The infamous 20/20 report about corruption in the Peace Corps aired three days before I left in Niger. When I and the other volunteers reached Morocco, where there was stable Internet, we saw great reactions to the piece on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. I made a note to watch it and today, on the eve of the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary, I did.
If you have seen that report and now doubt Peace Corps, you have right to. 20/20 held a governmental agency to question, the mere purpose of any media outlet. What happened to the volunteer in Benin and the others who were raped or sexually assaulted is a travesty, but it’s also part of of living in a foreign country. I can’t speak on the behalf of any of the people interviewed in the piece or any volunteer, but I can for myself.
During my short stint as Peace Corps volunteer, I experienced two very tragic events, the death of another volunteer and an evacuation. From my perspective, Peace Corps did the best they could to help us deal with these events. Counseling and support was provided in both situations. We didn’t always have answers, but that is part of working with a federal agency.
I never felt unsafe in village, mostly because I was blessed to live in a very lovingly community who put my safety and healthy as top priority.
I know that not everyone feels the way I do about Peace Corps and some were unhappy in how they dealt with these situations, but I believe in that organization. For the rest of my life, I will be accociated with Peace Corps and my time as a volunteer will be one of my most special experiences.
If anyone has any questions about Peace Corps actions or this report, please feel free to email me or post a comment. Peace Corps isn’t perfect and there are still unknowns in the tragic events I experienced, but I still believe it is an important organization to our country and the world.