|By John Chisler (220.127.116.11) on Monday, March 23, 2009 - 4:18 pm: Edit Post|
I read Laurence Leamer's thoughts about intergrating the Peace Corp with USAID. I served in the Peace Corp in the mid sixties and one of our main directives that made a lot of sense told us to beware of USAID folks or those from the embassy. The logic went that the level of trust with our host country locals would not be as effective if they saw us as another arm of the US government.
Several times in my two years service, we would encounter USAID personel who would offer to buy us beers and thereby have the opportunity to listen to our conversations in order to get an idea of what was happening in the country. It was as if they were using us as spies.
Luckily we caught on quickly to their questions and created outrages stories of disinformation to daze and confuse our beer buying benefactor. Months later in the kerosene light on a Saturday night, we would gather in our post homes and recall with reams of laughter, the spy guy's attempts to extract information.
Keep the Peace Corp as an independent agency and beholding to the Volunteers making wise decisions with the host countries wishes.That was the ideal I believed when joining the Peace Corp, not to be a US government agent.