On Peace Corps

Let’s talk about Peace Corps (PC) a bit.

It’s been in the news, it’s been loved, it’s been hated. There are many different opinions out there regarding PC. I didn’t know much about it a couple years ago. Now I’m living it.

News: Recently there was a 20/20 about lackadaisical security standards at some PC posts. Watch it here.

My thoughts: PC varies from country to country. In Armenia they do a good job of protecting us, I think. We all joke that our Safety & Security Coordinator, Vahagn, is ex-KGB. But much of the PCVs’ safety lies on the PCVs’ shoulders. It is far too easy to put yourself in a compromising situation. Also, many volunteers have an expectation that they can do things as they would back home, which is not the case. It’s just naïve thinking.

Criticism: I just read this article. It requires you to create an account, which takes 30 seconds (direct it to your junk e-mail). It’s a great read for those who are interested in PC.

My thoughts: The author raises a lot of valid points, but so do all the people who responded to his letter. PC is not perfect, but it provides a service to the world and to the American people at a relatively low price tag. The PC budget for 2010 was $400 million. Compare that to the $1.3 billion we send each year to Egypt to support their military.

Humor: Check it

My thoughts: Too true!

I have to say I am pleased with PC. Yeah, it took forever to get through the application process, and yeah, maybe things here and there don’t always go smoothly, but for the most part they really take care of us. There is no way I could be living like I am without PC’s help. There is a reason why the non-PCV/RPCV Americans who live here are only in Yerevan. I have gotten to know the Armenian people and way of life with an intimacy I never otherwise would have had. When I look at a “competing” organization like European Voluntary Service (EVS), I can see that their volunteers don’t get the same training and assistance we do. I am grateful for everything PC provides us, even if a lot of other volunteers like to bitch about PC.

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2 Responses to “On Peace Corps”

  1. Peter Says:

    KGB? Or maybe the Spetznez? Those guys apparently match up even against US special forces.

    My experience (mostly based on internet videos) is that Russians are crazy. You look at one of them the wrong way and you will get tornado-kicked in the face!

  2. icenugget Says:

    The only Russian I know is my first tatik, but she’s more Armenian than anything. So I can’t comment on their craziness.

    Factoid: Almost 1% of Russia’s 142 million population is Armenian. Another PCV once told me that 13% of migrant workers in Russia, more than any other ethnicity, are Armenian! No source on that one though so who knows.

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