November 1, 2005: Headlines: COS - Indonesia: COS - Paraguay: Tsunami: The State News: Paraguay RPCV Tierney Davis finds renewal in Tsunami Relief Work in Indonesia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Indonesia: Peace Corps Indonesia: The Peace Corps in Indonesia: November 1, 2005: Headlines: COS - Indonesia: COS - Paraguay: Tsunami: The State News: Paraguay RPCV Tierney Davis finds renewal in Tsunami Relief Work in Indonesia

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Wednesday, November 09, 2005 - 9:13 pm: Edit Post

Paraguay RPCV Tierney Davis finds renewal in Tsunami Relief Work in Indonesia

Paraguay RPCV Tierney Davis finds renewal in Tsunami Relief Work in Indonesia

"I was probably like every other American," said Davis, a health communication graduate student. "I was on my couch, I was far away. I thought, 'That is so terrible.' Then the possibility to work with it came up and it really caught my attention."

Paraguay RPCV Tierney Davis finds renewal in Tsunami Relief Work in Indonesia

In Indonesia, relief worker finds renewal
MSU graduate student describes experience in tsunami-ravaged country


The State News

Next Photo ->


A Sri Lankan child drew this picture to express emotions after experiencing the Dec. 26 tsunami in Southeast Asia. The child made this piece of art in a child-centered space created by the Christian Children's Fund. This space is part of child development programs the fund has created across the globe.
Tierney Davis said she felt an urge to help victims of disaster after she watched waves crash on the shores of Southeast Asian countries on television following December's tsunami.

"I was probably like every other American," said Davis, a health communication graduate student. "I was on my couch, I was far away. I thought, 'That is so terrible.' Then the possibility to work with it came up and it really caught my attention."

Davis had participated in the Peace Corps in Paraguay after completing her English undergraduate degree at MSU and was working on her master's degree when the tsunami hit.

She said she heard about a position last April in Indonesia with Christian Children's Fund, a non-governmental organization, from a Peace Corps friend and right away, she was packing her bags and heading overseas.

"I feel very comfortable traveling from country to country," Davis said. "When I was given the opportunity to go, I went in two weeks."

Christian Children's Fund, an organization based out of Richmond, Va., works with more than 34 countries, assisting more than 10 million families and children regardless of religion, race or creed, Communications Director Toni Radler said.

"When we start an emergency program, we start out with medical supplies, food, the basic necessities," Radler said. "Then we open up child-center spaces, where they can talk about what happened to them if they want to. It's a place where children can resume normal life, while at the same time, parents are scrambling around trying to figure out where they are going to sleep that night."

Caring for children

Davis helped in the organization's child development efforts in disaster-ridden Indonesia for about four months, arriving back in the United States in early September. When she arrived in Indonesia in April, she said she was surprised to see — even months after the tsunami — that signs of the disaster were everywhere.

"It was horrendous," she said. "You would see a tree was down, and all tangled in it was clothes, wire, clothes line, children's toys. It was like a house that was torn apart, turned inside out and exposed."

Although Davis traveled around different parts of the country, she was first stationed in Banda Aceh, a location she said was hit hard.

"It was so striking to be on ground zero of the tsunami — it was like a bomb went off," Davis said. "Nothing was left standing. There were no people around. It was a little bit overwhelming, and I didn't get there until April."

Davis said she remembers seeing a line of about 20 crushed cars on a country road that had been towed there by police, adding that she couldn't believe a wave had crushed the vehicles.

Davis said many people's lives were destroyed by the tsunami. Everyone she encountered had experienced loss in some way and as local people began to rebuild their homes, she said, they were dealing with the trauma.

Davis' job with the Christian Children's Fund was working to deal with the children's healing process and getting them back to their normal lives.

She said volunteers gave the children creative outlets, such as performing or making art projects, to express emotions they could not put into words.

"We had poem readings about the tsunami," she said. "They would scream during the middle of it. They were very able to deal with their grief."

Davis also started a snack program that provided nutritional content to children, when potable water and essential nutrients for a young diet were hard to find.

"I found that dealing with children, they are really resilient, they bounce back," she said. "It showed up with their art. They are still dealing with these grieving processes."

Discovering a country

Outside of work, there were a lot of issues Davis said made her experience abroad more difficult. Indonesia is in conflict with a rebel group called the Free Aceh Movement, or GAM.

"Something that we were always trying to look for was child soldiering," Davis said. "If a 14-year-old's parents were gone, he didn't have any family — it was like a gang mentality."

Across the country and cities, there were military checkpoints everywhere that Davis said would sometimes take advantage of the relief organizations. She said she remembers some people trying to steal the food the Christian Children's Fund was giving to people in need.

Despite the harsh conditions in Indonesia, Davis said she learned a lot about respecting other people's values during her time in a Muslim society.

"Men don't have to shake women's hands," she said. "If we were going to a meeting or if we went out to a community to talk with people about projects, (the men) wouldn't even shake my hand. That was a huge challenge."

She said she really enjoyed opportunities she had to experience the Indonesian culture. One of her favorite experiences was watching a traditional dance.

"They beat on these drums and it started out real slow," she said. "They leaned forward and leaned back. Then it gets loud and rowdy and really fun at the end."

Living and learning

Kari Marciniak met Davis as an undergraduate at MSU and has remained close friends with her throughout the years. They were able to stay in touch throughout the time Davis was in Indonesia via instant messaging, which Marciniak said made her feel a lot closer to her friend's experience.

"She was really excited about the work when you could tell that things were progressing," said Marciniak, who earned her bachelor's degree in 1998 and her master's in 2002. "She learned a lot about non-governmental organizations and international work while she was over there. She learned a lot that she didn't expect to learn."

When Davis came back to the United States in September, Marciniak noticed the difference between when she came home from Indonesia this fall and when she returned from the Peace Corps a couple years ago. Marciniak said she has noticed Davis' relief to be home from Indonesia, which she didn't see when she came home from the Peace Corps.

"At least from my perspective, it seems like her idealism has turned more towards realism," Marciniak said. "She realized what she can actually change and that you can make a difference, but not in the way you may have thought before."

Now, Davis is starting a new adventure by moving to Seattle, where she can pursue work with more international development programs that are domestically based. She is considering returning to MSU to finish her master's degree at some point in the future, but for now she said she wants to continue to help people in need.

"People are people all over the world and they live differently," Davis said. "It is fascinating. It is so rewarding to be in a service-related career, because you know you are making a difference. You are able to help people hands on. You can see the difference."

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

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Peace Corps at highest Census in 30 years Date: October 22 2005 No: 745 Peace Corps at highest Census in 30 years
Congratulations to the Peace Corps for the highest number of volunteers in 30 years with 7,810 volunteers serving in 71 posts across the globe. Of course, the President's proposal to double the Peace Corps to 15,000 volunteers made in his State of the Union Address in 2002 is now a long forgotten dream. With deficits in federal spending stretching far off into the future, any substantive increase in the number of volunteers will have to wait for new approaches to funding and for a new administration. Choose your candidate and start working for him or her now.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

Military Option sparks concerns Date: September 13 2005 No: 731 Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military is allowing recruits to meet part of their reserve military obligations after active duty by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" and RPCV Chris Matthews leads the debate on "Hardball." Avi Spiegel says Peace Corps is not the place for soldiers while Coleman McCarthy says to Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps. Read the results of our poll among RPCVs. Latest: Congressman John Kline introduces legislation to alter the program to remove the Peace Corps as an option for completing an individual’s military enlistment requirement.

Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger Date: October 22 2005 No: 738 Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger
When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger. Latest: Read the ongoing dialog on the subject.

'Celebration of Service' a major success Date: October 10 2005 No: 730 'Celebration of Service' a major success
The Peace Corps Fund's 'Celebration of Service' on September 29 in New York City was a major success raising approximately $100,000 for third goal activities. In the photo are Maureen Orth (Colombia); John Coyne (Ethiopia) Co-founder of the Peace Corps Fund; Caroline Kennedy; Barbara Anne Ferris (Morocco) Co-founder; Former Senator Harris Wofford, member of the Advisory Board. Read the story here.

PC apologizes for the "Kasama incident" Date: October 13 2005 No: 737 PC apologizes for the "Kasama incident"
The District Commissioner for the Kasama District in Zambia issued a statement banning Peace Corps activities for ‘grave’ social misconduct and unruly behavior for an incident that occurred on September 24 involving 13 PCVs. Peace Corps said that some of the information put out about the incident was "inflammatory and false." On October 12, Country Director Davy Morris met with community leaders and apologized for the incident. All PCVs involved have been reprimanded, three are returning home, and a ban in the district has since been lifted.

Top Stories: October 10, 2005 Date: October 9 2005 No: 727 Top Stories: October 10, 2005
Carl Pope says the looting of America has only begun 2 Oct
Report of PCV Misconduct in Zambia 7 Oct
Chic Dambach speaks in Oklahoma 6 Oct
Murphy to give papers to Heinz museum 6 Oct
Mike Honda speaks out on Katrina 5 Oct
Kinky Friedman could be the next governor of Texas 5 Oct
Peter McPherson urges new nuclear weapon designs 5 Oct
Doyle and Green in dead heat for Wisconsin Governor 5 Oct
NPCA Membership Directory ready in late November 5 Oct
GOP hopefuls avoiding Taft 4 Oct
Ask not 4 Oct
Russell Carollo wins journalism prize for "The Toll of War" 4 Oct
Mark Gearan says provision was a mistake 4 Oct
Mike Tidwell says Bayou has been sinking for years 3 Oct
Carl Pope writes: Preparing for Global Warming 3 Oct
Director Vasquez Meets with Volunteers in Gulf Coast 3 Oct
John McCain's call to service 3 Oct
Joshua Berman wins Lowell Thomas Travel Writing Award 2 Oct
Operation Offset proposes freeze in Peace Corps Funding 1 Oct

Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina Date: September 12 2005 No: 729 Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina
First and foremost, Give. Then volunteer with the Crisis Corps. Carol Bellamy says "In situations such as this one, money is needed the most" and added that Hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orleans is comparable to last year's tsunami. Thailand RPCV Thomas Tighe's Direct Relief International has committed an initial $250,000 in cash to assist hurricane victims. Mayor Tom Murphy (RPCV Paraguay) says Pittsburgh is ready to embrace refugees from devastated areas. Brazil RPCV Robert Backus is among the first Vermont doctors to volunteer to travel to Louisiana to treat victims. Latest: FEMA requests RPCVs to assist in recovery efforts through the Crisis Corps and the Peace Corps hopes to send 400 RPCVs to the Gulf Coast for short term assignments to assist victims with their applications for federal aid.

The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 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 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

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: The State News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Indonesia; COS - Paraguay; 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.