January 14, 2005: Headlines: COS - Turkmenistan: Tsunami: Sonoma News: Cayenne Smith spent a brief stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan, which she cut short because of interference and harassment of her and her hosts by the local government

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Turkmenistan: Peace Corps Turkmenistan : The Peace Corps in Turkmenistan: January 14, 2005: Headlines: COS - Turkmenistan: Tsunami: Sonoma News: Cayenne Smith spent a brief stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan, which she cut short because of interference and harassment of her and her hosts by the local government

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-13-244.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 12:07 pm: Edit Post

Cayenne Smith spent a brief stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan, which she cut short because of interference and harassment of her and her hosts by the local government

Cayenne Smith spent a brief stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan, which she cut short because of interference and harassment of her and her hosts by the local government

Cayenne Smith spent a brief stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan, which she cut short because of interference and harassment of her and her hosts by the local government

From Sonoma to Sri Lanka: Community rallies to support volunteer Cayenne Smith

CAYENNE SMITH LEAVES tonight for six months volunteering in a Sri Lankan refugee camp. Photo by Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

01.14.05 - At midnight tonight, Cayenne Smith will begin a 44-hour trip from the San Francisco airport to a tsunami refugee camp in Kalmunai, a small township on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka.

Smith will stop at Taipei, Hong Kong and Bangkok before reaching Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. She will take with her a spare pair of jeans, three T-shirts, her own first-aid supplies, such as antibiotics, and several bags of donated medical supplies for the tsunami refugees. She has paid her own airfare and will pay for her own food and expenses while living in refugee-camp-style accommodations.

And if a group of determined Sonoma Valley residents has its way, Smith will also take with her a sort of conduit of financial aid to meet the needs of the people of Kalmunai for the next two years.

"This is just in Cayenne's nature to do this. To have an opportunity to help her out is wonderful," said Sonoma City Planner David Goodison, one of several people working to create ongoing support from Sonoma to Sri Lanka.

Smith, who grew up in the Valley, has signed on for six months as a volunteer with Service Civil International, a worldwide voluntary service organization that brings volunteers of different backgrounds and cultures together to work on pressing social needs. She will be part of an eight-member team chosen out of about 50 volunteer applicants.

"In the region I am going to, they say there are up to 88,000 refugees in a total of 75 refugee camps," Smith said.

This is far from her first major volunteer effort. The daughter of City Prosecutor Bob Smith and Vicki Smith, Cayenne Smith attended Sonoma Valley schools before earning a bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology at San Francisco State. She spent a brief stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan, which she cut short because of interference and harassment of her and her hosts by the local government.

Undeterred, she went on to volunteer in a refugee camp in Kosovo, in the former Yugoslavia.

"It's work that I love to do," she said, adding that her time in the Kosovo refugee camp "was the single greatest experience in my life as well as the most horrific."

It was the greatest experience, she said, because of the moments when she was able to help one of the refugees in some way, no matter how small. It was horrific because of the things the refugees around her were going through.

"Working in a refugee camp is overwhelming. ... (But) even though you go home at night and cry, each morning you go back."

Returning home to Sonoma from Kosovo, she spent a few months working with her father to revamp the city's Youth and Family Services program.

Then she submitted her résumé to Volunteers for Peace, which recruits people for various social projects worldwide, and landed the Sri Lanka assignment.

Asked why she is so dedicated to her volunteer work, Smith cited her parents "who have taught me everything I know about compassion," locals Diana and Roger Rhoten, "who taught me that it's all right to be afraid, but you can get through it; you can get through anything," and her fifth-grade teacher, Jim Tonery, who she said opened her eyes to the fact that this is a huge world and we are not alone in it.

"He really taught us that we're not by ourselves and that we should help everyone else," Smith said of Tonery.

Her dad, Bob Smith, said he wasn't at all surprised when she told him she would be volunteering in Sri Lanka.

"It's just in her nature," he said. "It was the teachers at Flowery school. It was being with Diana and Roger Rhoten. I think all of these things influenced the kind of person she became. I attribute it to the Sonoma environment."

Bob and Vicki Smith are working with a number of Valley residents - Al and Kathy Mazza, Larry and Rose Murphy, and others - to set up the nonprofit Sonoma Tsunami organization, with a special bank account at Sonoma Valley Bank.

The goal is make funds available to Cayenne Smith and the team she will be working with in Sri Lanka, so that the money can be used to help the refugee community. Smith will e-mail monthly reports home to Sonoma, detailing what has been accomplished.

"The money will go directly from our community to a community that needs it," said Kathy Mazza. "No overhead, no minimum. Cayenne will be there with the people who need the help and will be able to access their needs directly."

For instance, according to an e-mail from those Cayenne will be working with, they have wells and three pumps, but none of the pumps is strong enough to bring up the water. They need a 4-inch pump with a six-horsepower engine. The money to buy that pump is the sort of support that Sonoma Tsunami will provide.

"This is a chance for our community, Sonoma, to really help another small community and know where its money is going. ... I think it's just a personal way to contribute," Cayenne Smith said.

Although one-time donations will be gratefully accepted, those forming Sonoma Tsunami hope people will commit to contributing $25 a month for two years, so that the support is ongoing and doesn't stop after media attention has drifted elsewhere.

"This is a sustainable project, which is the key to rebuilding Sri Lanka and other communities," Smith said.

Donations have already been received for Smith to take with her when she departs at midnight tonight. Among her bags of first-aid supplies are two full boxes purchased by Girl Scout Troop 413. In a project spearheaded by Girl Scout Emily Milward, the troop members donated the money they raised by recycling Christmas trees - money they usually use for their own field trips.

"This isn't just me and my project," Smith said. "This is a huge effort, and I could never have done it myself. ... The heroes in Sonoma are amazing and numerous."

Those who are willing to make the commitment of $25 monthly for two years should send their contact information - name, phone number(s), mailing address and e-mail address or fax if available - to rmurphy@vom.com or Sonoma Tsunami, c/o Bob Smith, P.O. Box 1463, Sonoma, CA 95476. One-time donations can also be sent to that address.

When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion Date: January 8 2005 No: 373 Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion
Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps, says in an op-ed, A chance to show the world America at its best: "Even as that worthy agency mobilizes a "Crisis Corps" of former Peace Corps volunteers to assist with tsunami relief, I believe an opportunity exists to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Peace Corps and its expansion to touch more and more lives."
RPCVs active in new session of Congress Date: January 8 2005 No: 374 RPCVs active in new session of Congress
In the new session of Congress that begins this week, RPCV Congressman Tom Petri has a proposal to bolster Social Security, Sam Farr supported the objection to the Electoral College count, James Walsh has asked for a waiver to continue heading a powerful Appropriations subcommittee, Chris Shays will no longer be vice chairman of the Budget Committee, and Mike Honda spoke on the floor honoring late Congressman Robert Matsui.

January 8, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: January 8 2005 No: 367 January 8, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Zambia RPCV Karla Berg interviews 1,374 people on Peace 7 Jan
Breaking Taboo, Mandela Says Son Died of AIDS 6 Jan
Dreadlocked PCV raises eyebrows in Africa 6 Jan
RPCV Jose Ravano directs CARE's efforts in Sri Lanka 6 Jan
Persuading Retiring Baby Boomers to Volunteer 6 Jan
Inventor of "Drown Proofing" retires 6 Jan
NPCA Membership approves Board Changes 5 Jan
Timothy Shriver announces "Rebuild Hope Fund" 5 Jan
More Water Bottles, Fewer Bullets 4 Jan
Poland RPCV Rebecca Parker runs Solterra Books 2 Jan
Peace Corps Fund plans event for September 30 Dec
RPCV Carmen Bailey recounts bout with cerebral malaria 28 Dec
more top stories...

RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid  Date: January 4 2005 No: 366 Latest: RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid
Peace Corps made an appeal last week to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps and more than 30 RPCVs have responded so far. RPCVs: Read what an RPCV-led NGO is doing about the crisis an how one RPCV is headed for Sri Lanka to help a nation he grew to love. Question: Is Crisis Corps going to send RPCVs to India, Indonesia and nine other countries that need help?
The World's Broken Promise to our Children Date: December 24 2004 No: 345 The World's Broken Promise to our Children
Former Director Carol Bellamy, now head of Unicef, says that the appalling conditions endured today by half the world's children speak to a broken promise. Too many governments are doing worse than neglecting children -- they are making deliberate, informed choices that hurt children. Read her op-ed and Unicef's report on the State of the World's Children 2005.
Changing of the Guard Date: December 15 2004 No: 330 Changing of the Guard
With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.
Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."
RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack
RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia survived Monday's attack on the consulate without injury. Five consular employees and four others were killed. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman to hold the position, has been an outspoken advocate of rights for Arab women and has met with Saudi reformers despite efforts by Saudi leaders to block the discussions.
Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Sonoma News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Turkmenistan; Tsunami



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.