Archive - September 30, 2015

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The Call of the Tropics
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New Members of Peace Corps Sexual Assault Advisory Council

The Call of the Tropics

I’ve done it. Reserved a flight for Barranquilla, Colombia in three weeks time. It’s been a long-time wish of mine to return to the barrios in Barranquilla where I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Fifty years have passed, yet the imprint left by those experiences and those people continues strong. A formal invitation in Spanish arrived by email announcing a ceremony commemorating a total of twenty-five years of Peace Corps service in Colombia. Not twenty-five consecutive years as for many years as it was considered unsafe to send volunteers there. I’ve been filled with apprehension while taking this decision. Browsing Internet I learn the new reality of the city and the barrios of Las Américas and Santuario. They have changed drastically. Some roads are now paved and shacks have become solidly-built, though still humble, homes. These began as invasion barrios, shanty towns with no plan or organization. I once . . .

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New Members of Peace Corps Sexual Assault Advisory Council

The Peace Corps Sexual Assault Advisory Council was mandated by Sec. 8 D. of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection of 2011. Kate Puzey was a Volunteer in Benin. She was murdered. Her murder remains unsolved.  Kate Puzey was a teacher and she had complained to the Peace Corps Office that a Host National Teacher, with an association with the Peace Corps, was sexually exploiting her female students. She was murdered shortly after making this report.  It is widely believed that her murder was in retaliation for her report. This remains speculation because her murderers have not brought to justice. In the Congressional hearings as the bill was being considered, RPCV women testified about their experience as sexual assault victims during Peace Corps service. The legislation is designed to address this problem. Sexual exploitation of young women in host countries who want to get an education is not addressed by . . .

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