February 28, 2005: Headlines: COS - Togo: Phoenixville News: Chantal Pasquarello has a fresh perspective after completing her Peace Corps duty in Togo

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Togo: Peace Corps Togo : The Peace Corps in Togo: February 28, 2005: Headlines: COS - Togo: Phoenixville News: Chantal Pasquarello has a fresh perspective after completing her Peace Corps duty in Togo

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-123-27.balt.east.verizon.net - on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 9:47 pm: Edit Post

Chantal Pasquarello has a fresh perspective after completing her Peace Corps duty in Togo

Chantal Pasquarello has a fresh perspective after completing her Peace Corps duty in Togo

Chantal Pasquarello has a fresh perspective after completing her Peace Corps duty in Togo

Peace Corps. volunteer returns from Africa
By Jason F. Smith
Email to a friend Voice your opinion Printer-friendly

MONT CLARE - Chantal Pasquarello, 24, of Mont Clare, has a fresh perspective after completing her Peace Corps duty in Togo.

Click to learn more...
She was in the African country, which is between Ghana and Benin, from September 2002 to November 2004, then visited Tunisia, then Morocco and finally Spain, before heading home. She returned to the Phoenixville area on Dec. 23, 2004.

Although she was there to help the people of Togo, she says it was "an amazing experience" for herself as well.

"The two main principles, goals, are cultural exchange - 27 month periods per volunteer session - and aiding in technical assistance and development via capacity building... We trained for three months, during which I lived with a Togo host family," said Pasquarello. "There I was trained about cultural norms, language, bike maintenance (we used bikes to get around, not cars), health and, in particular, our program goals, and that is when I learned to work in schools there.

"I arrived in September, trained during December of 2002. After completing training and passing the exam, they swear you in as a volunteer," said Pasquarello. "If you don't pass, they send you home. A lot of people drop out, too."

Pasquarello's service agreement of two years began after being sworn in. "As long as you finish your service time, you get about $4,000 for 'resettling' costs."

While in Togo, Pasquarello lived in a village with no running water and woke up every morning on a straw mat placed on the floor.

"Since they are farmers, the people in Togo wake up between 4:45 and 5 every morning," said Pasquarello. "Then they'd go out to the field."

Pasquarello, a vegetarian, sustained herself mostly on a diet of "fufu," which is starched potatoes pounded into a big glob and made with sauces created with leaves, said Pasquarello. "I usually went to bed between 7 and 8, as soon as the sun went down, because I didn't have any electricity available.

"I was the only Peace Corps volunteer at that village, so I was the only white person for miles, but I'd have to say I was safer in that village than most places in the U.S.

"The village of about 800 people became my family and they took care of me like I was the 'village daughter.'"

"I was a girl's education and empowerment extension agent," said Pasquarello. "It's a unique program, the only one in the Peace Corps designed specifically for women and girls."

Pasquarello worked against the sexual harassment of Togo girls, wrought mostly by their teachers, but also inflicted by classmates and heads of the community.

"The overall goal is to better implicate women in the development of the country, because right now, they are not at all involved," said Pasquarello.

The women of Togo aren't treated well. Sexual harassment and improper sexual conduct by teachers and students happens often. Women aren't valued in Togo, an agarian country which still follows many old traditions.

"Most days, I would go to the school and we would teach what I call 'life skills,' which can include anything from future planning, health and sanitation, disease prevention, study skills, and anything not limited to those things," said Pasquarello.

She explained that she would often be responsible for teaching the teachers, but, "You can't just go and say 'this is right and this is wrong,' but you can demonstrate and tell about the long-term and short-term benefits and costs of things like the pros and cons of teachers harassing girls, girls getting an education, working together, etc."

Togo is actually a military dictatorship. "It's like a textbook oppressed society. Everyone is oppressed," said Pasquarello. "The key to the development of the country is education. So there is hope for Togo, as long as people can be educated."

Pasquarello said the Peace Corps is currently active in about 80 countries, and a lot of people don't understand that the U.S. government funds USAID, and USAID funds the Peace Corps.

"It's actually called the United States Peace Corps," said Pasquarello. "Each country has a director. The 'main hub' is in Washington, D.C., and the programs are different in each country."

"The Peace Corps was created in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, who established the Peace Corps to promote world peace and understanding," said Pasquarello.

The government has recently lowered the amount of funding set aside for the Peace Corps' missions.

"Bush said in his State of the Union address that he praised the Peace Corps as an important vehicle of change," said Pasquarello. "He said the organization encouraged positive change. He had said he wanted to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers and increase the number of countries that the Peace Corps reaches, but then he slashed Peace Corps' budget. It was cut 75 percent during the two years I was in Togo. A lot of that money was to fund projects to be established in other countries. It severely inhibited the ability for us to do our jobs."

"Right now there are Peace Corps volunteers in Thailand providing relief due to the tsunami," said Pasquarello. "For the most part, volunteers are involved in education, agriculture, health ... in Africa, there are a lot of doctors helping with the AIDS problem ... business and more. It's an amazing experience, but for me, it may have been a once-in-a-lifetime deal."

"After getting my Master's in International Human Rights and Development, I'm probably going to get my doctorate," said Pasquarello, who graduated from Spring-Ford High School in 1998 and Lafayette College, in Easton, with a BA in International Affairs, in 2002.

Pasquarello recently passed her written exam for entry to the Foreign Service Department, which is a branch of the state department, and represents U.S. affairs in other countries.

"If I pass the oral exam, I'll be trained in D.C. to work in embassies all around the world," said Pasquarello. "So, down the line, I'll be an ambassador or something."

©The Phoenix 2005

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

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 7 2005 No: 438 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in over 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related reference material in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can use the Main Index to find hundreds of stories about RPCVs who have your same interests, who served in your Country of Service, or who serve in your state.

Make a call for the Peace Corps Date: February 19 2005 No: 453 Make a call for the Peace Corps
PCOL is a strong supporter of the NPCA's National Day of Action and encourages every RPCV to spend ten minutes on Tuesday, March 1 making a call to your Representatives and ask them to support President Bush's budget proposal of $345 Million to expand the Peace Corps. Take our Poll: Click here to take our poll. We'll send out a reminder and have more details early next week.
Peace Corps Calendar:Tempest in a Teapot? Date: February 17 2005 No: 445 Peace Corps Calendar:Tempest in a Teapot?
Bulgarian writer Ognyan Georgiev has written a story which has made the front page of the newspaper "Telegraf" criticizing the photo selection for his country in the 2005 "Peace Corps Calendar" published by RPCVs of Madison, Wisconsin. RPCV Betsy Sergeant Snow, who submitted the photograph for the calendar, has published her reply. Read the stories and leave your comments.

February 19, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: February 19 2005 No: 449 February 19, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
NPCA Board positions are open for nomination 17 Feb
Mike Tidwell on trial for climate action protest 17 Feb
Katie Dyer is co-owner of Cadeaux du Monde 16 Feb
Cyclone misses Tonga and Samoa PCVs 16 Feb
Phil Hardberger in debate for Mayor of San Antonio 16 Feb
Edmund Hull is Princeton Diplomat-In-Residence 16 Feb
Bruce Greenlee is longtime friend of Latino community 15 Feb
Mike Honda new vice chairman at DNC 15 Feb
Jospeh Opala documents slave crossing from Sierra Leone 14 Feb
Dear Dr. Brothers: Aren't PCVs Hippies? 14 Feb
Joseph Lanning founded the World Education Fund 14 Feb
Stanley Levine draws Marine and Peace Corps similarities 14 Feb
Speaking Out: JFK envisioned millions of RPCVs 13 Feb
Chris Aquino visits mother's homeland of Vietnam 12 Feb
Is PCOL blocking users from posting messages? 12 Feb
JFK Library opens Sargent Shriver Collection 1 Feb
RPCV responds to Bulgaria Calendar concerns 28 Jan

WWII participants became RPCVs Date: February 13 2005 No: 442 WWII participants became RPCVs
Read about two RPCVs who participated in World War II in very different ways long before there was a Peace Corps. Retired Rear Adm. Francis J. Thomas (RPCV Fiji), a decorated hero of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Friday, Jan. 21, 2005 at 100. Mary Smeltzer (RPCV Botswana), 89, followed her Japanese students into WWII internment camps. We honor both RPCVs for their service.
Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps Date: February 7 2005 No: 436 Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps
The White House is proposing $345 Million for the Peace Corps for FY06 - a $27.7 Million (8.7%) increase that would allow at least two new posts and maintain the existing number of volunteers at approximately 7,700. Bush's 2002 proposal to double the Peace Corps to 14,000 volunteers appears to have been forgotten. The proposed budget still needs to be approved by Congress.
RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service Date: January 30 2005 No: 405 RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service
RPCV Groups mobilize to support their Countries of Service. Over 200 RPCVS have already applied to the Crisis Corps to provide Tsunami Recovery aid, RPCVs have written a letter urging President Bush and Congress to aid Democracy in Ukraine, and RPCVs are writing NBC about a recent episode of the "West Wing" and asking them to get their facts right about Turkey.
RPCVs contend for Academy Awards  Date: January 31 2005 No: 416 RPCVs contend for Academy Awards
Bolivia RPCV Taylor Hackford's film "Ray" is up for awards in six categories including best picture, best actor and best director. "Autism Is a World" co-produced by Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen and nominated for best Documentary Short Subject, seeks to increase awareness of developmental disabilities. Colombian film "El Rey," previously in the running for the foreign-language award, includes the urban legend that PCVs teamed up with El Rey to bring cocaine to U.S. soil.
Ask Not Date: January 18 2005 No: 388 Ask Not
As our country prepares for the inauguration of a President, we remember one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and how his words inspired us. "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

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: Phoenixville News

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



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.