|By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-9-190.balt.east.verizon.net - 126.96.36.199) on Tuesday, March 28, 2006 - 10:29 am: Edit Post|
The following is an email that we received on the Bangladesh Program suspension that we are posting with the author's permission. - Admin1
It is extremely sad that PC pulled out of Bangledesh. It is exactly in these types of situations that PC adds the most value from the "non-technical" standpoint. PCVs prove to people that we are not all warmongering capitalist-imperialists (although I am as the Chinese might say, an unreconstructed capitalist running dog). When I served in the PC, most people initially thought I was a CIA spy. My counterpart quickly dispelled that rumour. I also had lunch one day with a group of French tourists who also thought something similiar. Before I could even respond, my toursim counterpart, Nellie jumped all over the topic and completely defended me. PCVs can dispell myths perpetrated by extremists and show the true face of our values.
On the other hand, PCVs should not be exposed to extreme danger. However, while I was on my assignment (6 years or so ago) we had an attempted coup and the #2 and #3 government leaders were assassinated. But we didn't pull out; things went ok. In fact I snuck into the capital the next day (don't tell my CD) to hit the bank machine. Bangladesh is probably no more dangerous than "Hell's Kitchen". Maybe we need to do more security training for volunteers, but running away just doesn't seem to be the right answer.
You may use my e-mail. I served in the Republic of Armenia from 1998-2000 with a great group of people (I think our ET rate was 5% or lower). One of the reasons that I can talk about the impact that PC has in changing people's perceptions is that as a more mature volunteer (I was 34 when I started), PC asked me to open up a new village for PC activities. So over two years I really saw how the perceptions changed. It probably wasn't as apparent later to the PCVs that followed. I think that often this is our greatest contribution.
P.S. I had to go into the capital after the attack in Parliament because I needed rent money and had been teaching my landlady fiscal responsibility and didn't think I would be setting a good example by being late with the rent.
|By Lies about Safety (ca527-ch01-bl03.tx-dallas0.sa.earthlink.net - 188.8.131.52) on Wednesday, March 29, 2006 - 2:54 am: Edit Post|
34 Volunteers have been killed, died or are missing during service since 1996. Over 2,500 volunteers have been documented as victims of violence and this is a conservative number since 1999.
If Peace Corps had made better decisions in terms of Peace Corps policy and planning we wouldn't have such a concern about safety.
To this day, their staff routinely discriminate against volunteers who have served and been raped or a victim of violence in service. They lie about former volunteer service through bogus medical practices, making people ET through placing them in unsafe areas and not taking serious the concerns of volunteers in the field.
The Dayton Daily News has recieved awards around the country in Ethics for exposing the scoundrels who helped to perpetuate a program of negligence. They (the staff) hurt the program through not changing policy in the field and the way they handled separations related to health and safety of volunteers in the 1990's into today. They did not have the experience and dismissed some of the better volunteers who may have helped them in making better decisions relating to these safety gliches.
This progam in Bangladesh would not have to be suspended if there was better planning and coordination of Peace Corps Volunteers and the safety issues were properly handled in the past as well as today.
It is unfortunate that the most powerful country in the world can't help its poorest.
The Peace Corps should have investigated the warning signals of volunteers who fell victim in the early 1990's until today. They didn't and often sent volunteers home after experiencing a terror type of encounter whether safety or health related. They fired these volunteers through medical services or made them ET by blaming the victim. The Victim was the program as we see here. We are unable serve here in one of the poorest countries on earth.
By the way, many of those voluteers didn't get proper medical care for service related injuries and have never been able to argue their cases before Peace Corps or the courts because uses their attorney's against volunteers who served.
The Peace Corps staffers during these periods were wrong. They are wrong today in the way they handle safety and health issues. They continue to blame former volunteers for serving their country in very difficult areas and having these type of encounters. What is really funny is these staffers are still running the program, they put Peace Corps on the map as a safety hazard in the public.