January 12, 2005: Headlines: COS - Togo: Red Cross: Chris Hamon is three months into a two year assignment in Togo with the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Togo: Peace Corps Togo : The Peace Corps in Togo: January 12, 2005: Headlines: COS - Togo: Red Cross: Chris Hamon is three months into a two year assignment in Togo with the Peace Corps

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Chris Hamon is three months into a two year assignment in Togo with the Peace Corps

Chris Hamon is three months into a two year assignment in Togo with the Peace Corps

Chris Hamon is three months into a two year assignment in Togo with the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Volunteer Supports Togo's Red Cross

Written by Lesly C. Hallman , Staff Writer and Photographer, RedCross.org

Wednesday, January 12, 2005 ó

Q&A with Christopher Hamon, Peace Corps volunteer

27-year-old Chris Hamon is three months into a two year assignment in Togo with the Peace Corps. Chris was born in Paris, where he lived until age 5 when his family relocated to New York City. After graduating from SUNY Albany with a bachelorís degree in urban planning (including a semester studying at the Sorbonne in Paris) Chris worked a 9 to 5, but always felt the call to join the Peace Corps. He now lives about five minutes from Togoís border with Ghana and is the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Adviser to the Togolese Red Cross, supporting the Measles Initiative and other Red Cross campaigns.

Q. What led you to join the Peace Corps?

A. It was always in the back of my mind. I had two French cousins who did their countryís equivalent in Burkina Faso and in Haiti. On their way home from Haiti they stopped to visit me in New York, and I could tell it was a life changing experience just from the look on their faces.

Q. What kind of work have you had before this assignment?

A. I worked for eight months after graduation as a bartender in Paris, and then with a Swiss watch company in New York in was a customer service position. It was a good job, a good experience for me. Basically it was me and two roommates living in the Bronx, commuting to work everyday for two and a half years.

Peace Corps volunteer Chris Hamon assists with bednet distribution at a vaccination center in Kpalime, Togo, about an hour north of Lomé.

Q. What is the process to join the Peace Corps?

A. The Peace Corps has an intense application process. They review your medical history, letters of recommendation, perform a background check, and it all takes about a year from when you apply to when you begin your training. You get to pick a region you prefer, and I was originally scheduled to go to East Timor for an urban planning program, but that was cancelled, so they decided to send me to West Africa because of my French.

Q. What have you been doing since you arrived in Togo?

A. Iíve been thinking about this campaign! Itís hard to even think about what we will do when this is all done. For most of this week I will be in the Maritime and Plateau regions of Togo, helping however I can. My role is also assistant to the TRC director for HIV/AIDS education, so I expect to be doing a lot of field education on prevention, working with HIV/AIDS patients, and perhaps teaching kids about the dangers of HIV/AIDS. I will probably also be helping with the kindergarten at the TRC office, which is great because I love kids, and I may do some organizational work for the office itself, so I think my time working with a U.S. company will come in handy there.

Q. What has your experience been like so far?

A. Iím not a tourist. I live with the people, eat the food, speak the language. I know being here wonít mean I am Togolese, but I already have such a greater understanding of Togo, more than just visiting could bring.

Q. What are your plans once this assignment ends?

A. I want to travel as much as I can when Iím done. I plan to maybe work my way across Africa and get to Madagascar.

Q. What do you think youíll get most from this experience?

A. I am just really happy to be here. I recommend the Peace Corps to everyone because you get an education you canít get anywhere else. Everyone Iíve talked to who has done it before said the same thing. It changes your lifeóI have already seen it happen.

Chris will be documenting his experience with the Peace Corps and the Togolese Red Cross on his website, www.xanga.com/chamon77.

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
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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.

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Story Source: Red Cross

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