2006.06.11: June 11, 2006: Headlines: COS - Swaziland: http://www.sj-r.com/: Adam Kohlrus insists he's going into his Peace Corps assignment in Swaziland with eyes wide open

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Swaziland: Peace Corps Swaziland: The Peace Corps in Swaziland: 2006.06.11: June 11, 2006: Headlines: COS - Swaziland: http://www.sj-r.com/: Adam Kohlrus insists he's going into his Peace Corps assignment in Swaziland with eyes wide open

By Admin1 (admin) (adsl-69-150-133-223.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 8:52 am: Edit Post

Adam Kohlrus insists he's going into his Peace Corps assignment in Swaziland with eyes wide open

Adam Kohlrus insists he's going into his Peace Corps assignment in Swaziland with eyes wide open

"It's going to be a sobering and intense experience," he said, "but it's something I'm only going to grow from.

Adam Kohlrus insists he's going into his Peace Corps assignment in Swaziland with eyes wide open

Into Africa ; Loyola-Chicago graduate will teach AIDS awareness as Peace Corps volunteer

Jun 11, 2006

State Journal-Register Springfield, IL

Adam Kohlrus insists he's going into his Peace Corps assignment in Swaziland with eyes wide open.

But the 22-year-old Springfield man admits that the statistical reality the tiny, landlocked South African monarchy is facing is eye- popping.

More than 38 percent of Swaziland's adults - some 220,000 men and women - are living with the HIV/AIDS virus, making it the highest infection rate in the world.

The life expectancy rate is 32.6 years, and it could decrease to 30 by the end of the decade.

Two-thirds of its 1.1 million countrymen live on less than $1 a day. A third are dependent on international food aid.

Kohlrus, a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago, is expected to arrive in Swaziland this weekend to begin his 21/2-year commitment as an HIV/AIDS prevention instructor.

In an interview before leaving Springfield last week, Kohlrus said he remained upbeat but cautious about the situation he faces.

"It's going to be a sobering and intense experience," he said, "but it's something I'm only going to grow from.

"What I've learned through my education and family is that I have some sort of responsibility (to do this). They don't have the resources or knowledge we have, but when they do, (the HIV/AIDS virus) is not going to be the problem it is today."

The Sacred Heart-Griffin High School product said he went through a long discernment process about joining the Peace Corps. Kohlrus, the son of Chris and Betsy Kohlrus of Springfield, majored in psychology at Loyola, but added a peace studies minor, taking courses such as international politics and social injustice, and race and inequality.

After an extensive application process and a battery of interviews, Kohlrus was accepted into the Peace Corps. When he found out in March he was going to Swaziland, Kohlrus scrambled for an atlas to find out where it was and then searched the Internet for more about the situation.

"When you apply with the Peace Corps, you can't pick where you want to go," he said. "You can give a preference, but I said I'd go wherever I could best help."

He said he'll probably work with grade school- or high school youth, putting together HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

Kohlrus will go through a three-month intensive language and culture indoctrination, after which he'll learn precisely where his assignment will be.

What he will find is one of the world's last absolute monarchs, a country steeped in tradition but possibly on the precipice of disaster.

The beloved King Mswati III, who flaunts an opulent lifestyle and has 13 wives, has faced resistance from trade unions and student groups, and homes of government officials recently were firebombed, according to press reports.

Organizations such as Amnesty International have criticized Swaziland's human rights record, singling out the violation of women's rights and the lack of rights to peacefully assemble.

On the HIV/AIDS front, critics point to rape, sexual exploitation and a lack of preventative measures. The disease still carries a heavy stigma; few come out publicly about it in a highly patriarchal society. And King Mswati hasn't been a model of discretion. Last summer, he declared the end of "umchwasho," the ban on sex with teenage girls that he issued in 2001, himself taking a 17-year-old bride.

Government ministers also have been widely accused of pocketing international aid earmarked for prevention.

Kohlrus said he realizes the problems are magnanimous in Swaziland, but his not going wouldn't have served a purpose, either.

"Maybe it's overly ambitious, but hopefully my presence will help people there," he said. "If we can educate a few kids, maybe they can pass this knowledge on."

Kohlrus said his experience has been limited to working with kids as a camp counselor and coach. His drive has come from his education and the support of his family and friends.

"Through my education, I've learned so much about inequality in the world," he said. "This is a great opportunity to confront these inequalities and combat them."

Kohlrus said this could be a step toward a life's work.

"The Peace Corps has given me a good grounding as to what I'm going to see," he said. "I really want to do something in public policy to address some of these inequalities.

"This is probably going to open my eyes and hopefully motivate me do something more."

When this story was posted in July 2006, 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
Jody Olsen is acting Peace Corps Director Date: June 30 2006 No: 920 Jody Olsen is acting Peace Corps Director
The Senate confirmed Gaddi Vasquez to head the FAO on June 30. Jody Olsen will be acting Director until the President makes a permanent appointment. Olsen has been Deputy Director of the Peace Corps since 2002. She has previously served as Chief of Staff for two directors, as regional director for North Africa, Near East, and Asia and the Pacific, and as country director in Togo. She served in Tunisia as a PCV.

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

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.

Changing the Face of Hunger Date: June 28 2006 No: 915 Changing the Face of Hunger
In his new book, Former Congressman Tony Hall (RPCV Thailand) says humanitarian aid is the most potent weapon the United States can deploy against terrorism. An evangelical Christian, he is a big believer in faith-based organizations in the fight against hunger. Members of Congress have recently recommended that Hall be appointed special envoy to Sudan to focus on ending the genocide in Darfur.

PC will not return to East Timor in 2006 Date: June 8 2006 No: 913 PC will not return to East Timor in 2006
Volunteers serving in East Timor have safely left the country as a result of the recent civil unrest and government instability. Latest: The Peace Corps has informed us that at this time, the Peace Corps has no plans to re-enter the country in 2006. The Peace Corps recently sent a letter offering eligible volunteers the opportunity to reinstate their service in another country.

Chris Dodd considers run for the White House Date: June 3 2006 No: 903 Chris Dodd considers run for the White House
Senator Chris Dodd plans to spend the next six to eight months raising money and reaching out to Democrats around the country to gauge his viability as a candidate. Just how far Dodd can go depends largely on his ability to reach Democrats looking for an alternative to Hillary Clinton. PCOL Comment: Dodd served as a Volunteer in the Dominican Republic and has been one of the strongest supporters of the Peace Corps in Congress.

The RPCV who wrote about Ben Hogan Date: June 6 2006 No: 912 The RPCV who wrote about Ben Hogan
Probably no RPCV has done more to further the Third Goal of the Peace Corps than John Coyne with the Peace Corps Writers web site and newsletter that he and Marian Haley Beil have produced since 1989. Now John returns to writing about his first love - golf in "The Caddie who knew Ben Hogan." Read an excerpt from his novel, an interview with the author and a schedule of his book readings in Maryland and DC this week.

Vasquez testifies before Senate Committee Date: June 3 2006 No: 905 Vasquez testifies before Senate Committee
Director Vasquez testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination as the new Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture replacing Tony Hall. He has been the third longest serving Peace Corps Director after Loret Ruppe Miller and Sargent Shriver. PCOL Comment: Read our thanks to Director Vasquez for his service to the Peace Corps.

First Amendment Watch Date: May 4 2006 No: 883 First Amendment Watch
Maine Web Report hit with Federal Lawsuit
Website wins trademark suit against Jerry Falwell

Interview with a Hit Man Date: April 25 2006 No: 880 Interview with a Hit Man
RPCV John Perkins says that for many years he was an "economic hit man" in the world of international finance whose primary job was to convince less developed countries to accept multibillion dollar loans for infrastructure projects that left the recipient countries wallowing in debt and highly vulnerable to outside political and commercial interests. In this exclusive interview for "Peace Corps Online," Colombia RPCV Joanne Roll, author of Remember with Honor, talks to Perkins about his Peace Corps service, his relation with the NSA, "colonization" in Ecuador, the consequences of his work, why he decided to speak out, and what his hopes are for change.

PC Program in Chad temporarily suspended Date: April 14 2006 No: 872 PC Program in Chad temporarily suspended
Director Vasquez announced the temporary suspension of the Peace Corps program in Chad on April 14 and that all 29 Peace Corps volunteers have left the country. With a program dating back forty years (See Page 4 of the April 1966 "Peace Corps Volunteer"), RPCVs hope that volunteers can return to Chad as soon as the situation has stabilized. Congratulations to the Peace Corps for handling the suspension quickly and professionally.

Peace Corps stonewalls on FOIA request Date: April 12 2006 No: 869 Peace Corps stonewalls on FOIA request
The Ashland Daily Tidings reports that Peace Corps has blocked their request for information on the Volkart case. "After the Tidings requested information pertaining to why Volkart was denied the position on March 2 the newspaper received a letter from the Peace Corps FOIA officer stating the requested information was protected under an exemption of the act." The Dayton Daily News had similar problems with FOIA requests for their award winning series on Volunteer Safety and Security.

PCOL readership increases 100% Date: April 3 2006 No: 853 PCOL readership increases 100%
Monthly readership on "Peace Corps Online" has increased in the past twelve months to 350,000 visitors - over eleven thousand every day - a 100% increase since this time last year. Thanks again, RPCVs and Friends of the Peace Corps, for making PCOL your source of information for the Peace Corps community. And thanks for supporting the Peace Corps Library and History of the Peace Corps. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come.

History of the Peace Corps Date: March 18 2006 No: 834 History of the Peace Corps
PCOL is proud to announce that Phase One of the "History of the Peace Corps" is now available online. This installment includes over 5,000 pages of primary source documents from the archives of the Peace Corps including every issue of "Peace Corps News," "Peace Corps Times," "Peace Corps Volunteer," "Action Update," and every annual report of the Peace Corps to Congress since 1961. "Ask Not" is an ongoing project. Read how you can help.

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.

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: http://www.sj-r.com/

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


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.