Peace Corps or any American city for that matter.

However, in the final assessment, volunteers assume a great degree of personal responsibility when accepting an overseas assignment. They must develop the friendships that lead to productive work, they must strive to understand indigenous culture and dialect, and they must make responsible decisions that minimize their risk of personal injury. In some cases accident, assault, rape or murder may overcome even the most vigilant volunteer, but this should not distract us from the critical issue: as a volunteer you are responsible for keeping yourself safe, satisfied and successful. This is exactly what makes RPCVs such a rich group of individuals

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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



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