2006.09.27: September 27, 2006: Headlines: COS - Benin: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Early Termination: Lariam: The Islands' Sounder: Jean-Jacques and Katie Tetu return after two months as Peace Corps Volunteers in Benin

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Benin: Peace Corps Benin : The Peace Corps in Benin: 2006.09.27: September 27, 2006: Headlines: COS - Benin: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Early Termination: Lariam: The Islands' Sounder: Jean-Jacques and Katie Tetu return after two months as Peace Corps Volunteers in Benin

By Admin1 (admin) (ppp-70-250-74-101.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - 70.250.74.101) on Friday, November 17, 2006 - 8:19 am: Edit Post

Jean-Jacques and Katie Tetu return after two months as Peace Corps Volunteers in Benin

Jean-Jacques and Katie Tetu return after two months as Peace Corps Volunteers in Benin

Combined with an unreceptive local community and the lack of a medical facility within close proximity (the nearest one was 180 kilometers away on a dirt road with only one reliable taxi), the Tetus decided to return home. Jean-Jacques and Katie are clear that while their Peace Corps experience was disappointing, they are not angry with the service organization. "The Peace Corps in Benin was great. I encourage anyone to go into the Peace Corps just be fully aware of what you are getting into," he said.

Jean-Jacques and Katie Tetu return after two months as Peace Corps Volunteers in Benin

Lopez couple returns early from Peace Corps

Sep 27 2006

By COLLEEN SMITH

Special to the Sounder

When Jean-Jacques and Katie Tetu left for Benin, West Africa on July 18, their plan was to spend 27 months helping the impoverished. The last thing they expected was to return home after less than two months.

The couple, who graduated from Lopez High School and married in 2002, joined the Peace Corps this past spring after graduating from Willamette University in Salem, Ore. They sold all their possessions, including their car and were prepared to devote their lives to making a positive impact in the world. "We wanted to help people, learn about a part of the world that is not well known, have an adventure, and work really, really hard," said Jean-Jacques.

During their stint in West Africa, Katie had planned to teach English and Jean-Jacques was slated to teach deforestation and start environmental clubs for kids. What occurred upon their arrival was much different.

Jean-Jacques was on an anti-malarial drug called Lariam, which made him paranoid and have nightmares. "So, I started off on the wrong foot right away," he said.

The two were stationed in a small village on the Nigerian/Benin border, which had a predominately Nigerian ethnic group and used Nigerian currency and language. Jean-Jacques said that this particular town had been a problem for single people in the Peace Corps, and previous volunteers had left their posts early. According to Jean-Jacques, the Peace Corps had hoped they, as a couple, would be more successful.

He said local authorities are in charge of managing Peace Corps volunteers in the villages. According to Jean-Jacques, it was intimated to him by the police that his primary job while stationed in West Africa would be to kill people who were poaching wildlife.

Combined with an unreceptive local community and the lack of a medical facility within close proximity (the nearest one was 180 kilometers away on a dirt road with only one reliable taxi), the Tetus decided to return home.

Jean-Jacques and Katie are clear that while their Peace Corps experience was disappointing, they are not angry with the service organization. "The Peace Corps in Benin was great. I encourage anyone to go into the Peace Corps just be fully aware of what you are getting into," he said.

The Tetus are now focusing on pursuing their masters degrees in teaching at Willamette. "We are still very interested in international aid work. It will just be by a different avenue," said Jean-Jacques. The couple will be on Lopez for a few months before moving back to Oregon. "We're getting our feet back on the ground right now."


© Copyright 2006 Islands Sounder




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Headlines: September, 2006; COS - Benin; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Early Termination; Lariam; Malaria





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Story Source: The Islands' Sounder

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Benin; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Early Termination; Lariam

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