A Letter to President Trump From A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Who Served in a 'Shithole' Country

A Letter to President Trump From A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Who Served in a 'Shithole' Country

Madagascar is a place where giant cockroaches hiss and monkey-like lemurs sing songs of overwhelming beauty. It is a land where creatures you may never have heard of—fossa and giraffe weevils, aye ayes and sifaka—thrive in a magical anomaly among curious plants like the baobab tree and traveler’s palm. One thousand years ago, 880-pound elephant birds called the island its home. It’s a place so, so different from any other place on this planet and it will surely astonish any visitor.

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WATCH: 13 Adventures to Take in Madagascar

WATCH: 13 Adventures to Take in Madagascar

Madagascar may be the greatest adventure you haven't had yet. Tiptoe across chaotic limestone pinnacles. Swim next to a whale shark. Sift through the sand to find the eggshells of an extinct 10-meter flightless bird, that used to lay a two-gallon egg.  

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Ambondro's Sunflowers

Ambondro's Sunflowers

My anxieties were settled after reminding myself that Peace Corps Volunteers, as agents of change, are often planting the seeds to a tree we may never sit under.

Or the seeds to the sunflowers we may never see to grow tall.

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Post Deleted

Feb. 14:

This post was removed as an alleged violation of Peace Corps' political expression policy (below), under the threat of administrative separation. 

"3.9 Political Expression The Peace Corps' credibility, and hence its ability to perform its mission, is contingent on not becoming identified with controversial or political issues of local interest or local political issues or movements. V/Ts abroad are not in-country in a purely individual capacity with obligations only to themselves. They are abroad having responsibilities to, and representing, Peace Corps. Therefore, V/Ts must avoid becoming involved in the political affairs of their host country. Any public statement or action which potentially may involve a V/T with host country political issues or other controversial issues within the host country, or which are otherwise matters of official concern to Peace Corps, must be first discussed and reviewed with the Country Director. "Matters of official concern" are those that are related to Peace Corps or U.S. foreign policy, or matters that can reasonably be expected to affect the foreign relations of the United States. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, up to and including, administrative separation. A V/T's statements or actions concerning such issues that, in the opinion of the Country Director, impair the effectiveness of the Peace Corps or the individual V/T, may be grounds for administrative separation or other disciplinary action.

Generally speaking, V/Ts are free to privately discuss issues relating to the United States or other countries. In doing so, they must comply with the laws of the host country and they should make it clear that the views expressed are their own and not necessarily those of the Peace Corps or the U.S. Government. V/Ts should be aware, however, that public political expression overseas may raise issues of V/T safety and security if the issues could provoke hostility locally. V/Ts should also be aware that, particularly in the area of foreign affairs, some policies or actions of the United States or other countries may relate to political issues or other controversial issues within the host country. A V/T's statements or actions concerning such issues that may, in the opinion of the Country Director, endanger the safety and security of the individual V/T or the post, or impair the effectiveness of the Peace Corps or the individual V/T, may be grounds for administrative separation or other disciplinary action. V/Ts are free to petition the U.S. Government and its officials in the same manner as they could had they remained in the United States."