January 25, 2004: Headlines: COS - Sierra Leone: Honolulu Advertiser: It seemed a long time ago when Sierra Leone rebel soldiers were shooting rifles into the air outside the house of Craig Clouet, who was a Peace Corps volunteer during the African country's military coup in 1991

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Sierra Leone: Peace Corps Sierra Leone : The Peace Corps in Sierra Leone: January 25, 2004: Headlines: COS - Sierra Leone: Honolulu Advertiser: It seemed a long time ago when Sierra Leone rebel soldiers were shooting rifles into the air outside the house of Craig Clouet, who was a Peace Corps volunteer during the African country's military coup in 1991

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-36-89.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.36.89) on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 3:55 pm: Edit Post

It seemed a long time ago when Sierra Leone rebel soldiers were shooting rifles into the air outside the house of Craig Clouet, who was a Peace Corps volunteer during the African country's military coup in 1991

It seemed a long time ago when Sierra Leone rebel soldiers were shooting rifles into the air outside the house of Craig Clouet, who was a Peace Corps volunteer during the African country's military coup in 1991

It seemed a long time ago when Sierra Leone rebel soldiers were shooting rifles into the air outside the house of Craig Clouet, who was a Peace Corps volunteer during the African country's military coup in 1991

Keeping the Peace Corps peaceful

By Moon Yun Choi

It seemed a long time ago when Sierra Leone rebel soldiers were shooting rifles into the air outside the house of Craig Clouet, who was a Peace Corps volunteer during the African country's military coup in 1991.

In this 1972 photo, Lance Holter works to repair a pump in a village well in Tunisia. Unlike many former Peace Corps volunteers, Holter, who now lives on Maui, is in favor of supporting volunteers who want to serve alongside U.S. troops in Iraq.

Photo courtesy Lance Holter
Clouet and about 80 other volunteers were immediately evacuated out of the country by three U.S. military aircraft to safety in neighboring Senegal. He and a smaller number of volunteers returned a few months later to complete their Peace Corps service in 1993.

Clouet once shared meals with his Muslim neighbors he described as "very nice people," but it's a different world since the Sept. 11 attacks and the fear of repeated terrorism that followed.

The continuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and growing tension with North Korea have fueled suggestions that Peace Corps volunteers should be sent to military hot spots to act as humanitarian aid workers alongside U.S. soldiers. In Hawai'i, former Peace Corps volunteers like Clouet say there is still a vital role for the Peace Corps in this terrorism-ridden world, but they don't agree that volunteers should work side by side with the U.S. military.

"Definitely not," says Clouet, who was an agro-forestry volunteer and now works with maps as a geographic information system manager at Kamehameha Schools.

"Volunteers (are) not trained for that," he said. "Most of the volunteers at least the ones I've met are not in that caliber to be in military hot spots. It makes the Peace Corps look, as people often accuse us of being, (like) a CIA- or military-type operation that's at the front line to gather information to take back to the U.S. embassies or the CIA."

The proper role of the Peace Corps is to bring Americans to other parts of the world, Clouet says. "They can see that we're not all CIA agents, military or bad people," he said. "We can bring our knowledge of other countries back to the U.S. For example, I now know a lot about Islam. ... "






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Story Source: Honolulu Advertiser

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Sierra Leone

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