Express your opinion

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 01 to 07 January to July 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: June 28 - NCPA responds to Security Charge against US Peace Corps: Express your opinion

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, July 02, 2001 - 12:54 pm: Edit Post

The article in USA Today has received some attention
in the U.S.Congress. If, after reading the original
article and the NCPA response, you have a strong
opinion, please contact your Senator or
your Congressman and make your views known.

By Stilldisgruntled Afteralltheseyears on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 12:45 pm: Edit Post

When I served in the Peace Corps, Peace Corps officials never told me that there would be a volunteer in the city who would monitor my comings and goings. I had no idea that there was even such a thing!

Furthermore, the only other volunteers there were a couple, who made it very clear that I was not welcome to "their village", or to "their home". (They felt they had developed the primary American presence in our small village and resented an outsider -- who had been in country longer than they and who spoke the language better then they -- coming in and taking attention away). So, I never saw or spoke to "the peace corps monitor" after the first month or so of my arrival. I was in a very isolated location, not of my choosing.

Because I was teaching English at a high school, and had a very good relationship with the high school administration, I got permission and reported my comings and goings to the principal of the school.

Once, when I left the village, the "volunteer monitor" noticed that I was gone and reported me to the Peace Corps Office.

The principal later told me that when the Peace Corps Office called him, upset, asking him where I was, he was afraid to tell them that he had given me permission to leave as he thought that he would be in trouble too. So he told them he didn't know where I was... You see the problem.

Further, since the Peace Corps officials had a hard time admitting that they had made any type of mistake, they had to blame the entire problem on me.

When I got back and the principal wrote a letter to Peace Corps explaining exactly what had happened, the peace corps office told me that he must be just "covering for me" and that they would have to discipline me for not getting permission to leave.

Had I been told that I was being monitored by one of the hostile peace corps volunteers in the city, I could have left a message for her specifically saying where I was.

For some reason, Peace Corps feels compelled to have these "volunteer monitors" but not tell other volunteers who they are, how they are chosen, that there is a monitor at their site, or that there even exists such a program!

It's a deceptive and unnecessary policy and I am sure causes a lot of misunderstanding and unnecessary problems.

Surely someone can think of a better way to provide for the safety and well being of volunteers, if in fact that is the purpose of the "volunteer monitor" system.

By Anonymous on Thursday, August 02, 2001 - 7:33 am: Edit Post

During my Peace Corps training in 1996 many and frequent references were made to volunteer safety and how volunteers could safeguard themselves. These admonitions and guides did not escape me even though some seemed superfluous and over rated. I never felt threatened during my two years in the Corps. Volunteers present in the same training as myself supposedly heard the same things I heard, yet as in most groups there were a few diehards who thought the information was for "other people" or perhaps slept through the training, or were in the bathroom, in any case chose to disregard that part of the training. They could be observed in both towns and in the countryside behaving in ways that could invite trouble. Luckily while they tempted fate, dire consequences did not befall them.
So if there was a volunteer monitor in your location I have no doubt that this information was provided during in training. Still Disgruntled, might you have been one of those asleep, in the bathroom, or dismissing it as being for other people?

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