2006.02.20: February 20, 2006: Headlines: COS - Bangladesh: Soft Power: Personal Web Site: Travis Schultz says: Being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangladesh has made me realize that I have a very privileged status

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bangladesh: Peace Corps Bangladesh : The Peace Corps in Bangladesh: 2006.02.20: February 20, 2006: Headlines: COS - Bangladesh: Soft Power: Personal Web Site: Travis Schultz says: Being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangladesh has made me realize that I have a very privileged status

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-186-164.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.186.164) on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 1:40 pm: Edit Post

Travis Schultz says: Being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangladesh has made me realize that I have a very privileged status

Travis Schultz says: Being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangladesh has made me realize  that I have a very privileged status

"America really is the best and worst of all worlds. Everyone wants to live there and be an American. We are the trendsetters, the kids that sit at the cool lunch table. Our soft power extends into the deepest part of all cultures. Please note that there is hard power, I.E. guns and bombs. Then soft power is the media, newspapers and things of that nature, basically our way of thinking. Itís how the cold war was won without a single shot being fired. Soft power lets people decide for themselves if they want to follow or buy into your ideas. Itís the idea of what America is and what it represents that makes us so powerful. Sadly our current leaders have done little to embrace this. In fact they have done more harm then good in my opinion."

Travis Schultz says: Being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangladesh has made me realize that I have a very privileged status

Monday, February 20, 2006

Being sick and other comments worth sharing

One-Worlders,

Nothing has happened yet everything is different.I got sick for the first time in the desh. It was not to fun at all I must admit. I threw up and pooped a lot. Did you know it's possible to poo and throw up at the same time? Nor did I. At one point I was so dehydraded that I fainted which was pretty scary. Right now I'm taking Syprio and that seems to be doing the trick. I'm trying to push the fluids.Both the medical office and I think I just had a bad case of the flew... But, if I get sick again in a few weeks I will have to do a MEF kit. Which means I get to poop in a can and a lab get to check it out... Pretty exciting... In other news Bird flu found it's way into India. Which means that it is ever closer to the desh. If Bird flu come to Bangladesh, Travis will be on his way home. The desh has no way to stop on outbreak and with so many people the death toll will be worse then when the black plague hit Europe so long ago. Bangladesh does have one thing going for it though. No birds that migrate fly through the desh, so even the birds know not to come here...

In truth what do I see? At least I am not nourished in the same way as the tourists (not that Bangladesh gets that many anyways) and I find it strange, on the few brochures that I do find or any travel brochure for that matter what they show. They only seem to highlight the high points, they show only the best, pay no attention to anything else...No, one doesnít come to know a country or find an interpretation of life in this way. That is a luxurious facade, while its true soul is reflected in the everyday citizen, the farmer, and the anxious passer buy one gets to know.

Being from America means that I have a very privileged status. Add the fact that I am a white boy and my status only grows. America really is the best and worst of all worlds. Everyone wants to live there and be an American. We are the trendsetters, the kids that sit at the cool lunch table. Our soft power extends into the deepest part of all cultures. Please note that there is hard power, I.E. guns and bombs. Then soft power is the media, newspapers and things of that nature, basically our way of thinking. Itís how the cold war was won without a single shot being fired. Soft power lets people decide for themselves if they want to follow or buy into your ideas. Itís the idea of what America is and what it represents that makes us so powerful. Sadly our current leaders have done little to embrace this. In fact they have done more harm then good in my opinion.

America is unlike any other place in the world. We really donít have a class structure. In the Desh I often here people talking about their dream of going to America and the American dream. Rags to riches. I have yet to hear a Bangladesh dream or an English dream. (In fact they donít even have the same ring to them) Europe and people in general love to make fun of our optimism, or krazy notion that every problem has a solution, that tomorrow can be better then yesterday, the future is bright and is something that should be welcomed, not feared. I think thatís a big reason why some people/counties hate the USA. They envy us and want what we have. (America has done a good job of beating down everyone in everything for the last 50 years or so) Whatís more is, the world needs Americas optimism. If America goes dark as a society, the world will not only become a darker place, it will also become much poorer. Our current leader has taken something away that is very dear to the citizens of the US and the world for that matter. America has gone from Exporting Hope to exporting Fear. Thatís the reason why the rest of the world hates Bush so much and cannot understand how we ever elected him.

For the first time in my life I am witnessing the harsh reality of the have and have nots. I have crossed the divide from Western Culture and have been thrown into this ignored, backwards, indigenous culture. In the crowded busses I travel, carrying produce and humans the same as cargo I always get the best seat, wait in no line and it is the locals that ride on top or are forced to stand wherever open space is at. For all the lack of money I have, Mine is still a privileged journey, and I know it. As a white American, I am a ďsocial superiorĒ of all these around me, and this mean I am able to obtain favors and concessions beyond the imagining of a local Bangladeshi.

Speaking of how life here compares to life in America. Comparisons are odious. It doesnít make a difference whether you are in Bangladesh sitting under a fan trying to sleep inside your misquote net or your are laying on your super posh couch back home in the states. Nothing is ever complete. Anyone can live anywhere. Iíve realized this (Peace Corps) would do me a lot of good and get me away from drinking and maybe make me appreciate perhaps a whole new way of living.





When this story was posted in March 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:


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Re-envision Peace Corps Date: March 12 2006 No: 814 Re-envision Peace Corps
Slavery was once called "the peculiar institution," but a better candidate for this title may be the Peace Corps. Current geopolitics make this a good time to probe Peace Corps' peculiarity, as prelude to a long overdue reconceptualization of what is arguably the most underused federal entity. An imaginatively reinvented Peace Corps could powerfully promote US interests in a period when perceptions of American motives are increasingly relevant to global realignment.

Read a call to "Re-envision Peace Corps" by Nicholas J. Slabbert and PC Country Director J.R. Bullington. Their study envisions a new role for the Peace Corps in five linked areas: (1) reinventing America's international profile via a new use of soft power; (2) moving from a war-defined, non-technological, reactive theory of peace to a theory of peace as a normal, proactive component of technologically advanced democracy; (3) reappraising Peace Corps as a national strategic asset whose value remains largely untapped; (4) Peace Corps as a model for the technological reinvention of government agencies for the 21st century; (5) redefining civil society as information technology society.

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The Peace Corps Library Date: February 24 2006 No: 798 The Peace Corps Library
The Peace Corps Library is now available online with over 40,000 index entries in 500 categories. Looking for a Returned Volunteer? Check our RPCV Directory. New: Sign up to receive PCOL Magazine, our free Monthly Magazine by email. Like to keep up with Peace Corps news as it happens? Sign up to recieve a daily summary of Peace Corps stories from around the world.

Invitee re-assigned after inflammatory remarks Date: March 12 2006 No: 813 Invitee re-assigned after inflammatory remarks
The Peace Corps has pulled the invitation to Derek Volkart to join the Morocco Training Program and offered him a position in the Pacific instead after officials read an article in which he stated that his decision to join the Peace Corps was in "response to our current fascist government." RPCV Lew Nash says that "If Derek Volkart spoke his mind as freely in Morocco about the Moroccan monarchy it could cause major problems for himself and other Peace Corps volunteers." What do other RPCVs think?

March 1, 1961: Keeping Kennedy's Promise Date: February 27 2006 No: 800 March 1, 1961: Keeping Kennedy's Promise
On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency: "Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed--doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language. But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps--who works in a foreign land--will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace. "

Top Stories: February 2, 2006 Date: February 4 2006 No: 783 Top Stories: February 2, 2006
Al Kamen writes: Rice to redeploy diplomats 20 Jan
Peace Corps mourns the Loss of Volunteer Tessa Horan 1 Feb
RPCV pursues dreams in America's Heartland 1 Feb
Sargent Shriver documentary to be shown in LA 30 Jan
W. Frank Fountain is new board chairman of Africare 27 Jan
Abbey Brown writes about acid attacks in Bangladesh 26 Jan
Christopher Hill Sees Ray of Hope in N.Korea Standoff 26 Jan
Jeffrey Smit writes on one man diplomatic outposts 25 Jan
Joe Blatchford's ACCION and microfinance 24 Jan
James Rupert writes: A calculated risk in Pakistan 23 Jan
Sam Farr rips conservative immigration bill 21 Jan
Americans campaign for PC to return to Sierra Leone 20 Jan
Kinky Friedman supports Gay Marriage 20 Jan
Margaret Krome writes on Women leaders 18 Jan
James Walsh leads bipartisan US delegation to Ireland 17 Jan
Mark Schneider writes on Elections and Beyond in Haiti 16 Jan
Robert Blackwill on a "serious setback" in US-India relations 13 Jan
Kevin Quigley writes on PC and U.S. Image Abroad 13 Jan
Emily Metzloff rides bicycle 3,100 miles from Honduras 9 Jan
Charles Brennick starts operation InterConnection 9 Jan
Lee Fisher tells story of Pablo Morillo 7 Jan
Nancy Wallace writes: Was PC a CIA front after all? 4 Jan

Paid Vacations in the Third World? Date: February 20 2006 No: 787 Paid Vacations in the Third World?
Retired diplomat Peter Rice has written a letter to the Wall Street Journal stating that Peace Corps "is really just a U.S. government program for paid vacations in the Third World." Director Vasquez has responded that "the small stipend volunteers receive during their two years of service is more than returned in the understanding fostered in communities throughout the world and here at home." What do RPCVs think?

RPCV admits to abuse while in Peace Corps Date: February 3 2006 No: 780 RPCV admits to abuse while in Peace Corps
Timothy Ronald Obert has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a minor in Costa Rica while serving there as a Peace Corps volunteer. "The Peace Corps has a zero tolerance policy for misconduct that violates the law or standards of conduct established by the Peace Corps," said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez. Could inadequate screening have been partly to blame? Mr. Obert's resume, which he had submitted to the Peace Corps in support of his application to become a Peace Corps Volunteer, showed that he had repeatedly sought and obtained positions working with underprivileged children. Read what RPCVs have to say about this case.

Military Option sparks concerns Date: January 3 2006 No: 773 Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military, struggling to fill its voluntary ranks, 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 our poll results. Latest: Congress passed a bill on December 22 including language to remove Peace Corps from the National Call to Service (NCS) military recruitment program

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.

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.


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