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PC Zambia News
by Adventures of an Altruistic Adrenaline Aficionada (peace_corps_grl)
at October 16th, 2005 (12:08 am)

Mood: sad

US government apologises over peace corps conduct

US government apologises over peace corps conduct

Kasama,Oct 13,ZANIS-The American government has apologised for the incident involving its peace corp volunteers in Kasama recently.

The US peace corps were reported to have used racial remarks against Zambians in Mulenga Hills residential area in Kasama .

US peace corps country Director Davy Morris said in Kasama today that the matter was being handled at a very high level involving the State Department in Washington and the American embassy here in Zambia.

He said the US government was very concerned about the conduct of the volunteers who have since been sent back home to the USA.

Mr Morris was speaking at a meeting with community leaders from Mulenga Hills in the office of Kasama District Commissioner, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Chanda.

The Mulenga Hills community leaders have since reolved that they no longer require the services of the volunteers because of crminal trasspass and abussive language .

The peace corp volunteers from Northern and Luapula provinces who held a party at their residence in Mulenga Hills are reporterd to have climbed on top of an eleveted water tank where residents say they started shouting abussive launguage against the local people.

Their operations in the district were banned by the DC Lt Col Chanda but it has since been lifted by the provincial Permanent Secretary, Peter Mwamfuli.

Mr Morris who was accompaned by other senior officers from the US embassy in Lusaka said his government regrets the unrully behaviour of the volunteeres.

He however noted that he did not wish that the peace volunteers programme in Kasama be interrupted.

''we would like the peace corp volunteer programme to continue and want to inform you that the US government at very high level is taking steps so that what happened should not be repeated'', said Mr Morris.

The meeting was also attended by senior officials from Kasama Council.

The volunteers, during a party on September 24,climbbed the 100 metre water tank where they also wrote graffit using abussive language prompting the water company, the Chambeshi water and sewerage to suspend water supply to Mulenga Hills rersidents for three (3) days inorder to clean the tank.


Posted by: Kasia (slestialrazbery)
Posted at: October 16th, 2005 01:40 am (UTC)

Sigh. Is it bad to hope that they were drunk (and thus have a slight insanity excuse)?

Posted by: Liz (perkykoala)
Posted at: October 16th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)

From what I heard (from a CCV here (in Namibia) whose brother is a PCV there (in Zambia), but not one of the ones who were involved in all that), yeah, there was drinking involved. I think he said that there were about 20 PCVs who were involved, and they all got admin sep.

Posted by: AJ (outtajo)
Posted at: October 16th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC)

The rumors I heard said that the town's water supply was inaccessible for 2-3 days not b/c they were busy cleaning the grafitti off the outside (as this release leads to to believe), but b/c the PCVs had pissed in it and they had to drain it (which also means they lost loads of perfectly good water for the town). Do you know if there's any truth in this? That makes the whole thing a hundred times worse.

Posted by: Liz (perkykoala)
Posted at: October 16th, 2005 05:03 pm (UTC)

I hadn't heard that, although yeah, if it is true, then it does make it so much worse. When I heard the story, I heard that it was shut off, but I didn't hear why (so I wasn't sure if it was just out of retaliation or whether it was b/c of cleaning purposes) -- I'm curious to find out, though.

Posted by: purely_crazy (purely_crazy)
Posted at: October 17th, 2005 02:26 am (UTC)

Alright, I would like to shed a bit of light to this situation...
Yes, it did in fact happen, and yes, it was a VERY, VERY poor choice made by the PCVs, but it was in no way done to be malicious.
PCZ has (now, had) provincial meetings ever quarter. We have provincial houses (1 in each of the 8 provinces where volunteers serve) so that volunteers can go someplace to regroup, refresh, and be "American" whenever they need to, for a few days at time... usually talking to the PCVL and sometimes seeing other volunteers from the province. Every quarter volunteers come into the house to make decisions, talk about how their programs are going and to receive updates. After the meetings, the house generally turns into a bit of a party zone-- themed parties, drinking, beer cricket, etc. 99% of the time it's safe, fun, responsible and nothing dramatic or unrulely happens. It's a time of celebration. This happens to be an incident that falls in to the other 1%.
Negative and derogitory comments about Zambians were not made, nor "yelled" as the article reports. The volunteers climbed on top of the water tower, which they did often, and spray painted, "Kasama, fuck yeah". They wrote this to mimic a movie (I can't think of which one) and because they LOVED being in Kasama... not because they were trying to be disrespectful.
Regardless of the reasons the PVCs did what they did, there's no excuse or justification. So please don't comment saying that I am!! I'm just trying to explain the situation a bit more.
PS The volunteers didn't pee in the water!! Water is a very sacred resource in Zambia and any (perceived) contamination of water is viewed as national terrorism. That is why this is SUCH a big deal.
Poor Dave Morris! He's such a wonderful country director! I feel horrile that he is taking the brunt of this. :(

Posted by: Bychoice (bychoice)
Posted at: October 19th, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC)

Okay, that sounds a lot more like what PCVs would do. A mistake, but not a malicious one.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: November 15th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)

I am a RPCV Moldova and am really saddened by the events that took place by more than a few PCZ volunteers. Perhaps the intent was not malicious in nature as suggested however that is no excuse. All PC volunteers well know that while living in the preverbial fish bowl for 27 months, their every move is scrutinised and that despite what may often be contrary to fact, perception is reality. Unfortunately the gross misconduct of a few have now tarnished the good work of what is no doubt the ovwewhelming majority of volunteers in Zambia.


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