October 23, 2001 - MSNBC: Local Peace Corps member shares middle-east experience

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: The Third Goal : The Peace Corps and the Third Goal: October 23, 2001 - MSNBC: Local Peace Corps member shares middle-east experience

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, December 29, 2001 - 6:54 am: Edit Post

Local Peace Corps member shares middle-east experience

Read and comment on this story from MSNBC on a PCV who recently returned from Turkmenistan at:

Local Peace Corps member shares middle-east experience*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Local Peace Corps member shares middle-east experience

MORRO BAY, CALIFORNIA, Oct. 23 - Morro Bay High School alumnus Brie Furnis-Lawrence was sent back to the US for her safety, and now she’s educating others on how people live where she was stationed.

FURNIS-LAWRENCE, 23, SHARED her experience with Morro Bay High School students Tuesday. “The people are really poor,” explained Furnis-Lawrence.

After receiving a degree in biomedical engineering, Furnis-Lawrence joined the Peace Corps and was sent to the small middle-eastern country of Turkmenistan to teach health education. “I was right there, which is right on the border of Iran and Afghanistan,” she said while pointing to the map.

Furnis-Lawrence was to live with a Turkmenistan family for two years. She was at her training camp for only two days, however, when the September 11 attacks occurred. “When we walked past the US Embassy there were flowers all laid out, and people would approach Americans and gave them their sympathy.”

At first, Furnis-Lawrence and her co-workers did not fear for their lives, but that began to change. “I never felt threatened by any of the people there, but watching CNN and watching the news reports on the Taliban did start to make me scared.”

The government eventually asked US citizens to return home. “The US government felt that we were unsafe in Turkmenistan even though it has a policy of neutrality,” said Furnis-Lawrence.

It was not easy for Furnis-Lawrence to leave the small country and its friendly people behind. “I felt guilty leaving because I felt like, ‘Oh, I get to be a lucky American again.’ The people of Turkmenistan have to stay there and deal with it.”

Furnis-Lawrence said that there were about 300 other Peace Corps members who were evacuated from nearby countries.

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