5/31/2008 12:26pm, #11
Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
A lot of people really do lead sheltered lives.
5/31/2008 12:39pm, #12Originally Posted by moli
My particular group, and the group right before us, had a lot of pretty intelligent and "professional" people, and at the same time we happend to have an especially competent Country Director at the time; we worked hard to repair Peace Corps' reputation, and I think we even had a significant degree of success.
5/31/2008 12:50pm, #13
Hey, I'm cool with the sticker. I would have joined the Peace Corps coming out of the Army but they wouldn't let me because of some stupid rule about ex-military.
5/31/2008 12:58pm, #14Originally Posted by Phrost
Somewhat related, I recently learned that I couldn't be hired by the FBI even though I'd otherwise be a strong applicant because my 2 years of Peace Corps service isn't considered work experience by the FBI.
5/31/2008 1:43pm, #15
What conclusion did you draw about american society from the actions of american women in the peace corp? I'm curious - did you conclude that America is a very sheltered place, because they had seemingly naive responses, or what?
5/31/2008 2:10pm, #16Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin"No. Listen to me because I know what I'm talking about here." -- Hannibal
5/31/2008 7:06pm, #17Originally Posted by Cassius
5/31/2008 7:35pm, #18Originally Posted by JohnnyCache
I. What do you conclude by the fact that some PCVs seem to have shown blatant cultural insensitivity?
Well, I firstly should point out that not every Peace Corps volunteer will act inappropriately; although there were some horror stories I was able to hear from people (mostly expats, since locals would be too polite to bring these issues up usually) about volunteers of years past acting badly, the stories were usually about flamboyantly inappropriate individuals rather than about the whole group.
For the most part the people in my group of PCVs, and the previous group, seemed to be pretty pulled together, so the horror stories wouldn't be representative of the other PCVs I personally interacted with. That being said, there still were people who were kicked out of Peace Corps for behaving badly in my group, and since the Peace Corps administration in my country of service was supposedly very un-supportive and ineffective in previous years I would not be surprised if the volunteers back then would be more likely to get frustrated and act up.
Having said that, what would I conclude from the horror stories? I believe that the people who acted up in flamboyant ways were probably under a lot of stress; a lot of the horror stories were about women. It's almost as if the things they were doing were a personal rebellion against the constraints of the local culture, which by US standards would be considered relatively hard on women, though not nearly as bad as other parts of the world; to make a quick comparison I might compare it to US gender role expectations from the 50s. Maybe many Americans, especially those who would be fresh out of undergrad, are not mentally ready to accept foreign cultural roles because they cannot divorce themselves from the value judgements of American culture. The issue might be less about Americans and maybe more about young people who have never left their native countries and don't have a lot of life experience; those people might not be mentally ready to really set aside their own judgements and values for a 2 year stretch. Especially when you consider that lots of people spend their college years learning how to be judgemental through participating in various political activist activities.
Besides for that, some people who sign up are indeed pretty sheltered and probably have unrealistically romantic ideas about what they're getting into. There were a couple people who quit soon after arriving and whose behavior I can only characterize as being a bit spoiled. These people usually got a big shock from the sudden drop in their living stanards and couldn't deal with it.
One female in the group that came right after me acted disgusted all the time, like she felt everything was dirty and yucky. She claimed to be sick for much of the time she was in-country so that she could stay in the relatively luxurious sickbay instead of with a local host family. She didn't want to eat the same foods as the locals, such as canned corned beef, spam, etc. She finally left early, and I think that we were all pretty disgusted at her.
One guy had been real excited about going to an outer island. An outer island is a small island far away from the main islands. Think Gary Larson desert island. They may be populated by only a few hundred people, and are VERY isolated. A day or two after arriving the guy claimed he couldn't take it anymore and he needed to go back to the US immediately. He couldn't even wait a week for the next scheduled transport; he caused the Peace Corps to waste a lot of money bailing him out a few days earlier by sending a special transport. He probably had a romantic idea of being in one of the most isolated places in the world which was totally unlike the reality, and then he was so spoiled he couldn't wait a few days to leave. Again, the rest of us were totally disgusted at him, since the rest of us were working very hard to be culturally sensitive, make good impressions, and help people with various projects relating to health, education, community development, and so forth.
I guess the conclusion is that at least a few Americans are basically pretty spoiled and are unable to overcome that, but that could also be a function of youth and inexperience as many of these people are coming straight out of undergrad.
II. What do you conclude by how some females reacted to the threat of 'nightcrawling' and sexually aggressive community members?
My feeling is that part of the issue is how in the US life is often so un-physical that lots of people can barely still wrap their minds around the idea of a physical challenge or a physical threat such as a combative person. But it's not only that; I think it also has to do with traditional roles of women. I think lots of places in the world women wouldn't really think of how to defend themselves or fight with the 'nightcrawler' but instead would be socially predisposed to rather see themselves as a passive victim. I wouldn't, for example, expect a random woman from, say, Urugay to magically be more combative than one from the US.
Last edited by Wounded Ronin; 5/31/2008 7:44pm at .
6/01/2008 9:47am, #19
Originally Posted by Phrost
- Join Date
- May 2008
Thats funny ex-military in the peace corps , emphasis on peace
6/01/2008 10:16am, #20
Originally Posted by uki
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
Actually, I believe some ex-military are allowed to volunteer as long as they were'nt in intelligence. I think there may be a waiting period though, which would explain why Phrost was not able to volunteer right after he was discharged.
Ronin, re: some volunteers not wanting to eat the local foods, the canned corned beef was pretty disgusting (was it Pacific brand?). I found some of the wierder indiginous foods to be more palatable e.g. Pacific Pidgeon or Palolo (coral worms).