Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Of Course You Realize, This Means War

A report from the front lines: Aside from the online petition, we've begun an active letter campaign, the ultimate target of which will be the high-ups in Peace Corps Washington. We're putting together positive testimonials from all the volunteers here which support Kumar as being a good Country Director. The thinking is, perhaps a unanimous groundswell of voices will get people to listen. Because, after all, the entire admin all exist to serve our needs, no?

Here's the letter I wrote to add to the collection, which will be sent to Washington, DC later this week:
My name is Tom-Brian Reeves. I am a currently-serving volunteer in the Peace Corps Guyana program, having sworn in just over two months ago. Yesterday, I heard our beloved Country Director, Mr. Kumar Lakhavani, had resigned his job for reasons not explained to the volunteers of this post -- though perhaps resigned should be in quotation marks, because it is obvious to even a casual observer that Mr. Lakhavani was essentially forced to resign or be fired.

His dismissal was a serious mistake. Mr. Lakhavani has been everything one could look for in a Country Director: he is passionate, positive, serious about his job, and has a healthy rapport with the volunteers. In him we had a friend and an advocate, much more than just a boss; he was approachable, he was sympathetic to our needs, and he offered moral support. In short, he understood that the Country Director existed to serve the needs of the volunteers and he worked to make sure we both received what we needed and were as well-adjusted into our assignments as possible. He was no push-over, but commanded respect, and perhaps more so because of his friendly manner.

A good Country Director is crucial to the health of a Peace Corps post. I began service in 1998 in the Eastern Caribbean (EC 65), and though at that time I did not continue with my service, I remained friends with some of those who did. In the second year of their service the acting CD was replaced and someone new brought in. This person brought negativity and an adversarial tone to that post; several otherwise happy volunteers ended up Early Terminating simply to get away from his incompetence. Among their number was one of my friends who found his leadership to be demoralizing and counterproductive. With Mr. Kumar Lakhavani, you had the opposite -- a good leader and a good man, someone who could revitalize the ailing Guyana post and bring out the best in his volunteers.

I fervently hope an appeal can be made in this decision and have it reversed. The Peace Corps has acted on the wrong man this time. I invite Peace Corps to contact me, or any volunteer in Guyana, to look into this matter more closely. Please consider reinstating Mr. Lakhavani as Country Director for Peace Corps Guyana.

Brian Reeves

Sadly, things are not going so well for our cause. Just a couple days into it, and we're starting to realize we may be fighting in vain. My personal hope is that, whether we're successful getting Kumar back or not, we proceed to go after the (bleep) that got him sacked. I want this guy OUT.

1 comment:

nusilusi said...

You all should defintely try to get locals to write letter too. People who would have interacted with the director. It might help the cause.