27I was not sworn into the Peace Corps this Friday
- Aug 18, 2002Dear 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
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
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.