I received an Internet phone call from one of my good Peace Corps Guyana friends today. It was great to hear form him.
His news was that a dozen new volunteers arrived to Georgetown this week to start their three months of training and two years of service. Somehow, my name came up as a recent volunteer who was sent home. When Country Director Earl Brown explained why I was sent home, he told the new volunteers that I was sent home for selling photos of Guyanese and Peace Corps volunteers over the Internet.
It’s amazing how the truth gets twisted. I simply posted digital photos within Ofoto.com and Yahoo Photo‘s personal photo albums. Volunteers before me did so, volunteers while I was there were doing so, and current volunteers continue to do so. Ofoto.com and Yahoo Photo provide the option for visitors to purchase prints of any photo that is within anyone’s photo album. The owner of the album doesn’t get paid for the prints purchased. The payment is simply for development, shipping, and a small profit for either Ofoto or Yahoo. Here are examples of the very photo albums I’m refering to:
Some of the IT volunteers tried to explain all of this to Earl Brown while I was down there. Seems he’s still not smart enough to understand how all of it works, which is why I likely felt like a threat to him.
More importantly, Earl shouldn’t be saying that I was kicked out at all; for I technically wasn’t. Technically speaking, I wasn’t Administratively Separated. Instead, I received what the Peace Corps calls an Interruption of Service, which is granted to volunteers “who have to leave due to matters beyond their control.”
Privately speaking, of course, Earl twice told me that he should have Administratively kicked me out for having a personal website and for sharing my experiences as a volunteer with others (photos, stories, or otherwise). But he’d never admit to such a thing for the Peace Corps’ rules clearly state that the country director must not use Interruption of Service as a replacement for Administrative Separation.
It’s sad to hear that the hypocrisies and lies continue to run deep in Guyana. Particularly from the Peace Corps’ most senior officials.
Regardless, it was good to hear an old friend’s voice and laugh. Man, we had some good times.
Guess that’s all for now. Time for me to get back to making my “2003 Girls of Guyana” calendar.