PC meisler

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PC meisler - Several Problems Hobble Peace Corps in Africa...
Several Problems Hobble Peace Corps in Africa By STANLEY MEISLER Th« L« Ang«lti Timci NAIUOB1 -- Fourteen windows liave been broken at (he Peace be blamed entirely on others. Corps office in Addle Ababa tin: year. In the provinces of brought a good deal on them Ethiopia, some unruly students are shouting "yankce" at their volunteer teachers. In Tanzania, the government seems bent on letting all its Peace Corps volunteers go without replacing them. ii would be wrong to exaggerate the significance of a few stones or a few epithets or the decision of a single government but the Peace Corps has run into significant difficulties in Africa this year. Considering the volatile politics of Africa, the Peace Corps has steered fairly clear of trouble in its eight years there. Since 1961, more than 6,000 volunteers have completed tours in Africa. As of last March 1, there were 2,639 volunteers in 22 African countries, teachers. mostly Before this year, the Peace Corps had found itself thrown out only by African countries that had relatively minor programs. In each case, the Peace Corps was the victim of the whim of 'others. Programs Upset This year the Peace Corps has been upset in two of its most important programs in Africa -- those in Ethiopia and Tanzania. The troubles this year differed significantly from those of the past. They no longer could Peace Corps officials admit they selves. Ill 19CC, Tanzania had 394 volunteers, three-fourths of them teachers, including 199 in Ihe elementary schools. The elementary school program was considered one of the most successful in the Peace Corps. In 1967, when President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania announced a new educational program, seemed to be stressing some of the same ideas that the Peace Corps had: an end to role learning, a move away from the traditional and irrelevant British school system, an attempt to dampen elitism. But Nyerere decided the Peace Corps did not fit into his close down when these go home at the end of Ihe year. Go It Alono Ethiopia iias always seemed a showcase for Pence Corps teaching in Africa. The first 281 volunteers who arrived in Ethiopia in 1962 doubled the number of degree-holding secondary school teachers in the country. These volunteers helped make it possible for Ethiopia to increase its number of secondary school pupils by 37 per cent in two years. Trying to catch the rest of Africa in education, the Ethiopian govern- there was great enthusiasm ment felt it could not do the jub within the Peace Corps. He without the Peace Corps. But caught next year. So far, however, thcilhoir staffs. The Peace Corps Peace Corps has not announced I was so big and visible in the school system that the Ethiopians resented their dependence on it and used it as a scrape- goat when things went wrong. The Peace Corps recognized this problem several years ago and tried to cope with it. But, by this school year, the Peace Corps had been able to reduce the volunteers in Ethiopia only to a quarter of the secondary school facilities. what it intends to do. Many Reasons What lias caused the new spate of troubles? In Washington in March, Jack Mood Vaughn, then retiring as director of the Peace Corps, discussed the Tanzunian government's decision to let the volunteers yo. "There were a number of reasons for the decisions," Vaughn said. "The war in Vietnam, for example, or the militant blame. It sometimes marches radicals around President Nyer- ere. But the main reason was the Peace Corps has beenisimply numbers. The program deaf. I this year in the turmoil was too large. We were too big The Pi Peace Corps, for example, is sending 30 volunteers back to Guinea this summer, exposing them to the same nonsensical and rash politics that pushed out the Peace Corps three years of schools to operate nonnally.JAfrican governments have so ago. In addition, the Peace One of the student demands lias'great a shortage of teachers Corps has decided to send a that has swept the Ethiopian education system. Since January, student strikes and demonstrations have disrupted the system, allowing only a handful a target. Since the Peace Corps first came to Africa, numbers have been one of its gnawing problems. 3lans. "The Peace Corps has been the removal of the Peace changed its character," he said. 'Some of its idealism has gone out." He stopped placing volunteers in Tanzanian schools and hen decided he could do without the Peace Corps altogether, government refused to request volunteers as replacements for those who left after their two-year tours. The program has dwindled to eight vol- mteers. And. it is likely to ;orps. The turmoil has spawned a succession of unpleasant incidents. One volunteer was deported, two others were arrested and beaten before their release, one was smashed in teacher, several were stoned. These difficulties could force the Peace Corps to consider reducing the number of its vol-, that the Peace Corps will give them. Numbers are deceptive and reative. It does not take many Peace Corps teachers in Africa to become too many. Ethiopia is probably the out- the face by a bottle-wielding standing case of too many Peace Corps teachers. In 1966, they made up a third of all secondary school faculties. Some Ethiopian headmasters foundj unteers in the Ethiopian schoolsithey had 15 to 20 volunteers on once worked in Tanzania,! 'President Nyerere will not be comfortable 'with the Peace! Corps. Tanzanians have the fecl-i ing that the United States is on their side--that it kills 1 people in Vietnam, that it supports South Africa and Portugal." Propaganda Blows III addition, Communist propaganda about the Peace Corps sometimes sways Aficans. Accusations that the volunteers In another area of trouble, the agents of the Central Peace Corps has only itself to into situations that resound with trouble to all but the politically that they usually will take all group of volunteers to the Congo this fall, ignoring warnings about the Congo's instability and penchant for bloodshed. While the overblown size of the Peace Corps in Africa and its political naivete are largely its own fault, there are other political troubles, as Vaughn mentioned, that are out of its control. "So long as the United States fights the war in Vietnam,' 1 says a Peace Corps official who Agency are swallowed in countries where the Peace Corps big and the Africans resent dependence on it. "Tanzanians are suspicious the Peace Corps," says the official who once worked there. "They keep asking themselves why are they here?" In Ethiopia, rebellious slu dents, resentful of the support t h n t IIP Ampriran government D - v HP, i f f h p r S o mv« in fhfi reeime of of Emperorj Hailie Selassie," are often to distribute anti-Peace Corps tracts obviously written in communist embassy. The war in Vietnam, the of the CIA, propaganda, the whimsical moods of governments, the Peace Corps' inabil- , ity to reduce its political innocence -- all are likely to with the Peace Corps in Africa for some time, not crippling work of the great number of volunteers but hindering a

Clipped from
  1. Greeley Daily Tribune,
  2. 01 Jul 1969, Tue,
  3. Page 4

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