|By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, July 05, 2001 - 5:38 pm: Edit Post|
Brian DeBauche's diatribe against the Peace Corps/Ukraine in his Worldviews opinion piece disturbed a number of former Peace Corps volunteers
Brian DeBauche's diatribe against the Peace Corps/Ukraine in his Worldviews opinion piece (``Volunteers find Peace Corps harsh,'' Daily, Jan. 19) disturbed a number of former Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs).
Headline: PEACE.STO Publish Date: 02/18/1994
Brian DeBauche's diatribe against the Peace Corps in his Worldviews opinion piece (``Volunteers find Peace Corps harsh,'' Daily, Jan. 19) disturbed a number of former Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs).
Obviously, volunteers who did not serve in Ukraine cannot speak to the specific experiences of other PCVs who worked there. The health risks he describes are frightening, and the Peace Corps/Ukraine organization and infrastructure, from his account, certainly sound inadequate. However, what perturbed other returned PCVs were DeBauche's generalizations about the Peace Corps as a whole based on the situation in only one of the 138 countries in which the Peace Corps has served.
We believe generalizations such as DeBauche makes in his piece are not only misleading, but unfair.
``Few of us (college students) know what service under the Peace Corps is really like,'' DeBauche writes. We share a collective total of 21 years as PCVs and were fortunate to have positive, even life-changing experiences. We wish to contribute our perspective for readers to consider.
DeBauche sets forth the following concerns about Peace Corps/Ukraine. First he asserts that the health and crime threats to volunteers are ignored and belittled by PCV organizers. He also states discomfort by being placed in remote areas with few phones, few books, etc. DeBauche also said he was dissatisfied with Peace Corps staff support and inadequate remuneration.
Health conditions are precarious in many of the nations in which the Peace Corps serves, but DeBauche seems justifiably concerned with the gravity of health risks in Ukraine. We hope Peace Corps/Ukraine volunteers took up the issue with not only their country director but with the country desk officer and other officials in Washington, D.C.
We feel better qualified to address the other issues DeBauche raises in his piece, for they are conditions we have all experienced. We ask DeBauche to recognize that all Peace Corps volunteers encounter tough times; this is especially true in new Peace Corps countries like Ukraine, but may apply to any country which does not have a highly-developed infrastructure.
Many of us were fortunate to serve in countries with a long history of Peace Corps service. Thanks to the volunteers and staff who had gone before us, we were extremely well-cared-for and well-supported, from language and technical training to health care to staff who were concerned with helping us do the very best job we could in whatever capacities we served.
Don't let this mislead you: Hardship and discomfort exist in every Peace Corps country. Malaria, hepatitis and intestinal parasites are often rampant. Also roads may be poor and nonexistent, water may be impure, and crops and rain may fail, making meals meager and bathing impossible.
Since several languages are often used in one country, local people may speak a dialect different from the country's official language taught during training. Sometimes there are no phones, mail or electricity.
Being a volunteer means this is not simply a way to earn a living. It is a commitment to a desire to serve and to an experience from which you think you will learn and grow. The Peace Corps was not designed to `` . . . be that alternative path out of the U.S. job market for many college students'' of which DeBauche writes. Rather, the Peace Corps has three goals. First, to assist developing nations in meeting their labor technology needs. Second, to help people from other cultures learn more about Americans and American cultures. And third, to bring home the experience and help learn more about people of other cultures.
Jones M. Moynihan, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics and former volunteer in Thailand, wrote this opinion piece with seven other former volunteers: Kent Klindera, Helene Murray, Les Everett, Meredith Cornett, Robert Quinn, Jenny Wilson and Ty Wilson.
|By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, August 02, 2001 - 11:05 pm: Edit Post|
The article in the link above was originally written in 1994.
We have been informed by current volunteers that much
of the information is out of date and no longer applies.
We are leaving the original link because one of the purposes
of this site is to be a historical archive of peace corps