|By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-165-54.balt.east.verizon.net - 22.214.171.124) on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 5:05 pm: Edit Post|
"Danger in the Highlands" By Lesotho RPCVs
"Danger in the Highlands" By Lesotho RPCVs
"Danger in the Highlands" By Lesotho RPCV
October 29, 2003
Letter to the Editor:
Re: “Danger in the Highlands” dated October 28, 2003. We would like to respond to the article written by Russell Carollo and his team regarding our experiences in Lesotho. We would like to expound on the things we said to you over the phone that you chose not to publish. This letter was drafted by returned Peace Corps volunteers that you interviewed and has been signed by many other returned volunteers who were also upset by your characterization of Peace Corps volunteers’ experiences in Lesotho. We were in Lesotho at the same time as both Jen Peterson and Chad DuMond and were also evacuated by Peace Corps during our time in Lesotho.
The great value of going to the Peace Corps is learning how people live and how they struggle. Peace Corps is not easy and was never represented as such. The unfortunate truth is that no matter what lengths Peace Corps goes to protect its volunteers, some will be involved in terrible situations. They have chosen to live in countries that are very different from their own. It is important that volunteers understand just what they may be facing. But it is even more important that we continue to have Peace Corps in countries like Lesotho. The true value of Peace Corps is living as people in the country live and struggling as they struggle. If we had to do it over, we would all go again. The Peace Corps was one of the most important experiences of our lives and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.
We felt that many of the issues we had with the handling of the violence in Lesotho improved dramatically with the appointment of Carol Chappell as country director. We hope that this article will be used to strengthen Peace Corps and the experiences of current and future volunteers rather than be exploited by Peace Corps detractors as an excuse to dismantle it. We knowingly took a risk going to live in one of the poorest countries in the world and that risk was well worth it. We are forever indebted to Lesotho and to Peace Corps for everything it has taught us.
Claire Hilger, RPCV Lesotho 1997-1999
Eric Giddens, RPCV Lesotho 1997-1999
Becki Krieg, RPCV Lesotho 1997-1999
Jerry Densmore, RPCV Lesotho 1997-1999
Cynthia Holohan, RPCV Lesotho 1998-2000
Faye Farmer RPCV Lesotho 1997-1999
Daisy Jackson, RPCV Lesotho 1997-1999
Karan and Willy Schreiber, RPCVs Lesotho 1997-1999, RPCVs Panama 2001-2002
Richard Leach, RPCV Lesotho 1999-2001
Anais Alexander, RPCV Lesotho 1999-2000
Robert Richardson, RPCV Lesotho 1998-2000
Jeanmarie M. Mitchell, RPCV Lesotho 1998-2000
Gail Lundeen, RPCV Lesotho 1999-2002
Amie Mignatti, RPCV Lesotho 1999-2001
Amy Bratsch, RPCV Lesotho 1997-1999
Jill Bryan, RPCV Lesotho 1999-2001
Linda E. Houck, RPCV Lesotho 1997-1999
Stacey Campbell, RPCV Lesotho 1996-1998
Todd Dierker, RPCV Lesotho 1996-1998
Kristin Perry, RPCV Lesotho 1999-2001
Kami Watson, RPCV Lesotho 1999-2001
Todd Vetter, RPCV Lesotho 1995-1998
Anna Zamora, RPCV Lesotho 1999-2001
Anne Matra, RPCV Lesotho 1996-1998
Virginia Humphreys, RPCV Lesotho 1999-2001
Kim (Martens) Pippenger, RPCV Lesotho 1996-1998
Summer Brandt, RPCV Lesotho 2000-2002.
|By Chad DuMond (modemcable144.238-201-24.mc.videotron.ca - 126.96.36.199) on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 12:58 pm: Edit Post|
I know that this has been a long time in coming. But being that I was one of the subjects of the "Danger in the Highlands" article I feel compelled to respond (however belatedly). I agree with everything that my Lesotho PC friends have said in response to the article.
I also must point out that the article could be seen as suggesting that I was saying that Peace Corps left me alone and was not supportive while I was in country in Lesotho. This is absolutely NOT the case. Without the amazing help and support of the Peace Corps in Lesotho I would have died without a doubt. Both Dr. Dorothy Nyambi (Peace Corps Medical Officer in Lesotho at the time) and Carol Chappell (Peace Corps Director for Lesotho) saved my life, literally. One with her very hands (Dr. Nyambi) and the other (Carol Chappell) with her leadership so that I could make it through the cloud of red tape and across the border into South Africa and to a hospital with emergency services quickly.
What I experienced with the Peace Corps in Lesotho remains one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life (even with being shot). What I have come to understand over the years since the shooting is that Peace Corps is not responsible for any support whatsoever when a volunteer returns to the US. Now whether this is right or wrong may be worthy of a whole other investigative article.
As soon as I hit US soil I was no longer under the umbrella of Peace Corps (unfortunately) but was and remain under the Department of Labor and the Office of Workers Compensation (OWCP). This is where my comments should have been directed when I said that I received no support whatsoever.
Unfortunately, I did not understand this distinction at the time the article was written, nor was it investigated by those writing the article (as far as I know).
|By RPCV Yemen (dialup-188.8.131.52.dial1.manchester1.level3.net - 184.108.40.206) on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - 12:54 pm: Edit Post|
Receiving inadequate support from OWCP is a recurring theme among former PCVs who were injured or became ill during their service.
If you find yourself in this boat, please join together with fellow RPCVs who are working to change--or at least have an impact--on the system. You can find us at: