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27I was not sworn into the Peace Corps this Friday

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  • jasonpearce
    Aug 18, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      Dear Friends and Family,

      On Friday, August 16, 2002, I was supposed to be sworn in as a Peace
      Corps volunteer with 22 other GUY10 trainees. While my 22 colleagues
      were sworn in on Friday and have already left for their respective
      sites throughout the country, I was not given the invitation to swear
      in and currently remain a trainee.

      Naturally, not getting sworn in (and all of the issues leading to the
      country director's decision not to swear me in) has been very
      stressful, tiring, and frustrating.

      The Peace Corps Guyana staff believes that I am not aware of, or have
      been sensitive to, the impact that my personal comments – posted on
      my personal website at http://jason.pearce.net and personal Yahoo
      Groups listserve/community at
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jasonpearce/ – might have on myself, my
      co-workers, and the Peace Corps worldwide.

      Although one of the Peace Corps' three goals is "to help promote a
      better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American
      people," and that the Volunteer Handbook encourages me "…to share my
      understanding of the culture and traditions with countless family
      members, friends, co-workers, and community groups in the United
      States;" the Peace Corps Guyana staff believes that the content on my
      semi-private and personal website constitutes publishing and is thus
      a violation of their guidelines.

      While I may be free to discuss my role in the Peace Corps with
      friends, family, or anyone else, I understand that an ill-considered
      statement could be used to embarrass me, the Peace Corps, the U.S.,
      or the people of Guyana. But I also believe that the potential
      damage that the content on my personal website could cause must be
      weighed against my rights of free speech, political expression, and
      religious beliefs.

      In an effort to reduce the possibility of my personal opinions from
      reaching people beyond my circle of friends and family, I made the
      following precautions in hopes of appeasing the country director:

      1. I password-protected the Monologue section of my site

      2. I password-protected my Yahoo Groups listserve/community

      3. I password-protected my online photos at Ofoto.com

      While these measures secure my content and restrict it from being
      viewed by people beyond my intended audience, it also makes it more
      difficult for you (my friends and family) to access that content.
      Unfortunately, it's a necessary precaution that we will all have to
      live with.

      In addition to heightening security, I have taken additional steps to
      block access to my site from nearly all computers located in Guyana;
      as well as promising additional censorship measures that I will be
      willing to take.

      Unfortunately, my self-censorship and heighten-security changes were
      not enough to permit me to be sworn in on Friday. This upcoming week
      will likely be another week of me trying to appease the country
      director in hopes that he will eventually decide to swear me in.

      I believe that I have the talent and interest to help the World
      Wildlife Fund (my assignment), the Tourism and Hospitality
      Association of Guyana (a secondary-project that I'm hoping to work
      on), and potentially many more Guyanese organizations in their IT and
      web development needs. I just need to be given the chance.

      If I cannot convince the country director soon that my online actions
      will not affect the Peace Corps or US offline, then I'll likely be
      sent home much sooner than expected.

      Wish me luck. I'll do my best to keep you posted.


      The opinions, views, and insights stated within this email are my own
      and do not represent the viewpoints of the Peace Corps, the U.S.
      Government, Guyana, or any other nation or organization. Any
      interpretation or use of this content beyond the context of
      unofficial personal opinion would be erroneous.